Lost or Forgotten Oldie of the Day: 1959 Everly Brothers – Poor Jenny

Chet Atkins first heard the Everly Brothers singing in Knoxville in 1956 and convinced them to move to Nashville and sign with Columbia Records. They recorded and released Keep a-Lovin’ Me, a song Don had written. The record failed to chart and Columbia dropped them.

Wesley Rose of Acuff-Rose signed the duo to a songwriting contract and had them record for Cadence Records. They recorded the song Bye-Bye Love in 1957, a song that 30 other artists had turned down. That began a streak of hit records. The Everly Brothers scored four number one Country singles that all also reached #1 or #2 on the Hot 100. The brothers wrote their next single (Problems) which reached #2 near the end of 1958.

The duo then stumbled in 1959: their first single in 1959 (Rip It Up) failed to chart at all!

Felice and Boudleaux Bryant wrote most of the early Everly Brothers hits, including both sides of their next single. Their next single came out later in 1959 and turned into a two-sided hit. The A-side was Message To Mary, which peaked at #16 and missed the Country chart. It was a much bigger hit in Australia (where it reached #2).

The other side of the single was Poor Jenny, which reached #22 on the Hot 100 before fading off the chart. They had two more top ten singles before signing with a new record label. They wrote their first single for Warner Brothers, and Cathy’s Clown turned into the biggest hit of their career. Their old record label also continued releasing singles for the next three years. The competition between the two labels gave them lots of records on the charts for the next few years.


Lost or Forgotten Oldie of the Day: 1958 Ed Townsend – For Your Love

Ed Townsend grew up in Tennessee and studied law at Arkansas State College. He enlisted in the Marines in 1951 and served a tour in Korea. After his military career ended, he began recording singles for a few smaller record companies.

In 1958, Ed approached Capital Records hoping to get Nat King Cole to record a song he had written, For Your Love. The record label instead offered Ed a recording contract. He recorded the song himself and it jumped onto the charts. The single reached #13 on the Hot 100 and #7 on the R&B chart. The song was popular enough that Ed toured with Alan Freed, appeared on American Bandstand during its first month on the air, and he even sang his single on the Ed Sullivan Show.

His next two other singles failed to chart. He then covered a song written by Sigmund Romberg and Oscar Hammerstein II in 1934. When I Grow Too Old To Dream reached #59 on the Hot 100 in late 1958. Ed continued to release singles through most of the sixties, but that was the last time Ed reached the charts.

Ed continued to write songs throughout his career. His most successful composition came in 1973 when he co-wrote Let’s Get It On with Marvin Gaye. He began singing on oldies shows (such as those on PBS) until his death in 2003.


Lost or Forgotten Oldie of the Day: 1957 Various Artists – Around The World

United Artists released the film Around The World In 80 Days in October 1956. The film starred David Niven, Shirley MacLaine, and Mexican actor Cantinflas. It eventually won five Academy Awards, including Best Picture.

Victor Young composed and conducted the film’s score. Victor began work on movie soundtracks and songs related to films in the thirties. He had amassed 21 Academy Award nominations without a single win by the time the film came out. Sadly, he died in November and did not live to see his work on Around The World finally earn him an Oscar.

The film and its theme song turned out to be popular, and 1957 saw the release of multiple versions of the theme song. Eddie Fisher released a vocal single of Around The World in 1956, but it failed to chart when disc jockeys played the B-side of the record instead: Cindy, Oh Cindy easily reached the top ten.

When the excitement around the Oscars began in 1957, they put together an instrumental single version of the theme song using the music Victor Young created for the film. While Victor Young’s instrumental was on one side of the single, a vocal version was on the other side. That vocal version was by Bing Crosby, who had worked with Victor several times before. Billboard charted each side of a single separately in the fifties, and the initial focus was on the instrumental. Victor’s version reached #13 in July.

The McGuire Sisters recorded a vocal version of the song that only reached #73 in August.

The Mantovani Orchestra released their own instrumental version of the song and reached #12 in September.

Disk jockeys must have discovered Bing’s version of the song a little later. His version of  Around The World reached #25 in October.

While the song may not have charted very high, thanks to all the versions that did chart, radio stations played the song for up to six months in 1957. Many other artists eventually recorded the song, but none of them reached the charts.


Lost or Forgotten Oldie of the Day: 1956 Dorothy Collins – Seven Days

Marjorie Chandler was born in Ontario. She grew up in show business, often singing on radio stations in Windsor and Detroit. In 1940, she and her family met Raymond Scott in Chicago.

Raymond was a multi-talented musician. Besides composing music and leading bands of various sizes, he also invented electronic instruments, was the music director for CBS for a few years, and advanced our understanding of acoustics in recordings. Oh, and he also wrote and licensed away much of the music used in the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies cartoons.

When he first met Marjorie, she was only 14 years old. She impressed him with her singing ability, so began working with her and gave her singing lessons. He also encouraged her to find a new stage name (Dorothy Collins). Within a year made her a vocalist for his six-man band. In 1949, Raymond became the orchestra conductor for the popular CBS radio show Lucky Strike’s Your Hit Parade and left Dorothy leading his band.

The television show moved to NBC in 1950. Raymond got Dorothy a chance to audition for the show, and she became a featured singer for most of the decade. Raymond got divorced from his first wife, and he married Dorothy in 1952.

Dorothy released an endless number of singles during the fifties, but only two of them reached the Hot 100. My Boy-Flat Top was a rockabilly tune co-written by Boyd Bennett. A single credited to Boyd Bennett and his Rockets reached #39 in 1955. Dorothy covered the song as a big band vocal and her version reached #16 that year.

Clyde McPhatter struggled to reach the Hot 100 after leaving the Drifters, although his singles were often near the top of the R&B chart. In 1956 he released Seven Days. The single reached #2 on the R&B chart but only got to #44 on the Hot 100. Dorothy’s cover version reached #17 while the Crew-Cuts cover version reached #18 a month later.

She released albums in 1957 and 1958. She also had two other singles that reached the Hot 100 in 1960, but neither one reached the top forty.

Your Hit Parade failed to pay enough attention to the growth of Rock-and-roll and ended in 1959. Dorothy quickly found work as the co-host of Candid Camera.

Dorothy and Raymond got divorced in 1965.

Raymond invented the Electronium (an early electronic instrument) and worked in the research department of Motown Records through most of the seventies. He died in 1994, but his music lives on in many old cartoons and modern shows like Ren and StimpyThe Simpsons, and The Animaniacs.


Lost or Forgotten Oldie of the Day: 1955 Alan Dale – Cherry Pink And Apple Blossom White

Aldo Sigismondi was born in Brooklyn. His father had immigrated to the US from Italy and had his own local radio program. Aldo got his chance to sing in public in 1934 at the age of only nine. His father’s show was running short and Aldo sang a song to fill the time. It went well enough that Aldo’s performances became a regular feature of the show.

Aldo auditioned for a singing job on Coney Island in 1943, and they hired him on the spot. The Carmen Cavallaro Orchestra hired Aldo the next year as a vocalist but insisted on changing his name. Inspired by the Robin Hood character Alan-A-Dale, Aldo began using the stage name Alan Dale.

Alan signed a series of record contracts beginning in 1947 and earned his own television show on the Dumont network in 1948. The show moved to CBS for the 1950-1951 season.

Ben Ryan wrote the song The Gang That Sang Heart Of My Heart in 1926. The last week of 1953 saw the release of two different versions of the song that each reached the top ten in early 1954: the single by the Four Aces reached #7 while the version recorded by Don Cornell, Alan Dale, and Johnny Desmond reached #10.

The number one record for all of 1955 was undoubtedly the instrumental Cherry Pink And Apple Blossom White by Perez Prado. Jane Russell starred in Underwater! and danced to the music of the song in the film’s soundtrack. The instrumental spent 26 weeks in the top forty and ten of those weeks it was sitting at #1.

Vocal versions of hit instrumentals often followed them up the charts, and this song was no exception. Alan Dale recorded a vocal version of the song and in 1955, about a month after the instrumental version reached #1, Alan’s version peaked at #14.

While Alan did not reach the charts again, he became friends with Alan Freed and appeared in the 1956 film, Don’t Knock the Rock.

Alan’s career faded as rock-and-roll grew in importance, but he continued appearing in nightclubs most of his life. He died in 2002.


Lost or Forgotten Oldie of the Day: 1989 Living Colour – Cult Of Personality

Vernon Reid was a British musician who moved to New York City and became a member of the local jazz scene. From 1984 to 1986, he formed a series of groups called Vernon Reid’s Living Colour. The group played an evolving version of jazz/funk/punk music depending on who the members of the group were. In 1986, the group settled into a group of four members that remained together as Living Colour for the next six years. The group did some touring and also became regulars at club CBGB.

The group released its first album in 1988. The first single from the album was Cult Of Personality. The video got some airplay on MTV near the end of the year. The group also performed the song on Saturday Night Live in April 1989, and the appearance helped the single reach #13 on the Hot 100 the next month.

The single got its name from Nikita Khrushchev’s 1956 anti-Stalin report, “On the Cult of Personality and Its Consequences”. The song contains clips from speeches by Malcolm X, John F. Kennedy, and Franklin D. Roosevelt. The lyrics also mention other political and social leaders, including Benito Mussolini, Joseph Stalin, and Mahatma Gandhi.

The single won a Grammy Award for Best Hard Rock Performance and the song and the group also won MTV Video Music Awards.

The group changed drummers in 1992 and disbanded in 1995, but reformed in 2000.

Living Colour released five more albums by 2017, but never again approached the success of their first album. The band continues to tour and has its own website at http://www.livingcolour.com.


Lost or Forgotten Oldie of the Day: 1988 When In Rome – The Promise

Clive Farrington was a member of the British group Beau Leisure. When the group disbanded in the mid-eighties, he recruited Andy O’Connell and Michael Floreale and began performing as When In Rome. Andrew Mann joined the group and Andy left and the remaining members began writing and recording songs. The group released its first album in 1988.

The Promise was perhaps the most commercial track on the album, and their record company released it as a twelve-inch dance record. The release quickly rose to the top of the US Dance Club Play chart. They released a single remix that reached #11 on the Hot 100 in late 1988.

The next single was Heaven Knows, but it was a disappointment: it reached #95 and then promptly fell off the chart. Two more singles from the album did even more poorly in 1989 and 1990. The other members of the group fired Michael from the group over “creative differences,” and he departed for the US. Their record label dropped the group in 1993 and the group dissolved.

That might have been the end of the story, but in 2004, the soundtrack of Napoleon Dynamite included The Promise. The single showed all three members receiving credit as writers but a battle ensued over royalties.

Michael trademarked the name When In Rome in 2010 and reformed the group with John Ceravolo using the name When In Rome II. They began making public appearances.

When Clive and Andrew attempted to reform their own version of When In Rome, Michael used his trademark and successfully blocked their use of the name.

The US group continues to make appearances as When In Rome II. The British group instead tours as Farrington + Mann Original Members of When in Rome UK.