Saturday, 29 September 2012

Little Anthony and the Imperials - Shimmy Shimmy Ko-Ko Bop

On this day September 29, 1959 Little Anthony and the Imperials recorded "Shimmy Shimmy Ko-Ko Bop."


Little Anthony and the Imperials is a rhythm and blues/soul/doo-wop vocal group from NewYork, first active in the 1950s. Lead singer Jerome Anthony "Little Anthony" Gourdine was noted for his high-pitched falsetto voice influenced by Jimmy Scott. The group was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on April 4, 2009.

Changing their name to the Imperials, they signed with End Records in 1958. Their first single was "Tears on My Pillow", which was an instant hit. (While playing this song, D.J. Alan Freed came up with the name "Little Anthony".) The B-side, "Two Kinds of People", was also a hit. The group followed up with "Shimmy, Shimmy, Ko Ko Bop" in 1960.
Debuted on the CHUM (Canada) chart in Feb 1960, peaked at #20 & charted for 5 weeks

Debuted on the Billboard pop chart on Dec 7, 1959, peaked at #24 (in 1960) & charted for 16 weeks

Debuted on the Billboard R&B chart on Jan 18, 1960, peaked at #14 & charted for 10 weeks

When their success dwindled in 1961, Little Anthony left to attempt a solo career. Some members left, and the line-up then became Collins, Wright, Sammy Strain, and George Kerr. Kerr was replaced by Kenny Seymour after a short time. This line-up had little success.

Little Anthony returned in 1963, replacing Seymour. The group's
classic line-up -- Gourdine, Ernest Wright, Clarence Collins, and Sammy Strain -- was now complete. With the help of record producer/songwriter Teddy Randazzo (a childhood friend of the group), the Imperials found success on the new DCP (Don Costa Productions) label with the dramatic pop-soul records "I'm On The Outside (Looking In)" (1964), "Goin' Out Of My Head" (1964), "Hurt So Bad" (1965), "I Miss You So" (1965), "Take Me Back" (1965), "Hurt" (1966), and "Out of Sight, Out Of Mind" (1969).

Post Script: I couldn't use my mono version as it was too scratchy so I had to use a compilation stereo version instead.

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Buddy Holly & The Crickets - You've Got Love

 On this day September 27, 1957 at Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma City, Buddy Holly and the Crickets began two days of recording sessions that produced the tracks "You've Got Love," "Rock Me My Baby," and "Maybe Baby."

One of the many marvellous tracks that came out on "The Chirping Crickets" album in 1958 in the days when The Crickets really did "chirp" courtesy of The Picks or The Roses. The track was one of a quartet that The Crickets recorded when they met up on tour with Norman Petty, who borrowed a US airforce base to set up his mobile recording equipment. Later, the dubbed backing vocals of The Picks gave the track its finished sound.

Buddy Holly plays a ringing guitar solo on the number, which was
written by fellow Texans Roy Orbison and Teen King member Johnny Wilson. Months earlier, Johnny "Peanuts" Wilson had recorded his own version as the flip of "Cast Iron Arm".

The Holly/Crickets version got belated recognition as a minor UK hit single when released in April 24, 1964. (Info Wiki & A-Z of Buddy Holly)

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

The Monotones - The Book Of Love

On this day september 26, 1957 the Monotones recorded "Book Of Love."

The Monotones were a six-member African American doo-wop vocal group in the 1950s. They are considered a one-hit wonder, as their only hit single was "The Book of Love", which peaked at #5 on the Billboard Top 100 in 1958.

The Monotones formed in 1955 when the seven original singers —
all residents of the Baxter Terrace housing project in Newark, New Jersey — began performing covers of popular songs. The members of the Monotones were:

    lead singer Charles Patrick (born September 11, 1938)
    first tenor Warren Davis (born March 1, 1939)
    second tenor George Malone (January 5, 1940 – October 5, 2007)
    bass singer John Smith (May 13, 1938 - November 26, 2000)
    second bass singer John Ryanes (November 16, 1940 – May 30, 1972)
    his brother, baritone Warren Ryanes (December 14, 1937 – June 16, 1982)

Charles Patrick's brother James was originally a member, but he left soon after the group's formation.
They all began singing with the New Hope Baptist Choir, directed by Cissy Houston, who was related to the Patrick brothers. The group launched their career with a 1956 appearance on Ted Mack's Amateur Hour television program, winning first prize for their rendition of The Cadillacs' "Zoom". Soon afterwards, Charles Patrick was listening to the radio and heard a Pepsodent toothpaste commercial with the line "wonder where the yellow went." From there he got the idea for the line, "I wonder, wonder, wonder who!, who wrote the book of love", later working it up into a song with Davis and Malone. In September 1957, they recorded "Book Of Love", which was released on the Mascot label in December that year. The small record company could not cope with its popularity, and it was reissued on Chess Records' subsidiary Argo label in February 1958. It became a hit, eventually reaching #3 on the Billboard R&B chart and #5 on the pop charts. The record sold over one million copies. It also reached #5 in Australia; in the UK, the hit version was a cover version by The Mudlarks.

The Monotones recorded a series of novelty follow-ups including "Zombi", and "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow", but they were not successful.

The Monotones disbanded in 1962. Surviving members met to revive "Book of Love" several times after the break-up. John Ryanes died in 1972, aged 31, and his brother Warren died in 1982. By 1994, the Monotones consisted of Frankie Smith, George Malone, Carl Foushee, Bernard Ransom, Bernard Brown, and Victor Hartsfield. Frankie Smith died in 2000, and George Malone in 2007.
(Info Wiki)

Monday, 24 September 2012

Sarah Vaughan - Make Yourself Comfortable

On this day September 24, 1954 Sarah Vaughan recorded "Make Yourself Comfortable."


Make Yourself Comfortable is a song written by American Bob
Merrill released in 1954 reaching #6 in the US charts in 1955. It's both brazen and sassy, something which Vaughan can pull off in elegant style while still leaving the listener with a raised eyebrow. This is a woman on a mission. She has planned her romantic encounter down to the last detail and is not leaving anything to chance. This was pretty bold for the time; reputable women just didn't behave like that back then! I love the dual vocal parts during the chorus - two perfectly formed harmonies which also independently stand up for themselves. 

Sarah Lois Vaughan (March 27, 1924 – April 3, 1990) was an American jazz singer, described by Scott Yanow as having "one of the most wondrous voices of the 20th century." Sarah got her start as a child singing in her church choir. In 1942 she was thurst into the spotlight after a winning performance at Amateur Night at the famed Apollo Theatre, and by the mid-1940's was appearing on television. Soon given the moniker, "Sassy," Vaughan showed off her impressive three octave range, and quickly became regarded as one of the greatest jazz singers of all time. She was a Grammy Award Winner. The National Endowment for the Arts bestowed upon her its "highest honor in jazz", the NEA Jazz Masters Award, in 1989. She was inducted into the Jazz Hall of Fame in 1990. the same year she died. (Info various)

Monday, 17 September 2012

The Everly Brothers - Walk Right Back

On this day September 17, 1960 at the RCA Studio B in Nashville, the Everly Brothers recorded "Walk Right Back."

"Walk Right Back" is a 1961 song by Sonny Curtis that was recorded by The Everly Brothers, and went to #7 in the U.S. Billboard charts, and #1 in the UK charts. Originally it was the B-side, then it was changed to the A-side.

In 1971, the song was covered by Harry Nilsson and in 1978, it was a country hit for Anne Murray.

Isaac Donald "Don" Everly (born February 1, 1937) and Phillip
"Phil" Everly (born January 19, 1939), together known as the Everly Brothers, are country-influenced rock and roll performers, known for steel-string guitar playing and close harmony singing. The duo was elected to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986.

Don and Phil Everly are both guitarists and use vocal harmony mostly based on parallel thirds. With this, each line can often stand on its own as a melody line. This is in contrast to classic harmony lines which, while working well alongside the melody, are not as melodic by themselves.

For most of their recordings, Don sings the baritone part and Phil the tenor part. One exception is on "Devoted To You." Although Don is still low and Phil is high, they switch lead and harmony back and forth. Don almost always sings any lines that are sung solo (for example, the verses of "Bye Bye Love"). Among the exceptions to this rule is the Everlys' 1965 single "It's All Over," where Phil sings the song's solo lines.
In the late 1950s, the Everly Brothers were the rock 'n' roll youth movement's addition to close harmony vocal groups of which many were family bands. Among the Everly's famous counterparts in country music were The Delmore Brothers, The Louvin Brothers, Jim & Jesse (McReynolds) and The Osborne Brothers.

Inspiring countless musicians – most notably The Beach Boys, The Beatles, and Simon & Garfunkel, Phil and Don had the kind of flawless harmony that may only be possible among siblings.  It was always as if each harmony line came from one source – the harmony’s were perfect, but the timing was so immaculate that you knew these two had sung together all of their lives.  Their success waned upon the arrival of The British Invasion, but their influence and the strength of their material has never dissipated.  I could hear “Walk Right Back,” “All I Have to Do is Dream,” or “Crying in the Rain” a hundred times and never tire of those melodies.  These are classic American tunes, enduring and unforgettable.(Info mainly Wiki)

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Johnny Burnette - You're Sixteen

On this day 16 September 1960, Johnny Burnette recorded "You're Sixteen".


A contemporary of Elvis Presley in the Memphis scene of the mid-'50s, Johnny Burnette played a similar brand of fiery, spare wildman rockabilly. With his brother Dorsey (on bass) and guitarist Paul Burlison forming his Rock 'n' Roll Trio, he recorded a clutch of singles for Decca in 1956 and 1957 that achieved nothing more than regional success. Featuring the groundbreaking fuzzy tone of Burlison's guitar, Johnny's energetic vocals, and Dorsey's slapping bass, these recordings -- highlighted by the first rock & roll version of "Train Kept A-Rollin'" -- compare well to the classic Sun rockabilly of the same era. The trio disbanded in 1957, and Johnny found pop success as a teen idol in the early '60s with hits like "You're Sixteen" and "Dreamin'." Burnette died in a boating accident in 1964. His brother Dorsey achieved modest success as a solo act in the early '60s, and Burlison resurfaced as a member of the Sun Rhythm Section.
"You're Sixteen" is a song written by the Sherman Brothers (Robert B. Sherman and Richard M. Sherman). It was first performed by American rockabilly singer Johnny Burnette, whose version peaked at number eight on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 in December 1960 and number 3 in the U.K. in 1961.

In January 1974, a cover version by British musician Ringo Starr hit number one. The latter performance reunited Ringo Starr with his former Beatles bandmate Paul McCartney. McCartney is credited on the liner notes of the album Ringo as having played the instrumental solo on a kazoo. Starr's version remains one of the few #1 singles to feature a kazoo solo. Harry Nilsson sang backing vocals on Starr's version.

The original 1960 version of "You're Sixteen" by Johnny Burnette
is featured prominently on the 1973 motion picture soundtrack of the film American Graffiti.

The 1978 video of Starr's version features Carrie Fisher as Ringo's love interest.

The song title has been the subject of musical parody by various performers, from Australian punk rock band Frenzal Rhomb's "She's Sixty, She's Beautiful and She's Mine" to Australian singer-songwriter Paul Kelly's "You're 39, You're Beautiful and You're Mine". A reference to "You're Sixteen" is made in the title of Cold Chisel's EP You're Thirteen, You're Beautiful, and You're Mine. (Info allmusic & Wiki)

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Booker T. & The M.G.s - Green Onions

On this day 15 September 1962, "Green Onions" from Booker T. & the MG's was #1 on the American R&B chart.

"Green Onions" is a hit soul instrumental recorded in 1962 by Booker T. & the M.G.s. The tune is a 12-bar blues with a rippling Hammond organ line. Originally issued on the Volt 102 subsidiary of Stax Records in May 1962 as the B-side to "Behave Yourself", it was quickly reissued as the A-side of Stax 127; it also appeared on the album Green Onions. The guitar used by guitarist Steve Cropper on "Green Onions", as was all of The M.G.'s instrumentals, was a Fender Telecaster. According to guitarist Steve Cropper, the name is not a marijuana reference, rather it is named after the Green Badger's[clarification needed] cat, Green Onions, whose way of walking inspired the riff. Although, according to, the song was named by Booker T. Jones stating that when asked by Jim Stewart what he'd name the song, Booker T. Jones replied "Green Onions." "Why 'Green Onions'?" Jim asked. Booker T: "Because that is the nastiest thing I can think of and it's something you throw away." The song is in chromatic-minor with an open fifth as tonic chord.

"Green Onions" entered the Billboard Hot 100 the week ending August 11, 1962 and peaked at No. 3 the week ending September 29, 1962. The single also made it to No. 1 on the soul singles chart, for four non consecutive weeks: an unusual occurrence in that, on the soul singles chart, "Green Onions" fell in and out of top spot, three times. On the UK Singles Chart it first appeared December 15, 1979 at #74, it then hit its highest position on January 26, 1980 at #7, it then left the charts on March 1, 1980 at #51, and ended up staying on the charts for a total of 12 weeks.

"Green Onions" was ranked No. 183 on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 greatest songs of all time. The song is currently ranked as the 85th greatest song of all time, as well as the best song of 1962, by Acclaimed Music. British rhythm and blues singer Georgie Fame credited the single with being a main influence on his switch from piano to Hammond organ.

In 1999 "Green Onions" was given a Grammy Hall of Fame Award.

In 2012 it was added to the Library of Congress's National Recording Registry list of "culturally, historically, or aesthetically important" American sound recordings. (Info Wiki)

Friday, 14 September 2012

Major Lance - Um, Um, Um, Um, Um, Um

On this day September 14, 1963, Major Lance recorded the Curtis Mayfield composition "Um, Um, Um, Um, Um, Um."

"Um, Um, Um, Um, Um, Um" is a song, written by Curtis Mayfield. The first recording of the song to be released was by Major Lance; it was released as a single in December 1963. The single was produced by Okeh label president, Carl Davis. The song was Major Lance's third release to make the Billboard Hot 100 and his most successful hit with a #5 peak on the Billboard Hot 100 in February 1964 with a #1 peak on the Cash Box R&B chart (Billboard did not run an R&B chart November 1963-January 1965).

The song's title refers to the mournful noise the narrator is puzzled to overhear made by a man sitting on a park bench. A considerable time later the narrator, having been left by the woman he loves, empathetically realizes what likely motivated the man on the bench's moaning.

In the UK a concurrent release of Major Lance's "Um, Um, Um, Um, Um, Um" reached #40 the artist's only UK chart appearance. The song would become a major UK hit in the autumn of 1964 via a rendition by Wayne Fontana and The Mindbenders which reached #5.

In the mid-1970s Major Lance would remake "Um, Um, Um, Um, Um, Um" as a disco track: recorded in the UK, this version reached #59 R&B in 1974.

Johnny Rivers remade the song for for his 1977 album Outside Help from which it was issued as the followup single to the Top Ten hit "Swayin' to the Music (Slow Dancing)": River's version of "Um, Um, Um, Um, Um, Um" renamed the song "Curious Mind" after a lyric in the second verse, the full title of the Rivers' version being "Curious Mind (Um, Um, Um, Um, Um, Um)". "Curious Mind..." was heavily supported by Easy listening radio with a February 1978 peak of #4 on the Easy Listening chart in "Billboard" and almost afforded Rivers' a Top 40 hit with a #41 peak on the "Billboard" Hot 100 where it would be Rivers' final charting.

"Um, Um, Um, Um, Um, Um" has also been recorded by Ian and the Zodiacs, Steve Marriott, Katy Moffatt and Ola and the Janglers, and is performed by Huey Lewis and the News as part of their Live at 25 concert CD and DVD. (Info Wiki)

Thursday, 13 September 2012

The Vogues - You're The One

On this day 13th September 1965, a new group called the Vogues released their first single "You're the One."



"You're the One" is a song by Petula Clark. It was included on the 1965 album I Know a Place. Written by Clark with her regular songwriter and record producer Tony Hatch, "You're the One" was a Top 30 hit in the UK Singles chart for Clark, but was more successful as a Top Ten US single release by The Vogues.
Recorded at Gate Way Studios in Pittsburgh, "You're the One" was the first track to be credited to the Vogues although the group had previously recorded as the Val-Aires. Pittsburgh-based record producer Nick Cenci had already cut "You're the One" with a local band called the Racket Squad; after hearing the Val-Aires audition tape, Cenci decided that that group's lead singer Bill Burkette could sing "You're the One" more effectively than Racket Squad vocalist Sonny DiNunzio. Accordingly DiNunzio's vocals were erased from the master, so that Burkette could record a fresh vocal over the instrumentation played by the Racket Squad's members.

Cenci approached Jim Rook, program director of KQV, with the Vogues' "You're the One" and KQV became the first radio station to play the record, which entered the KQV "Finest Forty" chart in July 1965, and that August broke in Detroit and San Diego. prior to breaking nationally that September.

The burgeoning success of the Vogues' "You're the One" had alerted Petula Clark's UK label: Pye Records, to the track's hit potential with Pye rush releasing Clark's own version as a single which entered the UK chart in November 1965 and peaked at #23. According to Chuck Blasco of the Vogues, Clark's US label: Warner Bros., had also intended to issue Clark's version as a single to vie with the Vogues' version in the US, but Clark vetoed the idea saying: "Let the boys have the hit". The Vogues' version did have a UK release on London Records but did not garner enough interest to share the UK charts with Clark's version.

"You're the One" also charted for Clark in Australia at #4 and in the Netherlands at #30. The Vogues' version was a Top Ten hit in Canada (#4) and New Zealand. (Info Wiki)

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

LaVern Baker - I Cried A Tear

On this day September 11, 1958 at Atlantic Records studios in New York City, LaVern Baker recorded "I Cried A Tear," featuring saxophonist King Curtis.

LaVern Baker, vocals; Urbie Green, trombone; Leon Cohen, alto sax; King Curtis, tenor sax; Ernie Hayes, piano; Al Caiola, Everett Barksdale, guitars; Milt Hinton, bass; Panama Francis, drums. The Gliders vocal group.
Arranged and conducted by Reggie Obrecht. Recorded in New York, September 11, 1958. Produced by Jerry Wexler

Born Delores LaVern Baker on November 11, 1929 in Chicago, Illinois.  Delores was discovered in 1947 by bandleader Fletcher Henderson, who helped her land a contract with Okeh Records. She recorded as “Little Miss Sharecropper” in 1949 and then as “Bea Baker” in 1951.  In 1953 she signed a recording contract with Atlantic Records with her first record being “SOUL ON FIRE”.

LaVern’s first hit came in January of 1955 when “TWEEDLEE DEE” entered the Billboard Pop charts and ran up the chart to #14.  She did even better on the R&B chart, reaching #4.  On December 29, 1956 her huge hit recording of “JIM DANDY” entered the Billboard Top 100.  The record enjoyed 19 weeks on the pop chart and climbed to #17.  She crossed over to the R&B chart and went right to #1.  “Jim Dandy” sold over 1 million copies and was awarded a “Gold Record”.  “Jim Dandy” is also a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame song and is ranked at #343 on the Rolling Stone Top 500 Songs of All-Time.

Her biggest pop single entered the Billboard Hot 100 on December 8, 1959.  The fabulous blues ballad “I CRIED A TEAR” became her lone Hot 100, Top 10 hit, charting at #6 and remained on the chart for 21 weeks.  She also crossed over to the R&B chart as was the case with most of her pop hits and just missed the top spot, peaking at #2.

LaVern appeared on TV and was in the movies.  She sang a hit duet single with Jackie Wilson, “THINK TWICE” in 1966.  In 1990 she made her Broadway debut replacing Ruth Brown in the hit musical “Black and Blue”.  LaVern Baker was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1991.  She passed away in 1997 at the age of 67.  Her music has stood the test of time and only improves with age.  If you want to hear the blues with soul…..check out LaVern Baker, truly one of the female giants from the “Golden Era of Rock and Roll.

Monday, 10 September 2012

Rod Stewart - Good Morning Little Schoolgirl

On this day September 10, 1964 Rod Stewart with the Hoochie Coochie Men, made his first recording, a cover of Sonny Boy Williamson's "Good Morning, Little Schoolgirl." Future Led Zeppelin bass player John Paul Jones played on the session.

An elaborate and interesting story comes from Rod's managers at the time of this recording, Rowlands and Wright, who claim they had to call Rod at home around noon to get him to come to the recording session, as it was scheduled for 11 a.m. Rod's mom answered the phone and said he was still in bed. When the budding artiste came to the phone he apologized but said he's been out drinking the night before and didn't get in til 4 a.m. And he had no money for a taxi. The producer told him they would pay the fare, but to get to the studio ASAP. After the taxi was paid, Rod announced he had not learned the agreed-upon songs that they were going to record. "They're too commercial" he said.

So, Rod then told them he wanted to sing a Sonny Boy Williamson song, "Good Morning Little Schoolgirl." Did Rod bring the record or sheet music? "No, but I saw the record in a shop just a block
from here." He was told to go get it and get it fast. "Can you lend me two pounds to buy it" he asked.

Though "Good Morning Little Schoolgirl" Rod's first recorded stab at lead vocals, he sounds surprisingly confident. You can, of course, hear Sam Cooke but also a little Elvis influence on this upbeat blues number first recorded by Williamson in the late 1930's. The Rod style as we know it today is definitely not there, yet this is still a great vocal. The Voice is a little deeper than we know it, but still has just enough charisma to make "Schoolgirl" a worthwhile recording.

The session also included "I'm Gonna Move to the Outskirts of Town," which was "Schoolgirl"'s B-side. His debut hit the streets in October 1964 (he even got a chance to plug it on "Ready Steady Go" (see photo) (Info mainly rodstewartblog)

Sunday, 9 September 2012

The Beatles - She Loves You

On this day 9th September 1963, The Beatles were at No.1 on the UK singles chart with 'She Loves You.' 'Please Please Me' was at No.1 on the UK album chart. 'She Loves You' became The Beatles' best-selling single in the United Kingdom, and was the best selling single in Britain in 1963.

"She Loves You" is a song written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney based on an idea by McCartney, originally recorded by The Beatles for release as a single in 1963. The single set and surpassed several records in the United Kingdom charts, and set a record in the United States by being one of the five Beatles songs which held the top five positions in the American charts simultaneously on 4 April 1964. It is The Beatles' best-selling single in the United Kingdom, and was the best selling single in Britain in 1963.

"She Loves You" was credited to "Lennon–McCartney" as were all
subsequent songs written by the pair and released during the remainder of the band's tenure. With the exception of the single version of "Love Me Do" and "P.S. I Love You", all prior songs were credited as "McCartney–Lennon". The sequence was a source of controversy when McCartney changed it to "McCartney–Lennon" for some live versions released later in his career.

This was the first song by The Beatles to be heard by a substantial number of Americans; the only United States release by The Beatles that had even charted before that was "From Me to You", which lasted three weeks in August 1963, never going higher than number 116.
In November 2004, Rolling Stone ranked "She Loves You" as the 64th Greatest Song of All Time. In October 2005, Uncut magazine named "She Loves You" as the third biggest song that changed the world, behind Elvis Presley's "Heartbreak Hotel" and Bob Dylan's "Like a Rolling Stone".

In August 2009, at the end of its "Beatles Weekend", BBC Radio 2 announced that "She Loves You" was The Beatles' all-time best-selling single in the UK based on information compiled by The Official Charts Company.  (Info from thisdayinmusic & Wiki)

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Jackie Wilson - Reet Petite

On this day 8th September 1957, Reet Petite' by Jackie Wilson was released for the first time, it became a UK No. 1, 29 years later.

"Reet Petite (The Sweetest Girl in Town)" (originally subtitled The Finest Girl You Ever Want to Meet) is a song made popular by Jackie Wilson, taken from his album He's So Fine.  It was his first solo hit after leaving the legendary R&B group The Dominoes and, over the years, has become one of his biggest international chart successes.

The song was written by Berry Gordy and Wilson's cousin Roquel "Billy" Davis (though credited under his pseudonym Tyran Carlo on the record) and produced by Dick Jacobs, and its title was taken from the Louis Jordan song "Reet, Petite and Gone". It was Jackie Wilson's first recording as a solo artist. The song peaked at #62 on the Billboard Hot 100 in
September 1957 and reached #6 on the UK singles chart. With the success of the song, Gordy was able to fund the launch of Motown Records.The song was reissued in 1986 following the showing of a clay animation video on the BBC Two documentary series Arena. The video was directed by Giblets, a London-based animation studio.
The reissued version proved so popular that in December 1986, almost three years after Wilson's death, the song became a #1 in the UK for four weeks, some 29 years after its chart debut. This was the record for the longest time between a song's debut on the chart and it reaching number one, until it was overtaken by Tony Christie's "(Is This the Way to) Amarillo" in 2005.

Due to his fervor when performing, with his dynamic dance moves,
singing and impeccable dress, jackie Wilson was soon christened "Mr. Excitement", a title he would keep for the remainder of his career. His stagecraft in his live shows inspired James Brown, Michael Jackson and Elvis Presley, among a host of other artists. Presley was so impressed by Wilson that he made it a point to meet him, and the two instantly became good friends. Presley once dubbed Jackie "The Black Elvis". Wilson's powerful, electrifying live performances rarely failed to bring audiences to a state of frenzy. His live performances consisted of knee-drops, splits, spins, one-footed across-the-floor slides and a lot of basic boxing steps (advance and retreat shuffling). (Info Wiki & thisdayinmusic)

Friday, 7 September 2012

Craig Douglas - Only Sixteen

On this day the 7th September 1959, Craig Douglas was at No.1 on the UK singles chart with his version of the Sam Cooke hit 'Only Sixteen'. Terence Perkins was employed as a milkman before becoming a professional singer and was known as the 'Singing Milkman'.

Craig Douglas (born Terence Perkins, 12 August 1941, Newport, Isle of Wight) was one of Britain's first 'Pop' singers. His achievement was really remarkable because he'd found a musical niche that appealed to teenagers and to their mums and dads too- sadly, it couldn't last. He was too lightweight to be considered rock and roll and yet nor was he a 1950s style crooner. He had still been a milkman when he got an opportunity to appear on TV's 'Six-5 Special' by winning a talent contest. Through this he secured a recording contract with Decca, but the two singles they issued were ignored. Luckily he was given a second chance by the new 'Top Rank' record label. His early songs were, almost without exception, covers of carefully selected material from American artists of the time. He was extremely successful, and even reached #1 with Sam Cooke's 'Only Sixteen' when the great man could only struggle to #23 with the original.

It was recorded at EMI's Abbey Road studios, with whistling by Mike Sammes, and released through Top Rank records.

Craig Douglas' pleasant singing voice maintained its appeal until the onset of 'Merseybeat'. By this time he was singing more original songs, but had not sufficiently changed his 'sound' to gain new fans. He made one belated attempt at updating his style with 'Come Closer' in 1964 which he recorded with a group calling themselves 'The Tridents', but by early 1963 his chart career was over. However, Craig had by then built up a sufficient repertoire of material to fuel an act on the cabaret and nostalgia scene for many years to come.

(Info from thisdayinmusic & 45-rpm)

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Ray Charles - You Are My Sunshine

On this day September 5, 1962…At Capitol Studios in New York City, Ray Charles recorded "You Are My Sunshine."


"You Are My Sunshine" is a popular song first recorded in 1939. It has been declared one of the state songs of Louisiana as a result of its association with former state governor and country music singer Jimmie Davis. The song is copyright 1940 Peer International Corporation, words and music by Jimmie Davis and Charles Mitchell.

Two versions of "You Are My Sunshine" were recorded and released prior to Jimmie Davis's version. The first was recorded for Bluebird Records (RCA-Victor's budget label) on August 22, 1939 by The Pine Ridge Boys (Marvin Taylor and Doug Spivey), who were from Atlanta. The second was recorded for Decca Records on September 13, 1939 by The Rice Brothers Gang. This group was originally from north Georgia, but had relocated to Shreveport, Louisiana, where they were performing on the city's KWKH radio station. The version by Jimmie Davis was recorded for Decca Records on February 5, 1940.

Davis and Charles Mitchell are the credited songwriters of "You Are My Sunshine". Davis bought the song and rights from Paul Rice and put his own name on it, a practice not uncommon in the pre-World War II music business. Some early versions of the song, however, do credit the Rice Brothers. According to some accounts, clarinetist Pud Brown was also involved with the Rice Brothers for the song's origin or first arrangement.

Davis said that for some time he had been enthusiastic about the song and had unsuccessfully tried to convince record companies to record it before finally making his own 1940 record of the song. Davis's version was popular and was followed by numerous other covers, including those of Bing Crosby and Gene Autry, whose versions made the number a big hit.

The song was also featured by Tex Ritter in "Take Me Back To Oklahoma" (film).  Best-selling record by Bob Atcher (Columbia). Revived in 1962 with best-selling record by Ray Charles (ABC-Paramount).

Davis emphasized his association with the song when running for governor, singing it at all his campaign rallies, while riding on a horse named "Sunshine". His authorized biography, You Are My Sunshine: The Jimmie Davis Story, was published in 1987.
Ray Charles is the Genius of Soul, but he’s always had a bit of country boy in him, too. Between playing hillbilly piano when he was a kid and landing several duets on the country charts in the ’80s, Charles released this 1962 classic L.P. "Modern Sounds In Country & Western Music", taking 12 country standards and proving that great songs can remain great, no matter what the setting. Behind blaring brass and thrilling strings, Brother Ray transforms “Hey, Good Lookin’” and “Bye Bye Love” into big-band swing; “You Win Again” into the Nashville Sound; and “I Love You So Much It Hurts” into the most elegant of pop. “I Can’t Stop Loving You” was the big hit, not forgetting the soulful version of "You Are My Sunshine." Everything else on this album is just as timeless and beautiful. 
(Info edited mainly from Wiki)

Artie Shaw & his Gramercy Five - Summit Ridge Drive

On this day September 3, 1940…Artie Shaw and the Gramercy Five recorded "Summit Ridge Drive," later voted the #8 record of all time in a 1956 Billboard magazine disc jockey poll.

Like Benny Goodman and other leaders of big bands, Shaw fashioned a small group from within the band. He named it the Gramercy Five after his home telephone exchange. Band pianist Johnny Guarneri played a harpsichord on the quintet recordings and Al Hendrickson played an electric guitar, which was unusual in jazz recordings of the time. Trumpeter Roy Eldridge later became part of the group, succeeding Billy Butterfield. The Gramercy Five's biggest hit was "Summit Ridge Drive".

As Johnny Guarnieri told "Piano Jazz" radio host Marian McPartland in 1981, he was already in
Shaw's big band when Shaw called him one day in the fall of 1940: "Shaw asked me if I'd ever played the harpsichord, and I said: 'Certainly.' And he said, 'Well that's great; we're gonna make some records tomorrow.' . . . I was lying! So I said, 'Artie—I don't know what a harpsichord is.' . . . He says, 'I have one up the house; let's go up there tonight—and we'll rehearse, and we'll make some records tomorrow.'"

The pianist got the hang of the antique instrument (with its stiffer keyboard action) pretty fast, he told a writer from Time-Life records in 1973: "I went home and practiced until I could trill with the fourth and fifth fingers for twenty seconds, then I was okay."

Also in the group that assembled on the morning of Sept. 3, 1940, at RCA Victor's Hollywood recording studio were bassist Jud DeNaut, guitarist Al Hendrickson, drummer Nick Fatool and trumpeter Billy Butterfield. The second of four sides they all cut that day was a foot-tapping Shaw original, a kicking blues riff showcasing Butterfield's muted but searing trumpet in tandem with Shaw's expressive and irresistible clarinet. Shaw named this seductive piece after the canyon street he lived on in the Hollywood Hills, where the sextet had rehearsed the night before: "Summit Ridge Drive."

The number epitomized all that was best about Shaw's swing-era music: It was classy but gutsy, smartly arranged yet spontaneous, sophisticated but hard-swinging. Guarnieri made the harpsichord sound supple, and the rhythm section's easy shag beat cushioned the soloists' emotional punch. It seemed like the perfect 78rpm platter: three minutes and 18 seconds of consummate jazz.

"Summit Ridge Drive" sold well in its initial release and was a juke-box favorite. But the platter really took off after being featured in the well-regarded 1945 movie "The Story of G.I. Joe" during a scene where a bunch of U.S. soldiers in war-torn Europe listen to the Gramercy 5 and dream of home. A reissued "Summit Ridge Drive" became a million-seller and one of Shaw's all-time favorite numbers, alongside "Begin the Beguine," "Star Dust" and "Frenesi."

"Summit Ridge Drive," put together in an hour at a jam-session rehearsal, was a number Shaw played
the rest of his musical life—recording it again with a 1950 Gramercy 5 and with his final 1954 combo (though in both cases with piano, not harpsichord). The blues riff stayed fresh; Shaw had a special facility for the blues.

But it was Shaw's 1940 recording of "Summit Ridge Drive," with its winning combination of clarinet, trumpet and harpsichord, that proved to be the classic. Characteristically, this hard-to-please artist was of two minds about that singular success. "The Gramercy 5," he said of his original combo a few years before his death in 2004, "was just a gimmick that caught on." But to that Time-Life writer in 1973, he'd conceded: "I'd made a record that was ahead of its time."

RCA re-released Summit Ridge Drive on this 45 record around 1950.

(Info mainly from Wall Street Journal)