THE WONDER OF YOU BY RAY PETERSON
This song reached only number 25 in 1959 but I thought it should have been a top 10. Ray was born in Denton, Texas in 1939. He died of cancer in 2005 at age 65. He started singing in his early teens while being treated for polio at a Texas hospital. He later formed Dunes Records in 1960 and his first release on his own label was a #7 hit, Corina, Corina. You might best remember his hit, Tell Laura I Love Her from the summer of 1960.
MY WAY BY HARVEY LEVIN
This will be rarely heard since it is only available on iTunes. Harvey Levin of TMZ fame, sang a little of My Way on his TV show back in January and took great ribbing from his staff. However, Paul Anka, the composer who wrote the song for Frank Sinatra in 1968, called Harvey and told him it was not all that bad. Paul volunteered to work with Harvey and produce the song with the proceeds going to charity. He is no Frank Sinatra or Paul Anka but this is not bad for a lawyer who wanted to run for public office when he started his career. Now his TMZ franchise is a very popular TV show and his web site is on many a smart phone.
FROGG BY THE BROTHERS FOUR
I just posted Greenfields on the the blog and talked about this song being the only other one to make it to the top 40. I had never heard this song so I went right out to find it. After hearing it, I wonder how it made it to the #32 spot. The song was written in 1580 under the title “Frog Went a Coutin”. Whichever title you use, it is a clunker for me. Perhaps that is why is is RARELY HEARD…..lol.
EV’RYBODY’S CRYIN’ BY JIMMIE BEAUMONT
Here is a song that reached #100 for one week on the Hot 100. It is by Jimmie Beaumont, who happened to be the lead singer of the Skyliners. They had two classic slow dance/make out songs: This I Swear and Since I Don’t Have You. However, poor Jimmie on his own did not fare so well. This is his only charted song, which debuted on Christmas of 1961.
HE UNDERSTANDS ME BY JOHNNY TILLOTSON
Since I placed Without You on the Oldie of the Week page and mentioned this as Johnny Tillotson’s most underrated song, here it is. Read all about Tillotson at the other posting (a sneaky way to get you to see other postings….lol).
JOHNNY ANGEL BY SANDY STEWART AND GEORGIA LEE
I was writing back and forth to Johnny D today on the blog and it got me in the mood to hear Johnny B. Goode by Chuck Berry. That is the ring tone I have on my Droid for Johnny D. At the same time it made me think of the song Johnny Angel by Shelley Fabares. My thought was to post both songs here but alas, the plan got changed in mid-stream.
We all know Shelley Fabares made Johnny Angel a #1 hit after being reaching the Hot 100 on 3/3/62. Shelley played Mary Stone on the Donna Reed Show. But there were other versions, none of which charted. I stumbled across two of them, one by an unknown artist (it seems it was Sandy Stewart) and the other by Georgia Lee.
Georgia Lee was a jazz and blues singer from Cairns, Queensland, Australia. Born as Dulcie Rama Pitt, she is credited with being the first Indigenous Australian artist to record blues songs. Her album Georgia Lee Sings the Blues Down Under may have been only the second album to be released by an Australian woman and was the first Australian album recorded in stereo. She recorded this version of Johnny Angel in 1962.
Sandy Stewart hit the Hot 100 with My Coloring Book on 12/29/62. It reached #20 but was her one and only charted song. She used to appear on the Eddie Fisher and Perry Como musical variety TV shows. Interestingly, her song My Coloring Book was on the same label, Colpix as Shelley Fabares and Paul Petersen, who played Jeff Stone on the Donna Reed Show. He had 6 charted songs, the biggest of which was My Dad in 1962.
I prefer the Sandy Stewart version between these two. But Shelley’s is the best! I have added it behind the first two versions. The sound is not the best on Shelley’s but it was dubed over when they showed it on The Donna Reed Show (whoever did this did a great job of syncing up the song to the TV show) Enjoy the music….
TENNESSEE BY JAN AND DEAN
I felt bad Jan and Dean and Surf City did not make my top three in the list of the top #1 songs of this week in history. It has been beaten by Lonely Boy by Paul Anka, I’m Sorry by Brenda Lee and this week, Satisfaction by the Rolling Stones. All of those songs are better than Surf City, which was #1 this week in 1963.
Tennessee was never #1, heck it never even made the top 40 or 50 or 60. It peaked at #69 and stuck around for only 7 weeks before disappearing. It made the Hot 100 on 5/26/62. But I always liked this song. I use to love to sing along with all the ba ba’s and see if I could nail it. When the actual lyrics start, they are simple and tell a nice little story….lol. Ah, music of the 50′s and early 60′s had such simple but endearing lyrics.
Here are Jan and Dean, at there most mediocre.
WHAT’S A MATTER BABY (IS IT HURTING YOU) BY TIMI YURO
Back in the day, some DJ’s (that is what they called guys who spun records on the radio) would fall in love with a certain song and play it every hour or more often. One such song was one I loved so I would turn in to the BG program on KFXM every night to hear Timi Yoro sing “What’s A Matter Baby (Is It Hurting You).”
This July, 1962 release made it to #12 but should have been a top 10. Of course, I always say that about songs I put in this section. Timi only made it to top 10 once with “Hurt.” Born Rosemarie Timotea Aurro it is no wonder she used Timi Yuro as a stage name. But she could sure sing and I never get tired of hearing “What’s A Matter Baby (Is It Hurting You). I especially like the beginning.
Do you remember this one?
DON’T WORRY BY MARTY ROBBINS
Even though this song made it to #3 on the Hot 100, I would bet many of you have not heard this in a long time. I added it here since Marty’s song, “A White Sport Coat (And A Pink Carnation)” was the Oldie of the Week. Might as well double up on Marty.
“Don’t Worry” first charted on 1/30/61 and peaked at #3 the week Elvis’ “Surrender” was #1 and “Pony Time” was #2. That different sound you hear in this song came from the “fuzztone” bass guitar solo by Grady Martin.
SOMETIME BY GENE THOMAS
Another song that didn’t chart well, only reaching #53. It made it to the Hot 100 on 10/31/61 on United Artist records. It had actually been released on the Venus label earlier in 1961 and received enough air play regionally to get picked up by United Artist. However, even that national exposure did not help it make into the top 40. As you listen to Sometime, watch the screen and you will learn more about Gene Thomas.
He followed this non-hit up with another one, two years later. The interesting thing about the follow up, Baby’s Gone, is that it was written by Roy Orbison and Bobby Goldsboro. I decided to add it below Sometime so you can hear both of Gene’s non-hits. I think Sometime should have gone higher, but it is not the first time I have liked a song that didn’t get much air play.
EVENTUALLY BY BRENDA LEE
I put a Brenda Lee song in the Oldie section and decided to add her in the rarely heard section too. When I looked for one of her songs that did not chart well but is still really good, I immediately came to this song.
“Eventually” charted on 7/3/61 and reached #56, not even a top 40 song. What a shame. It’s problem was being on the flip side of “Dum Dum,” another of my favorites by her. “Dum Dum” went to #4 which left “Eventually” playing second fiddle. By the way, this is another hint for the current quiz, #5.
THE FLYING SAUCER BY BUCHANAN AND GOODMAN
So when did you last hear this song? Maybe you never heard it? It came out in August of 1956 and reached #3 on the Hot 100.
Dickie Goodman and his partner Bill Buchanan originated the novelty “break-in” recordings featuring bits and pieces of the original versions of Top 40 songs. Goodman was also a comedy writer for Jackie Mason and head of the music department for 20th Century Fox. In addition to “The Flying Saucer,” they had such other releases as “The Creature,” “The Touchables,” and “Ben Crazy.”
Buchanan died of cancer on 8/1/96 at the age of 66. Goodman died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound on 11/6/89 at the age of 55.
IT’S REALLY LOVE BY PAUL ANKA
This is one I know no one will have heard before. And there is something special about this song too. I will share what is special about this underneath the YouTube box.
This song is from 1959 and was written by Paul Anka as the theme for a movie with three titles. It was a French-Italian movie. The French title is Faibles Femmes. In Italian it is Le Donne sono debole and in English it translates into Low Women. The song Anka wrote for the movie was released by Annette in 1959 but did not chart. However, this song went on to make millions of dollars for Anka. Why?
Here is the song and then look for the reason it made so much money.
The reason for the later success of this song? Paul made it into the Tonight Show Theme for Johnny Carson. He used to receive $30,000 per year just from the few seconds it was played every night as Johnny Carson came on stage.
JENNIE LEE BY JAN AND ARNIE
Ron asked a question about Jan and Arnie and Jan and Dean on another post. He mentioned this song, “Jennie Lee.” I wrote about it and the connection between Jan, Arnie and Dean at that post. But it made me want to hear “Jennie Lee” again and post it here for you to hear as well. Be sure to watch the screen while it plays to see a lot of the real Jennie Lee, who inspired this song. She was a full sized exotic dancer in Los Angeles!
“Jennie Lee” was recorded in Jan’s garage and in spite of the sound quality, still reached #8, not bad for a first release in 1958. Enjoy!
JUST TO BE WITH YOU BY THE PASSIONS
I have been working on a project in which I am updating and adding to my iTunes and iPod. Therefore, I have been away from the OETR too long. Tonight, I came across a song I already had on the iPod and just marveled, as I always do, at it not having gotten any higher than #69 on the Hot 100. Interestingly enough, the last “rarely heard” also peaked at # 69. I think “Just To Be With You” is even better than “Breaking Up Is Hard To Do.” It is/was a great song for slow dancing and making out. Since it only hit #69, maybe I am one of the few who remember this should-have-been hit.
BREAKING UP IS HARD TO DO BY JIVIN’ GENE and the JOKERS
If ever there was a song that should have been a bigger hit, I’d love to hear it. If you have never heard this, tell me, don’t you think it should have done better than 4 weeks on the charts with a peak of #69? It charted on 9/3/59 on Mercury. That was not a little label and they should have been able to promote this song.
Jivin’ Gene is really Gene Bourgeois from Port Arthur, Texas. He wrote and then recorded this song the first time in the bathroom of his manager so the “porcelain” would give it a reverb effect. The executive, to which the demo was sent, suggested they record it again under better conditions. It was recorded again and leased to Mercury.
TEDDY BY CONNIE FRANCIS
I have not picked a Connie Francis song for either Rarely Heard or Number One songs, until today. I chose “Teddy,” a song that cracked the top 20, at #17 during an eleven week stay on the Hot 100. It was released on 2/29/60 and was the flip side of a song called, “Mama,” which peaked at #8.
The very cool thing for me with this selection is who wrote it, Paul Anka. Everyone knows I am a huge Paul Anka fan. He wrote songs for Frank Sinatra, Barbra Streisand, Buddy Holly, Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show theme, the movie The Longest Day, Tom Jones, Englebert Humperdinck, Annette and many others. Connie released this at the time Paul had “Puppy Love” headed to #2. It was about the same time he and Annette were an item. In fact, Annette would release two songs written by Paul in 1960.
As you listen to “Teddy” see if you can hear the style of Paul’s music of the early 60′s.
SHY GIRL BY CASCADES
When the rain started I broke out “Rhythm of the Rain.” While talking about the Cascades I mentioned another of their songs I liked, but is Rarely Heard, if even ever heard. It is “Shy Girl.” While not a great song it is still a good one. It did not sell however. Charting on 4/27/63 it spent 4 weeks on the Hot 100 and peaked at #91. That is 4 weeks between 100 and 91. Not much progress there huh.
Give a listen and let me know your Bandstand rating. I give it an 82….a lot of that based on the voice of lead singer, John Gummoe.
BARBARA BY THE TEMPTATIONS
Reading all the YouTube postings about this song was funny. A lot of people saw Temptations and thought MoTown. As Johnny Carson would say to Ed McMahon, “not so fast minnow breath.” This favorite of mine charted 4/18/60 and reached #29 during a 10 week stay. It is from a white doo-wop group from Flushing, New York. They were one-hit wonders, if you can call #29 a hit. But I love this song, perhaps because I knew a number of very cute Barbara’s during the early 60′s.
Give a listen and let me know if you remember this song and if you like or liked it.
LONELY TEENAGER BY DION
I was on facebook today and the subject of stores near where I grew up was the topic. It made me think of this little hamburger place on Cypress Ave in Riverside. They had a juke box and I happened to notice one day their copy of “Lonely Teenager” by Dion was warped. It played well enough but I wanted that 45 and had them come out and see how the poor needle practically jumped all over the song and told them how a good needle like that would get ruined if they continued to leave that 45 rpm in their juke box. So, I bought it! Forget what I paid but I think it was 50 cents.
“Lonely Teenager” charted on 10/17/60 and peaked at #16. I always thought it was a better song than that. It was the first time Dion went solo. He hit it big by himself just short of a year later when “Runaround Sue” made it to #1. I’d take “Lonely Teenager” over “Runaround Sue.”
MEMORIES OF MARIA BY JERRY BYRD
It is time to get some new music on these pages. After a week in Yosemite, it has taken time to get back in the flow here. It is like you need a vacation from the vacation. This Rarely Heard was not checked out by my consultant, Johnny D., but it only got to #74 after 9 weeks of being on the charts. It hopped on the charts on 3/17/62, the same time its co-writer Roy Orbison was soaring to #4 with “Dream Baby.”
As you listen to this Jerry Byrd song, see if you can picture Roy singing the lyrics. Both Jerry Byrd and Roy Orbison were on the Monument label. Jerry only charted twice, once at #97 for a week (“Theme From Adventures in Paradise”) and “Memories of Maria.” However, he did hit #19 on the pop charts in 1950 with “Harbor Lights.”
BELIEVE ME BY THE ROYAL TEENS
The Rarely Heard this week is by a group that only charted three times. One was a big hit, one was a clunker and this one, which peaked at #26 and spent 15 weeks on the charts. The big hit was “Shorts Shorts” in early 1958. It peaked at #3. The clunker was “Harvey’s Got a Girl Friend,” which peaked at #78.
Then came the best (my opinion) of the three, “Believe Me,” which charted 10/26/59, the last time they would chart. Shortly after “Believe Me,” band member Bob Gaudio would leave to become a driving force with the Four Seasons. Gaudio wrote many of the Four Season’s hits with producer Bob Crewe.
On “Believe Me.” Bob Gaudio is playing piano. Listen to how he uses the piano, especially at the end, to add to the song. I love that little melody he plays as the song fades out. Or maybe it is just me…..lol. Anyone else notice it?
IT’S CHRISTMAS EVERYWHERE BY PAUL ANKA
1960 began well for Anka, as he hit #2 with “Puppy Love.” He was kept from having his third #1 (“Diana” and “Lonely Boy” had been #1’s in 1957 and 1959) by the nine weeks “A Summer Place” stayed at the top of the charts. Anka had two other top 15 hits in 1960, “My Home Town” and “Summer’s Gone,” numbers 8 and 11 respectively. He ended the year by releasing a Christmas LP, called “Merry Christmas.”
I have been listening to this Christmas song since 1960, but for most of you, this will be your first time. I hope you enjoy it, as I have all these years.
TELL ME (YOU’RE COMING BACK) BY THE ROLLING STONES
I had a dilemma picking the Rarely Heard this week. I decided on the Rolling Stones “Tell Me (You’re Coming Back)” because it was one of my favorite Stones songs. When I looked it up on the charts, right below it was another one I liked, “It’s All Over Now.” I noticed they both peaked in the mid 20′s, which was too low as far as I am concerned. Then I saw why. The record label, London, released them as two totally different songs, 3 weeks apart. So in July, 1964 you had the Stones competing with the Stones for air play and sales.
I looked at all the YouTube selections for each song and decided “Tell Me” would be the best choice. It has great sound, even though you get to watch the actual record play on the phonograph, or as we used to call them, the “record player.” Then I found a version of “It’s All Over Now” being played on a record player with a spindle like I used to have on my record player. I am fond of spindles because mine held an incredible 17 45 RPM’s and still rejected and dropped down for playing.
So which did I choose? As it says above, I choose “Tell Me” but I am sneaking in “It’s All Over Now” as a bonus for the week.
Before you listen, the details. “Tell Me” charted on 7/4/64, lasted 10 weeks and peaked at #24. “It’s All Over Now” charted on 7/21/64, lasted 10 weeks and peaked at #26.
LUCKY LADYBUG BY BILLY & LILLIE
Thank Johnny D. for this selection. If I recall correctly, this is the first 45 he ever bought. This was one of the songs his sister Jeanne used to teach Johnny how to dance. He became a very good dancer and still can shake the rug pretty well. I always loved this song because it was great for the Cha Cha, which was my favorite dance step. Johnny tells me it is rarely heard on Sirius so we are lucky to have it here.
Billy & Lillie were Billy Ford and Lillie Bryant. They charted four times beginning with their only top 10, “La Dee Dah” on 1/6/58. It went to #9 and stayed on the charts for 13 weeks. They followed that up with a flop called “Happiness” (#56) but came back on 12/22/58 to chart for the first of 13 weeks with “Lucky Ladybug,” which went to #14.
Billy credits his success to two valuable years with Cootie Williams. He then formed his own group called the Thunderbirds. The youngest member of that group, Lillie Bryant, became his singing partner when they signed with Swan Records.
APRIL LOVE BY PAT BOONE
For the Rarely Heard song this week I hired an expert to make the selection. John is an avid Sirius Radio listener and goes back and forth between channels 5 & 6, so he hears what is being played from the 50’s and 60’s. I, on the other hand, play my iPod for music and would not know what is being rarely heard.
Interestingly, John’s first selection was a huge hit, but is now rarely heard. April Love, which charted, not in April, but on 10/26/57, was #1 for six weeks and charted for 26 weeks. Heck, it could have been both the Oldie of the Week and the Rarely Heard at the same time.
TRIANGLE BY JANIE GRANT
This is another of my favorites that was not a huge hit. It actually made top 30, peaking at #29 after hitting the Hot 100 on 3/27/61.
Janie Grant, born in New York City in 1945, was discovered at a party by Sunbeam recording artist Gerry Granahan. A little about Gerry Granahan first.
Gerry recorded for Atco as Jerry Grant. He then formed Dicky Doo and the Don’ts and then the Fireflies. As Gerry Granahan he recorded “No Chemise, Please,” which charted on 6/9/58 and lasted 11 weeks and peaked at #23.
Gerry took Janie Grant to Caprice records, where she signed a contract. In April, 1961, while only 16 and a junior in high school, Janie had her first and only hit, “Triangle.”
I CAN’T SAY GOODBYE BY BOBBY VEE
This song should have been a top 10 hit! But it had the bad luck to get stuck on the b side of “Please Don’t Ask About Barbara.” I am convinced that if this song was released as a single, it would have been top 20 or better. It reminds me of “Run to Him,” which went to #2. And it is far better than the turkey, “Punish Her” that reached #20. However, being buried as a flip side, meant it had a one week stay (2/24/62) on the Hot 100 at #92.
For lots more information on Bobby Vee, see the Oldie of the Week, “Take Good Care of My Baby.”
CRY MYSELF TO SLEEP BY CHARLES WESTOVER, AKA DEL SHANNON
I love this section of the blog. Each week I get to pick a song I love to hear, have in my collection and know that others might hear it and think, ‘what was he thinking’. But there are always interesting facts that go along with the selections. So, even if you hate this song, you will learn something new about Charles Westover.
Let’s call him Del, shall we? Del entered the Army after graduation from high school in 1957. He appeared on the Get Up and Go Army radio show in Germany. After his discharge, he auditioned for Embee Records and on 3/6/61; “Runaway” hit the Hot 100 and moved all the way to #1 for 4 weeks. It was sold to Big Top records so that is the label on which it was released.
He followed up “Runaway” with “Hats Off to Larry”, which went to #5 after a 6/5/61 debut on the Hot 100. Del had one more top 10 song, “Keep Searchin’” in 1964. However, I submit “Cry Myself to Sleep” is a better song than “Keep Searchin’”. Take a listen and let me know if you agree.
A few more facts about Del. “Cry Myself to Sleep” spent one week on the Hot 100 at #99. It came out on 6/30/62. He wrote “I Go To Pieces” for Peter and Gordon (neat song) and died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound on 2/8/90 at the age of 55.
I used to produce an annual conference for a major hotel company and one year I arranged for some “Oldie” performers to play at one of our functions. Yep, Del was one of them. Before he would go on stage, he demanded more money than his contract said. We refused and he played anyway. Not long after, he shot himself. Hmmmm, I always wondered.
TOMORROW’S TEARDROPS BY JAN BARRY
In 1961, while listening to KFXM radio and the Bobby Griffin show, (he liked to say BG), I heard a song that was only played a handful of times before it found the bottom of the discard pile. I loved the song but never heard it again. When I tried to buy it, I could never find it. I tried Riverside’s top record store, Gillette’s Records. I tried Wallach’s Music City in Hollywood. No luck at either store.
The artist was a Jan Barry and the label was Ripple 6101. The flip side was My Midsummer Night’s Dream. This is the same Jan Berry (note the difference in spelling of the last name) who was half of Jan and Dean. It seems Jan recorded this on his own at the same time the duo was releasing Heart and Soul on Challenge records. In fact, the flip side of Heart and Soul is Midsummer Night’s Dream. Whoever provided the information for the Ripple label misspelled Jan’s last name.
I always had Tomorrow’s Teardrops on my mind as I would flip through hundreds of 45’s at used record stores or at swap meets. One day in Anaheim, while on business and with some time to kill, I came upon a small record store, and low and behold, in my hand was a copy of Tomorrow’s Teardrops. Unreal.
I politely asked how much it was and the nice woman behind the counter said, 25 cents. What? I would have paid $25.00. It is worth $40 in my latest collector’s book. I couldn’t believe she only wanted 25 cents. I paid her and walked out with one of my most prized 45’s.
So without further ado, here is Tomorrow’s Teardrops.
IT WAS I BY SKIP AND FLIP
This song was almost a top 10 hit in 1959. It peaked at #11 after hitting the Hot 100 on 6/22/59. But you don’t hear it much and I believe only those really in tune with 50′s/60′s music would know it is done by Skip and Flip. Among those who would know are John, Margaret and Doug. Kuodoo’s to you all.
Skip was Clyde Battin and Flip was Gary Paxton. What is written about them in my secret oldie books collection is far different than what Gary (Flip) will tell you himself before the song plays. Please note the fellow introducing Gary (Flip) wrongly identifies him as Skip. For the real trivia buffs (John, Margaret & Doug), you know Gary Paxton later formed the Hollywood Argyles and sang lead on the number one hit, Alley Opp in 1960. He also formed his own record label, Garpax records, which later had the number one hit in 1962, Monster Mash by Bobby “Boris” Pickett.
Skip and Flip followed up It Was I with a flop called Fancy Nancy (peaked at #71) but rebounded with Cherry Pie which also went to # 11 in 1960. They also released a song called Betty Jean, but it didn’t even hit the Hot 100.
So listen to this cool story from Gary Flip Paxton and then the sounds of It Was I….
SPARKLE AND SHINE BY THE FOUR COQUETTES….
Sparkle and Shine by the Four Coquettes (sometimes shown as Cal Quettes). This song came out in 1961 but never charted. I bought the 45, still have it, and now will be adding it to my iTunes.
THE DREAMER BY NEIL SEDAKA….
This week for a rarely heard but great oldie, I turned to Neil Sedaka. Neil had 3 number 1 hits, Breaking Up Is Hard To Do, Laughter in the Rain and Bad Blood with Elton John. He first charted on 12/14/58 with The Diary. He had back to back top 5 hits in 1962 but 1963 found him releasing 4 songs but none made it higher than # 17.
This selection, The Dreamer, was the worst charting of the four songs released in ’63. It made it to #47 but no further. I, however, thought it was one of his better songs. It should have been a top 10 hit, but not enough people agreed with me.
For your listening pleasure, The Dreamer by Neil Sedaka.