Sunday, July 10, 2011
AccuRadio Song Of The Day-The Left Banke
Song:Walk Away Renee
Album:Hard To Find 45's on CD Vol. 6: More Sixties Classics
Here's a 60s classic that everyone knows. But you probably don't know anything about The Left Banke. Walk Away Renee was the highlight of their brief and tumultuous history. The leader of The Left Banke was keyboard player and songwriter Michael Brown (born Michael Lookofsky Apr. 25, 1949 in New York City). The lead singer was Steve Martin (born Carmelo Esteban Martin Caro Oct. 12, 1948 in Spain). Both grew up in the music business. Brown's father was veteran session violinist Harry Lookofsky. Martin is the son of Flamenco guitaist Sarita Heredia. Other members were guitarist Jeff Winfield, bassist Tom Finn and drummer George Cameron. The Left Banke's biggest problem was Harry Lookofsky was the group's manager, producer and publisher. He sold Walk Away Renee to Mercury's Smash label and it reached #5 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1966. The second single Pretty Ballerina reached #15 on the Billboard Hot 100. Then they recorded the rest of the album. The album didn't do that well. So is there a real Renee? Remember Michael Brown was 16 at the time. So Walk Away Renee, Pretty Ballerina and several other songs were about Tom Finn's girlfriend Renee Fladen. She was even at the Walk Away Renee recording session. So he was quite infatuated with her. She disappeared for decades and was found a few years ago teaching music on the West Coast. Lots of groups have covered Walk Away Renee but The Four Tops version is as good as the original. You can get The Left Banke's recording of Walk Away Renee on this Eric Records various artists comp. Problems in The Left Banke began when Lookofsky started using session musicians instead of the band. They sued and ultimately Michael Brown left. The rest of the band recorded a second album that didn't sell. There have been reunions over the years and Finn and Cameron still lead a version of The Left Banke today. Michael Brown was a member of Ian Lloyd's Stories and they had a #1 hit with Brother Louie in 1973. Here's The Left Banke performing Walk Away Renee 1966.