The Left Banke is a group that had their first hit record "Walk Away Renee" in late 1966, less than one year after they first played together. "Renee" reached # 2 on the Cashbox magazine national charts and # 5 on the Billboard charts. It was their first recording; they followed it up with "Pretty Ballerina" and had a top 15 record nationally. Because of the classical music arrangements and beautiful vocal harmonies the group became known by the term baroque-pop. This image was helped along by Composer, Conductor of The New York Philharmonic Leonard Bernstein who played "Pretty Ballerina" on his CBS nationally televised program called: Inside Pop -The Rock Revolution. He touted "Pretty Ballerina" as an example of how good pop music can be.
The Left Banke has been cited by many top groups of the decades since their first hits as a major influence on their own music. Rolling Stone magazine listed "Walk Away Renee" as number 220 on their list of The Greatest Songs of All Time. The Rock And Roll Hall of Fame has listed "Renee" as one of the 500 songs that shaped Rock and Roll.
Much to the joy of their loyal fans, The Left Banke reorganized, with original members, and is doing live appearances. In March of 2011 they performed their first two showcases at Joe's Pub, at the Shakespeare Theater in New York City. It was a sellout crowd, and they received rave reviews. They played two more shows during the summer and just finished a special night in November at DROM NYC where they wooed the crowd and the press for two shows.
In December 2011, The Left Banke participated in the NYU Cantorum. The Choir was arranged and conducted by Ralph Affoumado. They performed both "Walk Away Renee" and "Desiree." Check out what The Left Banke is up to today!
Below is a rough mix of DESIREE from the concert, recorded by NYU. Enjoy!
Left Banke Group Photo by Melissa Davis
All Photos from Joe's Pub, NYC 3/2010 by Daniel Coston
All Photos from Rams Head On Stage, MD 5/2012 by Daniel Coston