In the midst of all this it's important to remember that we are still in the Age of Meek, though the man himself was entangled in a lawsuit and increasingly (understandably) anguished over many things, he was still writing and producing songs. Not hits; Edinburgh's own The Buzz's epic "You're Holding Me Down" should have been a monster freakbeat hit of the first order, but it was just too much for The Man (talk about a song only playable on pirate radio). Meek was a producer who had his own technique and sound, stubborn, unable to just simply record a band and have a "live, off the floor" vibe that was the hallmark of others (The Who songs at this time all sound like they were recorded as is in a broom closet, for instance.)
How I wish I could say that this song was a Meek production, but songwriting team Ken Howard and Alan Blaikley (who had had success with Meek with this song, one so compressed it sounds like a singing baseball bat) had no luck with the band (then called Dave Dee and the Bostons) as Meek wanted them to play slowly, then speed them up on tape; the band just knew how to play the songs they had one way, and that was that - Meek stormed upstairs, and the band schlepped their equipment back down the stairs. Howard and Blaikley then not only were their songwriters and managers, but producers too. Part of Meek's anguish must have been knowing how successful they were, while his own songs were busy getting nowhere.
If The Who introduced gender confusion to pop, well, here comes DDDBM&T with something so utterly blatant that I am surprised anyone played it...but a cheery bit of "Zorba's Dance" makes this playful and you just know girls loved Dave Dee*, the sort of guy who could sing this with a smile and enjoy its campness without being camp himself in the least. It got played because it was naughty (so naughty that they had to re-record it with different lyrics for the US) and the fact that it was written by a gay songwriting team...did not seem to matter. (DDDBM&T's first chart hit was called "You Make It Move" - no kidding.) The slow-building excitement, the clapping, the insinuating melody - it's like a Greek dance meeting a late-night Blow Up-style freakout wherein everyone is having a good time and anything could happen afterwards, to the point beyond just flirting and dancing. This impending shagfest rave-up was too much for the BBC (who only played The Honeycombs after they had reached the Top 20), who still are reluctant to play it. It may seem embarrassing now, I suppose, but such insistent and scrunching rhythms were exactly what the grannies in Arboath/Iowa didn't approve of, bless them. Pop always needs a WTF song of one kind or another, and while this is the strangest of the bunch of '66, it is by far the last...
Alas, this is the only time I get to write about these colorful, winking and theatrical men (Howard & Blaikley and DDDBM&T) - Meek was growing ever more morbid, trying to record ghosts in graveyards...just as the 60s were at their most vivid and alive, just as the strangeness began to creep in, around the edges...things were only barely in check.
*Dave Dee was a policeman before he formed a band; he was called out to help at the crash that killed Eddie Cochran and injured Gene Vincent, a moment that may well have transferred some of Cochran's rebellious spirit into Dee. Who knows? I am sure Meek would have understood, and maybe even envied him for it.