Saturday, February 2, 2019

Spies and Secrets: Secret Agent Man

purchase [ Johnny Rivers Secret Agent Man]

Kind of in the middle of the James Bond/Man from UNCLE and Danger Man (in the UK) came Johnny Rivers' 1966 hit <Secret Agent Man>.

Written by the duo P.F.Sloan and Steve Barri, it was Rivers who took it to the top of the charts (#3). Rivers, along with Sloan and Barri, was under contract to Lou Adler of Dunhill Records.  Curiously, once again, the Ventures again made the most of the times by recording this in addition to their James Bond Theme from back in '62.

If you sense a certain similarity between the two songs (Bond Theme and Secret Agent), that's because ... well ... it's a life of danger. And that guitar is what danger sounds like. And because there is a certain amount of ... plagiarism (No... building on what came before).

That said, seems to me that Johnny Rivers hasn't received the credit he's due. Don't forget: he's also the man who sang the (again #3) hit the following year: <Baby, I Need Your Lovin'>. There's an informative interview/article in Forbes magazine that provides some sense of the man and his life.

Sloan himself tells his version of how things went down here.
Sloan and Steve Barri, incidentally, went on to found The Grass Roots. (Sloan below)

Other versions include:
Bruce Willis (above)

DEVO (above)

Most folks think that Rivers did it best.

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