Song Draft 2021- Round Four Pick – Misery by The Dynamics

As the Song Draft continues, this is one that was on my list, and then I removed it. Then, while listening to my iPod, I decided it was too good not to include it. Once again, it has Detroit roots. This song was also on the list of songs my dad wanted me to record for him when I worked at WKSG in Detroit.

My Fourth Round Draft Pick is Misery by The Dynamics.

The Dynamics hailed from Detroit, Michigan and were formed in the early 1960’s. Misery was their first hit, and their biggest hit on the Billboard Hot 100, where it reached #44. At that time, the group was a quintet made up of Fred “Sonny” Baker, Starling Schafer, Lorenzo Campbell, Samuel Stevenson, and George White. It is interesting to note that the terrific instrumental backing was provided by an all-white combo from Dearborn called The Royal Playboys, featuring guest artists Joe Cyers on drums and Cliff Bramlett on guitar. (Thanks to the Michigan Rock and Roll Legends website for that info.)

The song was recorded at the United Sound studio for Fox Records, a small independent Detroit label, but the master tape was sold to Big Top Records out of New York and distributed nationally. “Misery” was a big hit in the Motor City, spending most of the fall of 1963 in WKNR’s Top Ten on the popular AM station’s Classic Top 30 Survey. (Side note: Keener 13 was one of the coolest stations! When I was at Honey Radio, we often played airchecks and sound clips from WKNR jocks with music. Many of the Honey Radio jingles were WKNR jingles that were re-worked for Honey.) As mentioned earlier, the song also did well nationally lasting 10 weeks on the Hot 100 and peaking at # 44.

I just absolutely love this cut. The intro totally grabs me with that drum beat and smooth little guitar ditty. You can’t go wrong with a pretty awesome sax solo, either!

From Michigan Rock And Roll Legends: The song would become the subject of a still unresolved controversy in 1964 when Pete Meaden, then manager/publicist of The Who, rewrote the lyrics to the song as “Zoot Suit” for The Who’s first single, released in England as being by The High Numbers.  Meaden claimed sole songwriting credit for the melody he stole. The truth is in the grooves, however, as The Dynamics’ recording of “Misery” completely blows “Zoot Suit” off the turntable when the songs are played back-to-back.

It wasn’t until I started writing about this song that I found out about the Who song. I gave it a listen and was amazed at the “Note for Note” plagiarism. You may be familiar with the George Harrison/Chiffon’s lawsuit, which claimed that Harrison stole the melody for “My Sweet Lord” from the Chiffons “He’s So Fine.” I have listened to them both, and while I found them similar, I never really felt they were the same. That is NOT the case when I listen to the Who and the Dynamics! They are literally one and the same (except the lyrics). It’s crazy!

I have to agree with the Michigan Rock and Roll Legends website, though. The Dynamics song is far above and beyond the Who song!

Trivia: In the late 1960’s, the Dynamics were managed by Ted White, who was married to Aretha Franklin!

Misery – The Dynamics

If you give me one more chance
I’ll prove my love is true
(I’ll prove my love is true)

And do all the things
That I’m supposed to do
(That I’m supposed to do)

But if I let you down
(If I let you down)
And you set me free
(Set me free)

Oh, I don’t know but I think
I’d just live in misery

There is nothing I can do to
Make up for the
Wrong things I’ve done
(For the wrong I’ve done)

Cause when I met you, pretty baby
I knew you were the only one
(You were the only one)

But I couldn’t see
(I couldn’t see)
Just how it would be
(How it would be)

Oh, I don’t know but I think
I’d just live in misery

Now I sit and cry cause
I lost everything that I had
(Everything I had)

But I have to go on and
Take the good with the bad
(Take the good with the bad)

And I still love you
(And I love you)
Hope you still love me
(Hope you love me)

Oh, and maybe you’ll come back
And end this misery

Give the Who a listen and tell me this wasn’t totally ripped off from Misery!!!

As a bonus – here is the flipside of Misery – another song on my dad’s list – I’m the Man

2 thoughts on “Song Draft 2021- Round Four Pick – Misery by The Dynamics

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