My Favorite Record #6

The Cryin’ Shames: Please Stay (Decca, 1966)

I’ve always had a soft spot for melancholy. As a teenager, I would pull out all my favorite metal ballads and sit in the dark, listening to Lita Ford and Ozzy Osbourne’s “Close My Eyes Forever” and Aerosmith’s “Dream On” and Megadeth’s “In My Darkest Hour.” Though my metal years are long behind me, I still find myself making way too many melancholy mixes, with titles like “very very sad songs,” “only the lonely,”  “devastated,” “seance on a winter afternoon” (for when I have the winter blues). The Cryin’ Shames’ “Please Stay” is on every one of those mixes. I can think of few songs sadder than this. The Drifters lay claim to the original, but it comes nowhere near the devastation of this Liverpudlian sextet’s cover. Singer Charlie Crane sounds so close to tears, you can practically hear him trembling. Producer Joe Meek was never one to play it safe; the organ is straight out of a funeral procession, the bass and drums muffled and detached from the vocal. “Please Stay” charted at #26 in the UK.  A year later, Joe Meek murdered his land-lady, and then killed himself.

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