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.