Lost or Forgotten Oldie of the Day: 1965 Chad And Jeremy – Before And After

Chad Stewart and Jeremy Clyde met in London while attending the Central School of Speech and Drama. In 1962 they began performing as a folk-singing duo. Jeff Barry (who was responsible for the James Bond theme song) discovered the pair singing in a basement coffeehouse and got them a contract with a small British record label.

Chad wrote their first singleYesterday’s Gone. The record only reached #37 on the UK chart in 1963 and was their only appearance on the UK charts. Their next single failed to chart anywhere.

When the British Invasion began to hit full force, a small record label released Yesterday’s Gone in the US and it reached #21 on the Hot 100 in the summer of 1964. Their record label followed that release with A Summer Song. They appeared on American Bandstand to promote the single, and that proved to be their only top ten record in the US. It was also the first of their five records that reached the top ten on the Adult Contemporary chart.

In 1965, the duo finally signed a contract with a major record label, Columbia Records. One of the label’s staff writers was Van McCoy, who eventually hit the charts himself with The Hustle in 1975. He wrote the title song from the duo’s first Columbia album, Before And After. The single peaked at #17 on the Hot 100 and #4 on the AC chart.

Their chart success led to a few appearances on American television shows in 1965, including The Dick Van Dyke Show and The Patty Duke Show.

Chad and Jeremy had been unsuccessful in their home country, and Jeremy later lamented that he was unaware of how successful they were in the US. He left the group to appear in a London play and the group stopped touring for a year while he pursued an acting career.

The group reunited and recorded a new album in 1966 and also appeared in two episodes of Batman. Two more albums followed the next two years before competing visions of their future led to the eventual dissolution of the group in 1968.

Jeremy returned to London and a successful acting career that included a few stops on Broadway. Chad continued working in the music field and became the music director for the Smothers Brothers show.

The duo reunited briefly in 1986 for a tour with other British invasion groups and reunited in 2002 for an additional 16 years.

Chad retired in 2018. Jeremy continues to tour either as a solo artist with a backup band or as half of a duo with Peter Asher of Peter and Gordon.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chad_%26_Jeremy
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Before_and_After_(song)

Lost or Forgotten Oldie Of The Day – Christmas Edition

A very long time ago, radio stations put occasional Christmas records into the rotation in December, but that’s a thing of the past.  A few stations began playing Christmas music full time on some weekends, and their ratings soared (this is long before streaming made it easy to hear whatever you wanted).  It wasn’t too long before we started getting wall to wall Christmas music on some stations as soon as Thanksgiving, and this year it started up as soon as the Halloween parties ended. SiriusXM radio even has Christmas music on at least one channel all year long.

While the expansion of Christmas music may sound like a good idea, that isn’t quite what we got.  Instead of stations playing hundreds of different Christmas records, we get what seems to be the same ten songs by various artists over and over and over. And over.

Sure, it’s nice to hear George Michael sing Last Christmas again (okay, the label says “Wham”), but a half hour later we hear the song “performed” by the Glee crowd or  Ariana Grande or even Taylor Swift.  Then here comes Little Drummer Boy by Joan Jett or Justin Bieber or the Temptations or somebody else at least once per hour.  Lots of cover versions of the Christmas Song (“Chestnuts Roasting”), White Christmas, Blue Christmas, I’ll Be Home For Christmas, and maybe even a few politically incorrect versions of Baby It’s Cold Outside (and, sadly, a few newer versions that have new lyrics that are politically correct — sigh).  I can barely stand to listen for even an hour thanks to the endless repetition.

It didn’t take long to make up a list of songs that have been “misplaced” and no longer seem to be on the air.  The hard part was winnowing down the list to a manageable number.  In no particular order, here are a few songs that might help you remember a Christmas past:

Whatever Happened To Christmas by Frank Sinatra. This 1969 song was on the Sinatra Family Wish You a Merry Christmas album. The real surprise is that Jimmy Webb wrote the song.

Christmas Mem’ries by Rosemary Clooney.  Rosemary sang and danced her way through the movie White Christmas in 1954 (which was a remake of 1942’s Holiday Inn, renamed because of the popularity of Bing Crosby’s biggest record). Alan and Marilyn Bergman wrote this version of memories of the past, and Don Costa put it to music by 1975.

This Time of the Year by Brook Benton.  A 1959 television performance of Brook lip-syncing the song, one of the 67 records that Brook got onto the Hot 100 pop charts.

Old  Toy Trains by Roger Miller. While he may have continued climbing the Country charts for a few more decades, this record came near the end of Roger’s success on the pop charts.

Christmas Night In Harlem by Louis Armstrong.  At about the midpoint of his career, Louis recorded this Christmas song in 1955.  The original hit version of the song was by Paul Whiteman & His Orchestra in 1934, but that version contains some lyrics that aren’t exactly acceptable in these modern times.

Snowy White Snow and Jingle Bells by Vaughn Monroe.  From 1945 to 1952 Vaughn usually had 4 or 5 hit records each year. The only exception was 1950, the year he released this Christmas song.  Perhaps the present Santa left under his tree was the three top ten records he had in the next five months!

It’s Gonna Be a Lonely Christmas by The Orioles.  This 1948 release by one of the first doo-wop groups shows much of the promise that bloomed later in their career (you are most likely familiar with their biggest hit, Crying in the Chapel, which Elvis later covered).

The Marvelous Toy by the Chad Mitchell Trio.  Tom Paxton wrote and recorded the song. He briefly joined up as a member of the group, but the group dropped him when his voice apparently didn’t blend in well enough.  Other members of the group also included Harry Belafonte and John Denver, but Chad Mitchell, Mike Kobluk, and Joe Frazier were in the group for this single in 1963. Many other versions have been recorded since then, but the radio ignores them.

Merry Christmas, Baby by Johnny Moore’s Three Blazers.  This is the original 1947 version of the song that features vocals by Charles Brown.  The 1962 version that Charles recorded as a solo record didn’t get much traction, but the two different versions of the record recorded the next two years and a later third version went into heavy rotation at Christmas and all the modern covers followed that last version.

The River by Joni Mitchell.  Few Christmas songs get released in June, but this entry was on the album Blue, which Joni released that month in 1971.  Many consider that album her best.  It appears Joni wrote The River about her breakup with Graham Nash (of the Hollies and Crosby, Stills, and Nash) and it is one of the saddest of the Christmas songs.
In 2019, Elle Goulding released her version of the song and it topped the charts in the UK.

A 5 Pound Box of Money by Pearl Bailey.  I really don’t need to hear Santa Baby once an hour by Ertha Kitt and Madonna and Glee and Ariana Grande and Taylor Swift and… hmm, isn’t this list starting to sound familiar?  Here’s a similar plea from Pearl Bailey from 1959 that concentrates on one simple gift request.

A Howdy Doody Christmas by The Fontane Sisters and Howdy Doody.  Okay, I got to sit in the Peanut Gallery once upon a time, so how can I ignore Howdy Doody’s 1957 entry into the Christmas Hall of Fame?

May Every Day Be Christmas by Louis Jordan.  If we stop the radio from playing Baby It’s Cold Outside by Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Jordan, perhaps the record Louis cut two years later can gain some traction.

Santa’s Beard by the Beach Boys.  The Beach Boys Christmas Album in 1964 contained their most played Christmas song, the Little Saint Nick, and a stack of covers of classic Christmas tunes, but this song about searching for the real Santa Claus seems all but forgotten.

There are many, many more, so perhaps I’ll have another list next year. In the meantime, Merry Christmas, Everybody, Everywhere!

Lost or Forgotten Oldie of the Day: 1963 The Dartells – Hot Pastrami

In 1960, dance crazes were rampant, spawned no doubt by the success of the Twist. James Brown was already doing a dance called the mashed potatoes while he performed songs in his live shows, and he wanted to record an instrumental he could just dance to.

James had recorded another instrumental that hadn’t sold well, so his record label told him no instrumentals. James packed up his band and snuck out to another recording studio and recorded (Do The) Mashed Potatoes. James hid the record from his record label by having the band listed using his drummer’s name: Nat Kendricks & the Swans. They also covered up his voice by dubbing the voice of a local disc jockey (Carlton “King” Coleman) over the vocals. Credit for writing the song went to Dessie Rozier.

The record only reached #84 on the Hot 100 in 1960 but reached the top ten on the R&B chart.

The dance was going strong in 1962 and Dee Dee Sharp recorded It’s Mashed Potato Time and her single reached #2 on the Hot 100. The Gazzarri Dancers showed us how to do the dance when Dee Dee appeared on Hollywood A Go Go. She kept her dance cred growing by singing Slow Twistin’ with Chubby Checker and reached #3. Her next single was an obvious follow-up to her first hit that year, and Give Me Gravy On My Mashed Potatoes reached #9. A few months later that year we got another song, The Monster Mash, which owes a debt to Dee Dee’s gravy. Dee Dee moved on to do the Bird with a few songs in 1963.

The original James Brown recording “inspired” the production of another record: Hot Pastrami by the Dartells. Lead singer Doug Phillips took credit for writing the song, although his main contribution appears to be adding pastrami to the menu: the record still begins with mashed potatoes, and the instrumental backing sound almost identical to (Do The) Mashed Potatoes. The group’s single reached #11 on the Hot 100 in 1963.

Later in 1963, Joey Dee and the Starlighters covered the Dartells. The song was re-titled yet again, this time as Hot Pastrami And Mashed Potatoes. At least their version of the song correctly credited Rozier (James Brown) rather than Phillips as the songwriter. The single reached #36 and turned out to be the group’s last Top Forty single. Several of the members left the Starlighters and found success when they formed the Young Rascals.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/(Do_the)_Mashed_Potatoes
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dee_Dee_Sharp
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Dartells
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joey_Dee_and_the_Starliters

Lost or Forgotten Oldie of the Day: 1962 Highwaymen Cotton Fields

Dave Fisher and four other freshmen at Wesleyan formed a group that began singing folk songs together in 1958. Dave sang lead and arranged the group’s music. Folk music was finding its way onto the charts in the late fifties and early sixties and the group was fortunate enough to sign with United Artists. The group named themselves the Highwaymen and released their first album in 1960. The album included their version of an African work song, Michael Row The Boat Ashore. The single reached #1 on the Hot 100 in 1961.

The group’s second single failed to reach the top forty, but they had better luck with the B-side of the single. That song was a cover of Lead Belly’s 1940 Cotton Fields (The Cotton Song). Performances and releases of the song by Odetta and Harry Belafonte had helped bring the song more attention before the Highwaymen released their version in 1962. Their single reached #13 on the Hot 100 and peaked at #3 on the Adult Contemporary chart.

The Beach Boys later recorded several different versions of Cottonfields. They released one version as a single in 1970. While the single failed to reach the Hot 100 in the US, it topped the charts in at least three other countries and reached the top five in a half dozen more.

Appearances on The Tonight Show and The Ed Sullivan Show helped the Highwaymen promote their brand of folk music at a time when other folksingers were also having success. 1964 brought the British Invasion, and the group responded to the new sound by disbanding.

Dave reformed the group with four new members, and they recorded two additional albums. They also continued performing at live concerts and performed live on Hullabaloo in April 1965.

The group disbanded again in 1967. Dave moved to Hollywood and wrote over a thousand songs for movies and television.

When the Country supergroup recorded Highwayman and named their group The Highwaymen, the original Highwaymen sued over the name. Eventually, everybody agreed to let both groups use the name, and the two groups even shared a stage in 1990.

Most of the group reunited in 1987 and continued performing together until Dave’s death in 2010.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Highwaymen_(folk_band)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cotton_Fields

 

Lost or Forgotten Oldie of the Day: 1961 Clarence “Frogman” Henry – You Always Hurt The One You Love

Clarence Henry was born in New Orleans and was playing and singing in local bands while still in high school. He became known for his ability to “croak” lyrics in songs, and Chess Records had him record a song he wrote, of Ain’t Got No Home, in 1956. The record had him singing like a man, a girl, and a frog, and helped permanently tag him with the nickname “Frogman.” His single reached #20 on the Hot 100 and peaked at #3 on the R&B chart.

Everybody might have forgotten the record, but its repeated use in movies and television and other recordings kept the memory of the song alive :

  • Clarence opened for the Beatles singing his hit record at a series of concerts in 1964.
  • The song was used in the soundtrack of the film Diner in 1982.
  • Rod Stewart sang the chorus of the song in his hit, Some Guys Have All The Luck in 1984.
  • Corey Haim sang along with the song in the film Lost Boys in 1987.
  • The song was used in the background in the film Casino in 1995.
  • Rush Limbaugh used the song on his radio show as the theme song for his Homeless Update segments. Rush invited Clarence and his band to sing the song during some of Rush’s public appearances.

Following up on his hit record was a challenge. It took until 1961 for Clarence to reach the charts again. (I Don’t Know Why I Love You) But I Do reached #4 and the single was the biggest hit of his career.

The Mills Brothers had a chart-topping hit with the song You Always Hurt The One You Love in 1944. Spike Jones did his typical parody of the song a year later, and it got a lot of airplay even though it missed the charts (and sounds politically incorrect now).

Clarence followed up his second hit single later that year with a cover of You Always Hurt The One You Love that reached #12 on the Hot 100 and #11 on the R&B chart. Three more of his singles reached the Hot 100 in the next twelve months, but none of them made it any higher than #57.

He recorded a series of other singles during the rest of the decade, but none of them reached the charts again. Clarence continued performing for tourists on Bourbon Street in New Orleans into the eighties and still continues to sing at conventions.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clarence_%22Frogman%22_Henry
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/You_Always_Hurt_the_One_You_Love