Tossing and Turning: The Ivy League's 1960s likable pop classic

1960s British pop group The Ivy League's "Tossing and Turning" is a simple-yet-effective snappy tune.
The Ivy League
The Ivy League / Stanley Bielecki/ASP/GettyImages

Not to be confused with "Tossin' and Turnin'" by Bobby Lewis, "Tossing and Turning" is another pop song by the British band The Ivy League. This "Tossing and Turning" song was released in 1965, a year notable for the premiere of iconic films like The Sound of Music and Doctor Zhivago (if you need another cultural point of reference). The song also falls under the pop genre, and has a sound fairly typical of the mid-60s British pop scene, which also saw the rise of bands like The Beatles and The Rolling Stones.

Its sound is emblematic of the era, characterized by catchy melodies and harmonious vocals. It was quite successful in the UK, reaching number 3 on the UK Singles Chart, and staying on the chart for 13 weeks. This impressive run demonstrated the song's popularity and resonance with the audience of the time. It also achieved some success internationally, reflecting the global reach of British pop music during the 1960s.

At the time of this song's release, the core members of The Ivy League consisted of John Carter (vocals), Ken Lewis (vocals and guitar), and Perry Ford (vocals).

These members were not only instrumental in creating the band's unique sound but also contributed to the broader music scene. For instance, The Ivy League members provided background vocals and handclaps on The Who's classic track, "I Can't Explain," showcasing their versatility and somewhat hidden influence (obviously, a lot of people have heard The Who, so, technically, a lot of people have heard The Ivy League without knowing it).

Songwriting and production

"Tossing and Turning" was written by Carter and Lewis, who were known for their harmonious vocal style and catchy melodies. The production of the song helped showcase their strong vocal harmonies, which were a hallmark of The Ivy League's sound. The track's upbeat tempo and memorable chorus, combined with the distinctive harmonies, made it a standout hit.

The song captures the essence of 1960s British pop and remains one of the band's most notable hits. Their influence extended beyond their own hits, as they were part of a wave of British bands that contributed to the "British Invasion" of the American music charts. The song is often featured on oldies compilations and continues to be played on radio stations dedicated to 1960s music, illustrating its lasting appeal.

The success of "Tossing and Turning" helped cement The Ivy League's place in the pantheon of 1960s pop music. The Ivy League's ability to blend catchy pop hooks with rich vocal harmonies has surely inspired other musicians and remains a benchmark for the vocal pop genre. Granted, when I hear such tunes, they make think of old episodes of Scooby-Doo, but that's actually not a bad thing. Much like those snappy little tunes played Scooby and Shaggy run around, this is a song that's hard to hate, even if you're not a superfan. It's really just a simple little pop song.