HEY LITTLE COBRA AND OTHER HOT ROD HITS
The Rip Chords released their first album in the same time period, Hey Little Cobra and Other Hot Rod Hits. As suggested by the title, and like other albums of that period, the album included their hit song “Hey Little Cobra” as well as several songs that had already been hits for other artists: “409”, “Little Deuce Coupe”, and “Drag City”. However, several of the band’s earlier songs are also there, including “Here I Stand” and “Gone”.
Most sources believe that Bruce Johnston and Terry Melcher basically took over vocal duties for almost all of the recordings by the Rip Chords after Hey Little Cobra and Other Hot Rod Hits.
I purchased the band’s first album a long time ago, but I came across their second album just recently, and I have really been enjoying it. Unlike the first album, Three Window Coupe doesn’t recycle a lot of the same old surf songs; instead, the songs are all unfamiliar to me – except the title song, “Three Window Coupe” which I definitely remember – and that makes it a lot more special. That “California Sound” a la Jan & Dean and the Beach Boys is there in force, and it was fun to refamiliarize myself with all those good times.
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Much to my surprise, in the Rip Chords I finally found a rock band that did not have a listing in Wikipedia with a genuine hit song; their single “Hey Little Cobra” was one of the biggest hit songs in surf music, making it to #4 in early 1964, even though the surf scene was already in significant decline following the recent arrival of the British Invasion. I had recently picked up the second album by the Rip Chords, Three Window Coupe, and it is every bit as good as their common first album, Hey Little Cobra and Other Hot Rod Hits. I was able to debunk the idea that the Rip Chords weren’t a real band but just a studio fiction that revolved around Bruce & Terry, i.e., Bruce Johnston, who later joined the Beach Boys (and is still in the band) and top producer Terry Melcher (Doris Day’s son).