Great Moments:
‘I Can Never Go Home Anymore’ by the Shangri-Las 2:06-2:09

(an occasional series reviewing all of music* a few seconds at a time)

It’s a bittersweet little song about a girl defying her mother’s advice and running away with a boy, lyrically starting like any number of teen romance songs by ’60s girl groups. The romance fails in the next line, and she feels unable to return home. She recalls her mother singing her lullabies, and we hear quiet, breathy background singing of “Hush little baby…”

Then comes the devastating moment, Mary Ann Ganser’s desperate wail of ‘Mama!’, from a little way back from the mic, a really upsetting sound, followed by a crashing cello riff. It’s as spectacularly dramatic a three seconds as pop has ever produced. Its impact is reinforced by the extreme restraint of what comes before it, muted music and Mary Ann talking her way through the song – she was the best talker in the history of music, no contest, a tremendous vocal actress. It’s a dazzling coup de theatre of production, by George ‘Shadow’ Morton, maybe the most brilliantly inspired producer music has seen, someone who could justifiably star in ten of these little items.

* not a guarantee to complete the project

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