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From the Land of Band Box Records

Wayne Shanklin & Miss Toni Fisher – Not Hurting with The Big Hurt

I was listening to Dick Clark’s “Rock, Roll & Remember” syndicated radio program this past Saturday and during the program he played “Miss” Toni Fisher’s “The Big Hurt”.

I have always had a fond place in my heart for the “Big Hurt” and captivated by the eerie effect present on the track.  After playing the song Mr. Clark addressed  that eeriness – more or less explaining that it had been a recording “defect” which – when played back during editing, appealed to the producer – and was thus released as such.

Fisher (center) Shanklin (right)

“The Big Hurt” was recorded by Miss Toni Fisher  in 1959 and released on the Signet record label entering the Hot 100 on November 16th, 1959 – moving up the charts until it reached the number 3 position – and remaining in the Hot 100 for 17 weeks.

(NOTE: Toni received the “Miss” attachment to her name from radio DJ Wink Martindale who attributed it to her “powerful” voice.)

If you scout around the web you get various explanations for the strange effect – with some simply presenting the effect as “phasing” or “flanging” which it certainly was – but a more detailed history claims that it only occurred on the Signet release because the studio engineer erroneously cross-mixed the mono and stereo tracks – or something like that – with a slight delay between the two.

Bottom line is that it worked out well – made the song special.  The song was recorded in Hollywood’s famed Gold Star Studio – home for tons of hit records – and the Gold Star founders claim that “The Big Hurt” was the first record to employ phasing.

Another account attributes the effect to – who else – pioneer musician and experimenter Les Paul in the 1940’s.

1967’s “Itchycoo Park” by the Small Faces utilizes phasing and that same year Jimi Hendrix’s “Bold As Love” does the same.

Well, enough of that.  Going a little further past “The Big Hurt” I learned that the song was composed solely by Wayne Shanklin who was Signet Records’ founder firing up the label in 1959.

Very early on in his writing career, Shanklin wrote “Jezebel” which Frankie Laine recorded in 1951 – The song reached the number 2 position on the pop charts and enjoyed a 21 week run.

Shanklin’s next big composition was presented to Arthur William Todd and his spouse Doris “Dotty” Todd formerly miss Doris Dabb.  “Chanson D’Amour (Song of Love)” would be a huge hit for the couple and their only Hot 100 showing – landing at number 6 in the spring of 1958.  Shanklin would contribute a couple of additional songs to the Todds – neither charting.

In May of 1959 Jerry Wallace took “Primrose Lane” co-written by Shanklin along with George Callender.  This resulted in Wallace’s biggest hit – peaking at number 8.

Shanklin would immediately hand Wallace another charting record – “Little Coco Palm” topping off in the summer of 1959 at number 36.  Shanklin contributed a few more tunes for Wallace before turning his attention to more and more to Signet.

Toni Fisher would chart two more times after “The Big Hurt” – first with a minor showing Irving Berlin’s “How Deep is the Ocean” (number 93) and then an interesting hit “West of the Wall” an ode the the sadness of the Berlin Wall and an expressed hope that the wall would fall.  Toni Fisher in 1962 had moved on from Signet and was now recording as “Toni Fisher” but again benefited from her management by Shanklin – who once again was the composer for this number 37 recording, a unique and early protest-like track – and the song would mark her last association with Shanklin.

On occasion, Shanklin would compose along with Al Sherman – a versatile writer who worked with many others.  From a pop point of view his “For Sentimental Reasons” as recorded by Sam Cooke, was probably his best known hit composition a number 17 hit in 1957.  He also composed the pop tune “You Gotta Be a Football Hero which he actually composed for a Popeye cartoon in 1935!

Signet Records released a couple dozen singles from 1959 up into 1965 before folding up.  Shanklin would compose the soundtrack for a 1961 motion picture “Angel Baby”

Wayne Shanklin passed away on June 16th, 1970 in California.  Toni Fisher passed away on January 11th, 1999 at the age of 75 – the victim of a heart attack.

Wayne Shanklin Charting Singles

Frankie Laine – Jezebel – Number 2, 1951

Art & Dotty Todd – Chanson D’Amour – Number 3, 1958

The Fontane Sisters – Chanson D’Amour – Number 12, 1958

Jerry Wallace – Primrose Lane – Number 8, 1959

Miss Toni Fisher – The Big Hurt – Number 3, 1959

Jerry Wallace – Little Coco Palm – Number 36, 1960

Toni Fisher – West of the Wall – Number 37, 1962

Del Shannon – The Big Hurt – Number 94, 1966

Wayne Shanklin Selected Composition Discography (and Production)

Frankie Laine & Jimmy Boyd – The Little Boy and the Old Man – 1953

Brad Marro – A Man Can Only Fly So High – 1955

Wayne Shanklin – Up To My Pockets in Tomahawks b/w Plink-A-Plink – 1955

Eddie Albert & Sondra Lee – Little Child – 1956

Gene Vincent and His Blue Caps – Jezebel – 1956

Earl Grant – Through the Eyes of A Girl and A Boy – 1957

Gloria March with The Players – The Other Side of the Moon – 1957

The Whips – Yes, Master! – 1958

Russell Arms – Der Glockenspiel – 1958

Art and Dotty Todd – Along the Trail With You b/w Au Revoir Amour – 1958

Bobby Hammack & His Orchestra – Little Child – 1959

Linda & Bill Marine – Little Child – 1959

Orchestra of Heinie Beau – Chico’s Theme – 1959

Johnny Krag with the Orchestra of Heinie Beau – The World’s a Speck b/w Jenny Angel – 1959

Miss Toni Fisher – Memphis Belle – 1959

Art and Dottie Todd – Straight As an Arrow – 1959

Jerry Wallace – By Your Side – 1959

Gogi Grant – I Never Meant To Fall In Love – 1960

Jerry Wallace – King of the Mountain – 1960

Dobie Gray – I Can Hardly Wait – 1960

Miss Toni Fisher – Blue Blue Blue – 1960

Trudy Todd – Bandido b/w Pathetique Melody – 1960

Huston Bell – King of the Mountain – 1960

Miss Toni Fisher – Everlasting Love b/w The Red Sea of Mars – 1960

Heinie Beau and Orchestra – Tango Apache b/w Our Love’s No Ordinary Thing – 1960

Teddy Harper – Water Boy of Batusa b/w Straight As An Arrow – 1960

Allen Dare – The Old Prospector – 1960

George Hamilton – Jenny Angel – 1961

Miss Toni Fisher – You Never Told Me b/w A Man’s That’s Steady – 1961

Michael Montana – The New Frontier b/w Straight As An Arrow – 1962

Martha Shanklin with The Wayne Shanklin Orchestra – Beach Boy b/w The Star Of Love – 1962

Toni Fisher – The Music From the House Next Door – 1962

Jerry Wallace – Keep a Lamp Burning – 1964

Art and Dotty Todd – Bernadette Soubirous b/w The Bodie Tree – 1965

Andy Russell – Longin’ – 1966

The Lettermen – Chanson D’Amour – 1966

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