Thursday, September 22, 2016

Thirteen Men

Meg Myles
with Harry Geller
and his Orchestra

Thirteen Men
(Dickie Thompson,Fisher Music ASCAP)

Liberty 55038


To the best of my knowledge,this is the very first recorded female version of "Thirteen Women", before Dinah Shore [1958] and before Ann-Margret [1962].  

The song was first recorded by its composer, guitarist Dickie Thompson :
"Thirteen Women and Only One Man" — it sounded like a good idea to Dickie Thompson when he wrote the song in the early 1950s.

"The lines went something like, 'I had two gals every morning serving me breakfast in bed/I'm telling you, Jack, one rubbed my back while the other one rubbed my head,'  But the idea proved too salacious for the early rock 'n' roll generation — or perhaps their parents.  Disc jockeys played Thompson's song [Herald Records 424, 1954) for a couple of weeks, then decided it was too risqué and pulled it off the air.

Music producers didn't give up on it, though. The song was rewritten for Bill Haley and His Comets. The rock-'n'-rollers recorded "Thirteen Women" as their A-side — "Rock Around the Clock" was on the B-side.

The Haley version is an atomic fantasy song about a working guy dreaming of being the only man to survive an H-bomb attack.  Audiences and radio stations found the hit a vast improvement. Nuclear annihilation, it seemed, was an acceptable reason to have multiple lady friends.

The change in lyrics didn't seem to faze Thompson, though. The musician received residual checks for decades even though most performers recorded the H-bomb version. 
Meg Myles

Meg Myles was a popular model and pin-up of the 1950s.

As noted by  the Billboard reviewer of her Mercury album from 1962 cut at New York's Living Room :
Miss Myles is a young lady of limited vocal talent but she's abundantly endowed otherwise, a fact which helps fans overlook her vocal limitations.
And Steve Allen had teasingly noted in 1957 : 
She's appeared on my TV shows several times and I've noticed that our crew, a pretty casual group - not easily impressed - always pays strict attention when she's out there, standing with her feet slightly apart, her head tilted a little to one side.  There's no doubt about it - Meg is one singer who's fun to look at.  (Steve Allen, notes to Liberty LP Just Meg and Me, 1957)
For your desert island enjoyment, here is a selection* of 13 covers, 5 female, 6 male and two instrumentals :
1 - Dinah Shore - Thirteen Men
2 - Ann-Margaret - Thirteen Men.
3 - Girlicious - Thirteen Men
4 - Jane Wiedlin  - Thirteen Men
5 - Melina Soochan - Thirteen Men

6 - Dickie Thompson - Thirteen Women
7 - The Renegades - Thirteen Women
8 - Chance Halladay - Thirteen Women
9 - Danny Gatton - Thirteen Women.
10 - Darrel Higham - Thirteen Women
11 - The Fuzztones - Thirteen Women

12 - Tommy Oliver - Thirteen Women
13 - Electromaniacs - Thirteen Women

Not included are the versions by Bill Haley, Col Buckley & The  In-Crowd (Australia), Marty Rhone And His Soul Agents (Australia), Eddy Mitchell (in french), The Heroes, Rock-A-Dials, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy,  The Flaming Sideburns, Christina Aguilera,  Cub Koda, Dixie Gunworks,  Vidar Busk & His True Believers,  The Breeze Kings,  Dagmars, Pete Turland, Quinn Lemley,  Michael Feinstein, Rockin' The Joint and  Gina Haley  (daughter of Bill).... and probably some more...

* for pw see comment