Reading about Tommy James’ career got me rummaging through my boxes of old 45 rpm singles last night, listening first to my old TJ and the Shondells tunes and then paging down the alphabet, when I stumbled across my treasured copy of Reg Owen’s “Manhattan Spiritual,” which I hadn’t heard in years.
I still don’t know why I picked this out of the record bin for 10 cents or whatever it cost back when I bought it, sometime in the 1970s or ’80s. I’d never heard of the song or the artist; maybe the Palette Records label struck my fancy.
I’ve since learned that the song hit the Top 10 in 1958, when I was 5 years old and could be forgiven for being unaware of the current hits. Owen was a British big band leader, and this was his only hit in America.
All I know for sure is when I put this on the turntable and gave it a spin, I started to smile, and I still do whenever I return to it. This is one of the most joyous pieces of music I’ve ever heard.