Leaving behind a prodigious musical legacy that is hard to match, Farrell’s songs continue to resonate in today’s pop culture, including Jimmy Cliff’s sunny reggae version of “Come On Get Happy” in a wildly popular 2013 Volkswagen ad campaign.
A creative entrepreneur in every sense, Wes Farrell (1939-1996) achieved tremendous success as one of pop music’s most prolific and influential songwriters, producers, publishers and music executives during its golden age in the 1960’s and ’70’s. Working with a who’s who of pop icons, Farrell’s earliest success as a songwriter came in 1960 with his song “Boys”, co-written with Luther Dixon. The song appeared as the b-side of The Shirelles’ #1 hit “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow” and was later covered in 1963 by The Beatles on their debut album Please Please Me. As a Brill Building writer, Farrell penned a string of hit songs for Jay & The Americans, including “Come A Little Bit Closer” and “Let’s Lock The Door And Throw Away The Key”, The Animals’ debut single “Baby Let Me Take You Home”, co-written with Bert Berns, and the Every Mother’s Son top ten single “Come On Down To My Boat”. But it was The McCoys’ reworking of Farrell and Berns’ song “My Girl Sloopy”, originally recorded by The Vibrations and The Yardbirds in 1964, that became Farrell’’s biggest chart success when it hit #1 in the US as “Hang On Sloopy” in 1965. Subsequently covered by dozens of notable artists, “Hang On Sloopy” remains one of the most performed songs in the history of popular music. Remarkably, it is also the official song of the State of Ohio and Ohio State University. Farrell’s knack for the chart dominating, colorful, teeny-bop pop of the day led him to become the producer, musical visionary and main composer for the television sensation, The Partridge Family, a show based on a family band that starred actress Shirley Jones, Danny Bonaduce and future teen idol David Cassidy. The ABC-TV sitcom launched in the fall of 1970 with its massively popular theme song “Come On Get Happy”, co-written by Wes Farrell. Along with his co-writers and LA session cats The Wrecking Crew, Farrell produced all of the music for the show’s successful run from 1970-73: seven million-selling studio albums, which included top ten singles “Doesn’t Somebody Want To Be Wanted”, “I’ll Meet You Halfway” and nearly thirty more Farrell compositions. Leaving behind a prodigious musical legacy that is hard to match, Farrell’s songs continue to resonate in today’s pop culture, including Jimmy Cliff’s sunny reggae version of “Come On Get Happy” in a wildly popular 2013 Volkswagen ad campaign.