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 succeeded in writing recorded songs. 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. Their single was listed 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 website: The 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.
My books are on sale on Amazon (or free with Kindle Unlimited) and contain a lot more Lost or Forgotten Oldies: