The Happenings: The Very Best Of

Happenings_VeryBestOfHarmony vocal pop from 1960s New Jersey

This New Jersey-bred quartet started with the novel concept of remaking hits in their own vocal harmony style. Cover bands may typically be relegated to bars, but the Happenings talent for picking and reshaping well-known material led to four Top 10 hits, two of which – the Tempos’ “See You in September” in 1966 and the Gershwins’ “I Got Rhythm” in 1967 – each rose to #3. The group’s sound drew on both 1950s pop and doo-wop, and the falsetto topped harmonies fit with contemporaries like the Four Seasons, Vogues and Tokens. The group had many bonds with the latter group, having them as producers, recording for their B.T. Puppy Label, covering their material (“Tonight I Fell in Love”) and even releasing a split album.

Varese’s sixteen track collection includes all ten of the Happenings’ charting singles, including the Jubilee-released “Where Do I Go / Be-In / Hare Krishna.” Missing is their first single (“Girls on the Go”) and their remaining singles for Jubilee, but filling out the lineup are well-selected non-charting singles, B-sides and album tracks. Steve Massie’s remastered sound crisply reproduces the super-wide stereo image of the original recordings, and the eight-page booklet includes liner notes by Dawn Eden. A deeper dive into the group’s catalog can be found on a two-fer of their first two albums, but most will find this sampling of their charming vocal pop to be a right-sized introduction. [©2016 Hyperbolium]

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