Roy Head – Treat Her Right

18th October 2023 · 1960s, 1965, Music

Roy Head had his solitary hit single with Treat Her Right in 1965 – aided by his extraordinary dance moves on TV shows like this.

I don’t recall ever hearing this song or seeing this singer before, but it’s a bit of a banger, in a Sixties sorta way. And, more to the point, what a performer!

Roy Head isn’t just a singer – he’s a contortionist, throwing out crazy dance moves, slides, splits, somersaults and backflips. Sometimes while wearing a suit and tie.

Little wonder that James Brown, famed for his own fancy footwork, threw Head off his support tour for stealing the limelight with his elastic moves.

Anyway, this was the Texan’s first single in 1965 – released under the name of his high-school band as Roy Head & The Traits. It marries the joyous blast of horns with the twang of an electric guitar and Head’s vocal.

It wasn’t a big hit in the UK, peaking at No.30, but reached No.2 in America (behind The Beatles’ Yesterday), thanks largely to those spectacular dance performances on TV shows like Shindig!

According to Wiki, Head is one of the first exponents of “blue-eyed soul” – as white performers were dubbed by US radio stations whenever they had a crack at “black” R&B music – though I suspect the sobriquet applied more to his dancing than his voice.

What surprises me about not knowing (or remembering) this song is that by 1995 it had been covered at least 20 times by big names including Jerry Lee Lewis, Jimmy Page, Bon Jovi and Bruce Springsteen, and performed live by the likes of Tom Jones and Bob Dylan.

It’s also featured in the film of The Commitments, and Tarantino’s recent Once Upon A Time In Hollywood, and there’s a music video by George Thorogood and the Destroyers, who recorded it in 1988. featuring Head himself doing his trademark dancing.

Anyway, here’s Roy dancing his heart out onstage with lots of dancing girls behind him.