1963 Robin Ward – Wonderful Summer
Jacqueline McDonnell’s father was in the military. While she was born in Hawaii, her family moved to Nebraska when she was very young.
At the age of eight, she sang with her two sisters and won a national talent contest. Her family moved to Los Angeles to pursue careers in the entertainment field. Television station KTLA hired her as Jackie Ward to sing weekly on Bandstand Review, a show reminiscent of Your Hit Parade.
Jackie began singing on demo records and even some released music. One of her earliest roles found her singing the “la-la-las” on Pat Boone’s 1962 single, Speedy Gonzales.
The next year, at age 22, she sang on a demo recording of Wonderful Summer. The producer thought a younger-sounding higher pitch would fit the song better and sped up the record. He decided that the resulting recording was good enough to release as a single, and convinced Dot Records to put the record out for sale.
Jackie felt that a different name would be appropriate because of the re-pitching of the record, and they used her younger sister’s first name on the record label; the single credited Robin Ward.
Fans bought over a million copies of the single. It reached #14 on the Hot 100 in 1963. Jackie recorded an album and Dot released a few more singles, but that one-hit wonder turned out to be the ending of her initial recording career.
But Jackie was just getting started! Before long, she sang as a member of the Anita Kerr Singers, the Ron Hicklin Singers, and the Ray Conniff Singers.
She became one of the regular singers on Red Skelton’s and Carol Burnett’s television shows.
She sang the Rice-a-Roni jingle and on hundreds of other ads.
She sang on the television theme songs including Batman, Flipper, and Love, American Style. Even better, she became a singer on many of the Partridge Family songs.
She also sang on hundreds of other pop songs and she estimates that she also provided singing for about 800 films.
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Here’s the original recording before it got sped up: