1962 Bobby Vinton – Rain, Rain Go Away
Stanley Robert Vinton Jr. grew up in a small town near Pittsburgh. His father was a professional bandleader who pushed him to learn the clarinet. When he was 16, he formed his own band and began playing in clubs in the Pittsburgh area to save money for college. He attended Duquesne University, majoring in musical composition, and learned to play a variety of instruments. Since his father was already known professionally as Stan Vinton, he suggested that Junior use his middle name to reduce confusion, and he became Bobby Vinton.
Bobby went into the military and served two years as a chaplain’s assistant. While serving, he spent some of his time working on new songs. One song he wrote, Mr. Lonely, told the story of a soldier who felt forgotten.
In 1960 Bobby had completed his tour of duty and signed with Epic Records as the leader of a band. His group recorded and released two albums and a few singles that had few sales. While browsing through some rejected demo records at Epic, Bobby found a song written by Paul Evans. Paul had co-written his own first hit, Seven Little Girls Sitting In The Back Seat, and Bobby found a demo Paul co-wrote for a song called Roses Are Red (My Love). Bobby recorded the song as an uptempo R&B record but decided to re-record the song as a slower ballad. Based on his poor showings with his earlier records, Epic refused to do much promotion, so Bobby paid to get a thousand copies of the single. He hired a woman to distribute them to radio stations. She delivered a dozen roses and a copy of the single to each station and succeeded in getting airplay started for the single. It went on to sit at number one on the Hot 100 for four weeks, the longest any of Bobby’s number one records lasted at the top.
Bobby had previously recorded a track for Diamond Records that had never been released. When Roses Are Red (My Love) hit number one, the company searched through their tapes until they found the song. It was released as a single and reached #38 before Epic Records released their next single for Bobby: Rain, Rain Go Away. Diamond’s record immediately fell off the charts and Bobby’s new record from Epic peaked at #12 on the Hot 100 and #4 on the Adult Contemporary chart. Bobby recorded enough songs for an album, and they let him put Mr. Lonely on the album (but did not release it as a single).
Bobby’s next three singles each reached the top forty, but none of them got into the top twenty. He then had a number three single and two consecutive chart-topping singles. The second one was There! I’ve Said It Again, a cover of a 1945 hit by Vaughn Monroe. Bobby’s record was at number one for three weeks, after which it was displaced by the first US #1 single from the Beatles, I Want To Hold Your Hand.
Later in 1964, Epic finally released Mr. Lonely as a single. It climbed up to #1 on the Hot 100 in just a few weeks. It was his last chart-topping single on the Hot 100.
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