The Marvelettes - Beechwood 4-5789

The Marvelettes

Beechwood 4-5789

Motown Records

Release Date: July 10th, 1962

Words by: Peter Berris
August 11th, 1962

'Beechwood 45789′ is a nostalgia track—the kind of thing that might come over the jukebox at one of the last surviving silver diners, or that would be blasting through a PA system at a cruise meet on a summer's evening. Whether or not this song is immediately recognizable, listeners will probably be familiar with the style almost immediately. The song is part of the genre of female pseudo-R&B vocal groups that were stuck in limbo between the doo wop of the 50s, and the Motown sounds of the 60s (though perhaps a bit closer to the former).

'Beechwood 45789′ sounds vaguely like a lot of songs from the era. The vocals are tight, the instrumentation is well conceived, and the chorus is catchy. However, the song at times feels almost engineered rather than organically created. It is not too likely that 'Beechwood 45789' will offend anybody, but it will probably not win them over with any bold artistic strokes either. It is successful in what it is: an enjoyable two minute blast of pop that is a quick ticket back to the early 60s.

However, it is worth noting that 'beechwood 45789' may have one last claim of historical importance. The five digits in the song's title later found their way into the Eddie Floyd-penned song '634-5789…' (A number 13 chart hit for Wilson Pickett on the hot 100, in 1966). Regardless of where 'beechwood 45789' stands in the greater context of R&B history, half of its title somehow wound up in an anthem of 60s soul.

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