1959 Skip & Flip – It Was I
Clyde Battin was born in Ohio in 1934 and began playing electric bass while a teenager. In 1953 he moved to Tucson and worked on a physical education degree at the University of Arizona.
Larry Wayne Stevens was born in Kansas in 1939. He was adopted when he turned three and his name was changed to Gary S. Paxton. His family moved to Arizona in the mid-fifties and Gary began playing guitar and singing in bands that played Country and/or rock-and-roll.
The two young musicians formed The Pledges, a band made up of college students. Gary wrote Why Not Confess and they recorded the single for Rev Records as Gary and Clyde.
In 1959, the duo recorded a few more songs Gary had written using Duane Eddy’s Desert Palm Studios in Phoenix. Bob Shad signed the pair to his Brent Records label and renamed them Skip (Clyde) and Flip (Gary) for the single. The names were taken from the names of two of Bob’s poodles. He released It Was I from those sessions. Gary was picking cherries in an orchard in Oregon when he heard the song on a transistor radio and realized he had a career in music. The record turned into a hit. The single sold over a million copies and peaked at #11 on the Hot 100.
Clyde and Gary were both credited as writers on their next release. Fancy Nancy peaked at only #71 on the Hot 100.
Marvin & Johnny were a doo-wop group that recorded music in the early fifties. The b-side of their 1954 single Tick Tock was the first recording of Cherry Pie. The next Skip & Flip single was a cover of that song that came out in 1960. The record once again peaked at #11 on the Hot 100. It was to be their last successful single.
The pair co-wrote the novelty song Hully Gully Cha Cha Cha, but it did not reach the Hot 100. The duo released a few more singles before calling it quits in 1963.
Clyde joined the Byrds as their bass player from 1970 to 1973. He later was a member of New Riders of the Purple Sage and then The Flying Burrito Brothers. He worked as a studio musician on many projects and also released five solo albums. Clyde was also a member of The Byrds featuring Michael Clarke and then The Byrds Celebration for a few years in the late eighties and early nineties. Clyde died in 2003.
Gary became a very successful producer. He was a member of The Hollywood Argyles and produced their chart-topping single Alley Oop. He also produced the Bobby “Boris” Pickett hit The Monster Mash and released the single on his own record label. He produced Cherish and Along Comes Mary for the Association and Sweet Pea and Hooray For Hazel for Tommy Roe. Gary began working on Country music and even won a Grammy award for Best Inspirational Performance in 1972. Gary died in 2016.
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