June 28, 2011
Ricky Nelson was at the height of his popularity when he released “Teen Age Idol,” August 11, 1962. It was an autobiographical song about one of the true teen idols of the late 1950s and early 1960s.
The song would resonant with his large fan base, which would propel it to the number five position on the BILLBOARD MAGAZINE Pop Singles Chart.
The single’s B side was “I’ve Got My Eyes On You.” it looked back to his early rockabilly days and is a forgotten gem in his vast catalogue of material.
June 28, 2011
If at first you don’t succeed, then hopefully you get lucky.
During 1963, the Shondells released “Hanky Panky” on the small Snap Label. The song received no chart action and quickly disappeared.
Three yers later, lead singer Tommy James had relocated to Pittsburgh. A local Dee Jay began playing the three year old “Hanky Panky.” The larger Roulette Label bought the rights and released it as a single June 4, 1966. It would become the number one song in The United States.
Tommy James was suddenly a lead singer with a hit song but no band. He recruited a local band, The Raconteurs, to become The Shondells.
“Hanky Panky,” with its repetitive lyrics, may not have been the best or most creative song to ever reach number one but there is no denying its popularity or catchiness.
June 27, 2011
Songwriter Mark James wrote an obscure song titled “Suspicious Minds” and decided to release it himself. Unfortunately it was not a commercial success.
Elvis Presley would release a version of the tune on September 13, 1969. It would become his 17th and last number one song in The United States. ROLLING STONE MAGAZINE would place it at number 91 on their list of the 500 Greatest Songs Of All Time.
It is the song that solidified his comeback and made him a relevant superstar again.
June 27, 2011
The O’Kaysions were one of those groups that inhabit music history by having one big hit, a follow-up lesser hit, and then fading away.
Theye were originally from North Carolina and consisted of vocalist/organist Donny Weaver, guitarist Wayne Pittman, trumpet player Ron Turner, saxophonist Jim Speidel, bassist Jimmy Hennant, and drummer Bruce Joyner.
“Girl Watcher” was released August 17, 1968 and reached number five on the BILLBOARD MAGAZINE Pop Singles Chart. It was about as smooth as rhythm & blues gets. It’s amazing that a group that could produce this sophisticated piece of music would not have another big hit.
Wayne Pittman is the only original member still left in the band but they are still on the road performing.
June 27, 2011
Eddie Rambeau was a singer/songwritrer from Hazleton, Pennyslvania who only had one chart hit despite releasing a number of singles.
“Concrete and Clay” was released May 1, 1965 and rose to number 35 on the BILLBOARD MAGAZINE pop Singles Chart. Unfortunately the British band, Unit Four + Four, released their version on the exact same date and it reached number 28. No doubt, the two versions prevented each other from becoming a bigger hit.
Despite only having one hit, Eddie Rambeau continues to tour and perform down to the present day.
June 26, 2011
“Frenesi” by Artie Shaw was the number one song in The United States for three months and “Amapolo” by Jimmy Dorsey topped the charts for ten weeks. Right in the middle came Glenn Miller, whose “Song Of The Volga Boatmen” was number one for seven days.
Glenn Miller was one of the superstars of the big band era until his death during 1944.
“Song Of The Volga Boatmen” was an old Russian folk song that dates back to at least 1866. Miller took it in a jazz direction to make it one of the most unique interpretations in its 150 year plus, existance.
June 25, 2011
Mary Travers, Paul Stookey, and Peter Yarrow helped to change the face of folk music during the 1960s. They sold tens of millions of albums and had 20 singles make the BILLBOARD MAGAZINE during the decade.
They were a folk group but were able to fuse a pop sound to their music which moved it into the mainstream and enabled them to to have outstanding commercial success.
“Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right” was their second single in a row to cover a Bob Dylan composition. Their recording of his “Blowin’ In The Wind” during the summer of 1963 was a huge hit and brought Dylan fame as a songwriter.
They returned Septemeber 14, 1963 with “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right.” Their slick hamonies propelled the song to number nine on The American Singles Charts.
While they would continue to issue Bob Dylan tunes as singles, none would make the top 30.