1957 Tab Hunter – Ninety-Nine Ways
Arthur Andrew Kelm was born in New York City in 1931 and became Arthur Andrew Gelien when his parents separated. He moved to California with his mother.
When he was only 15, Arthur lied about his age and joined the Coast Guard. When he left that assignment, he met actor Richard Clayton. Richard had begun working part-time as a talent agent and convinced Arthur to look for work as an actor. He also came up with his new name: Tab Hunter.
Tab’s got his first acting role came in the film The Lawless in 1950. He appeared in roles in at least four other films before signing an exclusive contract with Warner Brothers after they saw him in the lead role of the 1954 film Return To Treasure Island. Warner Brothers used Tab in several television shows as well as two films co-starring Natalie Wood.
In 1957, Tab recorded several songs for Dot Records. The first single the company released was Young Love. The record sold over a million copies and sat at number one on the Hot 100 for six weeks.
His next single, Red Sails In The Sunset, was a remake of a song that had been recorded many times since 1935. Tab’s version peaked at #57. His third single that year was Ninety-Nine Ways. The single reached #11 on the Hot 100 before drifting off the chart. The B-side of the single was a cover of a 1940 song by Duke Ellington, Don’t Get Around Much Anymore, and that side peaked at #74.
Warner Brothers became upset with Tab’s success on the record charts because a competitive film company (Paramount Pictures) owned Dot Records. They enforced their exclusive contract and prevented Dot from issuing an album or any more singles by Tab. To make it up to Tab, the company started Warner Brothers Records. Perhaps because the company was new to the record business, Tab only reached the Hot 100 three more times on the new label, with the only top forty single only reaching #31.
Tab had a long, successful career as an actor, appearing in over forty films. While his recording career was less successful, he continued to release singles into the sixties and eventually got a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame to honor his contributions to the music industry.
Tab died in 2018.
My books are on sale on Amazon (or free with Kindle Unlimited) and contain a lot more Lost or Forgotten Oldies. You can visit my author page to see them and you can read them for free with Kindle Unlimited!