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.


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