1962 Shelley Fabares – Johnny Loves Me

1962 Shelley Fabares – Johnny Loves Me

Michele Ann Marie Fabares grew up in California and began acting at the age of three using the name Shelley Fabares. She worked regularly on television shows in the fifties, acting on shows as diverse as The Twilight ZoneCaptain Midnight, and a serial on The Mickey Mouse Club.

In 1958, Shelley won the role of Mary Stone on a new television show, The Donna Reed Show. She appeared weekly on the show through 1964, after which they wrote her character out of the show by sending her off to college.

Mary’s dating and love life were often the subject of episodes. Colpix Records signed her to a recording contract and she began recording songs in 1961 that were used in the 1961-1962 season of the show.

In one episode they showed her pining for a boy named Johnny. Lee Pockriss co-wrote the 1958 chart-topping Catch A Falling Star with Paul Vance and he co-wrote Johnny Angel with Lyn Duddy.

Shelley sang the song in the episode, and the single reached the top of the Hot 100 in the Spring of 1962.

Shelley was surprised at the success of the record since she did not consider herself to be much of a singer. Darlene Love and the Blossoms, who contributed background vocals on the record, enhanced the record’s vocals. Several members of the Wrecking Crew played on the record as well, including Hal Blaine on drums, Glen Campbell on guitar, and Carol Kaye on bass.

Co-star Paul Petersen had his own hit record a month later, after which Colpix Records released a song by the pair that failed to even chart.

In another episode of the show a few months later, her character finally attracted some attention from Johnny, and she sang Johnny Loves Me on the show. Cynthia Weil and Barry Mann wrote the song, but the single did not fare as well as her first, and stalled at #21.

Mary recorded enough songs for two full albums and had at least eight more singles released between 1962 and 1966 that did not reach the top forty.

Colpix also had her record songs with James Darren and Paul Petersen for an album of songs from the show Bye-Bye Birdie and another album that featured songs from each of the performers.

Shelley continued acting on television and in films through 1998, including co-starring in three films with Elvis and eight years on the television show Coach. She did voice overs for several cartoon series between 1996 and 2006.

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

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1962 Paul Petersen – She Can’t Find Her Keys

1962 Paul Petersen – She Can’t Find Her Keys

Paul Petersen had the good fortune to land a job as one of Disney’s Mouseketeers in 1955. Towards the end of his work on the show, he appeared with Cary Grant and and Sofia Loren in the film Houseboat.

ABC cast Paul as Jeff Stone on The Donna Reed Show and he appeared in the sitcom from 1958 to 1966. The show capitalized on appearances on the show by actors by having them sometimes sing. Colpix Records prepared for the 1961-1962 season by recording songs that were later included as part of the plotlines on the show.

The first big break generated by the show belonged to James Darren, who appeared on the show in 1961 and reached the top ten with Goodbye, Cruel World.

In March 1962, an episode featured Shelley Fabares performing the song Johnny Angel that reached the top of the Hot 100.

Paul got his turn when he performed the song She Can’t Find Her Keys in a dream sequence on the show.

The single entered the Hot 100 in March 1962 and peaked at #19.

Paul later appeared on Shindig in a sketch that included his hit.

In April, Colpix released a novelty single that featured singing by both Paul and Shelley, What Did They Do Before Rock And Roll. The record failed to chart.

Paul’s next two singles reached the mid-fifties on the Hot 100. He finally had the biggest hit of his career when the show featured the song My Dad.

The slightly different single that came out peaked at #6 on the Hot 100 in 1963.

Paul released at least nine more singles by 1968, but never found the top forty again.

In 1990, Paul formed A Minor Consideration, an organization that seeks to aid child actors and other child laborers through counselling and legislation.

Colpix collected seven top forty singles and a few non-hits by James, Shelley, and Paul in the successful 1963 album Teenage Triangle. A second album of songs, More Teenage Triangle, came out in 1964 and failed to impress anybody.

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

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1961 Gene Pitney – Town Without Pity

1961 Gene Pitney – Town Without Pity

Gene Pitney grew up in Connecticut and was a member of several bands in the late fifties. The first time he recorded came with a group called the Embers in 1958. Gene teamed up with Ginny Arnell, and they released a few singles as Jamie and Jane.

Gene also began writing songs that became hits for other artists. Bobby Vee recorded Rubber Ball in 1960, and the record reached the top ten the next year. Gene also wrote Hello, Mary Lou, which Ricky Nelson took into the top ten in 1961.

Aaron Schroeder was a songwriter and producer who formed Musicor Records in 1960. United Artists Records distributed the label’s records. Gene had written the song (I Wanna) Love My Life Away and Aaron produced his recording of the song in late 1960. It featured Gene playing multiple instruments and multi-tracking his own vocals.

The single snuck up to #39 on the Hot 100 in early 1961.

A few months later, Gene recorded the theme song for the film based on the 1960 German novel Das Urteil (The Verdict). The film starred Kirk Douglas and was retitled Town Without Pity. Dimitri Tiomkin wrote the music for the soundtrack and the theme song. The lyrics came from Ned Washington, who began writing lyrics for songs in the forties; some of his more famous creations included When You Wish Upon A Star and High Noon (Do Not Forsake Me, Oh My Darlin’).

Aaron again produced Gene’s single, and Town Without Pity peaked at #13 on the Hot 100 in 1961. The song received a nomination for an Oscar, but lost out to Moon River.

Gene’s next recorded the theme song for (The Man Who Shot) Liberty Valance in 1962 and followed that with his biggest hit, Only Love Can Break a Heart.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gene_Pitney
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Town_Without_Pity

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1988 Eddie Money – Walk On Water

1988 Eddie Money – Walk On Water

Edward Joseph Mahoney was born in Brooklyn and lived in Levittown on Long Island during some of the same years that I briefly lived there. He moved to Queens for a few years in his teens and graduated from high school in 1967.

Eddie began singing in various rock bands, in part in hopes of attracting attention from females. Several of his family members were policemen, so Eddie began working as a trainee in the New York City Police Department. After less than a year of desk work, he abandoned the job to work full time as a singer.

Eddie moved to California and shortened his stage name to Eddie Money. He sang in clubs until he signed with Columbia Records and recorded his first album in 1977. His first charting single, Baby Hold On, reached #11 on the Hot 100 in 1978. His next single, Two Tickets To Paradise, made it to #22. Despite a long list of releases, he did not reach the top forty again until Take Me Home Tonight reached #4 on the Hot 100 in 1986.

Eddie followed that success had a few less than successful singles. His next visit to the top ten on the Hot 100 came in 1988 when Walk On Water reached #9 on the Hot 100. The single had nothing in common with the 1972 Neil Diamond song that had the same title.

Eddie was a lifelong smoker and had heart valve surgery in 2019. He recovered from the surgery and a bout of pneumonia, but then they diagnosed him with stage 4 esophageal cancer. Eddie died a few months later.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eddie_Money
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eddie_Money_discography

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1972 Neil Diamond – Walk On Water

1972 Neil Diamond – Walk On Water

Neil Diamond recorded and released his first single of 1972 in May, and Song Sung Blue quickly topped the Hot 100 and the Adult Contemporary (AC) chart. He followed that in July with the release of his eighth studio album, Moods.

The album reached the top five and spawned two more hit records.

Play Me came out in August and the record reached #11 on the Hot 100 and #3 on the AC chart.

His last single in 1972 was Walk On Water. While the single stalled at only #17 on the Hot 100, it did even better than its predecessor on the AC chart (where it reached #2).

Neil spent the better part of 1972 making live appearances, often in smaller venues. They recorded his performance on August 24, 1972, and released it as the album Hot August Night in December.

The album contained the live recording of Walk On Water.

His live rendition of an old classic, Cherry, Cherry, became a single in early 1973 that reached #31 on the Hot 100.

Neil spent most of 1973 creating the soundtrack for the film Jonathan
Livingston Seagull
. While the album sold well and received critical acclaim, Neil was very disappointed in the way they treated his music in the film and insisted he would never again work on a soundtrack unless he had complete control.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neil_Diamond
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neil_Diamond_discography

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1970 5th Dimension – Puppet Man

1970 5th Dimension – Puppet Man

Neil Sedaka had a brilliant career in the late fifties and early sixties, but hit a rough patch when the British Invasion arrived in 1964: he did not reach the US  top forty again for an entire decade. Some of his records did better in the UK, and he eventually ended up moving there and reigniting his career in the early seventies.

Neil released the single Ebony Angel in 1969 in the UK but not in the US. The b-side of the single was the song Puppet Man.

The 5th Dimension group left Soul City Records after a long string of hit records and began releasing new music on Bell Records in 1970, starting with the album Portrait. Soul City continued releasing older recordings during that year, making for some confusion at radio stations that had to choose which songs to play.

The group performed two songs from Portrait in an episode of It Takes A Thief that aired on February 23, 1970. They sang a cover version of Puppet Man in the episode.

Bell released the song as the group’s second single from their label, and it jumped onto the Hot 100 in April, eventually peaking at #24 on the Hot 100.

Save The Country was the next single from Portrait, but that stalled at #27. The band also recorded and released On The Beach (In The Summertime), but that failed to even reach the top forty.

Fortunately for the group, somebody finally paid attention to the other song from Portrait that appeared on It Takes A Thief. Burt Bacharach and Hal David wrote the song One Less Bell To Answer for Keely Smith in 1967 and her single had not accomplished much.

The show used the 5th Dimension’s cover version from Portrait as a plot device on the episode (the ending of the song was set to cause an explosion). Near the end of 1970, Bell released the song as a single, and it ran up to #2 on the Hot 100 and topped the Adult Contemporary chart. The 5th Dimension never again had a record that successful.

Tom Jones also recorded a cover version of Puppet Man in 1970, but his version was not released in the US until 1971. That single peaked at #26 on the Hot 100 but reached #4 in Canada.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_5th_Dimension
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Puppet_Man_(song)

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1972 Yes – Roundabout

1972 Yes – Roundabout 

Bass player Chris Squire formed the band Mabel Greer’s Toyshop in London in 1967. The owner of a nearby club introduced Chris to Jon Anderson, and the two discovered they shared interests in harmonies and music by Simon and Garfunkel. Drummer Bill Bruford, piano player Tony Kaye, and guitar player Peter Banks joined the pair to form the band Yes.

They released their first album in 1969. Roger Dean designed the covers for most of the group’s early albums, giving them a distinctive look.

The group first breached the US Hot 100 in 1971 with Your Move, the first single from their second album. The song was roughly the first half of the album track I’ve Seen All Good People; the entire song ran over six minutes. The record only reached #40 on the Hot 100.

While touring in a bus in support of the album, the group encountered an endless number of roundabouts (many years before they became common in the US). That bus ride led a stoned Jon to jot down lyrics that eventually turned into the lead song on Fragile, their third album. The album version of Roundabout ran over eight minutes.

They cut that down to three and a half minutes on the single. The single reached #13 on the Hot 100, making it the group’s second most successful single in the US.

The group recorded their next single in 1972 as part of the sessions for Fragile. The song was a cover of Simon and Garfunkel’s album cut, America, from their 1968 album, Bookends.

Yes did not include the full version of the song on any of their albums until years later. The original recording ran over ten minutes. They again cut down the single version, this time to about four minutes. It snuck up to #40 on the Hot 100 and then faded away.

The only way fans could initially listen to the original long version was to buy one of their record company’s sampler albums, The New Age of Atlantic. The record company finally included the complete version of the song on the group’s compilation album Yesterdays in 1975. The song later got added onto the remastered Fragile CD (which is where it belonged).

Even classic rock stations seem to have misplaced their copy of Roundabout and seem much more likely to play their chart-topping single Owner Of A Lonely Heart instead. The single only ran about four minutes, but the video lasted over six minutes thanks to some footage of the group members morphing into animals, a snake, and a bird.

The lineup for the band has changed over the years, with 19 different musicians working in the band full-time. Yes disbanded in 2004 and reformed in 2008.

Yes is still an active group that tours and records music, but the only early members still in the group are Steve Howe and Alan White.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yes_(band)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roundabout_(song)

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1968 Bee Gees – Words

1968 Bee Gees – Words

The Bee Gees became such a huge group in the seventies that it’s easy to forget how their singles struggled in the US in the mid-sixties. Their first four singles from their first two US albums stalled between #11 and #17 on the Hot 100, and their fifth single (World b/w Sir Geoffrey Saved The World) didn’t even reach the Hot 100 at all.

Their next singleWords, came out in early 1968. The record featured Barry singing lead and only reached #15 on the Hot 100 before fading from the chart. Their recording is notable for the compressor/limiter effect on the piano that gave it a unique sound.

The group toured with the song and appeared on countless television shows, including a live performance of the song on The Ed Sullivan Show. Barry sang the song as a solo performance during many of the group’s live concerts.

The group’s next single, Jumbo backed with The Singer Sang His Song, only reached #57 on the Hot 100 and #20 in the UK. The group had two top ten hits later in the year, and one more single that peaked at #37 in 1969.

Robin became upset with the selection of the singles the group was releasing. He complained that songs with him singing lead vocals were being overlooked in preference to songs that featured Barry. Robin left the group to pursue a solo career. It would be early 1971 before the group reformed and found their way back onto the top forty in the US.

Robin and Maurice have both died, leaving Barry to record on his own. He released a new album in early 2021 that finally allowed him to concentrate on Country music. Greenfields included a County remake of Words, a duet with Dolly Parton.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bee_Gees
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bee_Gees_discography

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1967 Brenton Wood – Oogum Boogum Song

1967 Brenton Wood – Oogum Boogum Song

Alfred Jesse Smith was born in Shrevesport Louisiana but his family moved to Los Angeles before he started high school. After graduation, he became proficient at piano and started writing songs.

He began recording singles for Wand Records in 1963 and moved to Brent Records for a few years. He wrote The Oogum Boogum Song and recorded it on Double Shot Records in 1967. The novelty single peaked at #34 on the Hot 100 and #19 on the R&B chart.

Dick Clark sat down and interviewed him after he performed the song on American Bandstand.

Brenton also wrote his next release, Gimme A Little Sign. The single reached the top ten on the Hot 100 and in the UK but stalled at #19 on the R&B chart.

He had one more record reach #34 on the Hot 100 in 1967 (Baby You Got It). He started his own record label and released 18 more singles and four more albums but never again reached the top forty after that single.

While his career faded, numerous films and television shows have used one or more of his three hit singles on their soundtracks for over fifty years.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brenton_Wood
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Oogum_Boogum_Song

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