1977 Yvonne Elliman – Hello Stranger
Barbara Lewis had sold options to release her first two singles to Atlantic Records, but they did not sell well outside of her local Detroit area.
She had written and recorded an early version of Hello Stranger in 1961, and recorded a new version in 1963. Her producer used the Dells for backup vocals on the song. She went to New York City and did her best to convince Atlantic to release the new recording.
Atlantic was uncertain about releasing the song because it did not sound like other music on the radio. Fortunately, Ruby and the Romantics then had a hit with Our Day Will Come, and Barbara’s song sounded close enough to that song to convince Atlantic to release Hello Stranger in December 1962.
The single reached #3 on the Hot 100 in early 1963.
Yvonne Elliman had a single top forty single in 1971 and saw little additional success until she recorded a cover of a Bee Gees song in 1976 that reached #14. The single was produced by Freddie Perren, and she continued working with him to complete an album. One of the songs she asked to record was a new version of Hello Stranger.
She covered the song (without the Dells) and her single reached #15 on the Hot 100 and #1 on the Adult Contemporary chart in 1977.
Meanwhile, the Bee Gees had begun work on the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack and wanted to use Yvonne on the soundtrack. They wrote How Deep Is Your Love for her. Robert Stigwood was in charge of the film, and he insisted the Bee Gees perform the song in the movie. They instead had her sing If I Can’t Have You, another song they had written for the soundtrack. Her single turned out to be her most successful release when it reached #1 on the Hot 100 in 1978.
Yvonne released two more singles that weren’t very successful and then chose to retire from performing so she could spend more time raising her kids. She released a new album in 2004; she wrote all the songs on the album.
Since then, Yvonne has continued to perform in public on a limited basis.
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