1960 Tommy Edwards – I Really Don’t Want To Know

1960 Tommy Edwards – I Really Don’t Want To Know

Don Robertson wrote the music and Howard Barnes wrote the lyrics for the song I Really Don’t Want To Know. They published the song in 1953, and Les Paul and Mary Ford almost immediately recorded the song. Their single peaked at #11 later that year.

Eddy Arnold recorded the song in 1954, and his single topped the Country chart. He later re-recorded the song as a much less Country song.

Tommy Edwards began writing R&B songs in the late forties and began recording his own music in 1951. He occasionally placed singles on both the R&B and pop charts over the next twenty years. I Really Don’t Want To Know peaked at #18 on the Hot 100 in 1960, becoming his last single to reach the top forty.

Ronnie Dove covered the song in 1966. His single reached #12 on the Adult Contemporary (AC) chart and #22 on the Hot 100.

The last time the song found its way onto the top forty came when Elvis released a very Country version in 1970. The single did well on three different charts: #2 on the AC chart, #21 on the Hot 100, and #23 on the Country chart. His version also sold over a million copies, earning him a gold record.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tommy_Edwards
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I_Really_Don%27t_Want_to_Know#Elvis_Presley_version

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1960 The Ventures – Perfidia

1960 The Ventures – Perfidia 

Alberto Domínguez, a Mexican singer/songwriter, wrote a song about love and betrayal that he called Perfidia in 1939. The song had Spanish lyrics, so while it may have been popular in Mexico, it could not get much airplay in the US.

Desi Arnez sang the song in Spanish in the 1941 film Father Takes a Wife. Instrumental versions of the song charted in the US in 1941 by an impressive list of artists, including Benny Goodman, Gene Krupa, Glenn Miller, and Jimmy Dorsey. The most successful version came from Xavier Cugat; that record peaked at #3 on the Billboard singles chart.

Milton Leeds wrote English lyrics to the song that were used in a recording by the Four Aces in 1952. Their single peaked at #7.

In 1958, Bob Bogle went to a local car dealership in Seattle in search of a used car. There, he met Don Wilson, whose father owned the dealership. The two shared an interest in music, so they bought two guitars for $10 each from a local pawnshop. They called themselves The Versatones, and began playing at parties and small clubs in the area. They were forced to change their name when they discovered another group already had that name, and Don’s mother suggested they call themselves The Ventures. They recorded their first single with drummer George T. Babbitt, Jr. The a-side was The Real McCoy (which included voiceovers that sounded like Walter Brennan) and the b-side was Cookies And Coke, which included vocals! Sales were negligable.

Nokie Edwards joined the group after they heard him playing bass at a local nightclub, and George left the group because he wasn’t old enough to play in bars.

Bob had a copy of the Chet Atkins album Hi-Fi in Focus that included his version of the 1954 Jimmy Smith instrumental Walk, Don’t Run. The trio recruited drummer Skip Moore to play drums on a recording with them and recorded their version of Chet’s arrangement. Skip turned down the chance to join the group or accept royalties for the recording and took a $25 payment as a session musician instead. The single was released in 1959 and peaked at #2 on the Hot 100 in 1960. Howie Johnson then joined the group as their drummer for the next few years.

The group’s second single was a cover of Perfidia that turned out to be very similar to Walk, Don’t Run. The single reached #15 on the Hot 100 in late 1960.

The group’s only other top ten hits were the remake Walk Don’t Run ’64  and the theme song for the television show Hawaii Five-O in 1969. Fortunately, their instrumental albums sold extremely well through the sixties.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Ventures
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Ventures_discography#Singles
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perfidia

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1959 Carl Mann – Mona Lisa

1959 Carl Mann – Mona Lisa

Carl Mann was born in Tennessee in 1942. He became a fan of Country music and sang in talent shows before he was a teenager. He learned to play the piano and guitar and began singing on local radio shows. He formed a band with some of his friends, and began to pay more attention to R&B and Rockabilly music.

The Jaxon record label signed Carl to a contract and he recorded his first single, Gonna Rock ‘N’ Roll Tonight in 1957.

Carl recorded several more songs for Jaxon Records, but none of them were released. Carl found a manager in Bill “Fluke” Holland, the drummer for Carl Perkins. Bill arranged for him to sign a three-year contract with Sun Records in 1959.

Nat King Cole recorded Mona Lisa in 1950, a song arranged by Nelson Riddle for the soundtrack of the film Captain Carey, U.S.A. His version of the record topped the charts and went on to win an Oscar for best original song and they later added the recording to The Grammy Hall of Fame.

One of the demos Carl recorded at Sun Records was a rockabilly version of Nat King Cole’s 1950 hit, Mona Lisa. Sam Phillips wasn’t initially interested in releasing the recording as a single. Conway Twitty heard the demo and recorded and released his own version of Carl’s recording on an album and an EP (but not as a single).

When Conway’s version began to get airplay, Sun Records quickly released Carl’s version. Carl’s single peaked at #25 on the Hot 100 in 1959.

His single sold over a million copies. Singer/guitarist Brian Setzer (frontman of the Stray Cats) recorded a cover of Carl’s version of the song on an 2005 album that was a tribute to Rockabilly hits from Sun Records.

Carl only charted on the Hot 100 one more time. Nat King Cole reached #3 with his recording of Pretend in 1953. Saxophone player Tab Smith recorded an instrumental version of the song that reached #89 in 1957. Carl’s rockabilly single peaked at #57 on the Hot 100 in 1959.

Carl could not find an audience in the sixties. He was drafted into the military in 1964. He recorded a new single when he got out, but when that failed, he retired from music and went to work for his family’s logging business.

Carl came out of retirement and began recording Country music in 1974, but again could not find an audience. In 1977, Carl began recording and touring in Europe. He continued to tour in the US and Europe through the eighties before again returning to work in the family business.

A few more recordings and public appearances came in 2005, and Carl even appeared in Las Vegas a few times after that.

Carl died in the last month of 2020.

https://www.allmusic.com/artist/carl-mann-mn0000161182/biography
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carl_Mann
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mona_Lisa_(Nat_King_Cole_song)

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1958 Paul Anka – Let The Bells Keep Ringing

1958 Paul Anka – Let The Bells Keep Ringing

Paul Anka grew up in Ontario, Canada, where his parents owned a restaurant. He studied music theory and learned to play the piano.

Paul began writing his own songs and even recorded one of them when he was only 14 years old. He traveled to New York City in 1956 and auditioned for producer Don Costa at ABC-Paramount Records. He had written the song Diana. Although many people have claimed Paul wrote the song about his babysitter, he cleared that up in his autobiography. He actually named the song after Diana Ayoub, a girl he met in church and grew to have a crush on.

Don produced and arranged most of Paul’s early music. They released his first single from ABC, Diana, in 1957. It topped the chart in Canada, reached #2 on the US Hot 100, and even peaked at #1 on the US R&B chart.

Two more singles followed in 1957 that failed to do well. Near the end of the year, he wrote and recorded You Are My Destiny, and the single reached #7 on the Hot 100 in early 1958.

He also wrote his next single in 1958, Crazy Love. It peaked at #15 on the Hot 100, held back somewhat because it turned into a two-sided hit.

Paul also wrote the b-side of the single, Let The Bells Keep Ringing. That song nearly did as well as the a-side and reached #16 on the Hot 100. Paul appeared on the television quiz show I’ve Got A Secret to perform the song. His secret on the show was that he wrote and recorded the song.

Paul’s next few singles struggled on the charts, but in 1959 he topped the Hot 100 with Lonely Boy and followed that success later that year with two more top five singles.

Paul went on to record a massive number of hit records, charting on the Hot 100 as recently as 1983.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Anka
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Anka_discography

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1975 Art Garfunkel – I Only Have Eyes For You

1975 Art Garfunkel – I Only Have Eyes For You 

Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel became friends in elementary school and released their first charting single (as Tom and Jerry) in 1957. By 1970, the duo had charted quite a few more records. Sadly, they had also reached the point where they could no longer work together, and they went their separate ways.

Paul released a solo album that spawned a few hit singles in 1972. Art appeared in a two films and then found work teaching high school math. Art recorded a new album and returned to the charts in 1973. Paul released another album that year as well.

The only song Art seems to have recorded the next year was Second Avenue, a cover of Tim Moore’s prize-winning song. Art’s single reached #6 on the Adult Contemporary (AC) chart but only reached #34 on the Hot 100 in 1974.

In 1975, Paul and Art each began work on a new solo album. Paul felt that Art’s songs were too light and airy, and wrote My Little Town for Art to sing. Each of them included the cut on their new album. They were unable to cooperate on any additional recordings at that time.

The 1934 film Dames featured the song I Only Have Eyes For You. The Flamingos recorded the song in 1958. Their single reached #11 on the Hot 100 and #3 on the R&B chart in 1959. The group even lip-synced the record on Dick Clark’s Saturday Night Beech-Nut Show.

Art covered the song on his new album (Breakaway) and released it as his first single from the album. Art’s record peaked at #18 on the Hot 100 and topped the AC chart in 1975.

Columbia Records then released My Little Town, crediting the song to Simon and Garfunkel rather than to either artist individually. The single reached the top ten on the Hot 100.

In December, Art released Break Away from his album. Backup vocals on the recording included singing by David Crosby and Graham Nash. The song peaked at #39 on the Hot 100 in 1975 and faded quickly. The single again put Art at the top of the AC chart.

In 1978, Paul again worked with Art on a single. Columbia billed (What A) Wonderful World as, “Art Garfunkel with Paul Simon and James Taylor.” The release again brought Art to the top of the AC chart, and the single also reached the top twenty on the Hot 100. Art had seven more top forty singles on the AC chart, but it was the last time Art charted in the top forty on the Hot 100.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Art_Garfunkel
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Art_Garfunkel_discography
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simon_%26_Garfunkel_discography
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I_Only_Have_Eyes_for_You

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1974 The Staple Singers – Touch A Hand (Make A Friend)

1974 The Staple Singers – Touch A Hand (Make A Friend) 

Roebuck “Pops” Staples worked in steel mills and meatpacking plants in Chicago while he and his wife raised four kids, all of whom became singers. His brother, the Rev. Chester Staples, was the pastor of the Mount Zion Church where Pops and his kids had their first public performance. They signed their first recording contract in 1952 and worked for a series of record labels. Their sound became more accessible to non-gospel music fans when they began recording for Epic Records in 1965. One of their early charting singles was a cover of the Buffalo Springfield hit For What It’s Worth, which the Staple Singers took to #66 on the Hot 100 in 1967.

The group reached #12 on the Hot 100 and #2 on the R&B chart with Respect Yourself in 1971. They did even better the next year when the single I’ll Take You There topped both charts.

The group had two more top five singles on the R&B chart before again topping the R&B chart with If You’re Ready (Come Go with Me), a single that peaked at #9 on the Hot 100. They followed that with Touch A Hand (Make A Friend). The record peaked at #23 on the Hot 100, but reached the top five on the R&B chart.

The group sang the title song from the film Let’s Do It Again. The single again put them at the top of the Hot 100 and the R&B chart in 1975. After that, the group never again got close to the top forty on the Hot 100. They continued to place minor hits on the R&B chart, but that ended with their last album in 1985.

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

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1973 Lou Reed – Walk On The Wild Side

1973 Lou Reed – Walk On The Wild Side 

Lewis Reed grew up on Long Island. He played in several bands in high school; he also discovered drugs when he turned sixteen. He was in a doo-wop group called The Jades that recorded a single in 1958 that got played on Murray the K’s radio show. He briefly attended Syracuse University and hosted a late-night radio show on the campus radio station.

In 1964, Lou moved to New York City and worked as a songwriter for Pickwick Records. Lou and his roommate John Cale invited a few more musicians to join them and started the Velvet Underground. Andy Warhol soon became a mentor for the group and featured them at some of his events.

In 1970, Lou quit the band and earned $40 a week as a typist for his father’s tax accounting firm. He signed with RCA Records in 1971 and recorded his first solo album. Reviews and sales were poor.

David Bowie and Mick Ronson produced Lou’s second solo album, Transformer. The first single from the album was Walk On The Wild Side. The song consisted of mini-biographies of five people who were actors in Andy Warhol’s films in the sixties: Holly Woodlawn, Candy Darling, “Little Joe” Dallesandro, “Sugar Plum Fairy” Joe Campbell, and Jackie Curtis.

The single peaked at #16 on the US Hot 100 and reached the top ten in the UK. Andy never again reached the US chart but did score a top ten hit in the UK in 2004. He continued recording albums, eventually releasing at least twenty of them.

Lou struggled with addictions to methamphetamine and alcohol through the seventies and dealt with hepatitis, diabetes, and liver cancer. He had a liver transplant in 2014 but died from complications of liver disease five months later.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lou_Reed
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lou_Reed_discography
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Velvet_Underground

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1973 Kris Kristofferson – Why Me

1973 Kris Kristofferson – Why Me 

Kris Kristofferson was born in Texas but moved around a few times because his father was in the US Air Force. He graduated from high school in California. He attended  Pomona College after graduation and focused on writing, winning several awards for his essays. He also was active in sports, playing rugby, football, and track and field sports. He even appeared in an issue of Sports Illustrated in 1958.

 Kris won a Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford University, where he got involved with boxing and rugby. He also began writing songs. He recorded a few songs, but nothing sold.

Under pressure from his family, Kris joined the military for a few years after graduating from college. His family disowned him when he left the military at the end of his enlistment in 1965. He moved to Nashville to concentrate on songwriting. During the late sixties, he wrote several hit songs, including Help Me Make It Through The NightMe And Bobby McGee, and For The Good Times

Kris signed with Monument Records and began recording again in 1970. He released his first successful recording in 1971, Lovin’ Her Was Easier (Than Anything I’ll Ever Do Again). The single failed to reach the Country chart, but peaked at #26 on the Hot 100 and reached #4 on the Adult Contemporary chart.

The next year, he wrote and recorded Why Me with background vocals by Rita Coolidge and Larry Gatlin. The record eventually became his biggest solo single. It topped the Country chart in 1973 and got as high as #16 on the Hot 100.

His career then took a detour and he became an actor, starring in a series of films. While he never again reached the top forty on the charts, he became a member of the country supergroup The Highwaymen and was an important force in the growth of the outlaw movement in country music.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kris_Kristofferson
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kris_Kristofferson_discography
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Why_Me_(Kris_Kristofferson_song)

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Here is Kris explaining the history of writing Why Me and playing the song live:

1972 Chicago – Dialogue

1972 Chicago – Dialogue 

Six musicians in Chicago formed The Big Thing in early 1967. The group included three musicians in a horn section, an unusual feature for a rock group. They added a bass player and renamed themselves The Chicago Transit Authority when they released their first album in 1969. The group released two singles off the album, but the first single peaked at only #71, and the second single missed the charts completely. The real CTA put pressure on the group over their use of the name, and the band shortened their name to Chicago.

Chicago II put the group on the road to the charts with two top ten singles. Their record company gleefully re-released two top ten singles from the first album and a few singles from their newest album. When the new songs failed to do well, the company then re-released their first single from the first album. Question 67 & 68 proceeded to stall at #24 on the Hot 100 in late 1971.

Beginning in 1972, five of the group’s next six singles entered the top ten. The group’s fifth album ended side one with two cuts that made up a seven-minute song, Dialogue (Part 1) and Dialogue (Part 2). Robert Lamm wrote the song, which featured Terry Kath and Peter Cetera singing back and forth to each other.

The record company must have been hesitant to release a song that long on one side of a single, even though several songs of that length had already done well enough on the charts. Instead, the company split the song into two parts, placing them on the opposite sides of their next single. They sent out a Dialogue (Part 1) promo record to radio stations, but a lot of stations (especially FM and college stations) ignored the single and played the complete album cut.

The record peaked at only #24 on the Hot 100 in 1972. While the record references some specific problems in Society in the early seventies, a fresh listen to the song shows it may well be timeless.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chicago_discography#Singles
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dialogue_(Part_I_%26_II)

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1972 The Osmonds – Crazy Horses

1972 The Osmonds – Crazy Horses

The Osmond Brothers (Alan, Wayne, Merrill, and Jay) sang together as a barbershop quartet in 1958. When they were visiting Disneyland, they started singing with one of Disney’s entertainment groups (the Dapper Dans). Tommy Walker, Disneyland’s Director of Entertainment and Customer Relations, heard them singing and was impressed enough to hire the boys to sing on an episode of Disneyland After Dark. That resulted in Andy Williams bringing the group onto his television show as regular guests from 1962 to 1969. The group released a series of albums and singles through that period, although none of their records charted.

Eventually, Donnie joined the group, after which they became simply The Osmonds. In 1970, Mike Curb helped the group sign with MGM Records and began producing bubblegum records that featured Donnie singing lead. The first single from that combination was One Bad Apple, which reached the top of the Hot 100. Four more top twenty singles followed in the next two years.

Donny had begun releasing solo records in 1971 and was turning into bona fide teen idol. The Osmonds were playing their own instruments and writing their own songs, including Crazy Horses. When the Osmonds recorded the song, Donny’s voice was changing because of puberty, so he did not provide any vocals for the single. The lead vocals were by Jay, the only time he sang lead on a hit single by the group. One short passage of the lyrics was slightly higher notes, and Merrill provided the vocals for that portion of the song. Their single peaked at #14 on the Hot 100 in 1972 and reached #2 on the UK chart.

The song was not welcome everywhere. South Africa banned the song because somebody assumed horses was a code word for heroin. France banned the song because self-important authorities just knew that “smoking up the sky” was about drugs. They were all wrong.

According to Jay, the “crazy horses, smoking up the sky,” were gas-guzzling cars that poured out pollution and were destroying the planet with their fumes. It seems that the Osmonds were already worried about ecology and the environment of the planet back in the seventies. Who knew?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Osmonds
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Osmonds_discography
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crazy_Horses

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