1966 Frank Gallop – The Ballad Of Irving

1966 Frank Gallop – The Ballad Of Irving 

Frank Gallop was working for an investment firm when he was offered a job as an announcer, thanks to his penetrating voice. While the job turned out to be temporary, he soon found that he could easily get jobs on the radio.

He worked for CBS and then NBC on soap operas. His big break came when he was hired to act as a comic announcer for Milton Berle. By the mid-fifties, he was working as the announcer for Perry Como. That time he was the straight man, allowing Perry to supply jokes.

In 1958, Frank recorded an unusual song: Got A Match. The song was an instrumental that got interrupted periodically by Frank asking, “Got a match?” Don Costa led the orchestra on the single, which reached #57 on the Hot 100 (and did much better in the New York area).

Frank continued announcing and did not record another song for eight years. His next single was a comedy record that poked fun at Lorne Green’s chart-topping single Ringo

The Ballad Of Irving followed the adventures of Irving, the 131 fastest gun in the west. This time his single reached the top forty, peaking at #34 on the Hot 100. Stranger still, the single somehow reached #2 on the Adult Contemporary chart.

While Frank recorded more songs, none of them ever charted. Airplay on Doctor Demento’s show kept his two hit singles alive for new audiences into the next century.

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

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1965 Temptations – Since I Lost My Baby

1965 Temptations – Since I Lost My Baby 

The Elgins changed their name to The Temptations in 1961. The group began recording singles with vocalists Paul Williams and Eddie Kendricks taking turns singing lead vocals. Staff members began referring to the group as the “Hitless Temptations” after a long series of records failed to chart nationally. Smokey Robinson wrote the last single from their first album (The Way You Do the Things You Do) and the record finally put them on the charts when it reached #11 on the Hot 100 and #1 on the R&B chart.

Smokey then took over producing the group and co-wrote and produced all the songs on their second album. He also wrote and produced the first single for their third album and My Girl became the group’s signature song. The recording was the group’s first single to feature David Ruffin on lead vocals.

The group’s first single in 1965 again came from their second album (perhaps because it also featured David on lead vocals). Since I Lost My Baby again reached the top twenty on the Hot 100, peaking at 17. It also reached #4 on the R&B chart.

Norman Whitfield had written one of the songs on the first Temptations album, and he began pestering Berry Gordy to let him again write the next single for the group. Berry promised that if the next Temptations single written by Smokey did not reach the top twenty on the Hot 100, Norman would get his chance.

Get Ready only reached #29 on the Hot 100 in 1966 (although it did reach the top of the R&B chart), and as promised, Norman got to co-write and produce their next single. Ain’t Too Proud To Beg reached #13 on the Hot 100 and #1 on the R&B chart and Norman became the group’s producer into the middle of the seventies.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Temptations
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Temptations_discography#Singles
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Since_I_Lost_My_Baby

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1964 Dionne Warwick – Reach Out For Me

1964 Dionne Warwick – Reach Out For Me 

After recording countless demos, Dionne Warwick had finally gotten her first charting record with a single released in December 1962 (details can be found in Lost or Forgotten Oldies Volume 3.

After two records stalled at #81 and #84 in 1963, Dionne started 1964 with a pair of top ten singles: Anyone Who Had a Heart and Walk On By. Each song featured music by Burt Bacharach and lyrics by Hal David. They also wrote You’ll Never Get to Heaven (If You Break My Heart), but that single stalled at #34 (the Stylistics would later have a bigger hit with their cover of the song as reported in my blog).

Dionne’s last release that year became Reach Out For Me. The single peaked at #20 on the Hot 100 but topped the R&B chart.

After that single, the British Invasion seemed to take a toll on her career. Her next four singles in 1965 all failed to reach the top forty and her fifth single, Are You There (With Another Girl), only reached #39.

It would be 1966 before the British Invasion slowed down and Dionne again reached the top ten on the Hot 100.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dionne_Warwick
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dionne_Warwick_discography
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reach_Out_for_Me

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1963 Doris Troy – Just One Look

1963 Doris Troy – Just One Look 

Doris Higginsen dealt with parents that did not appreciate her interest in singing non-religious music (perhaps because her father was a  Barbadian Pentecostal minister. She began using her grandmother’s last name and appearing as Doris Payne.

James Brown discovered Doris when she had a job as an usher at the Apollo Theater. She found some success as a songwriter when she wrote the song How About That. Dee Clark’s single reached #33 on the Hot 100 and earned Doris $100 in 1960.

Doris began working for Atlantic Records as a background singer. She also became one of the original members of the Sweet Inspirations. Inspired by Helen of Troy, she began using the stage name Doris Troy.

In 1963, she wrote and recorded the song Just One Look. Her single reached #10 on the Hot 100 and #3 on the R&B chart.

After no other hits were forthcoming, Doris moved to the UK and signed with Apple Records in 1969. George Harrison co-produced her next album, but that did not produce any hits.

Doris continued singing background vocals on diverse recordings for other artists, including You Can’t Always Get What You WantThe Dark Side of the Moon, and You’re So Vain. She moved back to the US in 1974 and continued performing in clubs.

Doris died in 2004 after battling emphysema.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doris_Troy
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Just_One_Look_(song)

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1962 1964 Emilio Pericoli / Ray Charles Singers – Al di là

1962 1964  Emilio Pericoli / Ray Charles Singers – Al di là

Carlo Donida was an Italian composer who wrote Uno dei tanti, which became a hit for Ben E. King and Tom Jones.

Ervin Drake was a writer who created the English lyrics for Frank Sinatra’s hit, It Was A Very Good Year.

For the 1961 Eurovision Song Contest, Carlo worked with Italian lyricist Mondo to create the song Al di là. Betty Curtis sang the song in the contest, and it came in fifth.

Carlo then recorded his own version of the song for the 1962 film Rome Adventure. The song proved popular enough that he recorded a new, slower version as a single that reached the top ten on the Hot 100 and #3 on the Adult Contemporary chart.

 

Chuck Offenberg began singing professionally on Chicago radio stations when he was only 16 years old. He also began arranging and conducting music.

In 1944, Chuck legally changed his name to Ray Charles (this was years before R&B singer Ray Charles began recording). 

In the forties, he began working with Perry Como, first on his radio shows and later on television. He also arranged and conducted singing on the show Your Hit Parade in the early fifties.

Perry named Ray’s singing group The Ray Charles Singers when they began to tour with him as background singers. They also recorded numerous jingles.

The group touched the Hot 100 in 1955 and later had their first successful recording in 1964 with the #3 hit Love Me With All Your Heart

Ervin wrote the English lyrics for Al di là, and the Ray Charles Singers released a version with those lyrics as their follow-up single. The record reached #29 on the Hot 100 and peaked at #4 on the Adult Contemporary chart.

The group released more than 30 albums in the fifties and sixties, but only had one more single reach the top forty (and that one stalled at #38). By the seventies, demand for their style of music had diminished.

Ray continued to be active in the music industry and was even a participant in the recording of We Are The World. He died in 2015 at age 96.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emilio_Pericoli
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ray_Charles_(musician,_born_1918)#The_Ray_Charles_Singers
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al_di_l%C3%A0

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1961 Rochell and the Candles – Once Upon A Time

1961 Rochell and the Candles – Once Upon A Time 

Many groups are started by young musicians who grow up in the same area and start playing together in a band.

Others are more like Rochell and the Candles, a group formed in 1958 in Los Angeles. The members included a singer from Texas who had been in a Gospel group with Lou Rawls, two singers from Louisiana who never met until they moved to LA, and one a singer who -did- grow up in LA.

After singing in clubs for a spell, the group began recording their own songs. Bass player Ted Brinson had played on sessions for the Specialty label, and the band recorded four tracks in his studio.

The standout seemed to be Once Upon A Time, a song written by two of the members. An acetate copy was hand-delivered to KGFJ and disc jockey Hunter Hancock played the song on his show. The reaction by listeners was sufficient to get the group a recording contract for the song. The lead vocals on that song were by Johnny Wyatt rather than Rochell.

The single on Swingin’ Records reached #26 on the Hot 100 in late 1960 and #20 on the R&B chart.

A few more singles followed, with the group now billed as Rochell and the Candles featuring Johnny Wyatt.

After they failed to produce any hits, the group moved to Champion Records in 1962. Two more years without a hit followed, and the group disbanded.

https://www.last.fm/music/Rochell+&+The+Candles/+wiki
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rochell_%26_the_Candles
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Once_Upon_a_Time_(Rochell_%26_the_Candles_song)

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1960 Debbie Reynolds – Am I That Easy To Forget

1960 Debbie Reynolds – Am I That Easy To Forget

As a result of her appearance in the 1948 Miss Burbank contest, Debbie Reynolds signed with Warner Brothers and later MGM and began appearing in an endless series of musical films.

When she appeared in the 1950 film Two Weeks with Love, Debbie was barely 18 years old. She sang Aba Daba Honeymoon with Carleton Carpenter, and the single reached #3 on the Hot 100.

In 1952, her appearance in Singing In The Rain turned her into a star.

She did not immediately return to the charts, but when she sang Tammy in the 1957 film Tammy and the Bachelor, the single topped the Hot 100 and earned her a gold record. Another hit single reached #20 the next year.

Debbie married Eddie Fisher in 1955, but the marriage fell apart in 1959 when Eddie’s affair with Elizabeth Taylor became public knowledge.

Carl Belew and W.S. Stevenson wrote the song Am I That Easy To Forget in 1958 and Carl recorded a single that reached the top ten on the Country chart. A large number of other recordings of the song subsequently reached the Country chart, but it was Debbie’s recording of the song that first reached the pop charts. Her single peaked at #25 on the Hot 100 in 1960.

Debbie reached the Hot 100 one last time with her next single City Lights, which stalled at #55 later that year.

She remained very busy with films, stage appearances, Las Vegas shows, and additional recordings throughout most of her life.

If Debbie’s version of Am I That Easy To Forget doesn’t sound quite right to your ears, it’s probably because of Engelbert Humperdinck. He recorded a cover version of Am I That Easy To Forget in 1968. His single reached #18 on the Hot 100, #3 on the UK chart, and topped the US Adult Contemporary chart as well.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Debbie_Reynolds
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Am_I_That_Easy_to_Forget

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1959 Neil Sedaka – The Diary

1959 Neil Sedaka – The Diary 

When Neil Sedaka was only 13, one of the women who lived in the same apartment building as his family heard him playing the piano. She introduced Neil to Howard Greenfield, her son. Howard was writing poetry and aspired to write lyrics for songs. Neil and Howard began working together to write songs, and they continued their partnership off and on through 1975.

Neil joined the Linc-Tones. The group changed their name to The Tokens and recorded a song written by Neil and Howard, I Love My Baby. The single came out on Melba Records in 1956 but failed to chart nationally.

In 1958, Neil had left the group to pursue a solo career. The Tokens changed their lineup and finally started reaching the charts in 1961.

Neil recorded three songs without finding much success. He and Howard went to work for Aldon Music as songwriters (the label was owned by Don Kirshner and Al Nevins and later moved the pair into the infamous Brill Building).

Connie Francis reached #4 on the charts in 1958 with the song Who’s Sorry Now, after which she struggled to record a successful record. She met with Neil and Howard and they pitched her a series of songs they had written. When she started writing in her diary at the meeting, the songwriters asked if they could read the diary, hoping to find some ideas for songs. 

Connie declined. She also complained that their songs were “too intellectual” for teenagers and prepared to end the meeting.

Howard then suggested that Neil play a song that they had written that morning for the Shepherd Sisters. Connie loved the song and recorded Stupid Cupid, which reached #14 on the Hot 100 in 1958.

While the pair never got to read Connie’s diary, that meeting did leave them with an idea for a song: The Diary features a lament about wishing to read a girl’s diary. They presented the song to Little Anthony and the Imperials, who recorded and released the song as a single in 1958.

Unhappy with the sound of that single (or perhaps just unsatisfied when the single failed to chart), Neil decided to record the song himself. It began his first single for the RCA Victor label and reached #14 on the Hot 100 in February 1959.

Neil recorded another half-dozen top ten records for RCA but the British Invasion buried his career in the mid-sixties. Ironically, his revived his career by moving to England in the early seventies.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neil_Sedaka
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Connie_Francis
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neil_Sedaka_discography
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Diary_(song)

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1958 Johnny Cash – I Guess Things Happen That Way

1958 Johnny Cash – I Guess Things Happen That Way 

From 1956 to 1958, Johnny Cash scored five number-one Country hits and nine more top-ten singles. Six of those records also made it into the top forty on the Hot 100.

The most successful of those pop hits was I Guess Things Happen That Way. Like many of Johnny’s hits in the late fifties, songwriter/producer Jack Clement wrote the song. He also co-produced the record with Sam Phillips.

The single once again took Johnny to the top of the Country chart. It also reached #11 on the Hot 100 in 1958.

The BBC initially banned the record because their head of religious broadcasting objected to a mention of God giving him a girl to lean on in the lyrics.

Johnny had two more minor hits on the Hot 100 in 1958. While he continued to reach the top ten on the Country chart, he failed to return to the top forty on the Hot 100 until 1963.

Johnny’s most successful Hot 100 single was Boy Named Sue, which reached #2 in 1969.

Jack went on to write and produce dozens of Country hits for a long list of artists.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johnny_Cash
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johnny_Cash_singles_discography
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guess_Things_Happen_That_Way

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1957 Margie Rayburn – I’m Available

1957 Margie Rayburn – I’m Available 

Marjorie Helen Orwig was born in California in the twenties and began singing professionally with the Ray Anthony Orchestra in the early fifties. 

Her future husband sometimes worked with a group called the Sunnysiders and co-wrote the song Hey Mister Banjo. She sang on the single with the band, and it became their only hit record in 1955, as described in another Lost or Forgotten Oldie article:

https://whatwasleftin.blog/2020/07/03/lost-or-forgotten-oldie-of-the-day-1955-the-sunnysiders-hey-mister-banjo/ 

Margie also sang background vocals on tours with Gene Autry. 

Singer/songwriter Dave Burgess went to work for Gene in 1957. Margie’s husband became familiar with a song Dave had written, I’m Available, and convinced her to record it. 

Liberty Records didn’t think the song had much promise, but spent just enough money to record the song with Margie and three musicians.

To almost everybody’s surprise, the single reached #9 in December 1957.

Liberty didn’t want to pay for an album, but an album got completed and released and…crickets. Very few sales and no interest from anybody on follow-up singles.

Margie continued recording singles for various record companies until she retired from the music industry in 1966.

Dave joined The Champs as their rhythm guitarist, and that group had a number one hit with the song Tequila in 1958.

http://www.onehitwondersthebook.com/?page_id=2896
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Margie_Rayburn
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I%27m_Available
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Sunnysiders

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

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