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From the Land of Band Box Records

Bob Crewe’s Six Decade Journey In Pop Music

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Bob Crewe was born in November of 1930 in Newark, New Jersey  Robert Stanley Crewe.  Early on he set his sights on a career in architecture but fortunately for us – he changed directions when he met up with record composer/producer/talent scout Frank Slay Jr., in the early 1950’s.

Slay and Guadio would form their own record label “XYZ” and it was from that endeavor that they would release a song composed by the duo titled “Silhouettes” by the Rays.  The R&B group had released a couple of previous singles – one on Chess and one on Argo before coming to XYZ and cutting “Silhouettes” along with the B side “Daddy Cool”.  Both tracks were composed in a single day.  “Silhouettes” hit the top of charts for the Rays and was covered by Canada’s Diamonds who took it to number 10.

Frank Slay, Jr.

XYZ Records wouldn’t experience much more in the way of recording success – releasing singles by nine other very obscure artists.

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The Rays

Silhouettes hit the streets in August of 1957 and quickly gained the attention of Cameo/Parkway Records who picked it up and released it in September of the same year.  Crewe and Slay were in business for good.  They teamed up penning songs for the Swan record label for artists Danny and the Juniors, Billy and Lillie and above all, Freddy “Boom Boom” Cannon.

The Swans

His next project 1961 brought him into collaboration with former Royal Teen Bob Gaudio – as Bob was embarking on a career as part of the Four Seasons.  The two collaborated on the single “Sherry” with Gaudio composing and Crewe producing.  The Seasons had scored one lonely chart single – a meager number 63 with “You’re The Apple of My Eye” recording as the Four Lovers back in 1956 in their pre-Guadio days.

And so, “Sherry” was just the tonic – soaring to number 1 on both the Hot 100 and R&B Charts.  More number one’s would follow with Crewe sharing the composing duties.  The writing team would stay together for many hits and many years.

Crewe was so encouraged by the his success with the Four Seasons that he attempted to create a female version calling them “The Rag Dolls” – but with little success – The group was headed up by lead singer Jean Thomas

Crewe’s Rag Dolls

All the while, Crewe continued to experience some success with other artists including Jerry Butler, Barbara Lewis, Diane Renay, Maxine Brown and Mitch Ryder to name just a few.

A Biggie for Crewe

Bob Crewe as a solosinger – recorded nearly 50 singles and a handful of LP’s, but only experienced moderate success with his “Bob Crewe Generation” tracks and so contented himself with moving from decade to decade churning out the hits.  (“Music to Watch Girls By” was originally a Diet Pepsi Cola commercial)

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In the mid 1960’s Crewe formed the record label Dyno-Voice which featured Mitch Ryder, Eddie Rambeau, Norma Tanega and girl group The Toys of “A Lover’s Concerto” (number 2) and “Attack” (number 18) fame.  Those two hits came from the pens of Denny Randell and Sandy Linzer – writers who teamed up often with Crewe to turn out charting singles especially for the Four Seasons.

In the mid 1970’s Crewe would compose for a group on the 20th Century label “The Eleventh Hour” a group which featured Kenny Nolan who would go onto work with Crewe as well as find solo success.

Kenny Nolan

Crewe enjoyed a lengthy and prolific career as both a composer and producer with nearly 140 of his songs reaching the pop charts.  His final charting song occurred in 2012 “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You” by Andy Williams – making a very brief appearance on the UK Charts the month following Andy’s passing away at age 84.

Bob Crewe was truly one of the elites among pop hit writers, giving us many wonderful moments of pleasure to those great old 45’s through the years.  Crewe enjoyed a career in music that spanned six decades and truly left his mark on pop music.

Bob Crewe in Cash Box

November 23rd, 1957 – Charm Bracelet on Vik Records

February 27th, 1960 – Water Boy on Warwick Records

December 25th, 1965 – Thanks to Cash Box from Dyno Voice Records

December 17th, 1966 – The Girl Watchers on Amy Records

June 3rd, 1967 – You Only Live Twice – United Artists Records

February 24th, 1968 Moulin Rouge – On Dynovoice Records

Bob Crewe Selected Discography

The Bay City Rollers – Number 1 UK – 1975

The B.B.C. Generation – Number 56 Hot 100 – 1976

Billy and Lillie – Number 89 Hot 100 – 1959

Billy and Lillie – Number 56 Hot 100 – 1958

Billy and Lillie – Number 9 Hot 100 – 1957

Billy and Lillie – Number 14 Hot 100 – 1958

Maxine Brown – Number 98 Hot 100 – 1962

Peabon Bryson & Roberta Flack – Number 58 Hot 100 – Number 41 R&B – 1981

Jerry Butler – Number 68 Hot 100 – 1963

Freddy Cannon – Number 43 Hot 100 – 1959

Freddy Cannon – Number 3 Hot 100 – Number 14 R&B – 1959

Freddy Cannon – Number 83 Hot 100 – 1960

Freddy Cannon – Number 51 Hot 100 – 1961

Freddy Cannon – Number 92 Hot 100 – 1962

Vikki Carr – Number 79 Hot 100 – 1969

David Carroll – Number 102 Bubbling Under – 1962

The Bob Crewe Generation – Number 15 Hot 100 – 1967

Bob Crewe – Number 126 Bubbling Under – 1967

The Bob Crewe Generation – Humber 129 Bubbling Under – 1967

The Bob Crewe Generation – Number 89 Hot 100 – 1967

Danny & The Juniors – Number 60 Hot 100 – 1961

Danny & the Juniors – Number 68 Hot 100 – 1962

The Diamonds – Number 10 Hot 100 – 1957

Disco-Tex & The Sex-O-Lettettes – Number 10 Hot 100 – Number 32 R&B – 1974

Disco-Tex & The Sex-O-Lettes – Number 112 Bubbling Under 23 Hot 100 – Number 33 R&B – 1975

Disco-Tex & The Sex-O-Lettes – Number 80 Hot 100 – 1975

The Distant Cousins – Number 112 Bubbling Under – 1966

The Eleventh Hour – Number 95 Hot 100 – 1974

The Eleventh Hour – Number 55 Hot 100 – Number 45 R&B – 1975

The Four Seasons – Number 1 Hot 100 – Number 1 R&B – 1962

The Four Seasons – Number 1 Hot 100 – Number 3 R&B – 1963

The Four Seasons – Number 77 Hot 100 – 1963

The Four Seasons – Number 36 Hot 100 – 1963

The Four Seasons – Number 88 Hot 100 – 1963

The Four Seasons – Number 6 1964 Hot 100 – 1964

The Four Seasons – Number 1 Hot 100 – Number 2 UK – 1964

The Four Seasons – Number 10 Hot 100 – 1964

The Four Seasons – Number 12 Hot 100 – 1965

The Four Seasons – Number 64 Hot 100 – 1965

The Four Seasons – Number 30 Hot 100 – 1965

The Four Seasons – Number 3 Hot 100 – 1965

The Futures – Number 79 R&B – 1981

The Fuzzy Bunnies – Number 115 Bubbling Under – 1968

Leslie Gore – Number 115 Bubbling Under – 1966

Leslie Gore – Number 65 Hot 100 – 1967

Gerri Granger – Number 108 Bubbling Under – 1975

Herman’s Hermits – Number 5 Hot 100 – 1965

Labelle – Number 1 Hot 100 – Number 1 R&B – 1975

Labelle – Number 99 R&B – 1975

The Lettermen – Number 7 Hot 100 – 1967

Barbara Lewis – Number 113 Bubbling Under – Number 47 R&B – 1964

Barry Manilow – Number 32 Hot 100 – 1981

Al Martino – Number 54 Hot 100 – Number 1 Adult Contemporary – 1967

The Mary Jane Girls – Number 41 Hot 100 – Number 81 R&B – 1986

From Movie Moulin Rouge – Number 1 Hot 100 – Number 1 UK – Number 43 R&B – 2001 (CD)

Nielsen/Pearson – Number 56 Hot 100 – 1981

Lenny O’Henry – Number 98 Hot 100 – 1964

The Orlons – Did Not Chart – Preceded the Four Seasons version – 1962

The Orlons – Number 64 Hot 100 – Number 23 R&B – 1964

The Osmonds – Number 22 Hot 100 – Number 1 Adult Contemporary – 1975

The Rag Dolls – Number 10 Hot 100 – 1964

The Rag Dolls – Number 55 Hot 100 – 1965

Eddie Rambeau – Number 112 Bubbling Under – 1965

The Rays – Number 95 Hot 100 – Number 3 R&B – 1959

The Rays – Number 95 Hot 100 – 1959

The Rays – Number 49 Hot 100 – 1961

Diane Renay – Number 6 Hot 100 – 1964

Diane Renay – Number 124 Bubbling Under – 1964

Diane Renay – Number 131 Bubbling Under – 1964

Diane Renay – Number 101 Bubbling Under – 1964

Mitch Ryder & the Detroit Wheels – Number 10 Hot 100 – 1965

Mitch Ryder & the Detroit Wheels – Number 112 Bubbling Under – 1966

Mitch Ryder & the Detroit Wheels – Number 6 Hot 100 – 1967

Mitch Ryder & the Detroit Wheels – Number 106 Bubbling Under – 1968

Mitch Ryder & the Detroit Wheels – Number 122 Bubbling Under – 1968

Linda Scott – Number 135 Bubbling Under – 1965

Senator Bobby – Number 108 Bubbling Under – 1968

The Shepherd Sisters – Number 94 Hot 100 – 1963

The Tremeloes – Number 11 Hot 100 – Number 1 UK – 1967

Frankie Valli – Number 128 Bubbling Under – 1965

Frankie Valli – Number 39 Hot 100 – 1966

Frankie Valli – Number 12 Hot 100 – 1966

Frankie Valli – Number 68 Hot 100 – 1966

Frankie Valli – Number 2 Hot 100 – 1967

Frankie Valli – Number 18 Hot 100 – 1967

Frankie Valli – Number 7 Hot 100 – 1967

Frankie Valli – Number 1 Hot 100 – 1974

Frankie Valli – Number 6 Hot 100 – Number 31 R&B – 1975

Frankie Valli – Number 77 Hot 100 – 1979

The Walker Brothers – Number 4 Hot 100 – 1966

Nancy Wilson – Number 52 Hot 100 – Number 27 R&B – 1969

Bob Crewe Long Plays

LP – Warwick – Kicks – 1960

LP – Warwick – Crazy In the Heart – 1961

LP – Philips – Plays the Four Seasons Hits – 1964

LP – Dynovoice – Music to Watch Girls By – Number 15 Hot 100 – Number 2 U.K. – 1967

LP – Dynavoice – Music to Watch Birds By – 1967

LP – Dynavoice – Barbarella Soundtrack – 1968

LP – Elektra – Motivation – 1977

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