To the editors:
[Re: “Great Noises of Rock ‘n’ Roll,” July 31]
More great rock ‘n’ roll noises:
The tormented teenage girl’s scream of “MAMA!” in the Shangri-Las’ “You Can Never Go Home Any More,” after her mother dies of heartbreak upon learning that the girl has run away from home (the girl’s sobbing-in-the-arms-of-her-guidance-counselor confession is a masterpiece of adolescent pathos, as well).
The reverb-laced chant, “Child!” that serves as part of the percussion on the Chambers Brothers’ “Time Has Come Today.”
Jim Morrison’s demonic scream at the conclusion of the opening organ vamp on the live version of “When the Music’s Over” (from the LP Absolutely Live); his oedipal paroxysms during the climax of “The End” also deserve honorable mention here.
Nearly every noise James Brown ever made on record.
Jimi Hendrix’s orgasmic, spontaneous cry of “Ah, SHIT!” during one of the breaks on “Little Miss Lover.”
Jesse Colin Young’s whispered request, “Listen!” during “Get Together,” as sincere and heartfelt in its way as all of rock ‘n’ roll’s great adolescent sexnoise.
And, in my humble opinion, the all-time champion: Screamin’ Jay Hawkins’s all-out, wine-sodden voodoo scream at the conclusion of “I’m Gonna Put a Spell on You.” That thing scared the bejesus out of me the first time I heard it–I was about ten years old at the time–and it’s still one of the most unbelievable, unworldly noises I’ve ever heard on record, in a movie, or even in a nightmare.
Of course I could delve into blues and early R & B, but that’d be a whole other article . . .