Ed Note: All this week, to celebrate the release of Dr. Roger Wood and Andy Bradley's new book House of Hits: The Story of Houston's Gold Star/SugarHill Recording Studios and preview this weekend's related festivities at Sig's Lagoon and the Continental Club, Rocks Off and Lonesome Onry and Mean are looking at the history of the legendary Houston recording compound, decade by decade. Monday, we did the 1940s; Tuesday, the '50s; and today, the '60s
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For Gold Star Studios, the huge wave of country hits of the 1950s went out like the tides as the 1960s arrived. By mid-1961, Gene Thomas had arrived on the scene with his blue-eyed soul hit "Sometimes," which would later be covered by Doug Sahm in the '70s. Bluesman Joe Hinton, part of Don Robey's Duke-Peacock/Back Beat roster, had three hits from Oct. 1963 to Jan. 1965, including a No. 13 with his version of Willie Nelson's "Funny (How Time Slips Away)." But with the arrival of the Beatles, the pop music industry immediately began to adjust itself to the British Invasion sound. Enter the Ragin' Cajun, Huey P. Meaux, and San Antonio rockers Sir Douglas Quintet. Climbing rapidly to No. 13 in mid-1965, "She's About A Mover" was the first effective Texas shot fired at the Limey invaders, and established the Quintet on the national pop culture scene.
But the biggest explosion of 1965 was Robey's release of Roy Head's "Treat Her Right," which soared into the musical stratosphere by racing up the R&B charts to No. 1 and the pop charts to No. 2. In fact, for all of Meaux's success, it's Robey's roster - Bobby Bland, Junior Parker, O.V. Wright, Buddy Ace, Hinton, and Head - who dominated what was certainly a notable decade for the studio.
Yet more radical change was on the musical horizons as the '60s faded away with the onset of International Artists and Bubble Puppy's psychedelic smash "Hot Smoke & Sassafras," which climbed to No. 14 as a hugely productive and eclectic decade of recording came to an end.