1955 The Sunnysiders – Hey Mister Banjo
Lindley Armstrong Jones was a bandleader who adopted the stage name “Spike.” That became a household name when he formed Spike Jones and His City Slickers in the early 1940s. They usually created music that poked fun at hit recordings other artists had, exaggerating the musical styles and adding sound effects with comedic results. The group first hit the charts in 1942 with the wartime single Der Fuehrer’s Face and a fun Movietone film. That record reached #3 on the charts, but their biggest hit record was the original Christmas tune, All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth.
One of the City Slickers in the forties was Freddy Morgan, who played banjo and sang. In the early fifties, while still a City Slicker, Freddy performed in several bands with Jad Paul, another banjo player. They were in The Banjo Maniacs, The Happy Harts, and the Sunnysiders. Jad finally joined Freddy in the City Slickers in 1954.
Margie sang with The Ray Anthony Orchestra and later with Gene Autry. In 1955, she joined the Sunnysiders. Freddy, Paul, and Margie recorded at least three songs together as the Sunnysiders in 1955. The first two releases got lost in the shuffle, but the third single, Hey Mister Banjo, bounced to #12 in the Hot 100. Freddy and Norman Milkin (another City Slicker) wrote the tune, and a live performance on BandStand Revue even survived to reach YouTube.
Kapp Records put together an album using songs from the Sunnysiders and the Happy Harts, but sales were slim and the group soon disbanded.
Jed and Freddy continued with the City Slickers, although Jed left in 1958. Jad pursued a solo career, initially working at Los Angeles television station KTLA, where he appeared with other ex-City Slickers on the weekly program Polka Parade. In 2008, Jad got inducted into the National Four-String Banjo Hall of Fame.
Margie continued recording as a solo act. In 1957, she finally reached the Hot 100 again with a song written by Dave Burgess of the Champs. Her single I’m Available peaked at #9. No hits came from additional recordings, and Margie left the music field in the mid-sixties.
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