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Doing the wrong thing once can be tolerated, even excused… provided you apologize and try and make amends in the future.

Doing the same wrong thing again is a warning to anyone in the vicinity that you can’t be trusted and those around you should run away.

Doing the same wrong thing twice at the SAME TIME, doubling down on your mistake with pig-headed certainty, means it’s open season for attacking you without mercy.

At least nobody can say Rainbow Records didn’t bring it all on themselves.


Can I Promise More?
Ask a music fan what’s important in the records offered up to them for their approval and they’ll focus largely on quality.

But ask a record company what’s important to their own satisfaction and they’ll tell you it’s simply how much they’ll profit.

Nothing else. Not how a record sounds, or how it showcases the skill of their artists, or that it is fresh and original. Hell, even when it comes to profit they take a decidedly short-sighted view of things, preferring to earn that profit today even if it hurts their ability to profit in the future.

That mentality is what ensures you’ll usually find those so focused on the bottom line residing in the bottom of the barrel in life.

Not surprisingly that’s precisely where we see Rainbow Records today, clawing at the mossy sides of that barrel, trying desperately to keep their heads above water even while they all but guarantee they’re going under as they tie boulders around their ankles in the form of releases like Why Don’t You Believe Me, yet another cover of a pop hit – this time of Joni James – which the audience for The Five Crowns look upon with the utter disdain these things rightly deserve.

They weren’t alone at the bottom of that barrel however, as Mercury Records, a major label, was down there with them thanks to covering this same song by one of their rock acts, as Ada Wilson sang it fronting Johnny Otis’s band last month.

Even with his name recognition on the label it sold eleven copies, six of which were used for skeet shooting targets when the hunting club ran out of clay pigeons.

Though The Five Crowns themselves actually do a better job of it than that dismal effort, the fact remains that this is not the kind of material any self-respecting rock group should tackle under any circumstances, especially not when their debut – an original composition – actually earned them a regional hit and the respect of those who heard it.

This, on the other hand, only has the potential to earn them an unemployment check.


You Can Keep Or Break
Let’s look at this from Rainbow Records’ perspective… the mercenary business side of the equation if you will.

Isn’t it a good business practice to meet the needs of your primary consumer? Especially when that audience has very specific needs that are otherwise frequently neglected in this era, and which are distinctly different than those of older pop music listeners. Doesn’t that make sense?

Yet history has shown these pop covers are terrible commercial bets because rock fans are not swayed by seeing a familiar title of a song currently riding high, as pop fans seemed to be. In fact, they instinctively turn away from them for that very reason!

Trying to forcibly shove treacly white pop songs down our throats which were not intended for us in the first place while casting aside the types of records we’ve long since proven we WILL buy, is not only bad business, it’s arrogant and demeaning to our culture and tastes. In effect you’re helping to deny an entire community the right to make their own choices altogether.

C’mon, Rainbow Records, Why Don’t Believe Me when we tell you this?!?!?! Do you think we’re hoping you’ll go out of business, robbing the up and coming New York City rock acts of another label to audition for? Hell no! We actually want you to succeed… provided you do so respecting those artists and that audience by listening to THEIR personal tastes and preferences!

This obviously fails miserably in those departments and as a result the record is doomed from the start even though it’s got a decent enough melody and James Clark manages to deliver it with slightly better control than he showed on the flip side, at times even sounding really good.

Of course it’s got just as many problems to pick apart, as the mid-section is weak, even though it was badly written so that’s not his fault, and the sax solo is too flowery while the others somehow are made to sound like a boys choir rather than a street corner group during that section. But the biggest issue remains the entire framework of this which is about as inappropriate as you can get for rock ‘n’ roll.

From the ornate piano down the stretch to the passive mentality that Clark is forced to express, where he’s weakly pleading his case to a girl, there’s absolutely nothing here that rock fans of 1952 are going to gravitate towards. Even if you like the vocals themselves they’re attached to sentiments that run counter to your sensibilities and with a perspective that is alien to your experiences.

Probably the most damning proof of this is that should there actually be any defenders of this side to be found today I guarantee you it’ll be a bunch of old white men saying how they don’t care about lyrics, or dainty instrumental support, or relevant source material.

In other words the very people that Rainbow Records wanted all along.


I’ve Told You So Often The Way That I Care
So we now circle back to the damage that the record company did with this release… to their group, to themselves and to rock fans who once again would feel betrayed because they were being told that they were disposable by someone they’d given their money to in the past… that there was a more desirable audience to reach.

Fortunately that audience they fantasized about never materialized… and why would they? The pop fan didn’t need The Five Crowns to sing them a version of Why Don’t You Believe Me because Joni James, June Valli, Patti Page, Kenny Gardner, Margaret Whiting and Herb Lance were all singing it for their approval.

So who was left? Oh that’s right… us… the young rock fan whose preferred style of music WASN’T going to be played by Guy Lombardo and sung by those polished vocalists… nor would we want them to be.

Yet Rainbow Records never truly cared about us, even though they rely entirely on us to stay in business. They don’t care that The Five Crowns momentum has been derailed by their idiotic decisions. They don’t care that the growth of the vocal group scene has just been stifled a little more.

But when we make that scene even bigger than any of them ever imagined in 1953 and ’54 and ’55, then they’ll pretend to have a change of heart and jump back on the bandwagon because we’re the ones who’ll line their pockets with money provided the artists are left to their own devices and allowed to put out authentic rock records aimed at our tastes.

Of course as soon as that happens, we have little doubt that the people like those running Rainbow Records will look around for a pop song and a sharp knife to stab us in the back yet again.


(Visit the Artist page of The Five Crowns for the complete archive of their records reviewed to date)

Spontaneous Lunacy has reviewed other versions of this song you may be interested in:
Johnny Otis (ft. Ada Wilson) (November, 1952)