November 17, 2015
Glyn Ellis took his professional name from Elvis’ drummer D.J. Fontana. He and his backing band, The Mindbenders, began releasing singles in the their native country, Great Britain, in 1963. They were basically cover songs such as Fats Domino “My Girl Josephine” Bo Diddley’s “Roadrunner,” the Coasters “Love Potion Number 9,” and the eternal rock classic “Little Darlin.'” None reached the charts.
Their breakthrough came in the fall of 1964 when their take on Major Lance’s “Um Um Um Um Um” reached number five. Their first release in the United States proved to be their most successful. “Game Of Love” reached the BILLBOARD Hot 100 on March 20, 1965. It became the number one song in America for one week on April 24, 1965.
The vocal has an odd and quirky cadence but was memorable and perfect for top 40 radio airplay of the day.
Fontana left the band but The Mindbenders carried on and just missed the brass ring as on April 16, 1966, when “A Groovy Kind Of Love”spent two weeks at number two.
December 23, 2013
Ricky Nelson placed 54 songs on the BILLBOARD MAGAZINE Singles Charts but only two made it to number one. The first of the two became the first single to top the newly created BILLBOARD Hot 100 Chart.
Billboard had just discontinued their Most Played By DJ’s Chart leaving only their Top 100 and Best Sellers In Stores Chart. The Top 100 became the Hot 100, which would be their major pop singles chart for decades. “Poor Little Fool” became the initial number one song on the Hot 100, August 4, 1958, and it remained in that position for two weeks. It also topped the Best Sellers In Stores Chart for the same two weeks.
Ricky Nelson had a big advantage over most other recording artists of the 1950s as he was able to sing his songs at the end of the popular OZZIE AND HARRIET television, which had made him a star and one of the original teen idols. He came into millions of homes via television each week, which enabled him to sell tens of millions of albums and singles during the late 1950s and early 1960s.
December 19, 2013
Perez Prado was considered the king of the mambo. During the first half of 1955, he had a huge hit when “Cherry Pink And Apple Blossom White” topped the Billboard Pop Chart for ten weeks. He only had one other top ten hit during the rock and roll era.
“Patricia” topped the Billboard Top 100 and The Most Played By DJ’s Chart for on week beginning July 28 ,1958. It may have been the rock and roll era but it was decidedly a non-rock song. It was more connected to the big band era but it’s beat made it radio-friendly.
“Patricia” also had the distinction of being the last number one song on the Most Played By DJ’s Chart and at was discontinued at the end of its one week reign.
November 17, 2013
What has one eye, flies, has a horn, and eats purple? The answer is one of the big hit songs of 1958.
“The Purple People Eater” was a throw away song for Sheb Wooley but the management of his record label liked it enough to release it as a single. It first reached the BILLBOARD MAGAZINE Charts during May of 1958 and before it was through, it had topped all three BILLBOARD Charts.
Best Sellers In Stores Chart – 6/9/58 – 6 weeks at number one.
Most Played By DJ’s Chart – 6/23/58 – 4 weeks at number one.
Billboard Top 100 – 6/15/58 – 6 weeks at number one.
“The Purple People Eater would be the highlight of his career. He was a successful actor and had a nice career as a country artist but would never have another song reach the top 50 on the Pop chart.
November 13, 2013
One of the great ballads of the rock and roll era reached the top of the charts during May of 1958. “All I Have To Do Is Dream” was the second of three number one songs for The Everly Brothers during 1958.
Felice (Lyrics) and Boudleaux (Music) Bryant were a husband and wife songwriting team. They had their first hit in 1949 with “Country Boy” by Little Jimmy Dickens but it was as writers for the Everly Brothers that they produced dozens of songs that sold tens-of-millions of records. “All I Have To Do Is Dream” was possibly their best known composition.
Best Sellers In Stores Chart – 5/12/58 – 4 weeks at number one.
Most Played By DJ’s Chart – 5/19/58 – 5 weeks at number one.
Top 100 – 5/19/58 – 3 weeks at number one.
November 11, 2013
Ross Bagdasarian (1919-1971), better known as David Seville, and most famous for his creation Alvin and the Chipmunks, had the first of his two number one songs when “With Doctor” reached the top of the charts April 28, 1959.
I was in the third grade at the time but I remember this song as one I heard over and over again on the radio. It was a novelty song with the vocal at double speed; a technique he would use with Alvin and the Chipmunks. It was a unique concept that would define his career.
“Witch Doctor” did not top the Most Played By DJ’s Chart but spent one week at number one on the Most Sld In Stores Chart and three weeks at the top of the BILLBOARD Top 100 Chart. It even reach number one on the R&B Chart, which a real real stretch.
Seville would go on to place 22 songs on the charts before his career and concept petered out in 1962.
We are left with one of the memorable line of the pre-Beatles rock and roll era – “Oo-ee-oo-aa-ah, ting-tang, walla walla bing-bang.”
November 8, 2013
Alice Cooper is now a member of The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame. He has sold tens-of-millions of albums and is famous for his live concerts. Sometimes his singles have flown under the radar but he has charted 21 different songs.
He has had three singles reach the top ten on the BILLBOARD MAGAZINE Pop Charts. “You And Me” first reached the charts April 30, 1977, and before its 21 week stay was finished, it had peeked at number nine.
Cooper has always had a hard rock and roll sound and “You And Me” is know exception. One of only three of his singles have been issued with a picture sleeve.
November 2, 2013
The Brady Bunch lasted for 117 episodes, 1969-1974. It was never a huge success but in syndication it found new audiences and spawned a number of reunion movies.
As with many television stars and casts down through the years, they wanted to expand into music. The Brady Bunch cast was no exception and they released several albums and singles.
The sleeve pictured above was their Christmas single, “Frosty The Snowman/Jingle Bells.” It was not terrible but it was not very good either. It received no chart action and today has been regulated to collectable status.
November 2, 2013
Laurie London, (male), was an English teenager 13 years old, when he recorded an up-tempo version of the Christian song, “He’s Got The Whole World In His Hands.” It became a huge hit in the United States. It reached number two on both the BILLBOARD Hot 100 and Best Sellers in Stores Charts. Radio DJ’s really loved the song, however, as it was number one on the Most Played By DJ’s Chart for four weeks beginning April 14, 1958.
He was a one hit wonder in the United States as he never had another chart single. By the end of the 1960s he had retired from the music industry.
October 30, 2013
Bottom Of The Charts: The Five Whispers
Every Halloween, “The Monster Mash” by Bobby “Boris” Pickett makes a comeback. It topped the Cashbox Magazine Pop Chart for three weeks during late October and early November 51 years ago. It sold over one million copies in the process. But what was going on at the bottom of the charts 51 years ago.
Enter Bobby and Larry Black. There were primarily country musicians for most of their career. Bobby played with the likes of Commander Cody, The New Riders Of The Purple Sage, and Asleep At The Wheel. They both played with Johnny Cash and Barbara Mandrell. Early in their careers, they formed a number of groups and released several singles. The Tripletts (Dore label), The Five Whispers (Dolton), The Tides (Dore), The Green Beans (MGM), and The Country Cut-ups (Mercury) were all products of the Black Brothers.
It was The Five Whispers that almost brought them some fame. They released the single “Midnight Sun” in 1962 and on October 20, 1962, it made its Cashbox debut at number 100. One week later it moved up a notch to number 99 and then disappeared.
While they were country artists, “Midnight Sun” fell into the surf instrumental category. I don’t know how many surf songs featured a steel guitar but Bobby Black used it as the lead instrument. They were supported by drummer Jack Greenback.
Time has regulated the record to collector conventions and Ebay listings but just over a half century ago, The Black Brothers appeared on the Cash Box Charts.