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From the Land of Band Box Records

Spotlight: Sammy Davis Jr.

July 5, 2020
craigr244

Billboard Magazine ran mini-biographies from 1959 into the early 1960’s sometimes providing us with interesting tidbits – Each biography was generally tied to a current release on behalf of the artist

Sammy Davis Jr. (“What Kind Of Fool Am I”)

Charted Number 17 Hot 100 –

Probably more so than any member of the ‘Rat Pack’, Sammy Davis Jr., moved with smooth precision from era to era, steeping himself in the pop standards beginning in the early 1950’s and continuing on into the hip and turbulent 60’s transitioning in the 70’s as a frequent guest on Laugh-In and adopting a “peace and love” mantra for the younger crowd – something that ‘Old Blue Eye’s’ probably did not consider doing – for a minute.

Sammy Davis Jr. was born Samuel George Davis Jr. in December of 1925 in Harlem, New York.  He entered the world of entertainment at the very young age of three teaming up with his father Sammy Davis Sr., as a vaudeville act.  There is some adorable film footage out there of young Sammy strutting his stuff – born to entertain.

Sammy would work his way into dancing in Vaudeville,  Broadway productions, motion pictures, television and, of course, a lengthy and productive recording career.

To Topps It Off

When I was about 12 years old I was walking with my father in Hollywood just exiting a pharmacy located close to Hollywood and Vine – We had gone in search of some late-series Topps Baseball Cards.  It was September, just before school began, and I was hoping to locate hard-to-find ‘7th series’ cards.  Topps would issue their cards back in the 1950’s in seven different series starting from the lowest numbers working up to the final series in September.

The challenge back in Denver, Colorado was locating a corner grocery store that would carry the 7th series.  By September the store owners no longer wanted to stock baseball cards – making room for the upcoming (and less popular) football cards.  And so – the coveted 7th series cards were hard to find (and later would be worth much more than series 2 through 6 – The first series was also rare because proprietors weren’t ready to place orders for baseball cards because all of us collecting kids were still in school.

At any rate – Hollywood DID have the 7th series and so I was walking down Vine Street in radiant daze when we passed Sammy Davis Jr. on the sidewalk.  Mom and Dad were excited – I wasn’t real sure who he was – He had a patch covering one eye – and eye he lost in 1954 in an accident – and so that day Sammy Davis Jr., for me – took a back seat to the Topps’ 7th Series!

Willie Mays – Card Number 5 & Eddie Kasko – Card Number 8 – First Series 1958 Topps

1958 Topps #5 - Willie Mays - Giants' Hall of Fame Outfielder1958 Topps Eddie Kasko #8w Baseball - VCP Price Guide

Well, back to Sammy Davis Jr. – He cut his teeth performing with his father and uncle Will in the “Will Mastin Trio”.  At age 7 he appeared in the 1933 film “Rufus Jones For President” with Ethel Waters.

Davis served in the U.S. Army where he was assigned to the entertainment section – but was often accosted by southern white soldiers – After his stint in the armed forces he would sign on with Capitol Records recording as “Shorty Muggins” and also “Charlie Green”.  He would rejoin his family working again in the Will Mastin Trio in the early 1950’s.

The Will Mastin Trio: Sammy Davis Sr., Sammy Davis Jr. & Will ...

In 1959 Davis would join up with Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Joey Bishop and Peter Lawford in what Sinatra originally called the “Clan”.  Davis expressed concern for the name with the obvious comparison and so Sinatra renamed his group of comrades the “Summit”.  It would be when actress Angie Dickinson (an honorary Summit member) would come across the gang early one morning after a night of their carousing that she said they looked like a “pack of rats”.  It stuck. (Another version attributes the moniker to Lauren Bacall – and there are others)

Surprisingly for me the original Rat Pack was a loose amalgamation of Hollywood types with only Frank Sinatra from the more noted Pack among them.  Some of the ‘members’ were Judy Garland, Mickey Rooney, Robert Mitchum, Elizabeth Taylor and Jerry Lewis!

The 1960’s version with the five shown below also included Rat Pack “mascots” among them Marilyn Monroe, Don Rickles, Shirley MacLaine, Buddy Greco and Juliet Prowse.

Paramount Sets Charles Murray To Write Biopic Of Sammy Davis Jr ...

In Davis’s early days in Vegas performing at the Frontier he was required to room in the black section of the city on the opposite side of town – as were all black performers.

His career would have it’s ups and downs – comebacks – successes and set backs but Davis always seemed to land on his feet.  During the late 1960’s Davis and Elvis Presley would become close during their overlapping time in Vegas.

Sammy’s songs were never very well accepted by the black community – in fact – only one song during his career ever appeared on the R&B Charts the – to me – unlikely 1963 hit “The Shelter of Your Arms”.

March on Washington – August, 1963

Davis’s near marriage to Kim Novak was halted by organized crime – and he was threatened with great harm to end the relationship.  Davis certainly endured many harrowing race based incidents but managed to stand tall and keep moving forward.

At one point Davis was banned by President Kennedy from his inauguration because he was married to May Britt a white actress.  Where Kennedy spurned Davis, later on President Richard Nixon would became close friends with the entertainer.

Davis was a tireless performer on behalf of the U.S. armed forces stationed in Vietnam and championed helping soldiers addicted to drugs – very common in Vietnam.  His recording chart success would come to a halt as far as singles go after the release of “All of You” in late 1956.  It would be nearly six years before he appeared again coming on with “What Kind Of Fool Am I” on Sinatra’s affiliated label Reprise.

Sammy’s final charting single was something of an anomally – “Smoke, Smoke, Smoke (That Cigarette)” would be Sammy’s one and only appearance on the nation’s Country Charts.

Country Sammy – On the Rifleman

Again – much of Davis’ work was lost forever in the 2008 Universal Studio fire.

Soundgarden, Hole Take Legal Action Over 2008 Universal Fire

Sammy Davis Jr. passed away losing a battle to cancer in March of 1990 at the age of 1990.

Sammy Davis Jr Selected Discography

Pretty much sticking to Sammy’s charting songs along with some milestone recordings.

78 – Capitol 943 – Laura!!! b/w Inka Dinka Doo – April, 1950

(The earliest recording I could locate for Sammy)

45 – Decca 29199 – Hey There Number 16 Pop Charts – Number 19 UK b/w And This Is My Beloved – June, 1954

45 EP – Decca 2285 – Sammy Davis , Jr. Sings Just For Lovers – 1955

45 – Decca 29484 – Love Me Or Leave Me Number 12 Pop Charts – Number 8 UK b/w Something’s Gotta Give Number 9 Pop Charts – Number 11 UK – April, 1955

45 – Decca 29541 – That Old Black Magic Number 13 Pop Charts – Number 16 UK b/w A Man With A Dream – June, 1955

45 – Decca 29672 – I’ll Know Number 87 Pop Charts b/w Adelaide – October, 1955

45 – Decca 29759 – In A Persian Market Number 19 Pop Charts – Number 28 UK Charts b/w The Man With The Golden Arm – December, 1955

45 – Decca 29976 – Five Number 71 Pop Charts b/w You’re Sensational – June, 1956

45 – Decca 30035 – Earthbound Number 46 Pop Charts b/w Just One Of Those Things – July, 1956

45 – Decca 30111 – New York’s My Home Number 59 Pop Charts b/w Never Like This – October, 1956

45 – Decca 29402 – All Of You Number 28 UK b/w Six Bridges To Cross – December, 1956

45 EP – Decca 2507 – Sammy Swings – 1957

45 EP – Decca 2562 – Mood To Be Wooed – 1958

45 EP – Decca 2647 – Porgy & Bess – 1959

45 – Decca 31136 – I Got A Woman Number 111 Bubbling Under Charts b/w Mess Around – September, 1960

45 – Reprise 20,003 – Back In Your Own Backyard Number 118 Bubbling Under Charts b/w I’m A Fool To Want You – April, 1961

45 – Reprise 20,048 – What Kind Of Fool Am I Number 17 Pop Charts – Number 6 Adult Contemporary – Number 26 UK b/w Gonna Build A Mountain – August, 1962

45 – Reprise 20,128 – Me and My Shadow (with Frank Sinatra) b/w Sam’s Song (with Dean Martin) – November, 1962

45 – Reprise 20.138 – As Long As She Needs Me Number 59 Pop Charts – Number 19 Adult Contemporary b/w Song From Two For the Seesaw – A Second Chance” – January, 1963

45 – Reprise 20,126 – The Shelter Of Your Arms Number 17 Pop Charts – Number 3 R&B – Number 6 Adult Contemporary – October, 1963

45 – Reprise 0278 – Choose Number 112 Bubbling Under Charts b/w Bee-Bom Number 135 Bubbling Under Charts – May, 1964

45 – Reprise 0289 – Not For Me b/w Night Song – June, 1964

45 – Reprise 0322 – Don’t Shut Me Out Number 106 Bubbling Under Charts b/w The Disorderly Orderly – October, 1964

45 – Reprise 0345 – If I Ruled The World Number 135 Bubbling Under Charts b/w Flash, Bang, Wallop! – February, 1965

45 – Reprise 0370 – No On Can Live Forever Number 33 Adult Contemporary – Number 117 Bubbling Under Charts b/w Unforgettable – May, 1965

45 – Reprise 0566 – Don’t Blame The Children Number 37 Pop Charts b/w She Believes In Me – May, 1967

45 – Reprise 0673 – Lonely Is The Name Number 93 Pop Charts – Number 12 Adult Contemporary b/w Flash, Bang, Wallup! – March, 1968

45 – Reprise 0757 – Break My Mind Number 106 Bubbling Under Charts b/w Children, Children – July, 1968

45 – Reprise 0779 – I’ve Gotta Be Me Number 1 Adult Contemporary – Number 11 Pop Charts b/w Bein’ Natural Bein’ Me – October, 1968

45 – Decca 732470 – Rhythm Of Life Number 124 Bubbling Under Charts b/w The Pompeii Club (Rich Man’s Frug) – April, 1969

45 – Reprise 0827 – I Have But One Life To Live Number 119 Bubbling Under Charts b/w The Goin’ sGreat – May, 1969

45 – MGM 14320 – The Candy Man Number 1 Pop Charts – Number 1 Adult Contemporary b/w I Want To Be Happy – November, 1971

45 – MGM 14426 – The People Tree Number 92 Pop Charts – Number 16 Adult Contemporary b/w Mr. Bojangles – September, 1972

45 – MGM 14513 – (I’d Be) A Legend In My Time Number 29 Adult Contemporary – Number 116 Bubbling Under Charts – March, 1973

45 – MGM 14685 – Singin’ In The Rain Number 16 Adult Contemporary b/w Chattanooga Choo Choo – February, 1974

45 – MGM 17436- That’s Entertainment Number 41 Adult Contemporary b/w Singiin’ In the Rain – March, 1974

45 –  20th Century 2160 – Chico and the Man Number 24 Adult Contemporary b/w (I’d Be) A Legend In My Time – December, 1974

45 – 20th Century – Song and Dance Man Number 32 Adult Contemporary b/w Snap Your Fingers – September, 1975

45 – MGM – Baretta’s Theme (Keep Your Eye On The Sparrow) Number 101 Bubbling Under Charts – Number 42 Adult Contemporary b/w I Heard A Song – April, 1970

45 – Applause 100 – Smoke, Smoke, Smoke (That Cigarette) Number 88 Country b/w We Could Have Been Closest Of Friends – 1982

Sammy Davis Jr. Selected Long Play Discography

LP – Decca 8118 – Starring Sammy Davis Jr. – 1955

One of if not the earliest of Sammy Davis’ long plays – did not chart

LP – Reprise 6051 – What Kind Of Fool Am I & Other Show Stoppers – Number 14 Hot 100 – October, 1962

LP – Reprise 6063 – Sammy Davis Jr. AT The Cocoanut Grove – Number 96 Hot 200 – March, 1963

LP – Reprise 6082 – As Long As She Needs Me – Number 73 Hot 200 – May, 1963

LP – Reprise 6095 – Sammy Davis Jr. Salutes The Stars Of the London Palladium – Number 139 Hot 200 – March, 1964

LP – Reprise 6114 – The Shelter Of Your Arms – Number 46 – April, 1964

LP – Verve 8605 – Our Shining Hour (with Count Basie) – Number 141 Hot 200 – March, 1965

LP – Reprise 6169 – Sammy’s Back On Broadway – Number 104 Hot 200 – September, 1965

LP – Reprise 6324 – I’ve Gotta Be Me – Number 24 Hot 200 – January, 1969

LP – MGM 4832 – Sammy Davis Jr. Now – Number 11 Hot 200 – April, 1972

LP – MGM 4852 – Portrait Of Sammy Davis Jr. – Number 128 Hot 200 – October, 1972

Sun’s Teenage Queen!

July 3, 2020
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Barbara Pittman

Barbara Pittman did record her Sun related tracks in the famous Sun studio – She was born in April of 1938 in Memphis, Tennessee and was actually a neighbor and acquainted with Elvis once he was living in Memphis.  Barbara would be introduced to Sam Phillips through Presley (who was by then with RCA Victor).  Her biography indicates that she was first turned away by Sun (apparently not Phillips) and told to return when she ‘learned to sing’ and had ‘grown up’.

As a young girl she landed a singing job in Memphis at a place called “The Eagle’s Nest” and was actually paid – but got in some trouble for being under age.

Lash LaRue - Wikipedia

Prior to recording at Sun, Pittman – still a teenager – worked with Lash LaRue in his western shows.  Then she started singing with Clyde Leoppard’s Snearly Ranch Boys performing in Memphis.  Members of Clyde’s band would back Pittman on her initial Sun session,

Barbara Pittman Photos (3 of 5) | Last.fm

Barbara has the distinction of being the only female singer who actually obtained a recording contract from Sam Phillips.  How did she end up on the Phillips International record label?  Sam apparently gave her a choice and she picked it because she thought it was a “pretty label”.  Barbara received a hundred dollar check for her signing.

On occasion she worked as a session background singer at Sun with Hank Byers, Stan Kesler, Elsie Sappington and Jimmy Knight referred to as the “Sunrays”. In an interview Barbara said that Phillip’s was aiming at an “Anita Kerr Singers” type thing and in her opinion it was a “total disaster”.

Barbara dated song composer Jack Clement and became his inspiration for a tune he composed called “Ballad of a Teenage Queen” made famous by Johnny Cash!

Barbara’s final Sun recording was “Handsome Man” which was laden with strings and overproduction due to Phillips not being present for the session due to an illness.  Up until then it would be the label’s most costly production session.  The song was composed by Sun artist Charlie Rich and he provided piano parts for the recording.  The flip side of the record “The Eleventh Commandment” was banned by many southern radio stations!

“Handsome Man”

Barbara would eventually make her way to southern California where, pon her arrival in Hollywood she was assisted by the Burnette brothers – Dorsey and Johnny who worked to obtain contacts for her.

Once settled, Barbara would record songs for a trio of motorcycle genre films (shown below) as part of “Barbara & the Visitors”.  The Sunrays released one single in 1958 (below).  She also recorded a song for the 1966 film “Dr. Goldfoot and the Girl Bombs” titled “Making Love Is Fun”.  The song was released as a single by “The Crossfires” in November of 1966.  Fabian was one of the stars of the movie.

Dr. Goldfoot and the Girl Bombs (1966) - IMDb

Barbara’s career fell on hard times and at one point she lost her house and went into bankruptcy but managed to live out a happy life.

Pittman passed away in October of 2005 back in her birth town of Memphis.  Barbara is an inductee of the Rockabilly Hall of Fame.

78/45 – Sun 253 – I Need A Man b/w No Matter Who’s To Blame – September, 1956

(Last name spelled “Pitman”)

78/45 Phillips International 3518 – Two Young Fools In Love b/w I’m Getting Better All The Time – September, 1957

(Last named spelled “Pittman”)

45 – Phillips International 3527 – Cold Cold Heart b/w Everlasting Love – June, 1958

45 – Phillips International 3553 – The Eleventh Commandment b/w Handsome Man – April, 1960

45 – Sun 293 – The Sunrays – Love Is A Stranger b/w The Lonely Hours – April, 1958

45 – Manhattan 810 – The Thirteenth Committee – You Really Got A Hold On Me b/w Sha La La – 1967

Apparently Barbara recorded with this unknown group during her time in California

Spotlight: Byrnes & Stevens

July 2, 2020
craigr244

Billboard Magazine ran mini-biographies from 1959 into the early 1960’s sometimes providing us with interesting tidbits – Each biography was generally tied to a current release on behalf of the artist

Edward Byrnes and Connie Stevens Spotlight: (“Kookie Kookie Lend Me Your Comb”)

Charted Number 4 Hot 100 – April, 1959

Edd Byrnes

Edd “Kookie” Byrnes Dies: '77 Sunset Strip' Teen Idol & 'Grease ...

Edd Byrnes and Connie Stevens came together for the recording of “Kookie, Kookie (Lend Me Your Comb) from a 1959 pairing on one episode of the TV show “77 Sunset Strip”.

Edward Byrne Breitenberger was born in New York City on July 30th, 1932.  Edward took his acting last name “Byrnes” from his grandfather “Edward Byrne” in a move to distance himself from a not-so-good relationship with his own father.

He began his career as a model for photo ads as a teenager while still in high school.  Then, in the mid 1950’s he hooked up with a theater group in Connecticut.  Taking a shot at Broadway didn’t pan out and so he turned his attention to Television, landing his first role on a program called “Crossroads”.  Other minor appearances would follow on other TV series before he decided to make his move to Hollywood.

He was cast in several productions – all minor roles.  He would audition for a part in the 1957 movie “Bernardine” but didn’t make the cut (Pat Boone was the choice).  A long succession of minor roles would follow until he took a part in a TV show called “Girl On The Run”.  That was the break he was waiting for – The show morphed into a full fledged series “77 Sunset Strip” with Byrnes (now changing his name from Edward to “Edd”) taking the role of “Kookie”.

Connie Stevens

Connie Stevens was born Concetta Rosalie Ann Ingoglia in Brooklyn, New York in August of 1938.

Connie was a versatile actress getting her big start in the role of Cricket Blake in Hawaiian Eye.  As a teen she was a member of a group called “The Fourmost” along with future Letterman Tony Butala.  Then, in 1953 Connie made the move to Hollywood as all good actors eventually do where she would become a member of a singing group called “The Three Dots”.

Her first significant acting role came in 1957 appearing in “The Young and the Dangerous” – a teen flick.

Composing Dream Teams

Connie’s recording career certainly received support from the creme de la creme of Brill Building composers including Carol King with Gerry Goffin, Hal David with Burt Bacharach, Lee Pockriss with Paul Vance – and west coast writers P.F. Sloan and Steve Barri, also Jackie DeShannon with Randy Newman.   Connie even recorded one track from the composing “Rogers” – Cook and Greenaway from England – who had recorded as “David and Jonathan” of “Michelle” fame.

Unfortunately their contributions didn’t pay great dividends.

Byrnes and Stevens teamed up for only this one release on Warner Brothers.  Connie is able to effortlessly lapse into her birth given New York accent in her attempt to relieve the obsessed Kookie of his comb.

Byrnes would release a series of singles attempting to capture the chart success of Kookie but the magic was gone.  A follow up minor hit “Like I Love You” listed Kookie’s partner as “Friend”.  There was some controversy as to identity of “Friends” first thought to be Joanie Sommers, then dispelled, then finally confirmed by Sommers that – yes, it indeed was her after all.

Connie’s big hit “Sixteen Reasons” in late 1959 was penned by the husband and wife team of Bill and Doree Post.  The couple wrote “Rawhide” and Eddie Cochran’s “Weekend”

A Friend Indeed – Joanie Sommers

Being signed on for 77 Sunset Strip cost Byrnes several movie roles including “Rio Bravo”, “North To Alaska”, “Ocean’s Eleven” and “The Longest Day” due to his WB work schedule.  He would buy out his Warner’s contract in 1963 in an effort to better control his career.  For the remainder of this career it was difficult for the public to let go of Byrne’s “Kookie” character.  TV guide ranked Byrnes as number 5 on the list of “TV’s 25 Greatest Teen Idols in 2005.

Edd Byrnes passed away on January 8th, 2020 at the age of 87.

Connie Stevens lives on today.  Her music career was a bit more solid than Byrnes.  She charted in the Top 10 twice and placed seven songs on the Hot 100 – her final coming in 1965 even though she released songs into the mid 1970’s.  She then turned her attention to acting, then some directing and dabbling a bit in politics.

Edd Byrnes/Connie Stevens Discography (chronological release order)

45 – Paramount – Why Can’t He Care For Me b/w Hit The road To Dreamland – 1958

45 – Warner Bros. 5047 – Kookie, Kookie (Lend Me Your Comb) (with Connie Stevens) Number 4 Hot 100 – Number 30 R&B Charts – b/w You’re The Top – March, 1959

45 – Warner Bros. 5087 – Like I Love You Number 2 Hot 100 (with “Friend” Joanie Sommers) b/w Kookie’s Mad Pad – July, 1959

45 EP – Warner Bros. 1309 – Edd Kookie Byrnes – August, 1959

45 – Warner Bros. 5092 – Apollo Number 105 Bubbling Under b/w Why Do I Cray For Joey? Number 108 Bubbling Under – August, 1959

45 – Warner Bros. 5114 – Kookie’s Love Song (While Dancing) b/w Do It Yourself – Sing With Edd Byrnes (Kookie) – October, 1959

45 – Warner Bros. 5121 – Yulesville b/w Lonely Christmas – November, 1959

45 – Warner Bros. Promo PRO 101 – Special Radio Spot Promotion Announcements – November, 1959

45 – Warner Bros. 5137 – Sixteen Reasons Number 3 Hot 100 Number 10 R&B Charts b/w Little Sister – December, 1959

45 – Faro 596 – Between the Devil and The Deep Blue Sea b/w Love Me As Though There Were No Tomorrow (with Ed Davis) – 1959

45 – Warner Bros. 5159 – Too Young To Go Steady Number 71 Hot 100 b/w A Little Kiss Is A Kiss, Is A Kiss – June, 1960

45 – Warner Bros. 5217 – Make Believe Lover b/w And This Is Mine – April, 1961

45 – Warner Bros. 5232 – If You Don’t, Somebody Else Will b/w The Greenwood Tree – August, 1961

45 – Warner Bros. 5265 – Why’d You Wanna Make Me Cry Number 52 Hot 100 b/w Just One Kiss – March, 1962

45 – Warner Bros. 5289 – Mr. Songwriter Number 43 Hot 100 b/w I Couldn’t Say No – July, 1962

45 – Warner Bros. 5318 – Hey, Good Lookin’ b/w Nobody’s Lonesome For Me – October, 1962

45 – Warner Bros. 5380 – Little Miss-Understood b/w There Goes Your Guy – July, 1963

45 – Warner Bros. 5425 – They’re Jealous Of Me b/w A Girl Never Knows – March, 1964

45 – Warner Bros. 5610 – Now That You’ve Gone Number 53 Hot 100 b/w Lost In Wonderland – February, 1965

45 – Warner Bros. 5656 – Something Beautiful b/w Deep In the Night – September, 1965

45 – Warner Bros. 5691 – In My Room b/w Don’t You Want To Love Me – January, 1966

45 – Warner Bros. 5804 – All Of My Life b/w That’s All I Want From You – March, 1966

45 – Warner Bros. 5804 – Most Of All b/w How Bitter The Taste Of Love – July, 1966

45 – Warner Bros. 5872 – It Will Never Happen Again b/w What Will I Tell Him – November, 1966

45 – MGM 13906 – Wouldn’t It Be Nice (To Have Wings and Fly) b/w Cinderella Could Have Saved Us All – March, 1968

45 – Bell 866 – 5:30 Plane b/w She’ll Never Understand Him (Like I Do) – March, 1970

45 – Bell 922 – Keep Growing Strong b/w Tick-Tock – October, 1970

45 – Bell 45,234 – Simple Girl b/w Take Me Back To Roses And To Rainbows – June, 1972

LP – Warner Bros. 1208 – Conchetta – 1958

LP – Warner Bros. 1309 – Kookie – Star of 77 Sunset Strip – August, 1959

LP – Warner Bros. 1382 – Connie Stevens – 1960

LP – Warner Bros. 1431 – From Me To You – 1962

LP – Warner Bros. 1460 – The Hank Williams Song Book – 1962

LP – NBC 36508 – Selections From Cole Porter (with other artists)

Spotlight: Cleveland Crochet

June 30, 2020
craigr244

Billboard Magazine ran mini-biographies from 1959 into the early 1960’s sometimes providing us with interesting tidbits – Each biography was generally tied to a current release on behalf of the artist

Cleveland Crochet: (“Sugar Bee”)

Charted Number 80 Hot 100 – December, 1960

I can honestly say that I have never owned a Cleveland Crochet record – and not sure that I have ever seen a copy of one of his records – Crochet was born in 1919 in Jennings, Louisiana and fronted the Sugar Bees and also the Hill Billy Ramblers.  He was one of nine children and his industrious mother formed a Cajun band with her children to play Saturday night dances.

His music is classified as “dancehall Cajun” and usually these artists are from the State of Louisiana – Crochet and company have the distinction of being having the first song to enter Billboard’s Hot 100 – that being “Sugar Bee” as presented in this Spotlight.  The song allegedly sold over one million copies.

Crochet’s first ‘fiddle’ was constructed from a cigar box when he was 12 years old. His fiddle was a tree branch using horse hair for strings!

Photo of cleveland-crochet

Crochet – No Cigar Box Here!

While fronting his combos, Crochet paid the bills employed as an iron worker.  Crochet has related that the owner of Goldband Records failed to pay Crochet any royalties for the song.  The Hillbilly Ramblers were formed in the 1950’s and the group played around the Lake Charles, Louisiana area as well as in the East Texas region.

 Cleveland Crochet

Crochet is an inductee into the Cajun Music Hall of Fame. Cleveland passed away on November 28th, 2011 at the ripe age of 95!

Cleveland Crochet Discography

45 – Khoury’s 702 – Sha Meon Waltz b/w Midnight Blues – 1958

45 – Goldband 1106 – Sugar Bee Number 80 Hot 100 b/w Drunkard’s Dream – October, 1960

45 – Goldband 1114 – Sweet Thing b/w Hound Dog Baby – March, 1961

(Note the band’s name change to capitalize on the success of Sugar Bee)

45 – Lyric 1001 – Sha Moon Waltz b/w Midnight Blues – 1962

45 – Goldband 1120 – Come Back Little Girl b/w Telephone Port Arthur – 1962

45 – Swallow 10163 – Listen To My Heart b/w Country Woman

45 – Swallow 10216 – Chere Meon b/w Blues De Minuit

LP – Goldband 7749 – Cleveland Crochet and the Sugar Bee’s

One Fine Day Indeed!

June 28, 2020
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The Chiffons

Yesterday “One Fine Day” came onto the radio – and it hit me hard – I realized that, for me, this is just absolutely one of the very best songs EVER!

“One Fine Day” has the feeling, the production, the delivery and the credentials.  The song, as most of us know, was penned by my favorite song writing one-time wife and husband team, Carole King and Gerry Goffin.

The couple originally intended to take the song all the way to a final product but they became a little frustrated attempting to work out the arrangement and so passed the song off to members of the Tokens who were working closely with the Chiffons and has just come off their monster hit “He’s So Fine” which hit the top of charts and remained there for four consecutive weeks.

Carole King and Goffin

The Tokens had provided background vocals on “He’s So Fine” and Carole King sat in on that session as well.  The final Token’s produced version of “One Fine Day” was a far cry from the demonstration cut that King and Goffin had produced but the magic was now there.  The Tokens figured that another “Fine” song was in order based on the success of the first two – and so working with a couple of other contributors wrote “A Love So Fine”.  That one would only reach number 40 – not bad – but not as “Fine”.

NOTE: Not sure who played the opening bouncy piano riff on “One Fine Day” but it was created on the demo and played by Carole King – I am thinking it might be her on the official Laurie release!

The Tokens

“One Fine Day” would be included in the soundtracks of a host of motion pictures – several illustrated below including one movie of the same name as the song!

Carole would take the song – performed in a much different style – to number 12 in 1980 during her great “singer/songwriter” period.

Another Fine Day

There have been many, many versions of “One Fine Day” cut through the years but all of my money is on the original.

NOTE:  I also hold “Sweet Talking Guy” in high esteem – penned by Eliot Greenberg and Douglas Morris.

Back to the Chiffons

The Chiffons started off as a trio while still attending high school in the Bronx in 1960 (other notable alumni included Musicians Stan Getz, opera singer Regina Resnik as well as actor Danny Aiello, TV show host Art Fleming and baseball hall of fame member Hank Greenberg).

The original three members were Judy Craig, Barbara Lee and Patricia Bennett.

The Trio was approached by a young song writer – Ronald (“Ronnie”) Mack who encouraged them to add a fourth member to their group Sylvia Peterson.  She had been a lead vocalist with a doo-wop group “Little Jimmy & The Tops” – who were friends with Mack and had recorded his “Puppy Love” composition (not the Anka recording).

Unlike so many other ‘girl group’ members, the Chiffons did not work their way through several different groups and didn’t have a revolving door of replacements for the most part.  Patterson recorded one single with the “Tops” before joining the Chiffons – That group was first know as the “Four Bees and a Gee” (4 boys – one girl) before recording their single.

In 1964, the Chiffons made east coast appearances with, first, the Beatles and then in the summer with the Rolling Stones on a Murry the “K” tour.

There was one latter day group addition that being Connie Harvey who joined the Chiffons on reunion performances in 1992.  Connie had extensive singing experience being a member of a backing group for Teddy Pendergrass called “The Teddy Bears”.  She was also with “Aquarian Dream” in the later 1970’s, Poussez in late 1979 into the early 1980’s and sang on one recording in 1979 with a female quartet called “Starluv”.

Connie Harvey

Ronnie Mack/Little Jimmy & Tops with Sylvia Peterson

Beyond bringing Slyvia into the Chiffons with her great voice, Mack would bestow a greater gift upon the Chiffons – He would present them with “He’s So Fine” their first and biggest hit and one of the biggest pop girl group records of all time!

Sometimes the Chiffons are credited with cutting a cover of the Shirelles’ hit “Tonight’s the Night” released on Big Deal Records in August of 1960.  Those Chiffons were actually a west coast group formed out of Los Angeles, California with Marie Gaddness, Marie Robinson, Joyce Chase and Carlotta Robinson.

The Lawsuit: Defendant George Harrison

It wasn’t actually the Chiffons would entered into litigation against Beatles’ member George Harrison in a dispute over copyright infringement.  That actually came from the Token’s label “Bright Tunes” apparently in association with the family of Ronnie Mack who had passed away in back in 1963 at age 23,  filed in court on February 10th, 1971 – claiming that “My Sweet Lord” was an nearly exact copy of “He’s So Fine”.

Harrison and Klein

The lawsuit was convoluted and a little weird.  If the comparison wasn’t bad enough, a single was released in 1971 by Jody Miller covering “He’s So Fine” with some producer electing to duplicate Harrison’s guitar part from “My Sweet Lord”.  George expressed the opinion later that Miller’s single was the nail in the coffin.

Then, of all things, Harrison’s manager Allen Klein entered into negotiations with Bright Tunes – The lawsuit drug out into 1976 and by the time it came time to settle, Klein would be the new Bright Tunes owner!  This placed him into head to head litigation in against Harrison.  Initially the judge in the case was going to hold Harrison liable for over two million dollars then an amount around 1.6 million but finally – in 1981 – reduced the amount to $587,000 which was exactly the amount that Klein had purchased Bright Tunes for.  The judge didn’t feel it would be right to permit Klein to profit above his Bright Tunes purchase price since Klein and Harrison had been associates previously.

A little oddly, Harrison nearly did not release “My Sweet Lord” fearing that it would be difficult to ‘live up to’ the religious message in the song.

Summing Up the Chiffons

Chiffons Available for Performances – 1967

As I stated above, the Chiffons were very fortunate to be surrounded by the east coast Brill Building elite beyond the Tokens as well as King and Goffin – but with songs contributed by another husband/wife team of Jeff Barry & Ellie Greenwich (“I Have A Boyfriend”), Ashford and Simpson, Toni Wine with Irwin Levine and more.

Before the group was certain of their “Chiffons” fame status – they also released a few singles on a Laurie subsidiary label called Rust as “The Four Pennies” but quickly returned to “The Chiffons” when their records under that name took off.  When they made their first tour of the west coast, only Sylvia and Barbara would be available due to Pat and Judy about to deliver babies and so they used the services of west coast substitute singers.

Lead Singer Judy Craig would depart in 1970 leaving the Chiffons to become a trio with Sylvia taking on the lead duties.

Contract Extension – 1968

Members of the Chiffons would take 9-5 jobs when their career waned and went on to do occasional reunion performances with various lineups.  Barbara Lee passed away in 1992 the victim of a heart attack.

The Chiffons enjoyed a rewarding recording career – not lengthy – but a good one nonetheless – It was definitely a “One Fine Day”!

The Chiffons – 2014

The Chiffons Discography

45 – V-Tone 102 (the Tops with Sylvia Peterson) – Puppy Love b/w Say You Love Me – 1959

45 – Len 1011 (the Tops with Sylvia Peterson) – Puppy Love b/w Say You Love Me – 1960

45 – Swan 4091 (the Tops with Sylvia Peterson) – Puppy Love b/w Say You Love Me – November, 1961

45 – Laurie 3152 – He’s So Fine Number 1 Hot 100 – Number 1 R&B – Number 16 UK b/w Oh My Lover – January, 1963

45 – Laurie 3166 – Lucky Me b/w Why Am I So Shy – April, 1963

45 – Laurie 3179 – One Fine Day Number 5 Hot 100 – Number 6 R&B – Number 29 UK b/w Why Am I So Shy – May, 1963

45 – Rust 5071 – (as The Four Pennies) – My Block b/w Dry Your Eyes – May, 1963

45 – Legrand 5071 – My Block b/w Dry Your Eyes – May, 1963

45 – Laurie 3195 – A Love So Fine Number 40 Hot 100 – Number 50 R&B – August, 1963

45 – Rust 5070 (as the Four Pennies) – When The Boy’s Happy (The Girl’s Happy Too) b/w Hockaday Pt. 1 – October, 1963

45 – Laurie 3212 – I Have A Boyfriend Number 36 Hot 100 – Number 6 R&B b/w I’m Gonna Dry My Eyes – November, 1963

45 – Laurie 3224 – Easy To Love (So Hard To Get) Number 105 Bubbling Under b/w Tonight I Met An Angel – February, 1964

45 – Laurie 3262 – Sailor Boy Number 81 Hot 100 – Number 24 R&B b/w When Summer’s Through – June, 1964

45 – Laurie 3275 – What Am I Gonna Do With You (Hey Baby) b/w Strange Strange Feelin’ – October, 1964

45 – Laurie 3301 – Nobody Knows What’s Goin’ On (In My Mind But Me) b/w Did You Ever Go Steady? – May, 1965

45 – Laurie 3301 – Nobody Knows What’s Goin’ On (In My Mind) Number 49 Hot 100 b/w The Real Thing – May, 1965

45 – Laurie 3318 – Tonight’s I’m Gonna Dream b/w The Heavenly Place – October, 1965

45 – Laurie 3340 – Sweet Talkin’ Guy Number 10 Hot 100 – Number 31 UK b/w Did You Ever Go Steady – April, 1966

45 – Laurie 3350 – Out Of This World Number 67 Hot 100 b/w Just A Boy – July, 1966

45 – Laurie 3357 – Stop, Look and Listen Number 85 Hot 100 b/w March – September, 1966

45 – Laurie 3364 – My Boyfriend’s Back Number 117 Bubbling Under Charts b/w I Got Plenty O’ Nuttin’ – November, 1966

This would be the Chiffons final charting single

45 – Laurie 3377 – If I Knew Then (What I Know Now) b/w Keep The Boy Happy – February, 1967

45 – Laurie 3423 – Just For Tonight b/w Teach Me How – January, 1968

45 – Laurie 3423 – Keep The Boy Happy b/w Just For Tonight – February, 1968

45 – Laurie 3460 – Up On The Bridge b/w March – August, 1968

45 – Laurie 3497 – Love Me Like You’re Gonna Lose Me b/w Three Dips Of Ice Cream – April, 1969

45 – B.T. Puppy 558 – Secret Love b/w Strange, Strange Feeling – 1970

45 – Buddah 171 – So Much In Love b/w Strange, Strange Feeling – April, 1970

45 – Laurie 3630 – My Sweet Lord b/w Main Nerve – 1975

45 – Laurie 3648 – Dream, Dream, Dream b/w Oh My Lover – 1976

45 EP – COM 3 – For Radio Station Use Only – with “The Chiffons for H.E.S.”

LP – Laurie 2018 – He’s So Fine Number 97 Hot 200 LP Charts – April, 1963

LP – Laurie 2020 – One Fine Day – 1963

LP – Laurie 90779 – Sweet Talkin’ Guy Number 149 Hot 200 LP Charts – July, 1966

LP – B.T. Puppy 1011 – My Secret Love – 1970

LP – Laurie 4001 – Everything You Always Wanted To Hear By The Chiffons – 1975

LP – Laurie 4016 – The Chiffons Sing Hits Of the 50’s & 60’s – 1979

CD LP – 3C  104 – The Best Of The Chiffons – 1988

CD LP – CEMA Special Markets 57873 – One Fine Day and Other Favorites – 1992

Tiny Bubbles Part 12

June 27, 2020
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The No-Hit Wonders – 1959-1979 – L-Artists

Continuing on here with the artists who managed just one measly chart appearance during their run from the 1950’s through the 1970’s.  For most of these musicians – the day their only recording finally landed on the Bubbling Under charts had to be a life-time highlight!

Others enjoyed LP success – due to just not being a ‘hit single act’ – Surprisingly, many artists recorded many, many singles in spite of no national recognition – Some found their way onto the local radio station charts – And for many, that was probably reward-enough.

The “L” Artists

Denny Laine – Capitol 4340 – It’s So Easy/Listen To Me – Number 108 – November, 1976

Former member of British group The Moody Blues and also with Wings

Dennis Lambert – Dunhill/ABC 4314 – Dream On – Number 135 – July, 1972

Singer from Brooklyn, New York – Started career with Capitol Records – He composed “Ashes to Ashes” recorded by the Mindbenders and the Fifth Dimension – as well as composing many other pop hits

The Lamp of Childhood – Dunhill 4089 – No More Running Around – Number 116 – June, 1967

Folk group from New York City

The Lamp Sisters – Duke 427 – A Woman With the Blues – Number 124 – March, 1968

Trio from Detroit, Michigan – They backed singer Buddy Lamp as well

J. J. Lancaster – Date 1564 – The Parade Has Passed Me By – Number 130 – July, 1967

Jon Lancaster from Tulsa, Oklahoma

Hoagy Lands – Atlantic 2217 – Baby Come On Home – Number 125 – February, 1964

Landslaget – EMI 3866 – Friday’s My Day – Number 112 – April, 1974

Band out of Sweden – Also recorded as the Northern Lights and the Friendship Train

Barbara Lantz – Palladium 603 – I’m Confessin’ That I Love You – Number 106 – June 1959

Billy Larkin & The Delegates – World Pacific 77844 – Hold On I’m Comin’ – Number 130 – September, 1966

Lasky – Wild Deuce 103 – Lucky To Be Loved (By You) – Number 132 – April, 1965

James Emanuel Lasky from Detroit, Michigan

The Last Poets – Douglas 8 – O.D. – Number 129 – November, 1970

Group out of New York City

Tony Lawrence – Silver Bird 1025 – Number 114 – You Got To Show Me – June, 1961

Lou Lawton – Capitol 5613 – Doing the Philly Dog – Number 133 – April, 1966

From Philadelphia, Pennsylvania known as “Moondog” – Fronted a group called “The Chickadees”

Joe Leahy – Tower 150 – Life – Number 124 – September, 1965

From Dorchester, Massachusetts – fronted his own orchestra

Calvin Leavy – SSS International 826 – Cummins Prison Farm – Number 144 – February, 1971

From Scott, Arkansas – Passed away while in prison in June of 2010

The Barry Lee Show – Independence 84 – I Don’t Want To Love You – Number 144 – March, 1968

From Aylsham, England

Donna Lee – Columbia 44272 – Clown Town – Number 132 – October, 1967

Georgia Lee – Decca 31136 – Kiss Me, Kiss Me – Number 125 – August, 1960

Born Georgia Lee Settle

rom Collector Fred Hoyt:

Jeff Kreiter has Georgia Lee’s “Johnny Angel” in his Teen Sound Guide, but this “A” Track is an ultimate “Teener” record if I’ve ever heard one. Great voice, good lyrics, nice production / arrangement. Right up there with Merlene Garner’s “My Heart And Eyes

Hank Leeds – Jaro Int’l 77007 – One More For the Road – Number 103 – January, 1960

The Leer Bros. Band – Intrepid 75025 – Mystery Of Love – Number 125 – May, 1970

From Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania

Mylon Lefevre – Warner Bros. 8673 – Rowena – Number 142 – November, 1978

Singer/songwriter from Gulfport, Mississippi – Was a member of the famous Stamps Quartet Gospel group

The Legendary Stardust Cowboy – Mercury 72862 – Paralyzed – Number 140 – October, 1968

This was Norman Carl Odam from Lubbock, Texas

The Legends – Caldwell 410 – Jungle Lullaby – Number 124 – March 5th, 1962

The Legends were Roger Chastain and Joe Trower a folk duo who formed while attending Georgia Tech in 1961

Legs Diamond – Cream 7831 – You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’ – Number 113 – May, 1979

Group from Los Angeles, California

Bernie Leighton Orchestra – Colpix 645 – Don’t Break The Heart That Loves You – Number 101 – July, 1962

From West Haven, Connecticut

Leo & Libra – Sound Bird 5003 – Get It While The Gettin’ Is Good – Number 109 – December, 1975

James Leroy & Denim – Janus 226 – Make It All Worthwhile – Number 117 – November, 1973

Folk singer from Ottawa, Canada – James committed suicide in May of 1979 – He was 32

Les Variations – Buddah 465 – Superman Superman – Number 142 – June, 1975

Band from France headed up by F.R. David

John Lester & The Mello-Queens – C&M 500 – Getting Nearer – Number 105 – June, 1959

Robie Lester – Lute 5904 – The Miracle of Life – Number 107 – April, 1960

Robie was a often narrator for Walt Disney books – born Roberta Lester in Megaret, Texas – also recorded as Roby Charmandy – She recorded commercials as the voices of Sugar Smacks

Sonny Lester – 20th Fox 304 – Mr. Hobbs’ Theme – Number 120 – June, 1962

Jazz musician from Manhattan, New York – Fronted his own orchestra

Sonny Lester

Dave Lewis – A&M 724 – David’s Mood Part 2 – Number 250 – November, 1960

Lewis grew up in Seattle, Washington but was born in Texas

The Lewis Explosion – Pleasure 1103 – Liquid Fire – Number 123 – October, 1973

R&B combo out of Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Life – Polydor 15003 – Hands Of the Clock – Number 103 – July, 1969

Canadian group

Lincoln Black – Monument 1195 – Famous Last Words – Number 113 – April, 1970

Rock band from England

Bill Lindsey – Dot 16452 – Blue – Number 105 – March, 1963

Rock singer from Baltimore, Maryland

Teresa Lindsey – Correc-Tone 5840 – Gotta Find a Way – Number 129 – February, 1964

From Detroit, Michigan

The Link Eddy Combo – Reprise 20,002 – Big Mr. C – Number 101 – April, 1961

This was a studio group – Ed Cobb from the Four Preps was a member

Little Feat – Warner Bros. 8054 – Oh Atlanta – Number 140 – December, 1974

Group from Los Angeles, California

Little Jonna Jaye – Jolar 1067 – I’ll Count On You – Number 144 – July, 1965

Jonna was from Boston, Massachusetts – the song is an ‘answer song’ to Gary Lewis’ hit “Count Me In” – Name Jonna Sullivan

Little Nat – Pik 542 – Do This Do That – Number 103 – March, 1962

Nathaniel  Boulknight from Brooklyn, New York – Lead vocalist for The Shells (shown)

Little Natalie & Henry with the Gifts – Roulette 4540 – It’s Uncle Willie – Number 101 – December, 1963

Natalie Smith and Henry Ford from Chicago, Illinois

Linda Lloyd – Columbia 42990 – I’m Gonna Love That Guy (Like He’s Never Been Loved Before) – Number 122 – April, 1964

From New York City – birth name Linda Huggins

Betty Logan – Academy 102 – Are You Sure – Number 132 – September, 1963

Born Betty Logan Chotas from Brooklyn, New York – She was a member of the Logan Sisters

Jimmy London – Karate 510 – Chain Of Love – Number 147 – September, 1965

James Fitzsimmons from Brooklyn, New York – Birth name Trevor Shaw – also performed as Jimmy Green

Joe London – Liberty 55209 – It Might Have Been – Number 112 – November, 1959

London & The Bridges – Date 1517 – Tell It To the Preacher – Number 145 – August, 1966

Garage group from Long Island, New York

Seth London – MGM 13523 – Tracy’s Theme – Number 138 – June, 1966

An English born band leader

Lorna Doone – RCA Victor 8532 – Dangerous Town – Number 141 – May, 1965

Female rhythm and blues group

Los Canarios – Calla 156 – Get On Your Knees – Number 112 – November, 1968

Group from Spain

Los Diablos – Crazy Horse 5097 – Un Rayo De Sol – Number 120 – September, 1970

Group from Barcelona Spain

The Lost Souls – Glasco 101 – It Won’t Work Out Baby – Number 143 – February, 1967

Group from New York City

Lothar and the Hand People – Machines – Number 116 – January, 1969

Psychedelic group from Denver, Colorado

Love De-Luxe – Warner Bros. 8839 – Here Comes That Sound Again – Number 126 – August, 1979

British Disco group

The Love Notes – Wilshire 200 – Our Songs Of Love – Number 129 – February, 1963

Doo Wop group from New York City

The Love Society – Scepter 12223 – Do You Wanna Dance – Number 108 – August, 1968

Group from Plymouth, Wisconsin

The Love Stick – Odax 419 – Jennifer Tompkins – Number 140 – November, 1970

This group included Rufus Holmes

Larry Lujack – Curtom 1998 – The Ballad of the Mad Streaker – Number 125 – May, 1974

Larry Blankenburg from Quasqueton, Iowa – a DJ in Chicago

Lumbee – Bond 104 – Streets Of Gold – Number 117 – June, 1970

Willie Lowery a Native American singer from North Carolina and band Lumbee

Larry Lurex – Anthem 204 – I Can Hear Music – Number 115 – September, 1973

Born Frederick Bulsara from Tanzania

Ricky Lyons – Federal 12381 – Shim Sham Shuffle – Number 104 – October, 1960