1962 Dave “Baby” Cortez – Rinky Dink
David Cortez Clowney grew up in Detroit and learned to play the piano. He soon switched over to the organ, and performed with two doo-wop groups, the Pearls and the Valentines. He began recording singles in 1956.
He used the name “Baby” Cortez for a single in 1956. Honey Baby was not an instrumental, but actually featured Dave’s singing. The record did not chart.
In 1958 Dave released an instrumental single, The Happy Organ, as Dave “Baby” Cortez. The record did not chart until March 1959, but airplay and sales quickly took off. His single topped the Hot 100 in May. Tequila had topped the chart in 1958, but included the spoken word “Tequila,” so Dave’s record became the first instrumental to reach number one since 1956.
Dave released an endless stream of singles over the next few years, but did not reach the top forty again for a few years. The instrumental Rinky Dink reached #10 on the Hot 100 in 1962. More than a few listeners hear echoes of Mickey and Sylvia’s 1957 hit Love Is Strange in the record. The UK television show Professional Wrestling used the song in its broadcasts.
Dave released a few more records that entered the lower reaches of the Hot 100, but never got near the top forty again. He stopped charting at all after 1966, but released a few more albums in the seventies.
Dave came out of retirement in 2011 and recorded a new album in 2011 using Lonnie Youngblood and His Bloodhounds as backup musicians.
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