1969 Sammy Davis, Jr. – I’ve Gotta Be Me
The Will Mastin Trio was a dance act that featured Will Mastin and his son Sammy Davis Sr. Sammy Davis Jr. became a part of the act when he was just a child. After serving in the army in World War II, Junior rejoined the act. He also began singing as well, performing in clubs in the Portland, Oregon area. He recorded singles for Columbia Records starting in 1949.
Sammy didn’t reach the charts until he moved to Decca Records. He recorded a version of the song Hey There from the play Pajama Game. His single reached #16 on the Hot 100 in 1954 (Rosemary Clooney’s version of the song hit #1 on the Hot 100).
Several more hits followed in 1954 and 1955, after which the charts ignored him for nearly a decade. He joined the Rat Pack in the late fifties and made a career out of appearing in films and plays.
Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme starred in the Broadway play Golden Rainbow in 1968 and 1969. Steve’s big number in the play was I’ve Got To Be Me. He released a single that failed to reach the Hot 100 but still reached #6 on the Adult Contemporary chart in 1967.
Before the play closed on Broadway, Sammy recorded his own version after changing the lyrics ever so slightly: I’ve Gotta Be Me. The single came out in late 1968 and reached #11 on the Hot 100 and #1 on the Adult Contemporary chart in early 1969.
Four years later, Sammy had the biggest hit of his career with his cover of a song from the 1971 film Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory. The Candy Man topped both the Hot 100 and the Adult Contemporary charts in 1972. He didn’t reach the Hot 100 again for four years, and then only reached #92. He never reached the Hot 100 again, although he had no trouble finding work headlining in Las Vegas.
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