Day four of our Midwest spotlight takes us back to North Dakota. Grand Forks, right on the border of Minnesota and North Dakota to be precise. The band is The Cornerstones and their song, You Rule Me, was a major regional hit, making big waves over in Bismarck, North Dakota, and across the midwest. The label, Metrobeat Records, was started by Trashmen member Tony Andreason and Mike Jann in 1966, with You Rule Me, the band's first of two singles on the label, getting its release sometime in early '67.
Those are the facts, while the song speaks for itself. If its writer, lead singer Stephen Rood, had not been studying Joe Meek, and specifically The Honeycombs, prior to writing this, well, I'd be shocked. The production and vocal delivery scream Joe Meek, especially in the opening salvo. Once we get past the brilliance of that opener, we are guided through a series of tempo and rhythm changes - including a frenzied upbeat ska (polka?) section - that just make me wonder: 1. how this was ever conceived? 2. how a band could be convinced to get behind it? and 3. how the hell did they pull it off so brilliantly? Listen to it in its full unadorned midwest greatness!
I'd appreciate any additional information out there. There's a highly regarded "Best of Metrobeat" featuring today's song put out by Sundazed in 1990 and I'm curious what its liner notes say about The Cornerstones.
See you on the Flipside!