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Sunday, October 11, 2015

"Please Don't Ask Me To Go Away/With Every Beat of My Heart" Shawn (1971)

It's like this; You remember an old record and you finally drop everything and go on a mission.

The record in question came to our family in a box of 45s my uncle gave my mom. He worked for an amusement company which serviced jukeboxes. Every now and then, he'd bring us a box of random 45s. There were a few well worn hits ("Ode To Billie Joe" Bobbie Gentry, "I Love You" by People) and a few lesser Jeannie C. Riley and Otis Redding songs. But one 45 in particular stuck out.

It was a single released on Kapp Records in September of 1971 at the peak of the Donny Osmond craze shortly after he struck teenybopper gold with his cover version of Steve Lawrence's "Go Away Little Girl".

The artist was someone (or some group) named Shawn. Who this monosyllabic Shawn was is completely unknown as far as verifiability goes. I simply hit dead ends everywhere I go trying to track down any deeper session information.

The A-Side was an answer song to "Go Away Little Girl", titled "Please Don't Ask Me To Go Away"

The B-Side was also a cover version. "With Every Beat of My Heart", which was probably better known as a 1970 song from Josie & The Pussycats.

Both of the Shawn songs had some popularity, the novelty A-side of course. But Shawn's B-side cover of "With Every Beat of My Heart" appeared on the 1995 Varese Sarabande compilation CD Bubblegum Classics Volume Two.

The A-Side, "Please Don't Ask Me To Go Away", remains available only on the original Kapp 45.

From the number of these Shawn singles with holes drilled in the label area, which is nearly every copy I have ever seen, it didn't do very well in sales as most "answer songs" tend not to. Drilling holes in the 45 RPM label area or cutting a corner of an album was a practice amongst record labels with returned stock of records that didn't sell initially to prevent retailers from reselling them at full price. These records were what occupied the "cut-out" or "budget bins" for $2.98 or lower in record shops.

But a look at the credits on the single reveals two important clues; Producer Danny Janssen and arranger Jimmie Haskell. Janssen had produced the original Josie & The Pussycats album and was the producer of several early '70s TV based pop acts including The Partridge Family and The Brady Bunch LPs. Jimmie Haskell was a pop arranger, best known for his TV work as well as with '60s pop band The Grass Roots. He also arranged horns and strings on Blondie's Autoamerican album.

It was pretty much a one-off novelty single to cash in a pop fad as "Go Away Little Girl" was one of the biggest hits of 1971.

Shawn never had a follow-up single or released a full album. And was never heard from again.

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