“Rock Dem Bells” – Claus Ogerman

“Rock Dem Bells” comes from the soundtrack to the film Looking for Love, starring Connie Francis and Jim Hutton. Also in the film are quite a number of actors who appeared with Francis and Hutton in the 1960 hit Where the Boys Are.

Looking for Love is a slightly more grown-up version of the earlier movie – with Danny Thomas, Johnny Carson and George Hamilton playing themselves – but saddled with a similar and badly-dated theme of a talented but unsuccessful (read: single) woman who just wants to settle down with a good man – in this case, a boring doctor. In short, it’s a by-the-numbers Technicolor screwball comedy: a frothy, cringey bit of fun.

Composer and arranger Claus Ogerman arranged and conducted eight of the 10 songs Connie Francis sings on the album soundtrack (MGM E/SE 4229) while contributing two of his own compositions, “Rock Dem Bells” and “Connie Francis – Lady Valet Theme” (the film’s score – none of which is heard here – was done by George Stoll).

The album was produced by Danny Davis but, surprisingly, producer Creed Taylor – a then-frequent Ogerman associate who was forced by MGM at the time to showcase film themes on his productions – did not pick up on any of these particular themes.

“Rock Dem Bells” – which riffs off of Duke Ellington’s 1930 classic “Ring Dem Bells” – seems tailor-made for a Creed Taylor production. It’s a heavy-duty juke-box classic that Jimmy Smith could have rocked and is roughly similar to “Python,” the Ogerman original that earlier appeared on trombonist Kai Winding’s Mondo Cane #2 (1964) – but unique enough to stand strong on its own.

“Rock Dem Bells” was issued as a single (MGM 13260) in July 1964, backed with the soundtrack’s other instrumental, “Connie Francis – Lady Valet Theme.” “Organ led jumper from fine arranger,” said Cash Box at the time of “Rock Dem Bells.” Judge for yourself:

“Connie Francis – Lady Valet Theme” is, as Cash Box said, a “[c]atchy and soothing instrumental theme from ‘Looking For Love’.”

To my knowledge, this single never charted.

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