Lost or Forgotten Oldie of the Day: 1970 Sandpipers – Come Saturday Morning

1970 Sandpipers – Come Saturday Morning

Jim Brady, Mike Piano, and Richard Shoff became friends while singing together in a boys’ choir. They and their friend Nick Cahuernga formed a vocal group. They used the name The Four Seasons until another group began successfully using that name. Nick left the group, and the trio began performing as The Grads.

The Grads recorded non-charting singles for three different labels before signing with A&M Records. When their first single for that label also failed to chart, the group changed their name by selecting a word from a dictionary: The Sandpipers. They also began looking for songs to record.

Guantanamera is one of the most famous and popular Cuban songs. Joseíto Fernández popularized the song with his performances beginning in 1929.

The Weavers were one of the most successful (and controversial) folk singers in the early fifties. The group disbanded a few times in the fifties and performed at Carnegie Hall in a reunion concert in May 1963. One song they performed at that concert was Guantanamera. Their version included the group singing in Spanish and then explaining the words with an English translation.

The Sandpiper’s producer suggested they record Guantanamera. They based their arrangement on the Weavers’ live version with their producer doing the narration in the middle of the song. The single was the group’s biggest hit, reaching #9 on the Hot 100 and #3 on the Adult Contemporary chart in 1966. The performance earned the group two Grammy award nominations.

Liza Minnelli starred in the film Sterile Cuckoo in 1969. The theme song for the film was Come Saturday Morning. While Liza recorded the song for an album she released that year, the film used a version recorded by the Sandpipers on the soundtrack. They also recorded a second song for the soundtrack. The Sandpipers released their version of Come Saturday Morning as a single in late 1969 and it peaked at #83 on the Hot 100. The record did better on the Adult Contemporary chart, where it reached #9.

The song received an Oscar nomination for Best Original Song in early 1970. The record label reissued the Sandpipers’ single with a different B-side. The publicity from the Oscar nomination helped bring attention to the single, and the new single re-entered the charts. It peaked at #17 on the Hot 100 and reached #5 on the Adult Contemporary chart in 1970. The group had one more single reach #94 on the Hot 100, but never reached that chart again after 1970.

Mike left the group in the mid-seventies and the group replaced him with a series of substitute singers. Only Jim and Richard sang on the group’s final single in 1979.


Lost or Forgotten Oldie of the Day: 1969 Vikki Carr – With Pen In Hand

1969 Vikki Carr – With Pen In Hand

Bobby Goldsboro began playing guitar in Roy Orbison’s backing band in 1962. He later wrote and recorded See The Funny Little Clown, and the single reached #9 on the Hot 100 in the Spring of 1964. After that, Bobby left Roy’s band and concentrated on a solo career.

Four of Bobby’s twenty singles reached the top Forty before he recorded Honey, a song written by Bobby Russell. That single reached number one in 1968 on the Hot 100, the Country chart, and the Adult Contemporary (AC) chart. It became his first gold record. He recorded an album named for the single but did not release another single from the album. He wrote about half the songs on the album, one of which was With Pen In Hand.

Johnny Darrell moved to Nashville and managed a Holiday Inn near Music Row until he was discovered and began recording Country music. He covered With Pen In Hand as soon as Bobby’s album came out and had the biggest hit of his career. His single peaked at #3 on the Country chart and almost made it to the Hot 100 (it peaked at #126).

Billy Vera eventually had a number one single with At This Moment in 1987 after Family Ties used the song as part of the drama between Alex and Ellen. His first solo single came much earlier: he recorded With Pen In Hand in 1968 and reached #43 on the Hot 100 and #25 on the Easy Listening chart.

Florencia Bisenta de Casillas-Martinez Cardona was born in El Paso, Texas. Her parents were of Mexican ancestry. In 1962 she signed with Liberty Records and began using the stage name Vikki Carr. Gene Pitney wrote the song, He’s A Rebel. When Vikki recorded the song, Phil Spector was listening to the session and rushed out and recorded the song with the Blossoms. He released the single as being by the Crystals, and that version reached number one on the Hot 100. Vikki’s version moved slower and peaked at #115.

She continued recording songs but did not reach the charts again until a few of her singles reached the AC chart in 1966. The biggest hit of her career came with the release of It Must Be Him the next year; the single topped the AC chart and reached #3 on the Hot 100.

Vikki also recorded With Pen In Hand in 1968 after getting Bobby to write some new verses that reflected a woman’s concern for her daughter rather than a man’s concern for his son. She was in London when the song was released, and her appearances there helped the single reach #39. She returned to the US and recorded a concert in November at the Persian Room nightclub in Manhattan. Her record company released an album using the live performances and then released the live version of With Pen In Hand as a single. The record charted on the Hot 100 in May 1969 and peaked at #35 in July. The record reached #6 on the Easy Listening chart and they nominated Vikki for a Grammy award for that performance.

Vikki’s career faded in the seventies. In the eighties, she reinvented herself by recording songs in Spanish and met with greater success. She eventually won three Grammy awards and continued releasing albums as recently as 2014.

Bobby’s version of With Pen In Hand didn’t get completely forgotten. His record company finally released his version as a single in 1972. His version didn’t get any higher than #94 on the Hot 100, but reached #28 on the AC chart.


Lost or Forgotten Oldie of the Day: 1968 Lee Hazlewood & Nancy Sinatra – Some Velvet Morning

Lee Hazlewood grew up in Oklahoma and Louisiana, listening to both pop and bluegrass music. After serving in the army in Korea, Lee got a job as a disc jockey in Phoenix. In 1956 he wrote and produced The Fool, a single that went to #7 on the Hot 100. He then produced and co-wrote a series of instrumentals with Duane Eddy including the non-instrumental Dance With The Guitar Man (which reached #12 in 1962).

Lee wrote Houston and again produced a recording by Sanford Clark in 1964. When Sanford’s version failed to chart, Dean Martin recorded the song in 1965. His country-pop version reached #21 on the Hot 100 and peaked at #2 on the Adult Contemporary chart. That success led to Lee writing and producing songs for Dean’s daughter, Deana.

Another daughter of a famous singer who was seeking a successful singing career was Nancy Sinatra (Frank’s daughter). She had been recording singles that nobody had been buying since 1961, and in 1965, Lee began to work with her. He wrote and produced the single So Long Babe, but the mild country-pop song didn’t succeed any better. Nancy appeared on Hullabaloo (with her original dark hair!) and did not appear comfortable performing.

The next single Lee wrote and produced for her was These Boots Were Made For Walkin’. Lee helped change her appearance as well and the result was a video that led to a million-selling record.

Lee wrote and produced several more hit songs for Nancy, including a duet he sang with her that became the B-side of Sugar Town. In 1967 he produced the duet Somethin’ Stupid, which turned into the biggest record of Nancy and Frank’s career.

Encouraged by his success, Lee formed his own record label, LHI Records. His label signed the Boston area group the International Submarine Band. Gram Parsons was the leader of the group. Their first album didn’t succeed. When the Byrds lost most of their members, Gram left his group and joined the Byrds. He convinced the group to record their next album in Nashville and was instrumental in the recording of their next album, Sweethearts of the Rodeo. Unfortunately, Gram was still under contract with LHI. As the result of lawsuits Lee filed, the court forced the Byrds to remove most of the lead vocals Gram did on the album. Roger McGuinn sang replacement vocals.

Lee and Nancy’s successful collaborations continued through 1968 and included several songs they sang on together. The string ended with the release of Some Velvet Morning. The song came complete with unusual lyrics and they shot an equally strange video for Nancy’s television special, Movin’ With Nancy. The single peaked at #26 on the Hot 100. It was Nancy’s last visit to the top forty. Lee later had a granddaughter named Phaedra as a tribute to the single.

Lee abandoned the music industry by the late seventies. He died from cancer in 2007.


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Lost or Forgotten Oldie of the Day: 1967 The Byrds – My Back Pages

Jim McGuinn grew up in Chicago and attended the Old Town School of Folk Music. He played guitar as a side-musician for the Limeliters, the Chad Mitchell Trio, Joan Collins, and other folk music groups.

Gene Clark had been a member of the New Christie Minstrels, and he joined with Jim to form a duo. They performed in small clubs singing covers of Beatles songs and traditional folk music.

David Crosby joined them, and the trio began performing as the Jet Set. Elektra Records released a single featuring the group but billed them as the Beefeaters to make the group look like part of the British Invasion. The tactic failed.

The group added drummer Michael Clarke in 1964 and Chris Hillman on mandolin a few months later. They acquired a copy of Bob Dylan’s unreleased recording of Mr. Tambourine Man and reworked the folk song into more of a rock mix. In January 1965, Jim went into the studio and, with the aid of the Wrecking Crew, recorded the instrumental backing for the song. Jim, Gene, and David then sang the lyrics over the music. Columbia Records released the single in April, and it topped the Hot 100 in December. You can thank the Beatles for nearly monopolizing the top spot for most of the year.

The group continued to experiment with folk-rock and then expanded into early psychedelic music and even some Country music. Six more top forty singles followed. Their last single to make the top forty came with the release of another Dylan song, My Back Pages. The album version of the song was over three minutes long, but Columbia cut the single version down to two-and-a-half minutes. The record peaked at #30 and then fell off the chart.

The group disintegrated shortly after the release of the album that contained that song. Gene left because of problems with anxiety. Jim changed his name to Roger. Michael quit the group in August because of dissatisfaction with the direction of their music. The group chased David away, and he began working in a new group with Stephen Stills and Graham Nash. Gene left the group, rejoined, and Roger removed him again, all in a matter of only weeks. This left only Roger and Chris in the group. They recruited Gram Parsons and other musicians and continued making music.

The Byrds recorded Sweethearts of the Rodeo, a 1968 album that was an important turning point for Country-Rock.

The group eventually broke up in 1972. Over the next few decades, various combinations of members led bands performing as the Byrds (or, more accurately, sometimes as tribute bands).

The five original members reunited for a performance when the group was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame in 1991. Gene died shortly after that. The last appearance of the Byrds as a group came in 2000.


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Lost or Forgotten Oldie of the Day: 1966 The Cyrkle – Turn Down Day

1966 The Cyrkle – Turn Down Day

Don Dannemann and Tom Dawes met while waiting on line for physicals when they arrived at Lafayette College in 1961. They formed a band called the Rhondells with a few other students and began playing at frat parties. Their group was not connected with Bill Deal and the Rhondels. The other members of the group drifted away except for the keyboard player, Earl Pickens. Marty Fried joined the group as their drummer in 1963.

Entertainment lawyer Nat Weiss heard the band perform in Atlantic City in 1964, and they impressed him with their sound. Nat booked the Beatles for some of their early appearances in the US and introduced the group to Brian Epstein (the manager for the Beatles).

Brian began managing the group. He suggested they change their name to the Circle. John Lennon probably suggested they adopt some strange spelling, and they became the Cyrkle. Tom began playing bass and guitar by using a special double-neck guitar that made it possible to swap back and forth.

Don had to leave the group temporarily to meet an obligation with the Coast Guard. During that stretch, Tom played bass on a Simon and Garfunkel tour. Tom came back with a desire to record two songs that Paul had written with Bruce Woodley of the Seekers. The important song was Red Rubber Ball. They convinced Columbia Records to sign the Cyrkle and release that single in 1966. The record reached #2 and provided enough credibility for the group to open for the Beatles on their Summer tour in 1966.

The group’s first album also contained their second singleTurn Down Day. That single only reached #16 and became their last stop on the US Hot 100 top Forty.

Michael Losekamp joined the group playing keyboards. The group recorded a second album and at least eight more singles but gained no additional traction. They threw together the soundtrack of a forgettable film (The Minx) using some of their uncollected singles in 1967. After that, the group disbanded.

Don and Tom went on to successful careers, writing jingles. Their most well-known jingles include “Pop Pop Fizz Fizz” for Alka-seltzer and 7 Up The Uncola. Tom also found success writing songs and produced two albums for Foghat.

Don and Michael reformed the Cyrkle with four additional musicians in 2016 and continue to make appearances on the oldies circuit. The group maintains a website at http://www.thecyrkle.com/home.html.


Lost or Forgotten Oldie of the Day: 1965 Billy Joe Royal – I Knew You When

1965 Billy Joe Royal – I Knew You When

Billy Joe Royal grew up in Valdosta, Georgia, just south of Atlanta. Many members of his family were active in the music industry. Billy sang on his uncle’s radio show when he was 11. He formed his own rock-and-roll band while still in high school and sang in clubs in the Atlanta area. While pursuing a career in music, Billy became roommates with Joe South. Billy recorded a single that went ignored in 1962.

Joe contacted Billy a few years later and asked him to return to Atlanta to record a demo record. Joe had written a song that he wanted to pitch to Gene Pitney. Billy recorded the demo for Down In The Boondocks. Columbia Records eventually heard the demo and signed Billy to a six-year contract in 1965. Columbia released his version of Down In The Boondocks as a single and it reached #9 on the Hot 100 in 1965.

Billy recorded four more songs Joe had written on his first album. Columbia Records released I Knew You When as the follow-up single. It reached #14 on the Hot 100 in late 1965. The next single from the album was I’ve Got To Be Somebody, but the record peaked at #38 and was nearly the end of Billy’s career.

In 1967, Billy released several more songs written by Joe that eventually became hits, just not for Billy. His version of Hush peaked at only #52. Billy’s unusual dancing on a video for the single may have helped sink sales when he did his best to almost moonwalk. A hard rock version of Hush by Deep Purple made it to #4 in 1968.

Billy’s version of Yo-Yo didn’t do well but earned a gold record for the Osmonds when they covered the song in 1971 and took it to #3 on the Hot 100.

Billy did have one more hit in 1969 when Cherry Hill Park reached #15.

Billy returned to Nashville in the early 1980s and successfully pursued a career singing Country music. It took a few years, but beginning in 1985 he recorded ten records that reached the top twenty on the Country chart. His biggest hit came in 1989 with his #2 pop-country cover of Aaron Neville’s Tell It Like It Is.

Billy died in his sleep in 2015.


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Lost or Forgotten Oldie of the Day: 1964 Nashville Teens – Tobacco Road

1964 Nashville Teens – Tobacco Road

Six British musicians formed the Cruisers in Weybridge. They later recruited not one but two new lead singers in 1962. They changed their name to the Nashville Teens, basing their name on the Everly Brothers song Nashville Blues.

Like many other British groups in the early sixties, they moved to Hamburg, Germany and played in clubs. They also began doing studio work and even backed up Jerry Lee Lewis on his live album. They also played backup music for recordings by other musicians, including Carl Perkins.

When they returned to England, they played in concerts with Chuck Berry. That caught the attention of Mickie Most, who produced their first single in 1964.

John D. Loudermilk wrote the song Tobacco Road as a semi-autobiographical folk song about growing up in Durham, North Carolina. He recorded the song in 1960, but the single was not a hit.

The Nashville Teens recorded a hard rock version of the song in 1964 that peaked at #14 on the US Hot 100 and reached #6 in the UK.

The group next released another song written by John, Google Eye. The record made it into the top ten in the UK but only got as high as #117 in the US.

The group’s only other Hot 100 record came in 1965 when Find My Way Back Home spent one week at #99 and another week at #98. That single and The Little Bird reached #34 and #38 in the UK; afterward, they never again charted in the UK’s top forty.

The group split up in 1973. One of the original members of the group (lead singer Ray Phillips) reformed the Nashville Teens with a completely new group of musicians in 1980. He has continued replacing members as necessary and still tours as the Nashville Teens.

The group maintains a website at http://www.nashville-teens.com/.


Lost or Forgotten Oldie of the Day: 1963 Ruby & The Romantics – Hey There Lonely Boy

1963 Ruby & The Romantics – Hey There Lonely Boy

Ruby & The Romantics started their career with a chart-topping single and also recorded several singles that eventually were big hits for other artists.

Ruby Nash grew up in the Akron Ohio area. She sang lead in a group that included her sister and three friends. The group sang in local clubs and record hops.

Another local group made up of several male singers called themselves the Embers. The group evolved over time, becoming the Supremes (no relation to the Motown group) and eventually the Feilos. They sometimes invited Ruby to sing with them. The five of them auditioned for Kapp Records as a group. The record label signed them up and renamed them Ruby & The Romantics.

Kapp had a demo for a song they intended to pitch to Jack Jones. Ruby & The Romantics convinced the label to let them record the song: Our Day Will Come. The single easily shot up the charts and reached #1 on both the Hot 100 and the R&B chart in March 1963. Several members of the Temptations have claimed that the group based their background vocals on Temptations’ records.

The group followed up their first single with My Summer Love. That single peaked at #16 later that year.

Their third single in 1963 was Hey There Lonely Boy. The single peaked at #27 but a simple sex change turned the song into a much bigger hit. Eddie Holman’s version featured an amazing falsetto performance on Hey There Lonely Girl and reached #2 in 1970. The song even had a third run in the Hot 100 when Robert John recorded the song and reached #31 in 1980 a few months after his chart-topping success with Sad Eyes.

The closest the group got to the top forty after that came with the single When You’re Young And In Love. Their version stalled at #48 in 1964. The Marvelettes covered the single and took it to #34 in 1967.

Brian Hyland was offered the chance to record Hurting Each Other in 1965, but suggested that his friend Jimmy Clanton record the song instead. Jimmy’s version failed to reach the Hot 100. The last recording Ruby & The Romantics made was a cover of Hurting Each Other they made for A&M records. Their version bubbled under the Hot 100 and reached #113 in 1969. The group had remained intact until that recording, but when it failed the group finally broke up and the members left the music industry.

Richard Carpenter found a copy of Ruby & The Romantics’ last recording while rummaging around the A&M headquarters and liked the song. The Carpenters recorded Hurting Each Other and their version reached #2 in 1972.

Ruby & The Romantics were inducted into the Rhythm and Blues Music Hall of Fame in August 2013.


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Lost or Forgotten Oldie of the Day: 1962 Don Gardner & Dee Dee Ford – I Need Your Loving

1962 Don Gardner & Dee Dee Ford – I Need Your Loving

Bobby Robinson owned the Fire Record label and produced Don and Dee Dee singing a song that Don and Bobby co-wrote, I Need Your Loving. The single reached #20 on the Hot 100 and #4 on the R&B chart in 1962.

At least five different songs entitled I Need Your Loving have reached the Hot 100. While other artists have recorded their own versions of Don and Dee Dee’s song, none of those versions reached the Hot 100.

The pair recorded a follow-up singleDon’t You Worry. Don and Bobby also wrote the second single. It failed to find its way onto the Hot 100 but peaked at #7 on the R&B chart. An album followed, but they left the record label when no further hits materialized.

Don’s wife died in an accident. He and Dee Dee went to Sweden in 1964. They toured in the country and recorded a live album. They also recorded some songs with Freda Payne (who later had a hit with Band Of Gold in 1970).

Don and Dee Dee recorded one last album in 1965 before splitting up for good. Dee Dee soon left the music industry completely. Don continued to record for multiple labels.

Justine Washington was born in South Carolina but grew up primarily in Harlem. She joined The Hearts in 1956 and soon moved to the Jaynettes. In 1957, she began recording as Baby Washington. She released four singles that reached the top twenty on the R&B charts. The fourth single was her biggest hit, That’s How Heartaches Are Made. The record peaked in the top ten on the R&B chart and also reached #40 on the Hot 100 in 1963. Eleven more singles reached the Hot 100 or the R&B chart by 1973.

Don and Baby teamed up and released Forever in 1973. The single didn’t reach the Hot 100 but did make it to #30 on the R&B chart. The song had a strong Philadelphia Soul feel.

Baby had one more solo hit in 1975 and continues to perform on cruise ships and at live shows a few times a year.

Don continued to play jazz in small clubs until his death in 2018.

Bobby went on to produce hits by a wide variety of artists, including The Shirelles, Dave “Baby” Cortez, Gladys Knight & the Pips, and even Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five. He died in 2011 at the age of 93.


Lost or Forgotten Oldie of the Day: 1961 The Chimes – Once In A While

1961 The Chimes – Once In A While

Bud Green grew up in Harlem and abandoned elementary school to make money selling papers. He decided that he wanted to become a songwriter, so he started jotting down and saving lyrics and small poems. By 1928, he had successfully wrote songs that got recorded. He collaborated with many composers, one of whom was Michael Edwards. Together, they wrote the song Once In A While. Bud went on to write other successful songs, including Sentimental Journey, while Michael became a one-hit composer.

The Tommy Dorsey Orchestra recorded Once In A While in 1937. The record company sold their single as a Fox Trot. It went to #1 on the Hit Parade and stayed there for seven weeks.

Patti Page recorded the song in 1952. Her record label released her version as Once In Awhile. It peaked at #9 and was one of eight records she charted with that year.

Lenny Cocco was born in Brooklyn. His father was an accordion player, so Lenny grew up in a house full of music. Lenny recruited four more singers and organized The Chimes. For their first recording, the group came up with a doo-wop arrangement for Once In A While. The single peaked at #11 in 1961.

The group followed their hit with a remake of a 1935 song by Little Jack Little, I’m In The Mood For Love. It’s likely you’re more familiar with Alfalfa’s rendition on the Little Rascals since Spanky insisted he was, “The best singer in the whole wide world.” The Chimes’ version, unfortunately, sounded too much like their first single. It peaked at #38 and then vanished.

The group began releasing records as Lenny Cocco and the Chimes, but they never charted again. The group broke up in 1964 after the British Invasion helped end their career, but Lenny reformed the group in the seventies. They sang on the oldies circuit until Lenny’s death in 2015.

While researching the Chimes, I ran into an unusual websiteThe Dead Rock Stars Club. The site attempts to keep records available for rock-related musicians and writers who have died, organizing them by month and year of death.


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