Lost or Forgotten Oldie of the Day: 1956 Jerry Vale – You Don’t Know Me

Gennaro Louis Vitaliano grew up in the Bronx. He sang while he worked shining shoes which led his boss to pay for singing lessons. He appeared on the Ted Mack Amateur Hour in 1950 and began singing in nightclubs. He began performing as Jerry Vale.

Paul Insetta signed Jerry to a management contract and arranged for him to record some demo records he had written. Paul was also the road manager for singer Guy Williams, who introduced Jerry to Mitch Miller at Columbia Records. Jerry soon began recording for Columbia Records. He reached #29 on the Hot 100 in 1953 with You Can Never Give Me Back My Heart, his third single for the label.

Ten more singles followed in the next three years, but only three of them charted before Jerry recorded the biggest hit of his career. In 1955, Eddy Arnold was the first artist to record You Don’t Know Me. Jerry’s version charted first and peaked at #14 on the Hot 100 in 1956. Two months later, Eddy’s version reached #10 on the Country chart. Ray Charles released his version of the song in 1962 and his single became the most successful one when it topped the Hot 100.

Jerry had difficulty following up on his hit single. The best he could manage for the rest of the fifties came in 1957 when he reached #45 on the Hot 100 with the single Pretend You Don’t See Her.

Oddly enough, Jerry’s only other top forty entry on the Hot 100 came during the peak of the British Invasion. He recorded Have You Looked Into Your Heart in 1964 and the single peaked at #24 in early 1965. The song also reached the top of the Adult Contemporary chart and was the first of 27 top forty singles on the AC chart. His last visit to that chart came in 1971.

He continued recording albums and had over forty studio albums released by 1974.

Jerry appeared in films but primarily playing himself in the Martin Scorsese films Goodfellas and Casino in the nineties. He also appeared as himself in two episodes of the television show Growing Pains. His music was in constant demand for film soundtracks, and they included several of his songs in the recent Netflix film, The Irishman.

A stroke in 2002 cut short his performing career. He eventually died in 2014.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jerry_Vale
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jerry_Vale_discography
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/You_Don%27t_Know_Me_(Cindy_Walker_song)

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Lost or Forgotten Oldie of the Day: 1955 The Four Aces – Heart

Beginning in 1949, the New York Yankees major league baseball team began dominating their sport like no other team before or since. By 1964, the team had won the pennant 14 times and won the World Series nine times. It’s no wonder that the novel Douglass Wallop wrote in 1954 became a bestseller: The Year The Yankees Lost The Pennant. The novel was a fantasy about a deal with the devil that led to the Washington Senators beating the Yankees in the final game of the year.

It’s probably just a coincidence that the Yankees lost the pennant to the Cleveland Indians in 1954, the only loss they suffered in a ten-year period.

In 1955, a musical play based on the book became a hit on Broadway – Damn Yankees. Several artists released covers of one song from the musical. While you may recall the name of the song as being You Gotta Have Heart, the actual name was simply Heart. While a cast album contained the song, it doesn’t appear that they ever released a single version from the album.

Eddie Fisher recorded a version of the song in 1955 and his single reached the charts on May 14th and peaked at #6 in late June. While some background singers sang on the record, they weren’t singing harmony with Eddie and the song doesn’t sound exactly like the play.

Several Yankees in the locker room performed the song in the play, so it wasn’t too surprising that the Four Aces released a second version of the song that replicated at least some of the harmonies found in the stage production. Their single hit the charts two weeks after Eddie’s version and peaked at #13 two weeks before Eddie reached #6.

A film version of the play premiered in 1958 that featured most of the original Broadway cast reprising their roles and songs.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_American_League_pennant_winners
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eddie_Fisher_%28singer%29#Hit_songs
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Four_Aces

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Lost or Forgotten Oldie of the Day: 1989 Kix – Don’t Close Your Eyes

Ronnie Younkins, Brian Forsythe, and Donnie Purnell formed the group The Shooze in December 1977. They added Steve Whiteman and drummer Donnie Spence to complete the group. Steve and Donnie Spence took turns singing and playing drums. Steve had a better vocal range, so he became the lead singer.

In 1979, drummer Jimmy Chalfant replaced Donnie Spence. In 1980, they renamed the band The Generators. They signed a contract with Atlantic Records in 1981 and began recording as Kix. The group released albums in 1981, 1983, and 1985 while touring to build up a following.

The group finally broke through with their fourth album in 1988. The first four singles from the album failed to chart, but the fifth single was Don’t Close Your Eyes. The power ballad was the group’s only entry to the Hot 100, where it reached #11. It also reached #16 on the Mainstream Rock chart. The success of that single earned the album a platinum record and finally made it possible for the group to play arenas.

It was 1991 before the group released another album, and the album after that didn’t come out until 1995. The group’s record label dropped them in 1995. Shortly after that, the group disbanded, and the members pursued solo projects.

The core group reformed in 2003 with Mark Schenker replacing Donnie Purnell on bass. The band recorded a new album in 2014 and is still touring. They maintain a website at http://www.kixband.com/.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kix_(band)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steve_Whiteman

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Lost or Forgotten Oldie of the Day: 1988 Basia – Time And Tide

Barbara Stanisława Trzetrzelewska was born in Poland. She began singing with various groups beginning in the late sixties using the name Basia. In 1981 she moved to London. In 1983, she became a member of the British group Bronze with Mark Reilly and Danny White. The group changed their name to “Matt Bianco,” even though there was nobody in the group with that name.

Basia and Danny soon became romantically connected.

The group recorded their first album in 1984 and released the single Get Out Of Your Lazy Bed. The single climbed to #15 on the UK chart. A children’s breakfast show in New Zealand used the song as their theme song.

Basia left the group after their first album to pursue a solo career. She recorded her first album in 1986. A series of six different singles spun out of the album. Smooth Jazz radio stations in the US helped the singles get some traction in that country. The singles Promises and New Day For You each reached the top ten on the US Adult Contemporary chart. Basis’s first single to reach the Hot 100 was the title song from the album, Time And Tide. The single peaked at #26 on the Hot 100 and #19 on the AC chart in 1988. The album eventually earned a platinum record.

Her second album came out in 1990. Three singles from the album reached the AC top forty and she once again had a platinum album. The most successful single from the album was Cruising For Bruising. The single peaked at #29 on the Hot 100 and became her second single to reach #5 on the AC chart.

In 1991, Basia began living with Kevin Robinson, who is now a former member of Simply Red.

Basia recorded her fourth album, The Sweetest Illusion, in 1994. Drunk On Love was the most successful single from the album. The song reached #1 on the Billboard Dance Club Songs chart in 1994.

When her mother died in 2000, Basia left the music industry and returned to Poland. Mark and Danny convinced her to begin recording again in 2003. She rejoined Matt Bianco and began recording with the group in 2004.

The group broke up again in 2009, and Basia returned to recording solo albums. Her most recent album came out in 2018. Butterflies reached the top five on the US Jazz Album chart and she is still touring to promote the album. She maintains a homepage website at https://www.basiasongs.com/.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basia
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basia_discography
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matt_Bianco
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Get_Out_of_Your_Lazy_Bed

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Lost or Forgotten Oldie of the Day: 1987 Toto – Without Your Love

Several members of Toto met while in high school and played together in the band Rural Still Life. Keyboard player David Paich and drummer Jeff Porcaro decided to form their own band and recruited bass player David Hungate. Other initial members of the group included guitar player Steve Lukather, Jeff Porcaro’s brother Steve also on keyboards,
and singer Bobby Kimball.

Many of the members of the group were session musicians who played on recordings by Boz Scaggs, Steely Dan, Seals and Crofts, and Sonny and Cher. David also co-wrote several songs for Boz Scaggs and wrote or co-wrote most of Toto’s biggest hits.

The band began recording their first album in 1977 and the album went double platinum after its release in 1978.

Their most successful album was Toto IV, which contained two major hit singles, Rosanna and Africa. After that success, the group forced Bobby to leave Toto when he began facing legal problems related to drug usage. Fergie Frederiksen replaced him for one album, after which John Williams’ son Joseph joined the group.

Joseph handled the lead vocals for all the songs on their sixth album except for the two hit singles for which Steve provided the lead vocals. The first single from the Fahrenheit album was I’ll Be Over You. Appearing in the video for the single and singing backup vocals was Michael McDonald. The single only reached #11 on the Hot 100 but topped the Adult Contemporary chart for two weeks.

The second single from the album was Without Your Love.  The single reached the top ten on the Adult Contemporary chart but peaked at a disappointing #38 in 1987.

In 1988, the group released their next album, which bore the uninspired title of The Seventh One. Joseph finally sang lead on a hit single. Pamela reached #22 on the Hot 100 and #9 on the Adult Contemporary chart in 1988.

After the tour to support The Seventh One, the band elected to replace Joseph with a new lead singer. They wanted to bring back their original lead singer, Bobby Kimball. While the band did record a few songs with Bobby, their record company insisted that they bring in South African singer Jean-Michel Byron. Friction with the rest of the group marked his tenure, and Steve eventually took over lead vocals.

Toto went through several line-up changes (including the return of Bobby) and disbanded and reformed a few times. The group never reached the Hot 100 again (although they somehow had a few more hits in the Netherlands).

The band released their most recent album in 2018, bringing their total to 15 albums. They also continue to tour.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toto_(band)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toto_discography

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Lost or Forgotten Oldie of the Day: 1986 A-Ha – The Sun Always Shines On TV

Three musicians from Norway moved to England and formed A-Ha in 1982. Paul Waaktaar-Savoy played guitar, Magne Furuholmen played keyboards and guitar, and Morten Harket supplied vocals on their records. Paul wrote a song named A-Ha, and when the song didn’t appeal to the other members, the name was attractive enough to get used for the band instead.

The band worked on a song originally titled Miss Erie in 1984 and reworked the lyrics into Take On Me. They shot a video for the original version of the song, but it failed to attract much attention. A rerecorded version of the song with almost identical vocals but slightly different musical backup also failed to click, but in 1985 they released the song with a video that included rotoscoped artwork. The video helped earn the group eight MTV Video Award nominations. They won six of the awards, including Best Video Of The Year. The record peaked at #1 on the US Hot 100 in 1985 and reached #2 in the UK. The video is closing in on a billion views on YouTube.

Their second single, Love Is The Reason, failed to chart anywhere. In 1986, the group released their third single, The Sun Always Shines On TV. The start of the video for that single connected to their video for Take On Me but gave the couple a sad ending. The record only reached #20 on the Hot 100 but topped the charts in the UK and Ireland. The record also reached the top ten on the US Dance Chart and eight other countries.

The video for their next single, Train Of Thought, began where the video for The Sun Always Shines On TV ended, but the single failed to chart in the US. The group had one more single from their second album that reached #50 on the US Hot 100 but the band never got on the chart again after that.

The band continued to be successful in Norway (where they had nine number-one singles) and Germany (where they had even more top forty singles than they did in Norway). Some of their records also reached charts in other countries for over twenty years.

The band took a break beginning in 1994 so that members could work on solo projects, but they reunited in 1998. Several more breaks and reunions followed. The band was on the charts again as recently as 2010 and continues to tour as a group.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A-ha
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A-ha_discography
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Sun_Always_Shines_on_T.V.

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Lost or Forgotten Oldie of the Day: 1985 Ashford and Simpson – Solid

Nickolas Ashford was born in South Carolina and Valerie Simpson was born in the Bronx. The Ashford family moved to Michigan. Each of them sang in local churches. The two finally met in 1964 in Harlem at the White Rock Baptist Church. They recorded a few singles that year that did not do well.

They teamed up with Joshie Jo Armstead (a former Ikette) and the three of them began writing songs for artists on the Scepter and Wand labels. They wrote or co-wrote a large number of songs that other artists at the labels recorded and later the two of them wrote songs for Motown artists. Some of their compositions include: Let’s Go Get Stoned, Ain’t No Mountain High Enough, Your Precious Love, California Soul, Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing, You’re All I Need to Get By, and Reach Out and Touch (Somebody’s Hand).

In 1973, the duo signed with Warner Brothers Records and began recording again. They had recorded nine albums by the end of 1980, which yielded 21 singles that reached the R&B chart, including one that reached number one. They switched to the Capitol Records label for their next five albums.

Their biggest hit on the Hot 100 came in 1984 with the release of Solid. The single reached #29 on the Hot 100 and topped the R&B chart. The next year, they performed the song as part of the Live Aid concert in the US.

President Barack Obama’s inauguration ceremony in 2009 included a performance by Ashford and Simpson. They completely rewrote the words to Solid, especially replacing the words “Solid as a rock” with “Solid as Barack.”

Nikolas died in 2011 because of complications from throat cancer.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ashford_%26_Simpson
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_songs_written_by_Ashford_%26_Simpson

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