Google+ Followers

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Bruce Channel born 28 November 1940

Bruce Channel (pronounced "shuh-NELL") (born Bruce McMeans, 28 November 1940, Jacksonville, Texas) is an American singer, known for his 1962 number one hit, "Hey! Baby".

Channel originally performed on the Louisiana Hayride radio show, and then joined up with harmonica player Delbert McClinton singing country music. Channel wrote "Hey! Baby" with Margaret Cobb in 1959 and performed the song for two years before recording it for Fort Worth record producer Bill Smith. It was originally released on Bill Smith's label, but as it started to sell well it was picked up for distribution by Smash. The song reached No. 1 in the U.S. in March 1962 and remained in that position for 3 weeks. Besides topping the U.S. pop charts, it became No. 2 in the UK in 1962 as well. In the United States Channel was a one-hit wonder. 

Channel toured Europe and was supported at one gig by The Beatles, who were then still unknown. John Lennon, who had "Hey! Baby" on his jukebox, was fascinated by McClinton's harmonica. A popular urban legend has it that Lennon was taught to play harmonica by McClinton, but by that time, Lennon had already been playing the instrument live for some time. The harmonica break in "Hey! Baby" inspired Lennon's playing on The Beatles' first single, 1962's "Love Me Do" as well as later Beatles records and the harmonica break on Frank Ifield's "I Remember You."  Ironically, it was the Beatles who led the British Invasion of the mid-60's which swamped artists such as Bruce Channel. He became a very popular act in England.

UK Tour 1962  (L to R: Pete Best, John Lennon, Delbert McClinton, Bruce, Paul McCartney and George Harrison)

The key to the appeal of "Hey! Baby" is the sustained first note, with a rhythmic shuffle in the background. This had previously occurred on another recent hit, "Sherry" (1962) by The Four Seasons, and was later to recur on a Beatles song, "I Should Have Known Better" (on A Hard Day's Night - 1964).

Delbert McClinton went on to have success as a solo artist and songwriter, penning songs recorded by Waylon Jennings and Emmylou Harris. Channel's only other Top 40 recording in the UK singles chart was 1968's "Keep On," which was produced by Dale Hawkins. Channel disliked touring, so he settled in as a songwriter in Nashville, quietly scoring a number of BMI Award-winning songs in the '70s and '80s - "As Long As I'm Rockin' With You" for John Conlee; "Don't Worry 'Bout Me Baby" for Janie Fricke; "Party Time" for T.G. Sheppard; "You're the Best" (co-written with and recorded by Kieran Kane); and "Stand Up" for Mel McDaniel. in 1988 made a surprise guest appearance while on a visit to the UK, as a disc jockey on BBC Radio 2.

In 1995 Channel recorded his own version of "Stand Up" for the Memphis, Tennessee based Ice House label. Delbert McClinton reprised his role on harmonica on it and several other tracks including a heavy duty version of "My Babe." Channel then recorded a project with singer-songwriter Larry Henley (ex-The Newbeats) as Original Copy.

(Info mainly from Wikipedia)


boppinbob said...

For 23 mp3's of Bruce go here:

zephyr said...

Thanks Bob it never ceases to amaze me how much so many artists do in the field of music long after we hear them singing