1957 Ruth Brown – Lucky Lips

1957 Ruth Brown – Lucky Lips 

Ruth Brown grew up in Portsmouth, Virginia. Her father led their church choir, and teenaged-Ruth moved on from there to sing in local clubs and USO shows. When she turned 17, she left home and moved in with trumpet player Jimmy Brown. She and Jimmy were soon married.

Ruth soon sang in clubs on Washington, D.C., and signed with Atlantic Records in 1949. Her first recording session that year yielded the hit So Long, which reached #4 on the R&B chart. By 1957, Ruth charted 16 more top ten R&B records, five of which topped the chart.

 In 1957, Ruth finally reached the Hot 100 chart. She recorded Lucky Lips, a song written by the team of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller. The single peaked at #25 on the Hot 100 and #6 on the R&B chart.

A few more hits followed, but by 1960, Ruth stepped away from her singing career to stay home with her husband and raise their son.

Redd Foxx convinced Ruth to return to performing in 1975. She not only sang in clubs, but started an acting career as well. She became a regular in the second season of Hello, Larry and appeared in the John Waters film Hairspray. Roles in the Broadway plays Amen Corner and Black and Blue followed. 

They inducted her into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1993.

Her public appearances only ended with her death from a heart attack and a stroke in 2006.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ruth_Brown
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lucky_Lips

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.

You can even read the books for free if you have Kindle Unlimited!

1956 LaVern Baker – Jim Dandy

1956 LaVern Baker – Jim Dandy

Delores Evans was born in Chicago in 1929. She began singing in clubs in the mid-forties as Little Miss Sharecropper and recorded songs using that name beginning in 1949. Her name became Bea Baker when she signed with Okeh Records in 1951. She finally settled on the name Lavern Baker the next year when she briefly joined Todd Rhodes and his band. She returned to a solo career after leaving the band.

Winfield Scott eventually wrote a few successful songs for Elvis, but his first chart success came when he wrote Lavern’s first chart success, Tweedlee Dee. Her single reached #14 on the Hot 100 and #4 on the R&B chart in early 1955.

The next year she recorded another novelty songJim Dandy. Lincoln Chase wrote the song (he later managed Shirley Ellis and also wrote The Name Game and The Clapping Song for her). LaVern topped the R&B chart with Jim Dandy and reached #17 on the Hot 100.

LaVern found her way onto both the Hot 100 and R&B top forty a few more times before the hits ran out in 1962.

In 1966, she recorded an updated version of Jim Dandy: Batman To The Rescue. The single didn’t reach the charts, but years later, somebody created a video for the song using clips from the Batman television show.

In 1985, Black Oak Arkansas covered Jim Dandy and their single reached #25 on the Hot 100.

LaVern released a few more singles in the late sixties and one last album in 1970 before accepting a job as the entertainment director at a Marine Corps Staff NCO club in the Philippines for nearly two decades. She then returned to the US and worked on soundtracks for a few films. She also recorded a live album in 1991 and a new studio album in 1992.

LaVern died in 1997, and they initially buried her in an unmarked grave in New York. In 2008, local historians raised enough money to mark her grave with a headstone.

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

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.

You can even read the books for free if you have Kindle Unlimited!

1955 Don Cornell – Most Of All

1955 Don Cornell – Most Of All

When he was only 18, Luigi Francisco Valaro began working professionally as a guitar player in the band of trumpet player Red Nichols. He eventually began using the professional name Don Cornell and found fame singing in the big band led by Sammy Kaye. Between 1942 and 1949, Don sang on nine top ten singles and another half-dozen top forty singles.

He started a solo career in the fifties and recorded two top five singles in 1952. His most successful song as a solo artist came in 1954. Hold My Hand reached #2 on the Hot 100 in the US and topped the charts in the UK.

Disk jockey Alan Freed signed up to manage a group started by Harvey Fuqua in 1952. He changed the group’s name to The Moonglows the next year. Harvey and Alan wrote the song Sincerely, and the group’s single topped the R&B chart and reached #20 on the Hot 100 in 1954.

Alan and Harvey also wrote the group’s next single, the doo-wop ballad Most Of All. The record did not reach the Hot 100, but it peaked at #5 on the R&B chart in 1955.

Don recorded a cover version of Most Of All that was closer to what pop radio stations wanted to play. His single reached #14 on the Hot 100 later in 1955.

Later that year, Don reached #7 on the Hot 100 with his single The Bible Tells Me So.

He also had two more singles that peaked at #26 and #25 in 1957. He continued recording and releasing records at least through 1966, but never again reached the top forty.

Don received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1963. He continued performing as a singer into the nineties before retiring to Florida.

Don died after in 2004 after battling with emphysema and diabetes.

https://www.allmusic.com/artist/don-cornell-mn0000177207/biography
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Don_Cornell
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Moonglows

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.

You can even read the books for free if you have Kindle Unlimited!

1989 to 2021 Rod Stewart

While his last solo top forty single came out in 2010, Rod Stewart has continued to release both covers of older songs and some new songs.

This week he released a new singleOne More Time.

Rod co-wrote the song with Kevin Savigar.

The video is similar in one way with his 1989 duet with Ronald Isley: Rod is once again backed up by three attractive dancers. This time, however, the trio does a more complete job of lip syncing with the record.

This Old Heart Of Mine reached the top ten on the Hot 100 and topped the Adult Contemporary chart in 1990. We can only hope radio picks up his newest release as well!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rod_Stewart_discography
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/This_Old_Heart_of_Mine_(Is_Weak_for_You)

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.

You can even read the books for free if you have Kindle Unlimited!

1987 Level 42 – Lessons In Love

1987 Level 42 – Lessons In Love

Mark King and Phil and Boon Gould met and began playing in various bands while still in school on the Isle of Wight. Phil met keyboard player Mike Lindup when they studied music in the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.

Robin Scott created the pop project M in the late seventies. The group gained international fame with the song Pop Musik in 1979. Wally Badarou played keyboards on the recording. Phil and Mark also worked as part of that project, and they began rehearsing with Wally to create a jazz-funk style of music.

The group Level 42 grew out of those early sessions. The group soon comprised Phil, Mark, Boon, and Mike, who took their name from the answer to the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams. Wally did not join the group, but became an unofficial fifth member who co-wrote songs, co-produced their recordings, and even sometimes played keyboards and synthesizers for them.

By 1981, the group had recorded a single that broke into the top forty on the UK chart. More hits followed, but the group did not reach the top forty in the US until Something About You reached the US Hot 100 in 1986. That single peaked in the top ten in both the UK and the US.

While the group’s next single (Leaving Me Now) reached 15 on the UK chart, it did not break into the Hot 100. A remix of the title song from their album World Machine got onto the US Dance Chart, where it peaked at #15.

Level 42 recorded their next album in early 1986. The lead single from the album, Lessons In Love, quickly reached the top of the charts in five countries and #3 in the UK, their highest charting record in their home country. The group toured in the US that year as well, and that helped the single reach #12 on both the Hot 100 and the US Dance chart in 1987.

The group also owed some of their success in the US to a video for the single.

Level 42 had three more top ten singles in the UK in the next year. Nine more of their singles charted in the UK top forty by the end of 1994. Sadly, the group failed to do that well in the US: their next single stalled at #83 on the Hot 100 in 1987, after which they failed to reach any of the US charts again.

Boon and Phil had left the group by the end of 1987. Mark and Mike have recruited new members as necessary and still lead an active group that tours and played a concert in Canada in 2020.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Level_42
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Level_42_discography
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lessons_in_Love_(song)

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.

You can even read the books for free if you have Kindle Unlimited!

1986 Van Halen – Love Walks In

1986 Van Halen – Love Walks In 

Friction between David Lee Roth and Eddie Van Halen had grown while the band (Van Halen) grew increasingly successful. David finally left the group in 1985 and began work on a solo career.

Eddie searched around for a replacement and offered the job to several artists who turned him down. Patty Smyth was happy with her solo career and eight months pregnant, so it did not seem like the right time to her. He discussed Daryl Hall was offered the job after Eddie saw a Hall and Oates concert in 1985, but he continued working with John Oates while also releasing solo material.

Eddie’s Ferrari mechanic also worked on Sammy Hagar’s car, and he introduced the two. Sammy had just had the hit I Can’t Drive 55 and a successful tour. The two quickly decided he was a good fit for the band.

Van Halen and Sammy were each scheduled to perform at Farm Aid in September 1985 (Hall & Oates also performed at that Farm Aid). 

Unfortunately for viewers watching the concert on the Country Music Channel, Sammy’s language became offensive enough that the channel cut away from their performance and reran tapes from earlier in the day.

After announcing Sammy’s membership in the group, the band finished and  released the album 5150 in March 1986.

The first single from the album, Why Can’t This Be Love, reached #3 on the Hot 100 and #1 on the Mainstream Rock chart.

The second single from the album reached #6 on the Mainstream Rock chart but stalled at only #22 on the Hot 100. The group created a video for Dreams using a live performance at the Whiskey A Go Go in 1993.

The first song the band wrote with Sammy was Love Walks In, which became the third single from 5150. Sammy has claimed that aliens have contacted him multiple times, and he wrote the lyrics of the song about his interactions with the aliens. Eddie played both keyboards and guitar on the studio recording.

The single also reached #22 on the Hot 100 but did slightly better on the Mainstream Rock Chart, where it reached #4.

Sammy stayed with the band through 1996 and rejoined them from 2003 to 2005. The band had more hit records with Sammy singing lead than they did with David Lee Roth: Sammy had 9 top forty hits on the Hot 100 to David’s 7. On the Mainstream Rock Chart, Sammy initially had 23 top forty singles to David’s initial 13; each of them had two more hits on that chart (but no additional Hot 100 hits) during their later reunions with the group.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Van_Halen
https://societyofrock.com/31-years-ago-a-mistake-brings-sammy-hagar-and-eddie-van-halen-together-onstage-for-the-first-time/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Van_Halen_discography
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Love_Walks_In

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.

You can even read the books for free if you have Kindle Unlimited!

1985 Don Henley – Sunset Grill

1985 Don Henley – Sunset Grill

Don Henley and Glenn Frey first worked together in 1971 as members of Linda Ronstadt’s backing band. They eventually recruited a few more members and formed the Eagles.

I first saw the group when they were supporting their second album as the warm-up act for Procol Harum in the Summer of 1973. They had been touring mostly in the Northeast, and their mild country-pop music probably was a bit jarring to the crowds that showed up for Procol Harum. The Nashville crowd greeted their performance with a lot of enthusiasm, and the reception clearly cheered up the group.

The Eagles did fairly well in the rest of the seventies but splintered and broke up in 1980. Don began recording solo albums. His first album, I Can’t Stand Still, only spawned one hit record (Dirty Laundry, which reached #3 on the Hot 100 and #1 on the Mainstream Rock chart).

His second album, Building The Perfect Beast, came out in 1984 and included four successful singles. Boys Of Summer and All She Wants To Do Is Dance both hit the top ten on the pop charts and number 1 on the Mainstream Rock chart.

Not Enough Love In The World was the least successful of the four singles, only reaching #34 on the Hot 100 that Summer (but it peaked at #6 on the Adult Contemporary chart). Don co-wrote the song with his frequent co-writer, guitarist Danny Kortchmar and keyboardist Benmont Tench (one of the founding members of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers).

The last single from the album was Sunset Grill. Don Henley wrote the song, again with assistance from Danny and Benmont. He produced the single with help from Danny and Greg Ladanyi. Patty Smyth sang backup vocals and Randy Newman provided the synthesizer programming.

The record peaked at #22 on the Hot 100 and reached #7 on the Mainstream Rock chart in 1985. It also reached #18 on the Adult Contemporary chart.

It would be 1989 before Don released any more singles.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Don_Henley
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Don_Henley_discography
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sunset_Grill_(song)

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.

You can even read the books for free if you have Kindle Unlimited

1984 Billy Squier – Rock Me Tonite

1984 Billy Squier – Rock Me Tonite

Billy Squire grew up in Wellesley, Massachusetts. He learned to play the piano and guitar and formed his first band when he was 14 years old. Four years later, he performed in public for the first time at a club in Boston. A few years later, he and a friend formed Magic Terry & the Universe, the first of several short-lived bands he became a member of.

Billy was the main songwriter and frontman for the band Piper, beginning in the mid-seventies. They recorded two albums and opened at Madison Square Garden for Kiss, but the band fell apart by the end of the decade. Capitol Records signed Billy to a solo contract in 1979.

Billy’s first album, The Tale of the Tape, did not produce any hit records. A drum break on his second single, The Big Beat, later became one of the most used samples in hip hop.

In 1981, Billy released his second album, Don’t Say No. The first single from the album, The Stroke, peaked at #17 on the Hot 100 and reached #3 on the Mainstream Rock chart. That recording also was often sampled.

Billy’s first single in 1982, Everybody Wants You, reached #1 on the Mainstream Rock chart. It barely reached the Hot 100, where it peaked at #32.

Billy had planned to use Mutt Lange to produce his 1984 album, but switched to Jim Steinman when Mutt became unavailable. Billy wrote Rock Me Tonite, the lead single from the album. It not only became his biggest hit on the Hot 100 when it reached #15 in 1984, but it also became his second single to top the Mainstream Rock chart.

Billy never again reached the top forty on the Hot 100. By 1993, he had scored 18 top forty singles on the Mainstream Rock chart, seven of which reached the top ten.

Billy has continued to appear live occasionally, including tours with Ringo Starr & His All-Starr Band in 2006 and 2008. As a volunteer for the Central Park Conservancy, he has maintained 20 acres of Central Park in Manhattan for over 17 years.

Billy has his own website at http://www.billysquier.com/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Billy_Squier
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Billy_Squier_discography
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rock_Me_Tonite

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.

You can even read the books for free if you have Kindle Unlimited!

1983 Roberta Flack and Peabo Bryson – Tonight, I Celebrate My Love

1983 Roberta Flack and Peabo Bryson – Tonight, I Celebrate My Love

Roberta Flack began studying piano at age nine and became so proficient that she earned a full scholarship to Howard University. She became a music teacher and also started writing and singing music. Roberta recorded her first album in 1969. Clint Eastwood used a song from that album, The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face, in the film Play Misty For Me. The single topped the Hot 100 and the Adult Contemporary (AC) chart in 1972.

Robert Peapo Bryson grew up on his grandfather’s farm in South Carolina. He joined a group, Al Freeman and the Upsetters, when he was only 14. Al had difficulty pronouncing his name, so he began appearing as Peabo Bryson.

Two years later, Peabo toured with Moses Dillard and the Tex-Town Display. After hearing him sing at a recording session with that group, Bang Records signed him to a solo contract to write, arrange, and produce music. He placed several singles a year on the R&B chart starting in 1975, recording for Capitol Records after they bought all his recordings from Bang in 1977.

In 1980, Roberta and Peabo recorded the double album Live And More, which contained ten live recordings and four new studio recordings. The pair wrote the single Make The World Stand Still on that album, and it reached #13 on the R&B chart.

They worked on another album of duets in 1983 on the album Born To Love. Barry Mann and Michael Masser wrote the lead single from the album, Tonight I Celebrate My Love. They filmed a performance video for the song to promote it. The record reached #16 on the Hot 100, #5 on the R&B chart, and #4 on the AC chart.

Roberta only reached the top forty on the Hot 100 one more time. She recorded Set The Night To Music with Maxi Priest in 1991. The single peaked at #6 on the Hot 100 and #2 on the AC chart.

Peabo continued to have a seemingly endless string of hit records on the R&B chart into the nineties. He even topped the Hot 100 in 1992 when he recorded A Whole New World. Disney used the duet with Regina Belle in their animated film Aladdin.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roberta_Flack
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roberta_Flack_discography
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peabo_Bryson
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peabo_Bryson_discography
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tonight,_I_Celebrate_My_Love

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.

You can even read the books for free if you have Kindle Unlimited!

1982 Beach Boys – Come Go With Me

1982 Beach Boys – Come Go With Me 

Once the sixties ended, the Beach Boys ran out of hit records. They didn’t have a hit single again until 1976 in spite of recording some amazing songs. That year, they reached the top five on the Hot 100 with Rock and Roll Music and barely reached the top thirty with It’s Okay. During the next four years, they reached #40 with only one single (Good Timin’) and failed to get even that high with over a dozen other singles.

The band made it back up to #12 in 1981, but that single was a cheat of sorts: The Beach Boys Medley simply mashed up pieces of eight of their earlier hits.

That year, the band also released a double album, Ten Years of Harmony. It collected songs from their Brothers Records albums from 1970 to 1980.

One of the songs on the album, Come Go With Me, had been released in 1978 on their M.I.U. album, but had never been a single. Some of the band members refused to work on that album, which possibly helped Al Jardine get the rare chance to sing lead vocals. Al asked Brian to arrange the horns for the song, which he reported did immediately at Sunset Sound Recorders while dressed in a bathrobe.

To help promote the new compilation album, they released the song as a single.

The original version of the song by the Del Vikings failed to chart in 1956, but reached #4 on the Hot 100 when a new label re-released the same recording in 1957. The Beach Boys version peaked at #18 on the Hot 100 and #11 on the Adult Contemporary chart.

The band had a few more minor hits before topping the Hot 100 one last time in 1988 with Kokomo.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Beach_Boys_discography#Singles
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Come_Go_with_Me
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M.I.U._Album

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.

You can even read the books for free if you have Kindle Unlimited!