From the Land of Band Box Records

Short Shorts – Short Journeys through our Musical Past

Have You Heard the News?

This in from Jerry Richards former record store owner in Colorado Springs:

Mark spent some time with me in one of my record shops in col springs in the early 80s, just before he passed away. he picked up a les paul gold top i had and sang teen angel for us, i will never forget that. we discussed many things including the 2 different versions of “top 40, news, weathe,r ans sports”.

Mark Dinning will always be remembered (by many of us) for his ‘teen tragedy’ song “Teen Angel” a plaintiff ballad from 1959 – If only his girlfriend had not gone “running back”…..

Mark Dinning was born on August 17th, 1933 in Oklahoma.  His family migrated from Kansas to a farm in Tennessee.  It would be in Nashville where he would seek out a career singing country music – much as a few of his sisters were doing.  It was one of his sisters, Jean Dinning (Surrey), along with her husband Red Surrey, who composed “Teen Angel” for Mark.

Jean was a member of the trio called “The Dinning Sisters” joined by her siblings Lou Dinning and Ginger Dinning.  They cut many singles from 1947 into 1955 recording for Capitol, Decca, and Essex.

They managed four chart hits – all in the 1940’s  with their biggest hit being “Buttons and Bows” at number 5 in 1948.  They started off on the NBC radio show “Barn Dance” and attracted the attention of Capitol Records who signed them in hopes of landing an “Andrews Sisters” type act.  They also appeared in a couple of motion pictures “Texas Jamboree” in 1946 and “Throw a Saddle On a Star” the same year.

Lou Dinning released many solo recordings with Capitol but did not manage to chart.

Image result for the dinning sisters

“Teen Angel” was not his first attempt at a hit record.  Five would proceed it on the MGM label – with several tracks composed by Mark – and several others by the composing team of Felice and Boudleaux Bryant – who wrote many hits for the Everly Brothers in their early career.  Teen Angel achieved the ultimate position on the charts – number 1 – and it proved to be a very difficult act to follow for the young singer.

He would chart in the Hot 100 three additional times – never again reaching anything approaching the upper regions of the pop charts.  (A Star is Born – number 68; The Lovin’ Touch – number 84; and Top Forty, News, Weather and Sports” a big of a novelty composed by John Laudermilk.  His sister again contributed with “A Star is Born”.  Dinning would manage to place a handful of tracks on the “Bubbling Under Charts”.

Brill Buidling-era writers Gerry Goffin and Jack Keller wrote “The Lovin’ Touch”.  Dinning would attempt three additional Laudermilk tracks – to no success.

Mark’s struggle with alcohol which hampered his career both in the recording studio and in live performances and before long promoters were steering clear.

His sister Jean – passed away in 2011 at age 86. – Ella “Lou” died on April 28th, 2000 and Virginia “Ginger” died on October 14th, 2013.

Mark Dinning Selected Discography

45 – MGM K12447 – Shameful Ways/A Million Years Ago – March, 1967

45 – MGM K12553 – When You’re Tired Of Breaking Other Hearts/School Fool – September, 1957

45 – MGM K12691 – Do You Know (There’s A Someone Who Loves You)/You Thrill Me (Through and Through) – July, 1958

45 – MGM – K12732 – The Blackeyed Gypsy/Secretly In Love With You – November, 1958

45 – MGM K12775 – A Life Of Love/Cutie Cutie – March, 1959

45 – MGM K12845 – Teen Angel/Bye Now Baby – December, 1959 – Charted Number 1 for Two Weeks – Flip Charted Number 115

45 – MGM K 12888 – A Star is Born (A Love Has Died)/You Win Again – March,1960 – Charted Number 68

45 – MGM K12929 – The Lovin’ Touch/Come Back To Me (My Love) – July, 1960 – Charted Number 84

45 – MGM K12958 – She Cried On My Shoulder (While She Talked About You)/The World Is Gettin’ Smaller (Where You Can Hide Away) – November, 1960  – B Side charted number 123

45 – MGM K12980 – Top Forty, News, Weather and Sports/Suddenly (There’s Only You) – January, 1961 – Charted Number 81

45 – MGM K13007 – Can’t Forget/Another Lonely Girl – April, 1961 – Charted Number 117

45 – MGM K13024 – Lonely Island/Turn Me On – July, 1961

45 – MGM K13048 – In A Matter of Moments/What Will My Mary Say? – November, 1961

45 – MGM K13061 – All of This For Sally/The Pickup – February, 1962 – Charted Number 104

45 – MGM K13091 – I Catch Myself Crying/She’s Changed – August, 1962

45 – MGM K13150 – Somebody Catch Me Kissin’ Mary/The Twelfth of Never – June, 1963

45 – Cameo C-299 – January/Joey – February, 1964

45 – Cameo C313 – Should We Do It/Call Her Your Sweetheart – April, 1964

45 – Hickory 1293 – Dial AL-1-4883/I’m Glad We Fell In Love – January, 1965

45 – Hickory 1368 – There Stands a Lady/The Last Rose – January, 1966

45 – Hickory 1404 – He Reminds Me Of Me/Run Opie Run – August, 1966

45 – United Artists UA 50169 – It’s Such a Pretty World Today/Atlanta Georgia Stray – June, 1967 – Charted Number 117

45 – United Artists 50225 – Hangin’ On/Maggie (I Wish We’d Never Met) – November, 1967

45 – United Artists UA 50305 – Throw A Little Love My Way/A Dissatisfied Man – August, 1968

45 – United Artists UA 50540 – Lemon Yellow/How Little Men Care – June, 1969

LP – MGM SE 3828 – Teen Angel – 1960

LP – MGM E3855 – Wanderin’ – 1960

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