Lost or Forgotten Oldie of the Day: 1965 Sir Douglas Quintet – She’s About A Mover

1965 Sir Douglas Quintet – She’s About A Mover

Doug Sahm grew up in San Antonio and showed musical talent at a very young age. He began his career singing Country music and performed live on the radio when he was only five years old. When he was eleven, he played on stage with Hank Williams at Hank’s last show before he died travelling between shows. The Grand Ole Opry offered Doug a permanent spot on the Opry, but his mother turned down their offer because he hadn’t yet finished junior high school. In addition to singing, Doug played steel guitar, the mandolin, and the violin.

Doug played in several bands in the mid-fifties and early sixties.  Houston producer Huey P. Meaux spent some time listening to recent records from England and noticed that the recordings had a great deal in common with Cajun music. He talked with Doug about producing music that would blend the two disparate genres. Doug and his friend, organ player and songwriter Augie Meyers, recruited three more members and formed a group in 1964. Huey came up with the name The Sir Douglas Quintet, hoping that it would be British-sounding enough to fool potential record buyers. The group played music that was pop-oriented Tex-Mex and Cajun music that also reflected the music arriving in the US from the British Invasion.

The group found success with their second singleShe’s About A Mover. Doug wrote the record, which peaked at #13 on the Hot 100 in 1965. The next year they also charted with a single written by Huey, The Rains Came, which many refer to as Rain Rain Rain. The record did well regionally, but peaked at only #31 nationally.

After an unfortunate situation with a small amount of pot and the Texas police. After getting out of jail, Doug disbanded the group and he and Augie moved to San Francisco in search of a more copasetic audience. The pair soon recruited additional musicians and The Sir Douglas Quintet returned to playing in clubs.

The group eventually recorded a new album. Doug wrote the group’s comeback single, Mendocino. The record reached #27 in early 1969. The group’s next single only reached #83 and proved to be the last time the group charted on the Hot 100.

Doug eventually moved back to Texas, causing the group to disband again. He pursued a solo career, but never found the same level of success he gained with the group.

Augie did some session work for a variety of musicians and also owned several of his own record labels.

In 1989, Doug, Augie, singer Freddie Fender, and accordion player/singer Flaco Jimenez formed the Tex-Mex supergroup The Texas Tornados. The group recorded seven albums and won the 1991 Grammy Award for the Best Mexican-American Performance with the single Soy de San Luis. Doug also performed and/or recorded with at least a half dozen other groups in between concerts.

Doug died of a heart attack in his sleep in 1999.


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Lost or Forgotten Oldie of the Day: 1964 Robert Maxwell – Shangri-La

1964 Robert Maxwell – Shangri-La 

Max Rosen grew up in New York City and began playing the harp in junior high school. He displayed talent for the instrument, and he won a scholarship to the  Juilliard School of Music. When he entered the Coast Guard, he served under the command of Rudy Valle, who helped him play the harp in popular music settings. Somewhere along the line, he also began using the name Robert Maxwell.

Robert began writing music. He co-wrote the music for the song Shangri-La with  Matty Malneck and Carl Sigman penned the lyrics. A recording by Matty’s orchestra featured Robert on the harp, but does not appear to have charted.

Robert wrote music for the song Ebb Tide. Frank Chacksfield and Vic Damone each recorded the song in 1953, and their singles reached #2 and #10, respectively. The Righteous Brothers also had some success with the song when their version reached #5 in 1966.

Robert also wrote and recorded the record Solfeggio in 1953. Ernie Kovacs used that song in a series of comical television sketches known as The Nairobi Trio that led to the re-recording of the song in 1957 as The Song Of The Nairobi Trio.

The Four Coins had five top forty singles in in the fifties. Their biggest  hit came when they recorded a vocal version of Shangri-La, which peaked at #11 on the Hot 100 in 1957. In 1964, two more versions of the song charted. Robert’s instrumental version replaced the vocals with organ solos and reached #15 on the Hot 100. Vic Dana’s vocal version got as high as #27. The song charted one last time in 1969 when the Lettermen replaced the harp solos with horns and took their single up to #64. Jackie Gleason used the tune on his variety show as background music for the character Reginald van Gleason III.

Robert taught the harp to several students who also became professional harpists. Robert died in 2012.


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Lost or Forgotten Oldie of the Day: 1963 Bobby Bare – Detroit City

1963 Bobby Bare – Detroit City

Bobby Bare was a singer/songwriter who spent the late fifties looking to break into the charts. He signed with Capitol Records and released a few unsuccessful rock-and-roll records. Inspired by the news of the army drafting Elvis, in 1958, Bobby wrote the humorous song The All American Boy. The army also drafted Bobby, and before he reported for duty, he recorded a demo version of his song and gave it to Bill Parsons. Bill recorded the song, but his record label decided to release Bobby’s version instead…but they issued the single with Bill’s name on the label. The record reached #2 on the charts, and they paid Bobby $50 for singing on the record.

After Bobby finished his military service, Chet Atkins signed him with RCA-Victor Records. Bobby’s first release on the label, Shame On Me, came out in 1962. The single peaked at #18 on the Country chart and also reached #23 on the Hot 100. The next year would be more successful for him.

Danny Dill and Mel Tillis wrote the song I Wanna Go Home. Billy Grammar recorded the song and his single reached #18 on the Country chart in January 1963. Chet produced Bobby’s version of the song and they released it a few months later with a new name, Detroit City. His single peaked at #6 on the Country chart, #16 on the Hot 100, and #4 on the Adult Contemporary (AC) chart.

Folksinger Hedy West wrote the song 500 Miles and began singing it live. The song bears a copyright of 1961. The first released version of the song came out in 1961 by a group named the Journeymen: John Phillips (who arranged their version), Scott McKenzie (who later recorded San Francisco Wear Flowers in Your Hair), and Dick Weissman. The Journeymen broke up, reformed, and then added three more singers and became The Mamas And The Papas.

Bobby’s version of 500 Miles became his biggest hit on the pop charts, reaching #10 on the Hot 100. Bobby reached #4 on the AC chart again with his single.

Bobby had one single in 1965 that peaked at #33 and then never reached the top forty on the Hot 100 again. His career on the Country charts kept active through 1975: one more #1 single, ten more top ten singles, and 42  more top forty singles.

Bobby was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2013 and still continues to tour.


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Lost or Forgotten Oldie of the Day: 1962 Castells – So This Is Love

1962 Castells – So This Is Love

Five students at Santa Rosa High School formed the group the Castells in 1959 and began playing at a local teenage canteen.  Chuck Girard’s mother paid $100 to get a demo recorded by the group. They approached several labels with the demo and signed with Era Records. They reduced the group to four members when they signed with Era Records: Chuck Girard, Tom Hicks, Joe Kelly, and Bob Ussery. 

The group recorded and released several singles in 1961. The Wrecking Crew was not yet a fully functioning group, but several of the future members of the studio musicians group backed the group on their recordings.

Sacred became their first successful single, reaching #20 on the Hot 100 in 1961.

A few more singles failed to click, but they once again charted in 1962 with the single So This Is Love. The record peaked at #21 on the Hot 100 the next year.

One more single peaked at #91 and faded quickly. The group disintegrated by 1964. Producer Gary Usher began working with Chuck and Joe, recording music that fit the cars and surf scene in California under multiple group names.

The Beach Boys had included the song Little Honda on their 1964 album, All Summer Long. Gary gave Chuck a copy of the album and told him to learn to sing the song. He then recruited another collection of future Wrecking Crew musicians that included Glen Campbell and Hal Blaine and produced an entire album of car songs. Gary co-wrote most of the songs on the album with Roger Christian, who had written lyrics for Little Deuce Coup and several other Beach Boy tunes. They settled on The Hondells for the name of the group.

Roger also wrote liner notes with names and biographies for four alleged members of the group, and the album got released in 1964. The single Little Honda made it as high as #9 on the Hot 100.

Gary created a touring group that featured Ritchie Burns on lead vocals and they recorded a second album. The first Lovin’ Spoonful album included the song Younger Girl. The Long Island group The Critters and The Hondells each released a cover version of the song that charted May 28, 1966, and which version you might have heard would depend on which part of the Country you lived in at the time. The Critters only made it to #42 with their single while the Hondells peaked at #51 with their version. Perhaps if only one group had released the song, the song might have been a bigger success.


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Lost or Forgotten Oldie of the Day: 1961 Bobby Edwards – You’re The Reason

1961 Bobby Edwards – You’re The Reason

Bobby served in the Navy for a spell and began performing country music full time when he mustered out. He released a few records as Bobby Moncrief, and when those failed to chart, he moved to California and began playing at clubs there. Crest Records signed him to a recording contract, and he began playing and singing with members of the group Four Young Men.

Bobby wrote and recorded the song You’re The Reason with the Four Young Men singing backup vocals. The single reached #4 on the Country chart in 1961, but more surprisingly, the record also reached #11 on the Hot 100. Joe South and Hank Locklin recorded covers of the song. Joe’s version was more country than you would expect based on his later career and peaked at #16 on the Country chart. Hank’s single was much more country (as would be expected) and peaked at #14. Johnny Tillotson covered the song in 1968, but his version only reached #49 on the Country chart.

The success of the single enabled Bobby to move to Capitol Records.

While some have claimed that Bobby’s next record was a carbon-copy of his hit, it was actually a cover of the 1957 single What’s The Reason I’m Not Pleasing You by Fats Domino. Fats’ version was similar to many of his other hits, while Bobby’s had a clear Country sound. Fats’ version was the B-side of his top-ten hit Blue Monday and only reached #50 on the Hot 100 and #12 on the R&B chart. Bobby didn’t do that well; they shortened the title of his single to just What’s The Reason, and it peaked at #71 on the Hot 100 in 1962 and completely missed the Country chart.

Bobby also co-wrote his last charting single with Jerry and Rose Russell. Don’t Pretend reached #23 on the Country chart in 1963.

Bobby appeared on the Grand Ole Opry and toured with other Country performers. He opened his own recording studio in the late sixties and recorded a few gospel albums. By 1972, it was clear that his career had run its course and he retired from the music scene.

Bobby still lived in Smyrna, Tennessee, when he died in 2012.


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Lost or Forgotten Oldie of the Day: 1960 Don Costa – Never On Sunday

1960 Don Costa – Never On Sunday

Don Costa began playing the guitar at an early age and was playing professionally as a member of the CBS Studio Orchestra while still a teenager. He moved to New York City in the late forties so he could pursue a career as a session musician. He got a good start on that career when he played guitar on the 1949 number one single Riders In The Sky by Vaughn Monroe. He soon was arranging music for multiple instruments.

Don’s work so impressed Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gormé that they asked him to arrange some background vocals for some of their recordings. The work the three did resulted in Steve and Eydie signing with ABC-Paramount Records. It also led to ABC-Paramount hiring Don to head the A&R division and becoming their chief producer and arranger.

Paul Anka auditioned for Don with the song Diana. Don recognized the hit potential of the song and set up a recording session for the single. Don conducted his orchestra on the recording and helped get Paul’s career started.

In 1959, Don moved to United Artists Records, where he continued arranging and doing A&R work. He recorded and released an instrumental version of the theme song from the film Never On Sunday. The single peaked at #27 on the Hot 100 in 1960 and #16 on the Adult Contemporary chart.

While he never reached the top forty again, Frank Sinatra hired Don to arrange the songs on Frank’s 1962 album Sinatra And Strings. Don worked on additional Sinatra albums as well as recordings by the Osmond Brothers, Sammy Davis Jr., Little Anthony and the Imperials, and Petula Clark.

Don’s daughter Nikka began singing professionally at the age of five when she recorded a single with Don Ho. She also sang with Frank Sinatra at the White House. When Nikka turned nine, she recorded a new version of Out Here (On My Own), a song from the soundtrack of Fame that was co-written by Lesley Gore. Her record company only released Nikka’s single in Europe and South America. The single did well internationally and even topped the charts in Italy. As an adult, Nikka began singing music that was more mature and had a second successful career. She was featured on a Mark Ronson album and recorded successful albums of her own.

Don died after a heart attack in 1983, when he was only 57 years old.


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Lost or Forgotten Oldie of the Day: 1959 Kathy Linden – Goodbye Jimmy Goodbye

1959 Kathy Linden – Goodbye Jimmy Goodbye

Kathy Linden grew up in New Jersey. She was performing tap and ballet in public by the time she was barely five years old. She began acting in plays and later played piano and violin in several symphony orchestras. She also became a member of The Singing Strings, an all-girl string quartet.

Kathy began singing at clubs in New Jersey and the Philadelphia area. Songwriter and producer Joe Leahy signed Kathy to a recording contract that he later transferred to Felsted Records (a division of London Records). In 1957 she recorded It’s Just My Luck To Be Fifteen, but the single failed to attract any attention.

Joe and his orchestra then recorded Kathy singing Billy, a song recorded by The American Quartet in 1911. That single reached #7 on the Hot 100 in 1958. Kathy recorded an album that year, That Certain Boy, but none of the other singles from the album charted.

Her record label released five more of her singles in 1959. The only record that did well was Goodbye Jimmy Goodbye. The record peaked at #11 on the Hot 100 and somehow reached #2 in Sweden.

By 1962, Kathy had recorded at least eight more singles for three other labels, but none of them had charted.

Kathy became a Christian in 1980 and began recording Christian music. She travelled and led services for churches. Kathy turned 81 in 2019 and celebrated by releasing a new album of new religious and country songs and a few instrumentals.


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Lost or Forgotten Oldie of the Day: 1958 Four Lads – Enchanted Island

1958 Four Lads – Enchanted Island

Corrado Codarini, John Bernard Toorish, Rudi Maugeri, and John Perkins were students at the  St. Michael’s Choir School in Toronto. They began singing as a group. They spelled the city’s name backwards and called their group the Otnorots. Rudi and John Perkins left the group so they would have more time to concentrate on schoolwork. It might have been a missed opportunity for Rudi and John, but the pair went on to be founding members of the Crew Cuts, who also had a series of hits in the Fifties. Two other students at the school took their places in the group: James F. Arnold, and Frank Busseri.

The new group began using the name The Four Dukes, but changed to The Four Lads after they discovered that another group in Detroit was already using that name. They practiced until they were good enough to sing in local clubs, beginning in about 1950. The group then relocated to New York City and sang at an upscale supper club, Le Ruban Bleu. Their engagement there lasted 30 weeks.

Mitch Miller hired the group to sing background vocals for Columbia Records. Singer Johnnie Ray’s number one single, Cry, and its B-side, The Little White Cloud That Cried, both featured the Four Lads singing background vocals.

The group subsequently recorded their own singles and reached the top ten in 1953 with a novelty song, Istanbul (Not Constantinople). More hits followed, including a pair of records from 1955 to 1956 that each reached #2 on the Hot 100. They also reached #3 in 1956 with their cover of Standing On The Corner from the Broadway musical The Most Happy Fella.

In 1958, the group recorded the title song from the film Enchanted Island. They released a single from the soundtrack of the film that reached #12 on the Hot 100.

By the late fifties, the style of music the group was singing was rapidly going out of favor. Their next single was the third time they recorded and released The Mockingbird, a song that used the melody of Goin’ Home from Dvorak’s New World Symphony. The single only reached #32 and became the group’s last top forty hit.

The group continued recording into the early sixties and still performs live (although none of the original members still tour with the group).

The group has sold over 50 million singles and albums.


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Lost or Forgotten Oldie of the Day: 1957 Jim Reeves – Four Walls

1957 Jim Reeves – Four Walls

James Travis Reeves grew up in a small town in Eastern Texas. He used his middle name for years. He earned an athletic scholarship to the University of Texas, intending to play baseball at the school, but quit after only six weeks. He played for a few semi-pro baseball teams and even had a spot pitching for a St. Louis Cardinals farm team when he turned 21. His baseball career ended after he suffered a sciatic nerve injury.

Jim began working as an announcer on radio and sometimes sang live between songs. He worked his way up to a job at  KWKH-AM in Shreveport, Louisiana, the home of the popular Country Music show Louisiana Hayride. Jim began singing on the show when Hank Williams failed to show up for a performance and Jim got the chance to fill in for him.

Jim began recording songs that small record labels released as singles. The first time any of his recordings charted came in 1953, when his single Mexican Joe reached #1 on the Country chart. He continued to have multiple top ten Country hits every year through 1968.

Jim first reached the Hot 100 in 1957. Some top Nashville talent backed him on his recording of Four Walls, including Chet Atkins, Floyd Cramer, and The Jordanaires. The single topped the Country chart and reached #12 on the Hot 100 in 1957.

While two more of Jim’s singles reached #31 and #37 on the Hot 100, he only had one more success on the pop chart. In 1960, he recorded He’ll Have To Go. The record reached #2 on the Hot 100 and gave Jim another #1 Country hit.

Jim died in 1964 when the small private plane he was piloting got caught in a thunderstorm and crashed. His record label successfully continued releasing music he had already recorded through 1984. Six of those posthumous releases topped the Country chart between 1964 and 1967.

Patsy Cline had also died in a plane crash in 1963. Some production wizardry combined the vocals from Jim and Patsy on a new recording of Have You Ever Been Lonely? and the result was a top five country duet by the pair in 1982.


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Lost or Forgotten Oldie of the Day: 1956 The Platters – You’ll Never Know

1956 The Platters – You’ll Never Know 

Herb Reed founded the Platters and came up with the name for the singers based on the slang term disc jockeys used for records. He recruited Cornell Gunter as their lead singer.

Gaynel Hodge was the member who acted as their music director. Gaynel had been a member of the Turks, a group later known as The Hollywood Flames. Gaynel and another member of the Turks, Curtis Williams, had written Earth Angel with Jesse Belvin, and the song became a huge hit for the Penguins.

Gaynel’s brother Alex and Joe Jefferson rounded out the group.

In 1953, Tony Williams replaced Cornell as the lead singer of the group. Gaynel left the Platters and joined the West Coast doo-wop group the Flairs, and left them to join the Coasters in 1958. David Lynch joined the group.

By 1954, the band’s manager, songwriter Buck Ram, also replaced Alex with Paul Robi, and hired a woman, Zola Taylor, to replace Joe. The resulting lineup was responsible for most of the hit records the Platters had from 1955 to 1959. The group quickly had four top ten singles, including two (The Great Pretender and My Prayer) that topped the Hot 100 in 1956.

Their next single was a cover of a song that Alice Faye sang in the 1943 film Hello, Frisco, HelloYou’ll Never Know. Her version probably wasn’t even released on vinyl, but the song was popular enough that three versions charted in 1943: the #1 single by Dick Haymes, Frank Sinatra’s recording with the Bobby Tucker Singers that peaked at #2, and the near-instrumental version by Willie Kelly and his Orchestra that reached #6.

Rosemary Clooney and Harry James released another version of the song in 1953 that only reached #18, but her next outing made up for it when she recorded Hey There and the single topped the Hot 100.

Zola sang lead when the Platters released  You’ll Never Know in 1955. Their cover only reached #11 on the Hot 100.

Sonny Turner took over as the lead singer in the group in 1959, and their label, Mercury Records, refused to release any recordings that did not have Tony singing lead. The record company kept releasing older recordings the group had made until their contract with the group expired.

Numerous other members came and went, and before long, five distinct groups began touring that were using “The Platters” as at least part of their band’s name. That led to lawsuits and angry, hurt feelings for years until most of the members had died. There is still a group performing live as the Platters, but none of them were in the group prior to 1970.


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