1966 The Cyrkle – Turn Down Day

1966 The Cyrkle – Turn Down Day

This article appears in one of my books, Lost or Forgotten Oldies Volume 5:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08YX8YTJN/

Don Dannemann and Tom Dawes met while waiting in line for physicals when they arrived at Lafayette College in 1961. They formed a band called the Rhondells with a few other students and began playing at frat parties. Their group was not connected with Bill Deal and the Rhondels. The other members of the group drifted away except for the keyboard player, Earl Pickens. Marty Fried joined the group as their drummer in 1963.

Entertainment lawyer Nat Weiss heard the band perform in Atlantic City in 1964, and they impressed him with their sound. Nat booked the Beatles for some of their early appearances in the US and introduced the group to Brian Epstein (the manager for the Beatles).

Brian began managing the group. He suggested they change their name to the Circle. John Lennon probably suggested they adopt some strange spelling, and they became the Cyrkle. Tom began playing bass and guitar by using a special double-neck guitar that made it possible to swap back and forth.

Don had to leave the group temporarily to meet an obligation with the Coast Guard. During that stretch, Tom played bass on a Simon and Garfunkel tour. Tom came back with a desire to record two songs that Paul had written with Bruce Woodley of the Seekers. The important song was Red Rubber Ball. They convinced Columbia Records to sign the Cyrkle and release that single in 1966. The record reached #2 and provided enough credibility for the group to open for the Beatles on their Summer tour in 1966.

The group’s first album also contained their second singleTurn Down Day. That single only reached #16 and became their last stop on the US Hot 100 top Forty.

Michael Losekamp joined the group playing keyboards. The group recorded a second album and at least eight more singles but gained no additional traction. They threw together the soundtrack of a forgettable film (The Minx) using some of their uncollected singles in 1967. After that, the group disbanded.

Don and Tom went on to successful careers, writing jingles. Their most well-known jingles include “Pop Pop Fizz Fizz” for Alka-Seltzer and “7 Up The Uncola.” Tom also found success writing songs and produced two albums for Foghat.

Don and Michael reformed the Cyrkle with four additional musicians in 2016 and continue to make appearances on the oldies circuit.

The group maintains a website at:

http://www.thecyrkle.com/home.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Cyrkle
http://www.thecyrkle.com/don-dannemann-s-diary.html

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1965 Little Anthony and the Imperials – Take Me Back

1965 Little Anthony and the Imperials – Take Me Back 

After releasing two singles that reached #4 and #24 in 1958 and 1959, Little Anthony and the Imperials ran into a string of bad luck. Their only charting single for the next two years stalled at #86.

Little Anthony Gourdine decided to leave the group and pursue a solo career. The original founder of the Imperials, Clarence Collins, recruited other singers and continued recording new songs as The Imperials.

None of them found any success at all.

Anthony rejoined the group in 1964 with Clarence, Ernest Wright, and their childhood friend, Sammy Strain.

The singers started working with another old friend, Teddy Randazzo, who began writing and producing their singles. He made a major difference in the group’s direction. Five consecutive singles reached the top forty on both the pop and R&B charts.

The last of those singles to reach the top twenty was Take Me Back. The record peaked at #16 on the Hot 100 and #15 on the R&B chart in 1965.

Two more minor hits followed, after which the band was unable to return to the top forty. They continued making public appearances and somehow one of their recordings became a top twenty hit in the UK in 1978.

Little Anthony again pursued a solo career and began an acting career in the late seventies before rejoining the band.

I got to see the band before they briefly broke up again in 1988. They reformed in 1992 and have continued performing in oldies concerts and on television specials.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Little_Anthony_and_the_Imperials
https://www.allmusic.com/album/shades-of-the-40s-mw0000843508
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Take_Me_Back_(Imperials_song)

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1964 Bobby Goldsboro – Whenever He Holds You

1964 Bobby Goldsboro – Whenever He Holds You

Bobby Goldsboro was born in a small town near the Florida Panhandle. His family moved to Alabama when he was still in high school. He attended Auburn for a brief time before dropping out to pursue a career in music. That career had a great start in the early sixties when Bobby started playing guitar in Roy Orbison’s band.

Bobby began writing and singing his own songs and released singles on five different record labels in 1962 and 1963 before starting a long-term relationship with United Artists Records.

He released his first record that charted higher than #70 on the Hot 100 in late 1963. Bobby wrote See The Funny Little Clown, and the record peaked at #9 on the Hot 100 in early 1964. It was the first of five singles that Bobby released that sold over a million copies.

His next single also came from The Bobby Goldsboro Album in 1964. Bobby wrote Whenever He Holds You and the single stalled at #39 on the Hot 100. Fortunately, the record also reached the Adult Contemporary Chart and peaked at #13 there.

Bobby had four more minor top forty singles before he released Honey, a song written by Bobby Russell. The single landed at the top of the Hot 100, the Adult Contemporary Chart, and the Country chart. It even topped the Irish chart and reached #2 in the UK.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bobby_Goldsboro
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bobby_Goldsboro_discography
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whenever_He_Holds_You

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1963 Darlene Love – Wait ‘Til My Bobby Gets Home

1963 Darlene Love – Wait ‘Til My Bobby Gets Home 

Darlene Wright was born in Los Angeles in 1941. Her father was a minister, and Darlene sang in his church choir. The choir director, Cora Martin-Moore, arranged for Darlene to sing locally and on broadcasts at the local Music Mart. 

The singing group The Blossoms invited Darlene to join their group when she turned sixteen. She also sang on several recordings by the group.

Phil Spector managed and produced the Crystals. In 1962, he wanted the group to record He’s A Rebel, but they were across the country touring. Instead, hired the Blossoms to record the song and released it using The Crystals’ name. He also got Darlene to change her name to Darlene Love.

The record topped the Hot 100. 

Phil then produced a cover version of the song Zip-A-De-Do-Dah (from the 1946 Disney film Song Of The South). The lead vocals were by Bobby Sheen and the backup vocals came from Darlene and Fanita James (another member of the Blossoms). The single bore the group name “Bob B. Soxx & the Blue Jeans.” It reached #8 on the Hot 100.

Darlene sang on at least three more top forty singles in the next year. Her only charting single that had her listed as a solo performer came in 1963. Jeff Barry, Ellie Greenwich, and Phil Spector are credited with writing Wait Til’ My Bobby Gets Home and Phil produced the record. 

The single reached #26 on the Hot 100 in 1963.

That trio also wrote one more important song Darlene recorded in 1963. Phil included Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) on the album A Christmas Gift for You from Phil Spector. The song became standard radio fare for the holiday season and recently began charting on the Hot 100 every year. So far, the highest it has reached on the chart is #16.

Darlene continued singing on countless recordings and later embraced an acting career as well. Rolling Stone‘s 100 Greatest Singers includes her on their list.

They inducted her into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2011.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darlene_Love
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wait_%27til_My_Bobby_Gets_Home
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christmas_(Baby_Please_Come_Home)#Darlene_Love_version_2

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1962 James Darren – Conscience

1962 James Darren – Conscience

James Darren was born in Philadelphia, making him one of a small group of teen idols from the city. He signed with Columbia as an actor in 1956 and began appearing in minor roles in films and television shows. When he appeared in the film Gidget in 1959, James sang the theme song. They released the song from the soundtrack as a single and it reached #41 on the Hot 100. He also appeared in the two sequels of the film.

James appeared on The Donna Reed Show in 1959 playing a pop star who comes down with the measles and has to stay with the family until he recovers. Two years later, he again appeared as a pop star, but a different star than he played the first time. The second singer was on his way into the army, and James sang a version of Goodbye Cruel World on the show. That version of the song had him singing about being, “Off to join the army.”

The song had such a strong reception that he made a new recording with new lyrics, “Off to join the circus.” The single with the new lyrics came out a few months after the show, and the record sped up to #3 on the Hot 100.

Carole King and Gerry Goffin wrote both that song and his next single, Her Royal Majesty. In early 1962, that single got as high as #6.

Another familiar pair at the Brill Building wrote his third hit single: Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil. Conscience was a strange record. It had patches of dead silence and spoken words, and the speed of the song kept changing, but the single somehow peaked at #11 on the Hot 100.

They also wrote his next single, Mary’s Little Lamb, but the best it could manage was one week at #39.

James provided the singing voices for Yogi Bear in Hey There, It’s Yogi Bear in 1964, and for the prehistoric star James Darrock on The Flintstones in 1965.

James had only one more top forty single. Leon Russell arranged the song All which appeared in the film, Run For Your Wife. The single reached #35 in 1967.

While his recording career had faded, James had no trouble getting work as an actor. James was the lead actor on television in The Time Tunnel from 1966 to 1967. He also starred with William Shatner in T. J. Hooker from 1983 to 1986. He appeared in guest roles on many shows and later successfully transitioned to directing.

James found a whole new career in 1998. They cast him in the role of Vic Fontaine on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. He appeared as a hologram, singing “classic” songs and passing along advice. Because of those appearances, he recorded an album of songs from the show in 1999 and an album of Sinatra-style performances in 2001.

His most recent appearance came in the film LUCKY in 2017.

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

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1961 Carla Thomas – Gee Whiz (Look In His Eyes)

1961 Carla Thomas – Gee Whiz (Look In His Eyes) 

Rufus C. Thomas, Jr. was born just outside of Memphis in the small town of Cayce, Mississippi. By the age of ten, he performed tap dancing in public at shows and on the streets for tips. A few years later, he began working as the master of ceremonies at shows on Beale Street. Rufus began writing and recording songs in the early forties, became a local disk jockey in the early fifties, and eventually had a few hit records on the Hot 100.

He also gave the world another gift: his daughter, Carla Thomas.

Carla was born in 1942 and thanks to her father, she started performing on Beale Street at age ten. Her father wrote the song Cause I Love You and they recorded a duet for Satellite Records that became her first single in 1960. 

Carla was only 19 years old when she wrote and recorded Gee Whiz (Look At His Eyes). Satellite Records leased her single to Atlantic Records and their national reach helped the song peak at #10 on the Hot 100 and #5 on the R&B chart in 1961.

Carla had a long string of hits on the R&B chart during the next ten years, several of which also reached the Hot 100. 

People often refer to her as the Queen Of Memphis.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carla_Thomas
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gee_Whiz_(Look_at_His_Eyes)

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1960 Demensions – Over The Rainbow

1960 Demensions – Over The Rainbow 

One of the most beloved songs of all time scarcely spent any time on the modern music charts.

We are all familiar with Over The Rainbow, although you likely think the title is more like the first line, Somewhere Over The Rainbow. E.Y. Harburg and Harold Arlen wrote the song for the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz. Harold composed the music for over 500 songs including That Old Black Magic and One for My Baby (and One More for the Road). E.Y. wrote the lyrics and also gave us songs with social messages and the book for Finian’s Rainbow.

Judy Garland recorded the song for the film’s soundtrack during filming in October 1938. The song easily won the Academy Award for Best Original Song and it became permanently associated with Judy. 

Once the film came out the next year, the song proved so popular that they created a new recording in September 1939 that they released as a single. Glenn Miller also released a single version of the song that reached the top of the charts in 1939.

The version of the song from the film remained unavailable to the general public until the film reached television in 1956.

The first time the song actually charted after that came from an otherwise unknown group doo-wop group from the Bronx: The Demensions. They recorded a version of the song that Cousin Brucie began playing on New York City powerhouse radio station WABC. The single reached the national charts in July 1960 and peaked at #16 in September.

The group appeared on multiple television shows and recorded additional music, but their only other chart appearance came when My Foolish Heart reached #95 on the Hot 100 in 1963.

While many other artists have recorded the song, only one other version of the song reached the Hot 100 in the US. Gary Tanner included the introductory verse in his single that artists usually cut out of most other versions. He took the song to #69 in 1978. He then promptly vanished.

Israel Kamakawiwoʻole recorded a mashup of Somewhere Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World in 2004. Countless films and television shows have licensed and used his version. Even more impressive, he’s sold over 4 million copies!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Over_the_Rainbow
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Demensions

I have collected older articles about Lost or Forgotten Oldies in my books.

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1983 Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers – Change of Heart

1983 Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers – Change of Heart 

Tom Petty and members of the defunk band Mudcrunch joined together with a few other musicians and formed Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers in 1976. Their first single failed to chart, but when Breakdown got reissued in 1977 it reached #40 on the Hot 100.

The band reached the top ten on the Hot 100 in 1979 and had their first single top the US Mainstream Rock Chart in 1981. Long After Dark became their fifth studio album in 1982. The first single from the album, You Got Lucky, again took them to the top of the US Mainstream Rock chart while stopping at #20 on the Hot 100.

The band’s next single failed to chart at all. They made only one public appearance in January 1983 before releasing another single from the album. Tom wrote Change Of Heart and he and Jimmy Iovine produced the single.

After one more appearance in March, the band appears to have taken some time off from touring or recording.

Work began on a complex album. Southern Accents was intended to be a concept album, but somehow, that plan got abandoned. Tom removed several songs from the track list and added three more co-written with Dave Stewart of the Eurythmics. The album came out in 1985 and Don’t Come Around Here No More got promoted with a distinctive video. The single reached #13 on the Hot 100 and #2 on the US Mainstream Rock Chart.

While most of Tom’s releases continue to get airplay on radio stations with Rock or Classic Rock formats, oldies stations don’t seem to pay their music much attention (except for Free Fallin’ and Don’t Do Me Like That).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tom_Petty
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tom_Petty_discography#Singles
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Change_of_Heart_(Tom_Petty_and_the_Heartbreakers_song)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Southern_Accents

I have collected older articles about Lost or Forgotten Oldies in my books.

Please visit my author page on Amazon where I sell my paperbacks, eBooks, and audiobooks. I priced a special eBook at only 99 cents!

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1982 The Flirts – Jukebox (Don’t Put Another Dime)

1982 The Flirts – Jukebox (Don’t Put Another Dime) 

Don’t you simply hate it when you catch yourself humming a small portion of a song you haven’t heard in a long time and can’t quite place the name or the group? 

I can remember that happening to me with the phrase, “Don’t put another dime in the jukebox.” It was probably the late eighties or early nineties, and at the time, I had some difficulty placing the song. Now that we have the web and online files of lyrics, it’s easy enough to jump into a search engine and find the song, the group, or even a video. Not having those resources made the task of identifying the song annoying, but I did eventually remember seeing the video on Night Flight on the USA Network in the early eighties. The video finally showed up again and looks like a weak clone of Bananarama.

In 1977, when disco was king, producer Giorgio Moroder worked with Donna Summer to create the song I Feel Love. Donna talked about the song in an interview: “This song became a hit because it has a high-energy vibe.” After that description became rewritten as Hi-NRG, the term became applied to a subset of disco.

Meanwhile, synthesizers became available to musicians. Bobby Orlando, an American producer who had been working on disco music in the late seventies, formed the group The Flirts using a handful of models/singers. He also began using synthesizers in the group’s music. 

Their first single, Jukebox (Don’t Put Another Dime), came out in 1982. MTV picked up the video and the song quickly reached the top thirty on the US Dance Chart.

Perhaps the most important recording Bobby did with the Flirts was their follow-up single, Passion, which reached #21 on the US Dance Chart.

While that might not sound too important, the use of synthesizers on that single impressed Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe enough for the pair to sign a recording contract with Bobby. That led to the eventual success of the Pet Shop Boys as detailed on my blog:

https://whatwasleftin.blog/2022/08/08/1986-pet-shop-boys-opportunities-lets-make-lots-of-money/

The Flirts had a rotating list of members and continued cranking out dance hits through 1986.

Bobby eventually moved into EDM (electronic dance music) and continued producing an astonishing large catalog of music with endless artists.

The Pet Shop Boys 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bobby_Orlando
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hi-NRG
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Flirts

I have collected older articles about Lost or Forgotten Oldies in my books.

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1970 Ernie – Rubber Duckie

1970 Ernie – Rubber Duckie 

While still in high school, Jim Henson began working for a local television show, The Junior Morning Show. Puppets were commonplace on television in the fifties and Jim created puppets for the show. He attended the University of Maryland, College Park, and took a course in puppetry. While in college, he developed Sam And Friends, a five-minute puppet show that ran from 1954 to 1961. One puppet on that show was a now-familiar-looking frog. He began making commercials using his puppets, the most successful of which were some coffee commercials.

Jim moved to New York City in 1963 and recruited Frank Oz and established Muppets, Inc. He developed Rolf, the piano-playing dog, who appeared regularly on the Jimmy Dean television show.

Sesame Street began in 1969, with Jim performing as Kermit and Ernie and Frank performing as Cookie Monster and Bert (and many, many more Muppets as well as Miss Piggy, who never appeared on Sesame Street). The show involved numerous extremely talented people, including writer Jeff Moss and music composer Joe Raposo.

A popular sketch with Ernie had him singing Rubber Duckie in the bathtub. Jeff and Joe wrote the song, and it was first used on the show in February 1970. The song was successful enough that they released the song as a single. It surprised everybody when the record began getting airplay on the radio and the single quickly hit the charts, peaking at #16 in September.

Rock station WKDA-FM in Nashville had a daily event where they played two new songs and listeners could vote for the song they wanted to keep hearing. The winner would return the next day to face a new challenger. Somebody put Rubber Duckie on as a joke, and the song easily began a winning streak that was finally stopped by Lola by the Kinks.

Would that we could have vanquished Baby Shark that easily!

Rubber Duckie was Ernie’s only visit to the charts.

Several people have recorded Rubber Duckie, but no doubt the most unusual performance was also on Sesame Street: Little Richard brought along a rubber duckie and a piano and a tub and other props and reproduced the entire sketch.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jim_Henson
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rubber_Duckie

I have collected older articles about Lost or Forgotten Oldies in my books.

Please visit my author page on Amazon where I sell my paperbacks, eBooks, and audiobooks.

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