"Long Live Our Love" Performed by the Shangri-Las (1966)

May 26, 2008


On Saturday I went to the dress rehearsal for Sunday evening’s National Memorial Day Concert held in front of the U.S. Capitol and televised on PBS. One of the songs the army band played was “When Johnny Comes Marching Home Again” which is a classic “war song”. Of course my younger sister said … “Oh, that’s the ants song. You know the ants go marching one by one hurrah.”

I don’t know the deep signifigance of Generation X not knowing American Civil War songs, but it got me to thinking. I was looking for the history of that particular song and came across this forgotten 45 by the Shangri-Las which includes a bit of “When Johnny Comes Marching Home Again.” It too, is a “war song” of another era and time.

In honor of Memorial Day 2008 I thought I would post this song which happens to fall in line with this month’s musical theme “Girl Groups”.

The Shangri-Las (pictured above) were two pairs of sisters from Queens, NY – identical twins Marge and Mary Anne Ganser and siblings Mary and Betty Weiss.

In the WIKI article on this legendary girl group, their success with Red Bird Records label from 1964 – 1966 is summed up this way:

In April 1964, when the girls were still minors, their parents signed for them with Red Bird Records; Mary was 15, Betty was 17, and the Ganser twins were 16. Having been hired by record producer George “Shadow” Morton, they had their first success with the summer hit, “Remember (Walking in the Sand)” (U.S. #5, UK #14). Billy Joel, an unknown working as a session musician at the time, played on the original demo recording of “Remember (Walkin’ In The Sand)” . The original demo recording was nearly seven minutes long, far too long for Top 40 radio airplay. Morton had originally hired the group to just perform on the demo, but Red Bird liked their sound, and decided to release a re-recorded version by them after cutting it down to proper length for a 45 RPM single. Rather than edit the original song, Morton simply faded the new version out around the 2:16 mark.

The group’s recordings for Morton featured lavish production with heavy orchestration and sound effects, and their next and biggest hit, the renowned ‘death disc’, “Leader of the Pack” (U.S. #1, UK #11), climaxes with the sounds of roaring motorcycles and breaking glass. UK re-issues of the single peaked at #3 in 1972 and at #7 in 1976. The song epitomized the “death disc”; other examples of the era including Ray Peterson’s “Tell Laura I Love Her”, Jan and Dean’s “Dead Man’s Curve”, and Twinkle’s “Terry”.

By the end of 1964 the group were an established hit act. They performed on a live bill with the Beatles, toured with R&B artists such as The Drifters and James Brown (who, according to Mary Weiss, was surprised to discover the girls were white when he met them), and Cashbox magazine listed them as best new R&B group. They also promoted Revlon cosmetics. In March 1965 they toured the UK with Dusty Springfield and The Zombies.

Because Betty did not tour regularly with the group until 1966, and because she often and mysteriously did not appear in promotional photos despite the fact that she continued to sing on the records, many fans believed the Shangri-Las were a trio. (SOURCE)

Here are the Lyrics to this classic then charted #33 in 1966.

Long Live Our Love Composed by Sidney Barnes & Jerome Jackson

When Johnny comes marching home again, hurray hurrah

Chorus;
Long live our lo-o-ove, long live our happiness,
Heres a toast to happiness,
Long live our love.

When we were childhood sweethearts,
We had made a simple vow,
We vowed to love each other,
And I know we won’t stop now.

Chorus;

But somethings come between us,
And its not another girl,
But A lot of people need you,
There is trouble in the world.

Spoken:
Its the fighting, that has come between us, and its
taken you far far away.
But please don’t wonder if Ill be faithful, your in my heart both
night and day.
So, darling, I send my love to you, while you are fighting
overseas,
And, I know one day, if we are lucky, God will send you back to me.

Chorus;

Spoken by lead singer Mary Weiss while rest of group sings intro;

Please Lord Don’t Let anyting happen to him Please.
I’m waiting for you Johnny, Im waiting. .

Chorus;

(fading out)
Chorus;

Another song of this same era with the same theme is “Soldier Boy” as performed by another great girl group, The Shirelles, in 1962.  You may listen to it and read all about it here.

The original concept of Memorial Day was to decorate the graves of the American Soldiers lost in the Civil War. My Dad used to call it “Decoration Day”. But these days it is often just considered as the Memorial Day Holiday that starts off our summer. Please remember our veterans and what they sacrificed for our country then and now. You may read more about the Memorial Day Holiday at the History Channel Web Site.

If my sister is reading this please check this link for the lyrics to the original “When Johnny Comes Marching Home Again” :-)

Be safe and keep listening to the music. I am glad you stopped by.

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Filed under:Girl Groups,Long Live Our Love,Memorial Day,Pop,Red Bird Records,Sidney Barnes & Jerome Jackson,Sixties,The Shangri-Las

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