Lost or Forgotten Oldie of the Day: 1958 Mitch Miller – Medley: The River Kwai March / Colonel Bogey March

1958 Mitch Miller – Medley: The River Kwai March / Colonel Bogey March

Mitch Miller grew up in Rochester, New York. When he was in junior high school, he joined the band and they gave him an oboe to learn to play. He later also took up the English horn and continued playing classical music at the Eastern School of Music. He became proficient enough to join the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra. He moved to New York City and played professionally throughout the thirties and forties.

In the late thirties, Mitch became the head of A&R for Mercury Records, and in 1950 he moved to the same post at Columbia Records. At Columbia, he also began producing records and recording with the house band. He had a hit as Mitch Miller and the Gang with the single Tzena, Tzena, Tzena in 1950 that peaked at #3 on the Hot 100. His biggest success came In 1950 with the release of the single Yellow Rose Of Texas, which reached the top of the chart and sold over a million copies. He began putting out a series of albums tagged “Sing Along With Mitch.”

He released a few singles the next year that failed to reach the top forty, and then released Lisbon Antigua. His version of the song featured vocal accompaniment and only reached #19 on the Hot 100 when it was pushed aside by the Nelson Riddle (mostly) instrumental version (which reached #1 on the pop chart).

That Summer, Mitch released the single, The Theme Song From “Song For A Summer Night,” which reached the top ten.

He had released several other songs from television and movies and had hits with two of them. In 1958, his medley of March From The River Kwai and The Colonel Bogey March reached #20 on the Hot 100. His last top forty single was The Children’s Marching Song (Nick Nack Paddy Whack), which peaked at #16 in 1959.

In 1960, NBC aired a television special entitled Sing Along With Mitch. The show presented songs with the words bouncing across the bottom of the screen so viewers could sing along. The special went well enough that the show became a regular part of the schedule for three years.

Mitch kept Columbia Records from signing rock-and-roll artists through the fifties and early sixties because he detested that style of music. His major accomplishment during that time was driving a lot of musicians to Capitol Records.

They awarded Mitch a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2000, reflecting his impact on the production of popular music.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mitch_Miller

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Lost or Forgotten Oldie of the Day: 1957 Larry Williams – Bony Moronie

1957 Larry Williams – Bony Moronie

Larry Williams was born in 1935 in New Orleans. He spent time in Oakland and Chicago before he moved back to New Orleans. His cousin was Lloyd Price, and Larry got work with Lloyd’s band as a valet and later as a musician. Larry became good friends with a young Little Richard in 1955, and the two were each signed to Specialty Records.

Little Richard became a huge act, and when he abandoned rock-and-roll to enter the ministry, Specialty Records sought to turn Larry into a similar success.

Larry finally began hitting the charts in 1957. Lloyd Price wrote Just Because and released the single twice, first in 1956 and later in early 1957. The single stalled at #29 on the Hot 100 the second time. Larry covered the song, and his version reached #11 on the R&B chart but failed to reach the Hot 100 despite all the airplay it got in the New York City area. The two versions were nearly indistinguishable aside from some slight differences on the introductory piano parts, and perhaps that kept Larry’s version off of most top forty stations.

Larry wrote his next single himself, and it was the biggest hit of his career. Short Fat Fanny reached the top of the R&B chart and peaked at number five on the Hot 100. The song might well qualify as a novelty record, given all the titles of other recent hit records that he mentioned in the lyrics: Long Tall Sally, Rip It Up, Heartbreak Hotel, Fever, Tutti Frutti, Blue Suede Shoes, Jim Dandy, and Blueberry Hill.

His next single, Dizzy, Miss Lizzy, only reached #69 on the Hot 100, and might well have been forgotten if not for the cover versions by British Invasion groups like the Beatles. The Beatles also covered other songs by Larry, including Slow Down and Bad Boy.

Larry was arrested for possession of drugs and guns in 1959, and as a result, his record company dropped him.

He produced two albums for Little Richard beginning in 1966 that helped Little Richard return to the charts, but it was 1967 before Larry reached the charts again with his own record. Cannonball Adderley had a number eleven hit with the original instrumental single of Mercy, Mercy, Mercy in 1966. Larry and guitar player Johnny Watson released a version that peaked at #23 on the R&B chart and a sad #96 on the Hot 100 the next year, while the Buckinghams covered the song and bounced into the top five on the Hot 100.

Larry recorded an album with Johnny that generated one of the most sought-after Northern Song singles in England, Two For The Price Of One.

In the late sixties and early seventies, Larry began acting and even appeared in a few films.

In 1980, Larry was found dead from a gunshot wound to the head. It was ruled a suicide, although they uncovered some evidence that implied drug dealers may have been involved in the death. Larry was only 44 years old.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Larry_Williams

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Lost or Forgotten Oldie of the Day: 1984 Sheena Easton – Almost Over You

1984 Sheena Easton – Almost Over You

When teenager Sheena Orr saw the Barbra Streisand film The Way We Were, she decided she wanted to grow up and be a singer. She worked hard and had sufficient talent to win a scholarship to The Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama. She married her first husband in 1979, resulting in a new last name: she became Sheena Easton. While the marriage only lasted eight months, the name change turned out to be permanent.

The BBC had a reality show from 1976 to 1981 called The Big Time. In each episode, the show would follow the path of an amateur who was trying to succeed in a difficult field. The show followed a woman who wanted to have her own fashion show, an editor who wanted to edit a major newspaper for a day, a cook who wanted to put on a dinner for professionals, etc. Each person would be given advice by a professional in their field, and the show’s cameras would follow them on their trek to see if they succeeded. In 1980, in season three, the show followed Sheena’s quest to become a pop star.

Sheena sang with Dusty Springfield and Lulu. Lulu’s manager dismissed Sheena as not having any chance at success, but EMI Records heard something they like and signed her to a recording contract. The single that spun out of her television appearance (Modern Girl) reached the top ten in the UK after the show aired and even got as high as #18 on the US Hot 100 in 1980.

Her second single, 9 To 5, had to change its title due to the Dolly Parton song with that name that preceded it on the US charts. Morning Train (Nine To Five) reached the top of the Hot 100 and the Adult Contemporary chart in 1981 and also topped the charts in several other countries (but only reached #3 in the UK).

Later that year, Sheena performed the theme song to a James Bond film (For Your Eyes Only) and the single again propelled her into the top ten in most countries.

Hit records became more difficult to come by until 1983, when she sang the number one Country hit We’ve Got Tonight, a duet with Kenny Rogers. That song and her next singleTelephone (Long Distance Love Affair), both reached the US Hot 100 top ten. Later that year she released Almost Over You, a single that only reached #15 on the Hot 100 in early 1984, but peaked at number four on the Adult Contemporary chart.

Late in the year, Sheena teamed up with Prince for the first time and recorded a song he wrote for her, Sugar Walls. The single reached #9 on the Hot 100 and also reached #3 on the R&B chart and the top of the US Dance chart. This gave Sheena a true accomplishment: she was the first artist to reach the top five of the five major Billboard charts: the Hot 100, Adult Contemporary, Country, R&B, and Dance charts.

Sheena continued having through 1991, after which her career faded. She remarried a few times and became a US citizen in 1992.

Sheena has continued to tour and appear on film and television soundtracks and performed in Las Vegas residencies as recently as 2015.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sheena_Easton
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Big_Time_(TV_series)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sheena_Easton_discography

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Lost or Forgotten Oldie of the Day: 1983 Adam Ant – Goody Two Shoes

1983 Adam Ant – Goody Two Shoes

Stuart Leslie Goddard was born in London in 1954. He began work on a degree in art but dropped out of school without finishing so he could pursue a career in music. They hospitalized him after he took an overdose of pills, and he was diagnosed with a bipoloar disorder. When he was released, he changed his name to Adam Ant.

By 1977, he was the frontman for Adam and the Ants, a punk group. The rest of the band left him, and in 1980 he recruited a new crew of musicians and they signed with CBS Records. The group’s first album came out later that year and they reached the top five in the UK with the single Dog Eat Dog. The record did not enter the Hot 100 in the US, but it did reach #15 on the US Mainstream Rock chart and #19 on the US Dance chart. The next single from the album, Antmusic, had similar results.

The next album contained two singles that topped the UK chart, but neither one made an impact in the US.

In 1982, Adam decided the members of the group were not enthusiastic enough and disbanded the Ants. He began releasing solo recordings. His first solo venture was another chart-topping single in the UK, Goody Two Shoes. They released the single late in 1982 in the US, and it reached #12 on the Hot 100 in early 1983. He starred in multiple videos for the single, including the video played by MTV and another video where he danced with moving furniture.

While Adam had two more top ten records and four more top forty records in the UK, he only reached the top forty in the US twice more. His 1990 single, Room At The Top, peaked at #17 on the Hot 100, and in 1995 he had a single that spent a week at #39.

Adam had some troubles that resulted from violent outbursts and spent multiple stretches in treatment for mental health issues. He began a comeback in 2010 that led to the release of a new album in 2013. He released another new album in 2019 and did an extensive tour to support the new music.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adam_Ant
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adam_Ant_discography

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Lost or Forgotten Oldie of the Day: 1982 Oak Ridge Boys – Bobbie Sue

1982 Oak Ridge Boys – Bobbie Sue

Wally Fowler and the Georgia Clodhoppers began singing for workers and their families at the secret Oak Ridge nuclear plant during World War II. The group primarily sang gospel music, and became members of the Grand Ole Opry. They eventually changed their name to the Oak Ridge Quartet. Three of the members left in 1949 and a long list of singers came and went over the next sixteen years. Their name morphed into The Oak Ridge Boys to would sound more contemporary.

William Lee Golden joined the group in 1965, singing baritone. Lead singer Duane Allen joined in 1966. Richard Sterban joined the group in 1972, singing bass.

Tenor Joe Bonsall joined the group in 1973 when their prior tenor left, and that quartet remained intact for more than a decade. One of the first things the stable group did was sing backup vocals for a song by Johnny Cash. Praise the Lord and Pass the Soup reached #57 on the Country chart, marking the first time the group charted on anything other than the gospel charts.

The group finally switched over to the Country chart with the recording of the 1977 album Y’all Come Back Saloon. The album spawned singles that peaked at #3, #2, and #1. They continued with singles that reached similar spots on the chart in each of the next three years.

In 1987, the group finally reached the pop chart. The single Elvira topped the Country chart and peaked at #5 on the Hot 100. Their next single again topped the Country chart, but it was a little too Country for Top Forty radio stations, and couldn’t get past #104.

The group’s last visit to the top forty on the Hot 100 came in 1982 with the release of Bobbie Sue. The single peaked at #12 on the Hot 100 and again took the group to the top of the Country chart.

They had nine more #1 hits on the Country chart before the group changed its lineup. William, the baritone singer, had let his hair and beard simply keep growing and had begun to not fit the image the group desired. The other three members voted him out of the group and replaced him with Steve Sanders.

The hit single kept on coming through 1990, after which Contemporary Country took over most Country radio stations and the Oak Ridge Boys were no longer getting much airplay. Steve abruptly walked away from the group in 1995, and shortly after that, William rejoined the group. Their lineup has not changed again, and they returned to often recording gospel music beginning in 2000. They released their more recent album in 2018.

The group became members of the Grand Ole Opry in 2011.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Oak_Ridge_Boys
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Oak_Ridge_Boys_discography

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Lost or Forgotten Oldie of the Day: 1981 Greg Kihn Band – The Break-Up Song (They Don’t Write ‘Em)

1981 Greg Kihn Band – The Break-Up Song (They Don’t Write ‘Em)

Greg Kihn grew up in Baltimore and began writing songs and playing in coffeehouses while still a teenager. His mother submitted a tape of one of his songs to a local radio station talent contest when Greg was only 17 and he won a typewriter. Oh, and also a stack of records and a guitar.

Greg moved to San Francisco when he turned 23. He got a job at a record store where he met keyboard player Gary Phillips.

Beserkley Records singed Greg in 1973 and he recorded a song for the label’s compilation album, Beserkley Chartbusters Volume 1. He formed The Greg Kihn Band by recruiting bass player and future co-writer Steve Wright, guitarist Robbie Dunbar, and drummer Larry Lynch. It took until 1976 for the band to record and release an album, after which they released an album each year for the next decade.

In 1981, Gary joined the band and it became a quintet. They released an album with a title that included the word “Kihn” as something other than Greg’s name: Rockihnroll. Nearly a dozen albums from the group have included a similar pun. More important was the first single from the album, The Break-Up Song (They Don’t Write ‘Em). For the first time, the group had a record reach the Hot 100. The single peaked at #15 on the Hot 100 in 1981 and also reached #5 on the US Mainstream Rock chart. The record came out a little over two months before the launch of MTV, otherwise, the video for the record might have helped it do even better.

While a few more of the group’s singles reached the US Mainstream Rock top forty, it was 1983 before the group released a single that again charted that well on the Hot 100. The album Kihnspiracy yielded the single Jeopardy. That time, the video did get a lot of airplay on MTV, and the single reached #2 on the Hot 100. The single was notable for also being parodied by Weird Al in 1984. Al changed the line, “Our love’s in jeopardy,” to “I lost on Jeopardy,” and created a video that even included voiceovers from Jeopardy’s announcer, Don Pardo. Jeopardy’s host (Art Fleming), Dr. Demento, and even Greg also had cameos in the video (although Greg’s came right at the end of the video).

After that, the group again struggled to do well on the pop charts. Their last hit came in 1985 when the single Lucky (from the album Citizen Kihn) reached #30 on the Hot 100 and only #24 on the US Mainstream Rock chart.

The group’s lineup changed a few times but remained constant after 1996. The group continued to release albums as recently as 2017 and continues to appear in concert.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Greg_Kihn_Band
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Breakup_Song_(They_Don%27t_Write_%27Em)

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Lost or Forgotten Oldie of the Day: 1980 Charlie Dore – Pilot Of The Airwaves

1980 Charlie Dore – Pilot Of The Airwaves

Charlie Dore grew up in England. She spent two years acting and singing in a touring company. She followed that with participating in a rock opera and a few more musical plays.

She slowly accumulated additional musicians and created her first band in Kensington, a bluegrass band named Hula Valley. As the band changed members and musical styles, their name evolved to Prairie Oyster, then Fresh Oyster, and finally Charlie Dore’s Back Pocket.

Island Records signed Charlie and flew her to Nashville to record her first album. They hired Joe Boyd to re-mix the album, but the result was deemed too Country, and the label had record producers Alan Tarney and Bruce Welch re-record parts of the album. One of the songs they “fixed” was Pilot Of The Airwaves. The song was released and became her first charting single. The record reached #13 on the US Hot 100 in 1980 but peaked at only #66 on the UK chart.

The single is notable for being the last record played by the pirate radio station Caroline before it went off the air in 1990.

Charlie did not find similar success with her second album, although she did find some success as a songwriter. In 1984, Sheena Easton had a top ten single in the US with Strut, a song that Charlie co-wrote. Charlie went on to write songs recorded by many artists.

Beginning in 1983, Charlie returned to acting as her primary career, appearing in films and television shows. In 1990, she formed the comedy troupe Dogs On Holiday, which performed on Saturday nights in Soho for six years.

Charlie began recording music again and released albums in 1995 and 2005. She continues to release new CDs on a schedule of one every three years beginning in 2006. Her most recent CD, Like Animals, came out in 2020.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charlie_Dore

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Lost or Forgotten Oldie of the Day: 1979 McFadden & Whitehead – Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now

1979 McFadden & Whitehead – Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now

Gene McFadden and John Whitehead began singing in a local group called The Epsilons in the mid-sixties while they were still teenagers. Otis Redding discovered the group, and they toured with his shows. Otis arranged for them to record a single called The Echo, which was released after Otis died in 1967.

The group signed with Philadelphia International Records. The Epsilons released a few singles in the ensuing years, but the label had signed them primarily because they wanted Gene and John as a songwriting team.  The duo wrote songs for the label’s artists. The most successful song they wrote came when the O’Jays recorded their song Back Stabbers, which went to number three on the Hot 100 in 1972.

The Epsilons continued to record for several years, and their lack of sales finally forced the group to disband in 1975.

Gene and John formed their own group in 1977 and began releasing records as McFadden & Whitehead. In 1979, they released Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now, a disco tune they co-wrote with keyboard player Jerry Cohen. The single reached #13 on the Hot 100 and topped the R&B chart. As you would expect for a disco song in the late seventies, they also released a seven-minute version of the song.

The pair never reached the Hot 100 again, although they continued to write songs other artists had hits with. They had a few more singles that reached the R&B chart, where their only other top forty single was Heard It In A Love Song (which is not related to the Marshall Tucker Band song).

John was shot and killed in 2004 while his SUV was being repaired. They never identified the killer.

Gene died from complications of liver and lung cancer in 2006.

https://www.allmusic.com/artist/the-epsilons-mn0000056434
https://www.allmusic.com/artist/mcfadden-whitehead-mn0000399357/biography
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/McFadden_%26_Whitehead

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Lost or Forgotten Oldie of the Day: 1978 Atlanta Rhythm Section – I’m Not Gonna Let It Bother Me Tonight

1978 Atlanta Rhythm Section – I’m Not Gonna Let It Bother Me Tonight

Buddy Buie was one of the partners who formed Studio One in Doraville Georgia in 1970. A studio band was formed that included:

  • two musicians who had backed up Dennis Yost in the Classics IV, Dean Daughtry and James B. Cobb, Jr., and
  • two former members of the Candymen, Rodney Justo and Robert Nix.

The musicians played multiple sessions for other musicians. In 1971, Buddy formed and began managing a band that included Rodney, Dean, Robert, and James. They were joined by Barry Bailey and Paul Goddard, two other musicians who had played in the Candymen and backed up Roy Orbison. Buddy and his partners came up with the name for the band, The Atlanta Rhythm Section.

The band recorded an album that Decca Records released in January 1982. Rodney quit the group due to the poor sales of the album and Rodney Hammond took his place in the group. The group’s second album sold so poorly that Decca dropped the band.

The band signed with Polydor Records, which released their third album in 1974. The album included their first charting singleDoraville. The single reached the Hot 100 but peaked at only #35. Their next two albums had singles that performed even more poorly.

The band began touring more extensively in 1975 and opened for The Who and The Rolling Stones at concerts in Florida. Perhaps their concert performances finally allowed music fans to finally hear their music, and their sixth album finally began to sell well. The album was certified gold and contained the top ten singleSo Into You.

The group’s 1978 album, Champagne Jam, sold over a million copies. The second single from the album, I’m Not Gonna Let It Bother Me Tonight, reached #14 on the Hot 100 in 1978. They followed that with another top ten single, Imaginary Lover.

James and Buddy had worked on the Classics IV version of Spooky. The highest-charting single for The Atlanta Rhythm Section after 1978 came when they covered Spooky in 1979 and reached #17 on the HOt 100. The band’s singles after that mostly bubbled under the Hot 100, although they did have one more single (Alien) reach #29 in 1981. After that, the band struggled through a large number of lineup changes.

Dean is the only musician who has been with the group continuously, and he and Rodney still lead a touring group with other support musicians. The group maintains a home page on the web at http://atlantarhythmsection.com/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atlanta_Rhythm_Section
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atlanta_Rhythm_Section_discography
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Atlanta_Rhythm_Section_members

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Lost or Forgotten Oldie of the Day: 1977 The Babys – Isn’t It Time

1977 The Babys – Isn’t It Time 

Adrian Millar became the manager of a new group when he and musician Michael Corby signed an agreement to form a band in 1975. They held auditions to select the other members of the group. The members became Michael on keyboards and guitar, John Waite singing lead vocals and playing bass, Tony Brock on drums, and Wally Stocker on lead guitar. Adrian’s girlfriend suggested the name of the band and the unusual spelling for the name, The Babys.

The band signed with Chrysalis Records in 1976 and released their first album in 1977. The group wrote most of the songs on the album, but it did not generate much in the way of success.

The group’s second album included Isn’t It Time, a song written by Jack Conrad and Ray Kennedy. The single peaked at #13 on the Hot 100 in late 1977, giving the band some much-needed airplay. The song featured back-up vocals from  Lisa Freeman Roberts, Myrna Matthews, and Pat Henderson from the gospel group Andrae Crouch and the Disciples.

The group reached #13 again in 1978 with another single written by Jack and Ray, Every Time I Think Of You.

Adrian was fired from managing the group as a result of a dispute with the group’s record label, and Michael left the group soon after. Two new musicians joined the group, Jonathan Cain on keyboards and Ricky Phillips on bass.

The group’s last top forty single came in 1979 with the release of Back On My Feet Again, which peaked at only #33.

Disappointed by the poor sales that resulted from what they thought were excellent recordings and live appearances, the group finally disbanded in 1981.

John began a successful solo recording career and released a number one single (Missing You) from his second album.

Jonathan joined Journey just as the group hit it big and wrote many of their songs.

John, Jonathan, and Ricky formed Bad English in 1987 with Neal Schon from Journey and drummer Deen Castronovo. The band hit the top of the Hot 100 with the single When I See You Smile in 1989. When the group broke up in 1991, Ricky joined Styx and John returned to his solo career.

Tony became Rod Stewart’s drummer. Wally also played in Rod’s band, and he and Tony both played with Elton John and Air Supply.

In 2013, Tony and Wally reformed The Babys with the addition of John Bisaha on bass and Joey Sykes on guitar. The new band has continued to tour and even recorded a new album in 2014.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Babys

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