1959 The Tempos – See You In September
Mike Lazo, Gene Schacter, and Bobby Vinton formed The Hilites in 1954 and sang at local record hops. Mike and Gene were drafted and sang together in USO shows in Korea. When they returned to the states, they joined up with Jim Drake and Tom Minito (two music majors at Duquesne University) and formed the Tempos. The group signed with Kapp Records and released three singles in 1957 that failed to chart.
Sid Wayne and Sherman Edwards worked in the Brill Building on Tin Pan Alley in New York City, doing their best to write and sell songs. On a Friday in June 1959, Sid suggested writing a song called See You In September. A little over five hours later, they had successfully finished writing the song. The song generated an enthusiastic response from the second publisher they pitched it to, Jack Gold of Paris Records. Early that evening, he phoned the Tempos, who were based in Pittsburgh. The group came to New York the next day, and by Monday the record had been cut using the Billy Mure orchestra to play the background music. Climax Records pressed the record within a few days, and by Friday the single was already getting airplay on a local radio station.
The Tempos were lucky enough to lip-sync the song on the Dick Clark Saturday Night Beechnut Show. The single peaked at #23 on the Hot 100 on September 7, 1959.
See You In September was the only record by the Tempos that reached the Hot 100. They appear to have released a few more non-charting singles after their hit fell off the charts.
The song became a much bigger hit when the Happenings covered it in 1966. Bob Crewe (who also worked with the Four Seasons) produced the song for BT Puppy Records, a label owned by the Tokens that released the single. The record reached #3 on the Hot 100 in late August. The Happenings recorded three more cover songs that reached the top forty and five covers that didn’t get that high on the chart before the hits stopped coming.
The single by the Tempos briefly came to life again in 1973, thanks to its inclusion on the soundtrack of American Graffiti.
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