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From the Land of Band Box Records

What Would Janet Do? – Part 1

February 2, 2015
craigr244

Janet – The Ring of Fire Girl

A while after I first met my future wife-for-life – Janet (just the cutest little thing ever!) I wormed my way into her record collection.  Like so many others she owned all of the Beatle LP’s released up to that point which was mid 1967.  But what I particularly found stacked next to her portable record player with built-in speakers was her collection of 45’s.

Janet (right side) during her Wayward Wind Stage

Janet (right side) during her Wayward Wind Stage

Now the ones I can most vividly recall at this point are three:

Nino Tempo & April Stevens – “Deep Purple”

TEMPO & STEVENS - PHOTOTEMPO & STEVENS - DEEP PURPLE

“Deep Purple” by brother and sister team Nino Tempo and April Stevens.  This one was an old classic recut by Atco Records with a jazzed up tempo.  I remember Janet telling me how her mother was quite “put off” by the “rock and roll” treatment of this classic song (this coming from my soon to be mother-in-law who would go on to like “Cool Jerk” by the Capitols – another Atco Records group.

“Deep Purple” charted six different times with the three earliest versions all coming out in 1939 by orchestras led by Jimmy Dorsey, Guy Lombardo and Larry Clinton. R&B group The Dominoes fronted by Billy Ward, would chart on the Hot 100 (#20) in 1957 with the song – a follow up to their number 12 release “Star Dust”.

The Tempo and Stevens’ version would chart in September of 1963 and would reach the number 1 spot and number 4 on the R&B charts (#17 U.K.).  The team would never match the “Deep Purple” degree of success but did follow it up with a #11 hit in “Whispering” another old classic – also in 1963.

Gogi Grant – “The Wayward Wind”

GOGI GRANT - WAYWARD WIND SM GOGI GRANT - WAYWARD WIND

I don’t know when Janet obtained this record.  It landed on the Hot 100 Charts in April of 1956 when Janet was just 10 years old – and was another #1 smash hit.  The song held that position for 8 weeks.  I used to like to march around the room in step with the tempo of the “The Wayward Wind”.

Johnny Cash – “The Ring of Fire”

JOHNNY CASH - RING OF FIRE PS JOHNNY CASH - RING OF FIRE R

You would have to say that Janet had very diverse tastes in music.  “The Ring of Fire” charted in September of 1963 when Janet was a Junior at Denver’s Catholic girl’s school Mary Crest in North Denver.  The song was a crossover hit for Cash hitting number 1 on the Country Charts and number 17 on the Hot 100.  It was Johnny’s 46 charting single.  He would go on to chart a total of 133 times.  The song was written by his second wife June Carter along with Merle Kilgore.  June also penned “The Matador” and Rosanna’s Going Wild” for Johnny.

2 Comments

  1. Janet had three killers there; no wonder you fell for her!

    “Deep Purple” was the third try at updating an oldie by this brother/sister team. “Sweet and Lovely” (Atco 6224, 1962, a minor masterpiece and the prototype of this particular sound) and “Indian Love Call”/”Paradise” (Atco 6248, 1963, which I’ve never heard) preceded it, as did the haunting “Together” (Atco 6263, 1963, an all-time favorite of mine and a total stiff in the marketplace, although it got airplay). “April & Nino” was actually a second incarnation for both Ms,. Stevens, who in the early 1950s was notorious as a very sexy singer, similar to Julie London but more blatant; and Mr. LoTempio (the family name), who was already one of Phil Spector’s on-call session men in New York.

    Re: Gogi Grant, she was Era’s breakthrough artist. She had previously been on RCA Victor and was a known quantity in the middle-road market. Like Janet – and you – I loved that record, and remember hearing it on the air when it was new; it sounded as big as the entire west!

    And Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire” – what a radical crossover sound that was: his “patented” clip-clop, mariachi horns, and a powerful song written by his future sister-in-law, Anita Carter. For a much different reading of this exquisite song, listen to the author’s shimmering version: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OlWGsaorj6U. What a clear crystalline voice!

    Keep up the good posts!

  2. Updates:

    I stand corrected; according to Wikipedia “Ring of Fire” was co-written by Anita’s sister June Carter and Merle Kilgore.

    Here’s the aforementioned April & Nino version of “Sweet & Lovely”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0jg2sUchAvU – and it’s even in real stereo!

    Their “(We’ll Always Be) Together” is available at various mp3 outlets. Worth finding!

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