1965 The Detergents – Leader Of The Laundromat
Songwriters Paul Vance and Lee Pockriss wrote Perry Como’s 1957 number one hit Catch A Falling Star. They didn’t immediately follow that up with another hit record. In 1959, as Lee and Paul, they recorded The Chick, a very strange novelty record. It was their only record to reach the Hot 100 and spent only one week at number 100. Now I feel compelled to research how many other artists hold that distinction!
In 1959, Paul produced his nephew Danny Jordan’s single, Just Couldn’t Resist Her With Her Pocket Transistor, a novelty song that Jack Keller and Larry Kolber had written.
In 1960, Paul’s daughter was too shy to wear a bikini at the beach, and he and Lee wrote Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka Dot Bikini. Brian Hyland recorded the song and gave the pair their second number one record.
Lee also co-wrote two other hit records in 1960:
- Johnny Angel, a number one record for Shelley Fabares.
- My Little Corner Of The World, a top ten single for Anita Bryant.
In 1962, Paul produced Find a Little Happiness, a single co-written and sung by Danny and Artie Wayne. Diamond Records released the record, and the label credited them as Jordan and Wayne, but the single failed to chart.
Paul co-wrote What Will Mary Say with Eddie Snyder, a song that Johnny Mathis took to the top ten in 1963. The pair also wrote Don’t Stand Up In A Canoe, a single produced by Lee and credited to singer Ronnie Dante.
Don Kirshner and Al Nevins hired Paul and Lee to work as staff writers for their company (Aldon Music) in 1964.
Aldon Music also employed three eighteen-year-olds as session singers and songwriters: Danny, Artie, and future star Ron Dante. The three co-wrote and produced and sang on a single entitled Little Lollypop that was credited to Ronnie Dante in 1964. When that failed to click, Paul approached the three about recording a novelty song he and Lee had written as a parody of the single The Leader of the Pack by the Shangri-Las. The song was Leader Of The Laundromat, and the single credited the trio as The Detergents. Despite your expectations, the lead singer on the single was Danny rather than Ron.
The record peaked at #19 on the Hot 100 in 1965. The group appeared on several television shows to promote the record, but none of those appearances are readily available. Fortunately, there is a video of the three performing their follow-up single, Double-O-Seven, a song about the miseries of loving a girl who’s hung up on James Bond. That single did not do nearly as well as their first, peaking at #89 on the Hot 100. The group recorded a few more singles, but they never reached the charts again.
Ron sang on quite a few singles credited to different groups, including Sugar, Sugar by the Archies. Paul and Lee also wrote and produced the top ten single Tracy by the Cuff Links, on which all the vocal parts were sung by Ron. Ron also produced many of Barry Manilow’s recordings and sang backup vocals on some of them.
Paul and Lee each continued writing successful songs.
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