Lost or Forgotten Oldie of the Day: 1965 The Turtles – Let Me Be

1965 The Turtles – Let Me Be 

 Howard Kaylan, Mark Volman, and three other high school friends in Los Angeles formed The Crossfires in 1963. After a few singles failed to catch any fire at all, the group signed with White Whale Records as a folk-rock group and changed their name to The Tyrtles. The deliberate misspelling went by the wayside, and the group made it into the top ten on the Hot 100 in 1965 with their cover of the Bob Dylan song It Ain’t Me Babe

P. F. Sloan had written the song Eve Of Destruction and it was offered to the Turtles. While they were looking to record a protest song, Howard felt that the record made a statement that would be career-ending. Barry McGuire recorded that song (with the help of the members of the Grass Roots playing backup music) and the single hit the top of the charts. He proved Howard’s opinion was correct by never reaching the top forty again.

Instead of ending their careers, the Turtles recorded a second song written by Sloan, Let Me Be. The milder protest song got the group back on the top forty without burning down their future. The single peaked at #29 on the Hot 100 in the fall of 1965. 

The Vogues recorded another song by P. F. Sloan & Steve Barri in 1965, but failed to release the song until 1996. You Baby was a non-protest song the Turtles released in 1966. The single took them up to #20 on the Hot 100. The group released five more singles that year, none of which charted any higher than #81 in the US.

The Turtles started off 1967 with the release of the #1 single Happy Together, and their career took off. In 1970, the group finally released a single version of Eve Of Destruction that they had recorded back in 1965. As you might expect, the record only reached #100 on the Hot 100 before fading away, and their career was seemingly over. Well, at least their charting days were over, and the band members mostly went their separate ways.

Howard and Mark stayed together and recorded and toured as Flo and Eddie. In 1983, the duo regained the rights to use of the name “The Turtles” and began touring as The Turtles featuring Flo and Eddie. Their Happy Together tours, which primarily featured singers and bands from the sixties, continued through 2019.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Turtles
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Turtles_discography
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Let_Me_Be_(The_Turtles_song)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/You_Baby_(song)

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Lost or Forgotten Oldie of the Day: 1964 The Jelly Beans – I Wanna Love Him So Bad

1964 The Jelly Beans – I Wanna Love Him So Bad 

One boy and four girls who attended high school together in Jersey City started singing together as a group in the early sixties. They were heard by somebody who signed up as their manager. The manager succeeded in getting the attention of songwriters Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller just as they were starting up their own record label, Red Bird Records.

The label assigned the group to the songwriting team of Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich, who came up with the song I Wanna Love Him So Bad. Ellie arranged the record, and Jeff produced it. It was the third single released by Red Bird, and it was an instant success: the single peaked at #9 on the Hot 100 in 1964.

The group followed that with another song created by Jeff and Ellie, Baby Be Mine. That single only reached #51 on the Hot 100, and its failure seemed to doom the group. Red Bird never released another recording by the Jelly Beans. Jeff, Ellie, and Red Bird moved their resources to the Shangri-Las, who were having a lot more success.

Eskee Records released another single by the group in 1965, but it never charted, and the group disbanded shortly thereafter.

https://www.allmusic.com/artist/the-jelly-beans-mn0000074302/biography

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1963 Randy & The Rainbows – Denise

Junior & the Counts and The Encores were two of the early names used by a group from Queens, New York. The group recorded the song Denise in 1963. Bright Tunes Productions, the same group that produced the Tokens, produced the record. Laurie Records released the record after renaming the group Randy & The Rainbows.

The single barely managed to reach the top ten on the Hot 100, affording them the chance to perform the song live in Murray the K’s Brooklyn Fox Theater shows.

The group released more than a dozen additional singles, but the best they could manage was one record sitting at #97 for a week. The band eventually became two different groups performing their hit in oldies shows, Mike Zero’s Randy & The Rainbows and Randy Safuto’s Randy & The Rainbows.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Randy_%26_the_Rainbows

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Lost or Forgotten Oldie of the Day: 1962 The Lettermen – Come Back Silly Girl

1962 The Lettermen – Come Back Silly Girl 

Tony Butala and two other singers started a vocal group in the late fifties. Jackie Barnett hired them after an auction to portray a 1920s vocal trio named The Rhythm Boys in The Newcomers of 1928 revue at the Las Vegas Desert Inn in 1958. Jackie named the new group The Lettermen. The revue moved to Miami for a few weeks. Gary Clarke and another singer joined Tony as replacements for the two members who left the group. After the revue ended, the group disbanded and Tony and Gary joined Bill Norvis and the Upstarts and began singing in lounges. After a few months, Gary left the group and Jim Pike took his place.

Tony and Jim left the Upstarts and form their own group. Jim and Bob Engemann had met back at Brigham Young University and sung together in Los Angeles until Bob joined the California National Guard. He contacted Bob and invited him to join their new group. The group decided to use the Lettermen name that Tony had sung under in the past. 

Bob’s older brother Karl had a job as a record producer at Warner Brothers Records and helped the group get a recording contract there. They recorded and released two singles in 1960 that failed to perform well. Karl moved to Capitol Records as the new head of A&R and got the Lettermen out of their WB contract and signed them with Capitol. 

The group released The Way You Look Tonight as their first single on Capitol in 1961. The single peaked at #13 on the Hot 100. Their next singleWhen I Fall In Love, did even better, and reached #7 later that year. 

Walter Brennan had a hit in 1962 with Old Rivers. Jim and Bob recorded a parody of the song, The Son Of Old Rivers. Captiol Records released their single credited to Tony, Bob, and Jimmy on the label. The single immediately vanished and didn’t even get included on their first album.

In 1960, Steve Lawrence recorded a single written by Barry Mann. The single, Come Back Silly Girl, failed to chart and was quickly forgotten. 

The group’s first album contained their cover of that song. The single version of Come Back Silly Girl came out in 1962 and put the group back on the charts. It reached #17 on the Hot 100 and got as high as #3 on the Adult Contemporary (AC) chart.

The Lettermen recorded countless albums and singles over the next decade. While they only had three more top forty singles on the Hot 100, they scored 13 more top ten singles and more than another dozen top forty singles on the AC chart.

Tony, the final original member to appear in concerts, announced his semi-retirement from performing in 2019. 

The group’s lineup changed over the years, but a group of Lettermen has appeared in concert continuously. The Lettermen have continued to release albums periodically, including six Christmas albums since 2014.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Lettermen

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Lost or Forgotten Oldie of the Day: 1962 Bobby Rydell – I’ve Got Bonnie

1962 Bobby Rydell – I’ve Got Bonnie 

Bobby Rydell began releasing singles in 1959 and scored four top ten singles and four more top twenty singles in his first two years. After that, things slowed down a bit, but he may have had a bigger influence than he knew during that period.

In 1960, Bobby recorded Swinging School, a record that reached #5 on the Hot 100. A pair of aspiring singer/songwriters were sitting on twin beds and working on a song that became influenced by Bobby’s record. Paul and John had an idea for a song that would have one of them sing, “She loves you,” and the other would answer back, “Yeah, yeah.” They worked on the song for a bit, and they credit Bobby’s current hit as giving them a framework for the singing/answer idea of their song the way Bobby would sing and girl singers would reply. If nothing else, hearing Bobby’s song helped expand the second line of their song to “Yeah, yeah, yeah.” The Beatles recorded She Loves You a few years later.

Bobby’s career slowed down a bit for a few years, although it did get some help when he cut an album with Chubby Checker in late 1961 that included their version of the now-classic Christmas song, Jingle Bell Rock

Bobby’s first single in 1962 was I’ve Got Bonnie. The record peaked at #18 on the Hot 100. 

In 1963, Bobby co-starred in the film Bye-Bye Birdie with Ann-Margaret, which gave him several chances to sing and dance his way back into America’s heart. In one of life’s little coincidences, the pair sang a song in the film that was easily rewritten into the top forty hit We Love You Beatles by the Carefrees in 1964. 

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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bobby_Rydell

1961 – Ann-Margaret I Just Don’t Understand

Ann-Margaret’s recorded her first album in Hollywood. Marty Paich produced the album and conducted the orchestra, but neither of the singles from the album caught any traction.

Her second album was produced in Nashville by Chet Atkins, resulting in an obvious Country music influence. The first single from the album, I Just Don’t Understand, reached #17 on the Hot 100 in 1961. It was her first and only top forty record.

Fortunately, starring in State Fair in 1962 and Bye-Bye Birdie in 1963 turned her into a major star and she no longer had to depend on hit singles.

An up-and-coming British group recorded I Just Don’t Understand in 1963, but they didn’t release the recording until 1964. The group? The Beatles.

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An up-and-coming British group recorded I Just Don’t Understand in 1963, but they didn’t release the recording until 1964. The group? The Beatles.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ann-Margret

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1967 Herman’s Hermits – No Milk Today

Herman’s Hermits had an amazing run of hit records in the US in the mid-sixties. Many of them featured one or two members of Led Zeppelin playing instruments on their recordings.

The group even managed one two-sided hit in 1967. The a-side featured the top five hit There’s A Kind Of Hush, which later reached the top twenty when the Carpenters released their own cover version of the song in 1976.

The b-side, which is mostly ignored by radio stations now, was No Milk Today. The recording just barely got into the top forty in the US in 1967, but topped the charts in Australia and reached the top ten in a half-dozen other countries where they released it as the a-side of a different single in 1966.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No_Milk_Today

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1960 Little Anthony And The Imperials – Shimmy Shimmy Ko Ko Bop

Little Anthony and the Imperials reached #4 on the Hot 100 in 1958 with their very first single, Tears On My Pillow, after which they struggled for a few years. The next time they got into the top forty came in early 1960 when they released Shimmy Shimmy Ko Ko Bop. The single peaked at #24.

It was a brief respite; the group’s next single only reached #86. They didn’t even reach the Hot 100 at all again until 1964, when their records ignored the chart dominance of the British Invasion and they scored four more top twenty hits.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Little_Anthony_and_the_Imperials

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Lost or Forgotten Oldie of the Day: 1959 The Islanders – The Enchanted Sea

1959 The Islanders – The Enchanted Sea 

The Islanders was an instrumental group in the late fifties. The primary members of the band were Frank Metis on accordion and Randy Starr on guitar. The pair wrote The Enchanted Sea and recorded it using sound effects produced by Ralph F. Curtis.

Their single on Mayflower Records reached #15 on the Hot 100 in 1959. They recorded an album, but never charted again. Randy continued with a solo career as a singer/songwriter. His biggest success came in 1964 when Elvis recorded a song Randy had written, Kissing Cousins.

Martin Denny led a group in Hawaii beginning in 1954. They played mostly on Oahu at the Shell Bar in the Hawaiian Village. One night, the band was fooling around and making noises like birds and frogs during one of their numbers, and the result inspired a listener to get the band to record the song for Liberty Records. The result was The Quiet Village, which reached #4 on the Hot 100 in early 1959. Their next single only reached #88 on the Hot 100. Searching for a better follow-up, they covered The Enchanted Sea. They once again added sound effects to the music, and the single reached #28 about the same time that The Islanders’ single peaked.

Their band recorded dozens of albums, but only reached the Hot 100 one more time. Their jazzy cover of A Taste of Honey reached #50 on the Hot 100 in 1962 and gave them their only entry on the Adult Contemporary chart, where it peaked at #13.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Islanders_(American_band)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin_Denny

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1958 Chuck Willis – Hang Up My Rock And Roll Shoes

Chuck Willis had more than a half-dozen top ten singles on the R&B chart beginning in 1952 before his cover of the old standard C. C. Rider reached #1 on the R&B chart and #12 on the Hot 100 in 1957.

The original a-Side of his next hit record, Hang Up My Rock And Roll Shoes charted, but only reached #9 on the R&B chart and #24 on the Hot 100 in 1958. Shortly after that single was released, Chuck died while undergoing surgery for ulcers, after which What Am I Living For began getting more airplay. That side of the single climbed up the charts and reached #9 on the Hot 100 and #1 on the R&B chart.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chuck_Willis

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