8 Classic Songs Featuring Carol Kaye

Carol Kaye, back in the day
Carol Kaye, back in the day
Courtesy of The Wrecking Crew

Here are just some of the many hits on which Kaye played parts she either invented or improved upon. On most of these, she played bass, unless otherwise noted.

“Feelin’ Alright” - Joe Cocker
No one who ever saw Cocker perform can forget his frenetic gyrations while playing air guitar. Dave Mason of Traffic wrote this song that became a ballad for stoners and whomever else was feelin’ the groove.

“These Boots Are Made for Walkin'” - Nancy Sinatra
I’ll never forget watching Hullabaloo — or maybe it was Dick Clark’s American Bandstand — and foxy Sinatra walking out in knee-length, black patent leather go-go boots and a black sequined mini skirt. She had a hairdo that reached to the lights and was dancing the frug while singing Boots with Go-Go girls in the background. She looked like the Fembots in “Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery.”

“I’m A Believer” - The Monkees
If you were a kid in the 1960s, you never missed The Monkees on TV every week and their goofy push-back on conventional American life. If you did miss it, all the other kids in sixth grade considered you unworthy.

The Batman theme
Holy bridges, Batman. I can’t extricate my mind’s eye from this song. I’ll be tied to its tracks forever. Rescue me from this loop in my head.

“The Beat Goes On” - Sonny and Cher
As Carol Kaye said, “That’s a song that made a lot of shekels. I wish I had some.”

“La Bamba” - Ritchie Valens
Kaye played rhythm guitar on Valens' version of this Mexican folk song, which imprinted Latino music on white listeners at a time when all they listened to was calypso and Cuban music. Herb Alpert, Jose Feliciano and Brazil 66 came to prominence in its wake.

“You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’” - The Righteous Brothers
Another track featuring Kaye on guitar. When anyone in the 1960s heard this, the tears flowed because of the loss of teen love. I didn’t think I’d ever get over that first crush. (We still talk.)

"California Girls" - The Beach Boys
The itch to run away from Florida for California was the direct result The Beach Boys. I bought a convertible Chevy Impala, tucked my board into the back seat and, radio blaring, got as far as Cocoa Beach, where I could make believe I was at Rincon Point.


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