I always had a soft spot for the Lettermen – “The Way You Look Tonight” from 1961 – their first hit record is a great slow dance for any reunion from that era. I remember hearing “How is Julie?” in 1962 and immediately started to track it down. It was hard to find in my neighborhood with a Woolworths that only carried the top 20 and a few bubbling under songs.
So I made my way to a small music shop located in West Denver’s Barnum and placed a mail order for the record. Had to wait about two weeks to get a call back to come in and fetch my record. But it was worth it. “How is Julie” was the Lettermen’s fourth charting single and it peaked at #43 in the U.S. The song was co-written by Barry De Vorzon who also co-wrote Dorsey Burnette’s “Hey Little One” as well as his own “Nadia’s Theme”.
Next is “Come Back Silly Girl” which was The Lettermen’s 3rd charting record (February, 1962 – #17). This song was co-written by the great Brill Building composer Barry Mann (without his usual partner and wife Cynthia Weil). I played this one a lot in the privacy of my bedroom because in West Denver it would not have been real cool to admit that this was a favorite. The Barnum Gang would have pounded me hard!
And finally there is 1962’s “Silly Boy (She Doesn’t Love You” (August – #81). This song defined me well – and yes, The Barnum Gang would have once again pounded me for this one. Co-Composer on this one is Dave Burgess of Champs fame.
The Lettermen would chart for the final time in 1975 with “You Are My Sunshine Girl” which reached #28 on the Adult Contemporary Charts. The trio had 38 charting singles over the years. The mainstream Lettermen lineup consisted of Tony Butala, Jim Pike and Bob Engemann. Butala and Pike originally were in the group The Upstarts. Engemann is deceased. Many have come and gone in various Lettermen lineups – including two additional Pikes.