1964 Gene Simmons – Haunted House
Bob Geddins grew up in Texas and moved to California during WW II. He became a professional R&B singer, songwriter, and music producer. He started several record labels beginning in 1948. His most notable song was Haunted House, which he wrote by 1958. He produced the single by Johnny Fuller in 1958. Johnny recorded R&B and rock and roll songs in the late fifties and early sixties, but his local hits never reached the national Hot 100 chart.
Sam the Sham and the Pharoahs recorded a new version of the song in 1964 that he released on Dingo Records about a year before Wooly Bully became a hit on MGM Records. Their single ran over three minutes.
Sam’s single did not chart. Hi Records approached Sam about re-recording a shorter version of the song; when he refused, the label got another artist to record it for them.
Jumpin’ Gene Simmons grew up in Mississippi and began recording for Sun Records in 1958. He often played as an opening act for Elvis, but only had one hit record of his own. He was more than happy to make the changes that Hi Records wanted and he recorded a cover version of Haunted House in 1964. His single was only about two-and-a-half minutes long and radio jumped on the song.
The single peaked at #11 on the Hot 100 and seems to get a lot of airplay every October.
Gene’s next single was The Dodo, but it only reached #83. Two more singles missed the chart completely, and that ended Gene’s music career.
Chaim Witz moved from Israel to the US while still a child. He took up playing the bass and singing and began using the name Gene Simmons as a tribute to the singer from the sixties. He and Paul Stanley formed the band Wicked Lester in 1971. The band eventually included Peter Criss and Ace Frehley and became Kiss in 1973.
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