Patty Duke

United Artists 875, 1965
Billboard: #8

Rule 1-A in the manual for Starmaking Machinery, Teen Division, is Cover All Bases: musicians make movies, movie and TV stars sing, and with twice the press coverage, you theoretically have four times the stardom. This works a lot better than it has any right to; while some of the results are debatable (vocals by Jennifer Lopez, all but a handful of Elvis movies), occasionally somebody gets, if not a silk purse, at least a decent bag. By 1965, Patty Duke, then eighteen, was unquestionably a star of stage and screen, having conquered Broadway and then scored an Academy Award for The Miracle Worker. How she ended up in a television sitcom is anyone's guess, but The Patty Duke Show was a fair-sized hit for ABC for three seasons, and it was inevitable that someone behind the scenes would try to make a singer of the young lady. "Don't Just Stand There" is an utterly conventional tale of Teen Love Gone Wrong, surrounded by enough orchestra and chorus to make you forget that Patty (possibly with "identical cousin" Cathy, what with the obvious double-tracking of the lead vocals in spots) is actually an actress working outside her specialty. But her acting talent serves her well even here; Patty hits just the right mixture of pleading and petulance to make the record work. The uncredited background vocals, contributed by Bernadette "Party Girl" Carroll, Denise Ferri and erstwhile Angel Peggy Santiglia, who also backed up Lou Christie on some huge hits and recorded as Jessica James and the Outlaws on their own, provide exactly the right response to Patty's call. (If you're wondering what they've been up to, this will tell you.) "Don't Just Stand There" crept into the Top Ten, prompting United Artists to push out an album (UA 3452/6452 stereo). There would be two more Duke chart singles (one double-sided!), a couple more albums and a Greatest Hits set, before the party and the TV series ground to a halt and Patty, eventually reclaiming her given name of Anna Marie, would go on to other things, but as a purveyor of adolescent angst on vinyl, this was her finest hour. Her finest two minutes and thirty-two seconds, anyway.

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Where can I get this on CD?
EMI, which controls the United Artists catalog these days, once issued a Patty Duke best-of compilation (Just Patty, 29787). If you'll settle for the One Song, it's been anthologized a few times, most recently in Eric's Hard to Find 45s on CD Volume 7: More Sixties Classics (11513).

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Copyright © 2002-10 by Charles G. Hill
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