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RCA 20-4508; FEBRUARY 1952



After surprising us with both sides of their debut – albeit in far different ways – last fall, our hopes and expectations for The Heartbreakers have understandably risen quite a bit despite their misfortune in being on a major record label that typically casts a cold eye on rock ‘n’ roll.

Because of that association we’re still going to be wary of each release until it’s proven beyond any doubt that they were being left to their own devices in the studio and when it came to choosing material, rather than being forced to conform to RCA’s outdated ideas of what constituted “good music”.

Here our suspicions prove far too accurate as we’re met with precisely the kind of compromised single that we feared from the very start… one that may not turn it’s back altogether on rock ‘n’ roll, but certainly seems more willing to give it the cold shoulder.


When You Decide To Stay Out Late
There are two sides to a single, as all of you well know, and though with the first review of any record on these pages you’re never quite sure if the other side will be featured on its own review as well until it either happens or we skip to the next artist in the queue, we’ll spare you any suspense and tell you that no, the flip side is not being covered here for good reason.

About the only relevant thing about I’m Only Following My Heart is the title, and only then because we question whether it was THEIR heart they were following by putting out such pop-slanted mush, or if it was RCA’s heart they were trying to appease.

Needless to say, we’re following our heart as committed rock fans by disdaining it and all it stands for by mercifully passing it by without thinking twice.

Yet that leads to another more pertinent question… if THAT dreadful attempt didn’t cut the mustard here, how much worse could it have been considering the one we do allow to slip in, You’re So Necessary To Me, manages to make the grade despite having many of the qualities we roundly dismiss when it comes to putting too many pop touches for its own good?

The answer to that question is actually quite simple: Because their debut was so promising we had to show where they went from there, if only to make sense of their career and fill out their story, and as such we had to make a choice between the lesser of two evils.

Lesser, yes (though only just barely), but still evil when it comes to seeking to put an end to rock ‘n’ roll by putting its listeners to sleep and then presumably cutting their throats before they wake up.

I Made It Very Plain To See
It’s a telling sign that The Heartbreakers first record – and their best effort to date – was written by their lead singer, while nothing else they’ve done so far came from his pen.

In fact the group initially took Bobby Evans on a few years back while amateurs not just because he was a good singer, but because he was also a songwriter and that gave them a leg up over groups that were only covering songs or reliant on outside sources to get original material.

That his first writing effort, called Heartbreaker to capitalize on the group’s name, was also their best side to date is hardly surprising, as nobody knows what the group does well better than one of its members and no mere outside contributor can get a feel for what direction they want to pursue without hearing them over time.

Since You’re So Necessary To Me was cut along with their first release, that obviously wasn’t possible and so not surprisingly its stylistic compass is far off course.

So where did this go wrong in the planning stages?

First off there’s the lyrics… as evidenced by the title, the guy in this song is a hopeless sap when it comes to women. While it’s always good to be a complimentary partner in a relationship, boosting your sweetie’s self-image by always lifting them up, it’s quite another thing to be putting yourself down in the process and showing that you’re nothing without them.

Why, you ask? Because if you’re nothing without them, you’re nothing with them either.

The attitude taken here is completely without self-respect, subservient and pitiful (qualities that have sunk many a well-sung record by The Orioles lest you forget) but here The Heartbreakers can’t redeem themselves with a stellar lead by Evans who instead sounds out of sorts, unable to consistently convey the right amount of emotion thanks to a melody that strays too far from the comfort zone of his somewhat limited range.

He’s straining to hold notes over longer measures, getting to the end in one piece occasionally but then looking at the next line and cringing at having to do it all over again, sometimes higher, sometimes lower, but never comfortably.

If the melody was better that might help matters some, but it’s largely forgettable and when we get a baritone lead in the bridge singing the exact same nonsense we wonder why they even bothered with this. Nobody here can do this justice, but then again, nobody else in rock could either, even with singers twice as skilled as these guys.

When We Shared Our Love Awhile
You had to see this coming, didn’t you?

When we meet an early 1950’s rock vocal group whose name is more or less unknown to all but a few collectors, and who were recording for a major label, releasing songs called You’re So Necessary To Me, then before the stylus even dropped a blind man could see this had all of the markings of a disaster. In that regard they don’t let us down.

Yet we’re still going to go just a little bit easy on them by saying this one was hardly their fault. It wasn’t their song, wasn’t their decision to pair it with an equally inappropriate song, wasn’t their doing to write charts for it that accentuated its worst pop-like aspects rather than trying to bolster it with some guitars and saxes and it wasn’t their fault that RCA’s executives were born in the 1800’s – literally – and thus had come of age musically in the days before the First World War.

Considering we were well past a Second World War now, one can only wish that those responsible for thinking this kind of music was necessary had their sailboats sunk by a German U-boat in 1942, or maybe had gone for a picnic in the New Mexican desert when The Manhattan Project was testing their Atomic Bombs to end that war.

Instead they all lived so The Heartbreakers promising career as a rock act could potentially die without much of a whimper.


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