1960 Harold Dorman – Mountain Of Love
Singer/songwriter Harold Dorman finished his military career in 1955 and began working on a music career. He recorded sessions for Sun Records in 1957, but the resulting songs remain unreleased.
Billy Lee Riley and guitarist Roland Janes, two other ex-Sun recording artists, had started their own record label. They named their record label Rita Records, and they signed Harold to a recording contract in 1959. Several more ex-Sun producers had opened the Hi Records recording studio in Memphis, and Harold recorded five songs in their studio. Rita Records chose one song Harold had written for his first single, Mountain Of Love.
Rita Records released the single with the serial number 1003 in December 1959. I haven’t had any luck finding a copy of the initial recording. After the record began selling well in Georgia, the record label went back into the studio and added strings to the recording. They released a new version of the single with a new label, 1003-A, in 1960. That version became a hit, sitting on the Hot 100 for 19 weeks and peaking at #21.
Harold never reached the Hot 100 again. Unless he sold off his ownership of the song, he made a great deal in later years when a series of other artists recorded the song.
Johnny Rivers recorded two live albums in early 1964. The two albums produced the hit records Memphis and Maybelline. Later that year he recorded his first studio album, In Action. The first single from the album was his cover of Mountain Of Love. Johnny used members of the Wrecking Crew to assist with the recording. Johnny’s version did even better than Harold’s and reached #9 on the Hot 100.
Ronnie Dove recorded his version of Mountain Of Love on an album in 1966. The record label “hid” the song as the B-side of a single in 1968. Disk jockeys turned the single over and gave Ronnie’s version of the song enough airplay to generate sales and help the single reach #67 in 1968. The only Hot 100 chart action Ronnie got after that was two singles that peaked in the nineties later that year (although they both made the top forty on the Adult Contemporary chart).
Perhaps the most successful version of Mountain Of Love came from a Country cover by Charley Pride. His single reached #1 on the US Country chart in 1982. Charlie followed that success with five more #1 and #2 singles and seven more years of minor hits.
Other artists who have recorded Mountain Of Love include the Beach Boys and Bruce Springsteen.
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