PopBopRocktilUDrop

From the Land of Band Box Records

Don Robertson

From 1953 up to 1990 – a span of four decades, song writer/singer Don Robertson, placed 59 songs on the U.S. Record Charts.  Although he had a flair for a country song – he was equally comfortable creating a solid pop tune.  Paul Payton drew my attention to Robertson – and so we have:

Young Bob Robertson

Don was born on December 5th, 1922 in Beijing, China Donald Irwin Robertson – Don’s dad O.H. Robertson was a physician and medical scientist and founded the first blood bank when he was practicing in China.

The Robertson’s moved to the U.S. and landed in Chicago, Illinois.  Don was influenced by his mother Ruth who was well-versed on the piano and was also a playwright.  Young Robertson composed his very first songs – very elementary of course – at the tender age of 7.  He took up horns during high school in order to join the marching band.

Don took a shot a studying medicine but only lasted into pre-med before dropping out of college.  In Chicago he would obtain work on radio and arrange for a female trio called the Brandt Sisters.  In the mid 1940’s he would head out to California where he would arrange music for the Dinning Sisters (sisters of Mark Dinning).

The Dinnings

Don would then move the Capitol Records in Hollywood and in 1953 started working with Hal Blair composing songs.  In 1954 he scored two number 1 Country hits with Hank Snow (I Don’t Hurt Anymore) and Eddy Arnold (I Really Don’t Want To Know).

His first entry into the Top 10 Pop Charts was “Hummingbird” in 1955 by Les Paul and Mary Ford going to number 7.  Then in April of 1956 Don would enjoy his only self-performed charting song – “The Happy Whistler” which went to number 6.  The Chordettes would follow this a few months later with their number 5 “Born to Be With You”.

Don: On His Way with Les and Mary

“Please Help Me I’m Falling” was a tremendous country ‘cross over’ which was a monster number 1 Country and number 8 Hot 100.  A little oddly Robertson’s shining moment perhaps was Lorne Greene’s 1964 “Ringo” which peaked number 1 both Hot 100 and Adult Contemporary and number 21 Country.  About a dozen of his songs were recorded by Elvis with five of those charting Hot 100.

Beyond the artists depicted below – Esther Phillips, Solomon Burke, Eddie Fisher, Rusty Draper, Jerry Wallace and even England’s Silkie recorded his tunes.

Robertson – Flexible and Diverse

Don Robertson had his name entered to the Walkway of Stars at the Nashville Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in 1967 and was inducted into the Nashville Songwriter’s Hall of Fame in 1972.

Along the way he worked with Waylon Jennings, Billy Swan, Jessie Colter, Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash and Sheb Wooley.  He even helped produce for the British progressive rock band Yes.  If you visited Disneyland or Disney World you may have listened to the piano of Don Robertson playing a tune he composed titled “Pianjo” as part of the “Country Bear Jamboree”.

“Pianjo” at the Disney Parks

Robertson passed away on March 16th, 2015 at the ripe old age of 92.

Don Robertson Selected Discography

45 – RCA Victor 47-5525 – Eddy Arnold – I Really Don’t Want To Know – Charted Number 1 Country – 1954

45 – Capitol F2735 – Les Paul & Mary Ford – I Really Don’t Want To Know – Charted Number 11 Pop – 1954

45 – RCA Victor 47-5698 – Hank Snow & The Rainbow Ranch Boys – I Don’t Hurt Anymore – Charted Number 1 Country – 1954

45 – Mercury 72040 – Dinah Washington – I Don’t Hurt Anymore – Charted Number 3 R&B

45 – Columbia 4-40526 – Frankie Laine – Hummingbird – Charted Number 17 Pop – 1955

45 – Capitol F3165 – Les Paul & Mary Ford – Hummingbird – Charted Number 7 Pop – 1955

45 – Capitol F3169 – Faron Young – Go Back You Fool – Charted Number 11 Country – 1955

45 – Columbia 4-21462 – Carl Smith – You’re Free To Go – Charted Number 6 Country – 1955

45 – Capitol – Don Robertson – You b/w Every Day That I Live – 1956

45 – Cadence 1291 – The Chordettes – Born To Be With You – Charted Number 5 Pop – 1956

45 – Capitol F3391 – Don Robertson – The Happy Whistler – Charted Number 6 Pop – 1956

45 – Dot 45-15609 – Don Robertson and Lou Dinning – So Long b/w Longing To Hold You Again – 1957

(Lou was a member of the Dinning Sisters)

45 – Decca 9-30094 – Kitty Wells – Double Side Hit – Repenting b/w I’m Counting On You – Charted Number 6 both sides – 1957

45 – RCA Victor 47-7767 – Skeeter Davis – (I Can’t Help You) I’m Falling Too – Charted Number 2 Country Number 39 Pop – 1960

45 – Dolton 18 – The Echoes (Don Robertson and Bonnie Guitar) Born To Be With You – Charted Number 101 Bubbling Under Charts – 1960

45 – MGM K 12890 – Tommy Edwards – I Really Don’t Want To Know – Charted Number 18 Pop – 1960

45 – RCA Victor 47-7692 – Hank Locklin – Please Help Me I’m Falling – Charted Number 1 County & Number 8 Pop – 1960

45 – RCA Victor 47-7862 – Don Robertson – Buttons and Bows b/w Bobby-O – 1961

45 – 47-7813 – Hank Locklin – One Step Ahead Of My Past – Charted Number 14 Country – 1961

45 – RCA Victor 47-8102 – Eddy Arnold – Does He Mean That Much To You? – Charted Number 5 Country – 1962

45 – RCA Victor 47-7992 – Elvis Presley – Anything That’s Part Of You – Charted Number 31 Pop & Number 6 Adult Contemporary – 1962

45 – RCA Victor 47-8134 – Elvis Presley – They Remind Me Too Much of You – Charted Number 53 Pop – 1963

45 – RCA Victor 47-8444 – Loren Greene – Ringo – Charted Number 1 Pop – Number 1 Adult Contemporary – Number 21 Country – 1964

45 – Capitol 5108 – Al Martino – I Love You More and More Every Day – Charted Number 9 Pop – 1964

45 – RCA Victor 47-8657 – Elvis Presley – I’m Yours – Charted Number 11 Pop – Number 1 Adult Contemporary – 1965

45 – Monument 45-964 – Don Robertson – Pianjo! b/w I Dreamed I Lost You – August, 1966

45 – Diamond D-208 – Ronnie Dove – I Really Don’t Want To Know – Charted Number 22 Pop – Number 12 Adult Contemporary – 1966

45 – RCA Victor 47-9281 – Charley Pride – Does My Ring Hurt Your Finger – Charted Number 4 Country – 1967

45 – Capitol 2271 – Sonny James and the Southern Gentlemen – Born To Be With You – Charted Number 1 Country – Number 81 Pop – 1968

45 – RCA Victor 47-9960 – Elvis Presley – I Really Don’t Want To Know – Charted Number 21 Pop – Number 2 Adult Contemporary – Number 23 Country – 1970

45 – Sun 1115 – Jerry Lee Lewis – I Can’t Seem To Say Goodbye – Charted Number 7 Country – 1970

45 – Columbia 4-45770 – Sonny James and the Southern Gentlemen – I Love You More and More Every Day – Charted Number 4 Country – 1973

45 – Warner Bros. WBS 8540 – Sandy Posey – Born To Be With You – Charted Number 21 Country – 1973

45 – Columbia 3-10743 – Janie Frickie – Please Help Me I’m Falling (In Love With You) – Charted Number 12 Country – 1978

45 – Epic 34-03917 – Bill Swan – Yes – Charted Number 67 Country – 1983

45 – RCA 2510-7 – Prairie Oyster – I Don’t Hurt Anymore – Charted Number 70 Country – 1990

LP – RCA Victor 3348 – Don Robertson – Heart On My Sleeve – 1965

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