Lost or Forgotten Oldie of the Day 11/28/2019

1963 Little Eva – Let’s Turkey Trot

One local radio station began playing Christmas music a week before Thanksgiving this year and a second is revving up to add to the Christmas sounds the day after. A lot of stores also began selling Christmas paraphernalia the day after Halloween, so the trivialization of Thanksgiving continues.

And there appears to be only one song that comes close to fitting the Thanksgiving holiday: Let’s Turkey Trot.

There was a dance called the Turkey Trot that gained notoriety between 1900 and 1910. The dance was denounced by the Vatican and considered scandalous, and eventually faded away.

You can see Abby doing a portion of the dance on an episode of NCIS; nowadays it looks more humorous than scandalous.

Little Eva was a maid who also had the good fortune to babysit for Carole King and her husband, Gerry Goffin. They wrote The Locomotion for Dee Dee Sharp, but she wasn’t interested in recording the song. They recorded a demo with Little Eva and played it for music producer Don Kirshner (who later worked on music for both the Monkees and the Archies). Don was exceptional at recognizing hit records and had the song released on one of his record labels. The single went to number one on the Hot 100 and sold over a million copies in 1962. The success of the record briefly made a star out of Little Eva.

Little Eva had three more top forty singles in 1962 and 1963. The most unusual single was Let’s Turkey Trot, a song written by Gerry Goffin and Jack Keller. The Cookies (who recorded Chains and Don’t Say Nothin’ Bad About My Baby) and Carole King sang backup vocals on the record. The single reached #20 in 1963. Little Eva not only toured with the Dick Clark Caravan of Stars, but she also got to sing the song on Shindig.

Jan and Dean recorded Let’s Turkey Trot on their album Jan & Dean Take Linda Surfin’ but don’t appear to have ever released the song on a single.

Eva was left nearly penniless after the hit records stopped, and quit the music business. Nothing changed when for her when Grand Funk Railroad covered The Loco-Motion, but when Kylie Minogue successfully recorded a cover version in 1988, Little Eva was able to make a living off her music by appearing as an oldies act. She died from complications of cancer in 2003.

Hope you have a great Thanksgiving…this year I can add something new to the list of things I’m grateful for, those of you who read my blog regularly!


Lost or Forgotten Oldie of the Day 11/25/2019

1975 Tavares – Heaven Must Be Missing An Angel

Five brothers named Ralph, Pooch, Chubby, Butch, and Tiny started singing together in 1959 as Chubby and the Turnpikes. The group had a few local hits after signing with Capitol Records. In 1969, they were joined by drummer Joey Kramer and dropped Chubby from their name and became The Turnpikes. About a year later Joey left to join Aerosmith and the group started using other backup musicians.

In 1973, the group began appearing using their last name as the group name: Tavares. They recorded their first album in 1973 and began to regularly reach the R&B charts with their singles.

We don’t remember it now, but for a brief time, Tavares was more successful than Hall and Oates. That duo’s first charting record was She’s Gone, which only reached #60 on the Hot 100 in 1974. After that single faded, Tavares covered the song and their version went to #50 on the Hot 100 and reached #1 on the R&B chart. The original version by Hall and Oates was reissued in 1976 to capitalize on the success of Sara Smile, and that time the record reached the top ten.

Tavares did even better in 1975 when they released It Only Takes A Minute. That single made it to #10 on the Hot 100 and also reached #1 on the R&B chart.

Freddie Perren was a songwriter and producer who had worked with the Jackson Five on many of their early hits. Freddie began working on disco records in 1975 and produced Love Machine by the Miracles and Boogie Fever by the Sylvers. He also produced the fourth Tavares album, Sky High. The first single from that album was Heaven Must Be Missing An Angel (Part 1). The disco single was the group’s first truly international hit, reaching #1 on the US Dance chart, #3 on the R&B chart, and #15 on the Hot 100. The record also reached #1 in the Netherlands, which led to an appearance on the Dutch television show TopPop.

The group had a long string of R&B hits and four of them reached the Hot 100 as well. They continued recording new music until 1983, after which the group continued to appear in oldie shows.


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