Sha La La La Lee

Album: Small Faces (1966)
Charted: 3

Songfacts®:

  • In his autobiography Mr Big, which he co-wrote with Mick Wall, Small Faces manager Don Arden said their follow up single to "Whatcha Gonna Do About It?" was "another song hand-picked by me. This time though it was something I'd commissioned specifically for them." Arden said he wanted something like "Do Wah Diddy Diddy" which was #1 for Manfred Mann at the time, "so I paid a pal of mine, Kenny Lynch, to come up with some similar-sounding lyrics."

    Lynch was probably better known as a comedian at that time, but was also a songwriter and a performer in his own right.

    Arden said that once he had the title and the chorus, he gave it to Mort Shuman who finished it, but when he took it to the group, they hated it even more than their previous release. "But I knew it would be big for them and so I forced it down their throats." His judgment was right, and the song hit #3 in the UK.

    Running to 2 minutes 56 seconds, it was released on Decca backed by "Grow Your Own". >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Alexander Baron - London, England
  • According to the Making Time site, there was some confusion over the falsetto parts on the song's chorus. Some of the band thought Lynch had provided them and felt the songwriter was competing with frontman Steve Marriott for dominance in the vocal department. However, bass player Ronnie Lane claimed at the time that it was actually him and not Lynch who sang the falsetto vocals.
  • Kenney Jones recalled to Uncut magazine: "We recorded this at the Decca studios in West Hampstead. I was getting into the song and Kenny Lynch came over the tannoy: 'Don't play anything you can't mime too!"
  • Small Faces drummer Kenney Jones admitted that the band feared the tune would be too poppy for them, until Steve Marriott recorded his vocal. He told Uncut: "The song wasn't really us. But Steve was able to make it sound a lot less commercial just through the tone of his voice and the rest of us were trying to get the rinky-dinkiness out of it, make it a little rougher. I think we succeeded. I overdubbed a cowbell and to this day I think it sounds like violins being plucked. That was the beginning of our commercial period."

Comments: 1

  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn June 22nd 1966, the Small Faces performed "Sha La La La Lee" on the ABC-TV program 'Where The Action Is'...
    The song never made Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart in the U.S.A.; but on March 13th, 1966 it peaked at #3* {for 1 week} on the United Kingdom's Singles chart...
    It would be one year and five months later that they would debut on Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart; "Itchycoo Park" entered the Top 100 on November 5th, 1967 and would eventually peak at #16...
    * The two records that prevented "Sha La La La Lee' from reaching #1 were; "The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Anymore" by the Walker Brothers {#1} and "I Can't Let Go" by the Hollies {#2}.
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