1955 Three Chuckles – Runaround

1955 Three Chuckles – Runaround

Three musicians from Brooklyn started performing together in the early fifties. They called themselves The Three Chuckles, taking the name from the lost or forgotten candy bar. The initial lineup was singers Tommy “Russ” Gilberto and Tommy Romano on bass and guitar, while Phil Benti played keyboards and the accordion.

A few years later, Phil left the band, and 15-year-old Teddy Randazzo took over on the accordion. He also gave the group a third vocalist. They recorded a single in 1953 that did not perform well, but late the next year the b-side of the record began charting in November. Truck driver Cirino Colacrai had written the song Runaround, and their single remained on the Hot 100 into 1955, peaking at #20.

The group’s success led to an appearance in the rock and roll film The Girl Can’t Help It

Two more of the group’s singles reached #67 and #70, after which Alan Freed invited Teddy to appear without the rest of the band in the films Rock, Rock, Rock and Mister Rock and Roll.

Teddy left the group to start a solo career, allowing Jackie Farrell to take his place in the group. The group achieved little after that; by 1958, the Three Chuckles had disbanded.

In 1960, the Platters covered Runaround; I wrote about that single in my blog:

https://whatwasleftin.blog/2021/01/24/1960-fleetwoods-runaround/ 

Teddy appeared in a few other films and released singles over the next few years that charted, but he never reached the top forty as a solo act.

He also began writing and producing songs for other artists, often co-writing the songs with Bobby Weinstein. He wrote over 650 songs during his career. The first big hit he wrote was Pretty Blue Eyes, which Steve Lawrence took to the top ten on the Hot 100 in 1960. He also started writing and producing songs for Little Anthony and the Imperials, including Goin’ out of My Head and Hurts So Bad.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Three_Chuckles
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teddy_Randazzo

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1989 Poco – Call It Love

1989 Poco – Call It Love

For ten years after the group placed two singles in the top twenty on the Hot 100 in 1979, Poco struggled with few traces of success. Turnover in the lineup became commonplace.

Sales of the five albums they released in the early eighties were progressively lower, and the band eventually stopped recording for the next four years after Atlantic Records dropped the group.

Richard Marx and Allen Kovac (his manager) began working with the group and convinced the original members of the group to reunite and record a new album: Richard Furay, George Grantham, Randy Meisner, Jim Messina, and Rusty Young.

RCA Records released the album in 1989.

The first single from the album returned the group to the charts. Jim co-wrote Call It Love with Billy Crain, Ron Gilbeau, and Rick Lonow, and Rusty sang the lead vocals. The single peaked at #18 on the Hot 100 and reached #2 on both the US Mainstream Rock chart and the Adult Contemporary chart.

Richard Marx and Bruce Gaitsch wrote the second single from the album, Nothin’ to Hide. Randy sang lead on the single, which stalled at #39 on the Hot 10o but managed to reach the top ten on the Adult Contemporary chart.

Sales and attendance at the band’s tour faded, and most of the members left to join other groups by the early nineties. Rusty continued to lead Poco with varying replacements through the rest of the decade.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poco
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poco_discography

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1988 Pet Shop Boys – Domino Dancing

1988 Pet Shop Boys – Domino Dancing 

The Pet Shop Boys became international stars after the re-release in 1985 and 1986 of singles that had failed to even reach the top 100 in the UK during their first releases.

Their second album, Actually, came out in 1987 and brought them still more success with the singles It’s A Sin and What Have I Done to Deserve This?

Their third single from the album, Rent, reached #8 on the UK chart. In the US, the song became the b-side of What Have I Done To Deserve This instead. 

In 1987, the ITV Network created a television special called Love Me Tender in the UK. The show celebrated the tenth anniversary of Elvis Presley’s death. The show included covers of many of his hits, including the Pet Shop Boys singing Always On My Mind. Their performance inspired them to cut the song as a single, which reached #1 for Christmas that year. They also released the single in the US, where it reached #4.

Heart, the fourth single from Actually, reached the top of the UK chart in early 1988. They even created a Goth-themed mini-movie with echoes of Nosferatu as the video for the song, but their record company chose to not release the single in the US.

The band then finished their third album, Introspective, and released Domino Dancing as their next single. It reached #7 in the UK, but stalled at #18 on the US Hot 100.

The band had more hits in the UK, but did not reach the top forty again in the US until the release of a greatest hits album and some new singles in 2010 reignited their music on the US Dance chart.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pet_Shop_Boys
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pet_Shop_Boys_discography
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Domino_Dancing

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1987 Robert Cray Band – Smoking Gun

1987 Robert Cray Band – Smoking Gun 

Robert Cray’s father moved a few times thanks to a career in the military, so while Georgia was his birthplace, Roberft also lived in Virginia and Washington state.

He began playing in bands while still in high school and formed his own band by the time he turned 20, playing guitar and singing the blues. He recorded his first album in 1980.

Robert signed with Mercury Records in 1986 and recorded his fourth album, Strong Persuader. The album won Grammy awards for the Best Traditional Blues Recording and the Best Contemporary Blues Recording.

His single from the album, Smoking Gun, reached #2 on the US Mainstream Rock chart and #22 on the Hot 100 in 1986. The MTV Video Music Awards nominated Robert as the Best New Artist in a video, but the award went to Crowded House for Don’t Dream It’s Over.

Robert continued charting on the US Mainstream Rock chart through 1992, but never again reached the top forty on the Hot 100. He has received ten more nominations for Grammy awards and won three of them.

His most recent studio album came out in 2020.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Cray
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Cray_discography
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smoking_Gun_(song)

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1985 Steve Perry – Foolish Heart

1985 Steve Perry – Foolish Heart 

Steve Perry’s parents were from Portugal, and he was born in California. His father was a singer who owned radio station KNGS, so it isn’t a surprise that Steve grew into a career in music.

The members of the band that became Journey began performing together in 1973 and began recording for Columbia Records in 1975. Herbie Herbert managed the band, and in 1977, he recruited Steve as their new lead vocalist.

The band began reaching the charts and routinely hit the top ten singles charts beginning in 1981. Journey took a break after a hectic touring schedule in 1984 that allowed several members to work on solo projects. Steve recorded the solo album Street Talk. He reached the top of the US Mainstream Rock chart and #3 on the Hot 100 with the hit single Oh Sherrie.

The fourth single from the album, Foolish Heart, came out later that year. He co-wrote the song with Randy Goodrum and produced the single himself. It reached #18 on the Hot 100 and #2 on the Adult Contemporary chart in early 1985.

In 1985, Steve sang on the charity recording We Are The World and went back to work on the next Journey album. Raised On Radio generated four more top twenty singles for Journey.

In addition to his work with the band, Steve recorded two more solo albums. Other than one single that only reached #29 in 1994, his solo work never again graced the top forty.

Steve stayed with the band until a 1996 hip injury led to the discovery of a degenerative bone condition that sidelined him from touring and caused a rift with the other members of the band. That led to his permanent departure from Journey in 1998, after which hip surgery put an end to the constant pain he had suffered for years.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steve_Perry
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foolish_Heart_(song)

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1986 Clarence Clemons And Jackson Browne – You’re A Friend Of Mine

1986 Clarence Clemons And Jackson Browne – You’re A Friend Of Mine 

Clarence Clemons Jr. is best known for spending nearly forty years playing saxophone as a member of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band. He also played on countless recordings by other artists and even released three solo albums between 1985 and 1995.

He recorded his only hit single in 1985, You’re A Friend Of Mine. Jackson Browne shares billing on the single, and he played guitar and sang backup vocals as well. Daryl Hannah and Jackson began dating in 1983, and she also sang backup vocals on the single and appeared in a video for the song.

Narada Michael Walden and Jeffrey Cohen wrote the song, which was produced by Narada.

The single appeared on three major record charts in the US in 1985: #18 on the Hot 100 chart, #21 on the Adult Contemporary chart, and #16 on the US Mainstream Rock chart.

Clarence often appeared on the charts thanks to live recordings and studio work on recordings for other artists, but this song is the only time he reached the charts on his own.

Clarence died after a stroke in 2011.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clarence_Clemons
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/You%27re_a_Friend_of_Mine

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1984 Donna Summer – There Goes My Baby

1984 Donna Summer – There Goes My Baby 

Donna Summer’s career included countless disco and dance singles on Casablanca Records in the seventies. By 1980, Donna wanted to diversify and include other styles of music on her albums, but her record company insisted that she record nothing but disco. 

Unhappy with that situation, Donna signed with Geffen Records. Her first album for the new label incorporated new wave-styled synth riffs and her first single from the album, The Wanderer, peaked at #3 on the Hot 100 in 1980. Two more top ten singles followed during the next few years.

 

One of the biggest hits of 1959 resulted from Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller writing the song There Goes My Baby for the Drifters. Ben E. King sang lead on their single, which peaked at #2 on the Hot 100.

Donna covered the song in 1984 and her version reached #21 on the Hot 100.

The single did not make the US Dance Chart but did reach #20 on the Adult Contemporary chart.

Donna did not reach the top forty again until 1989, and she only succeeded after she left Geffen Records and moved to Atlantic Records.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donna_Summer
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donna_Summer_discography#Singles
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/There_Goes_My_Baby_(The_Drifters_song)

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1983 Sammy Hagar – Your Love Is Driving Me Crazy

1983 Sammy Hagar – Your Love Is Driving Me Crazy 

Sammy Hagar played guitar and sang in a series of bands before finally concentrating on a solo career in 1976. He signed with Capitol Records, and they assigned him to work with A&R/producer Carter. While some limited success came with the label, Carter’s insistence that he record covers and aim for the pop charts left Sammy displeased. Having his cover of (Sittin’ On) The Dock Of The Bay reach #65 on the Hot 100 in 1979 was little consolation. 

 

Sammy produced two of his albums himself, but none of the singles from either one found their way onto any charts. He blamed Capitol for not supporting him properly.

David Geffen formed Geffen Records in 1980 and Sammy quickly signed with the label in hopes of recording music closer to the kind of heavy metal he had played before signing with Capitol. In 1981, Keith Olsen produced Sammy’s next album, Standing Hampton, and it became his best-selling solo album to date. 

The lead single from the album, I’ll Fall In Love Again, even reached #2 on the US Mainstream Rock chart but stalled at #43 on the Hot 100.

 

Sammy’s again worked with Keith on his second album for Geffen, and the first single became his highest-charting single on the pop charts. Sammy wrote Your Love Is Driving Me Crazy, which reached #13 on the Hot 100 in 1983. It also reached #3 on the US Mainstream Rock chart.

Three more of his singles reached the top ten on the US Mainstream Rock chart in the next year. Only two of his follow-up solo singles reached the Top Forty, and both of them stalled in the twenties.

Things might have gone differently if Sammy had continued his solo career, but something even better awaited him. In 1985, he joined Van Halen and the band began its most successful era during the next decade.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sammy_Hagar
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sammy_Hagar_discography#Singles_2
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Your_Love_Is_Driving_Me_Crazy

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1982 Royal Philharmonic Orchestra – Hooked On Classics (Parts 1 & 2)

1982 Royal Philharmonic Orchestra – Hooked On Classics (Parts 1 & 2) 

The British arranger Louis Clark trained at Leeds College of Music. He played bass for a group after schooling and then began working with ELO. Louis played keyboards and arranged and conducted music for several of the group’s albums.

In 1982, Jeff Jarrett and Don Redman produced an album for K-Tel Records called Hooked On Classics, using Louis as the arranger and conductor. The album featured music from the history of classical music performed by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, set to a disco beat. In some countries, the album even used the title Disco Classics. The first five minutes of the album included a medley of over five minutes of music from over a dozen classical pieces.

An edit cut the song down to 3:48, a length that is more radio-friendly. It included the first five pieces, skipped the next five, and then included the rest of the classics. 

The single reached #10 on the Hot 100 and remained there for two weeks before fading off the chart completely. The record also reached #8 on the Adult Contemporary chart and peaked at #2 on the UK chart.

A series of Hooked On Classics albums followed, but there were no additional singles that charted. 

Other unrelated artists also released records that used the phrase “Hooked On” that year with less success.

While he continued working with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, he also arranged and/or conducted music for a wide variety of acts, including America, Asia, Kiki Dee, Roy Orbison, and Ozzy Osbourne.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louis_Clark
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hooked_on_Classics

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1981 Frankie Smith – Double Dutch Bus

1981 Frankie Smith – Double Dutch Bus 

Frankie Smith attended college in Tennessee, working towards a degree in elementary education with a minor in music.

In 1972, he recorded a song entitled Double Dutch for the Omega Records label in Philadelphia. An updated version of the song got released by Paramount Records, but neither version seems to have sold well.

Frankie began working as a songwriter for Paramount, working primarily with funk and soul artists. He also began collaborating with fellow songwriter/producer Bill Bloom.

The pair left the label by 1980 and proposed recording a song for the label WMOT Records (the initials stood for We Men Of Talent). The label gave them some leftover recording time at the end of recording sessions for other musicians each week. 

Frankie had been turned down when he applied for a job as a bus driver, and he included a rap that included profanity that attacked the bus company. After some complaints, he rewrote the lines without cursing.

By the end of a month, the duo had put together a demo for Double Dutch Bus that the label accepted. 

A local jump rope game also inspired some of the lyrics in the song using a version of Pig Latin that had become popular in Philly. Kids inserted “iz” into the middle of words and sometimes “izzle” replaced some letters at the end of words. After its use in Frankie’s new song, the slang later became popularized by Snoop Dogg.

They brought in some locals and instructed them on what to say or chant as part of the recording. They split the recording into two songs; the A-side became Double Dutch Bus while the B-side became Double Dutch. I couldn’t find any details about whether Frankie’s 1972 recording influenced anything more than the title for the B-side.

For a brief time, it was nearly impossible to avoid hearing the song on the radio, but mercifully, it vanished quickly. The single peaked at #30 on the Hot 100, but somehow reached the top of the R&B chart in 1981.

Frankie performed on both American Bandstand and Soul Train with his hit, which sold over two million copies. He also released two albums and many singles, but never charted again. 

A surprising list of artists sampled his hit record on their own recordings, including Missy Elliott, Kylie Minogue, and Madonna. Raven-Symoné released a cover version of the song in 2008.

Frankie died in 2019.

https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/-izzle
https://www.allmusic.com/artist/frankie-smith-mn0000437983/biography
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frankie_Smith
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Double_Dutch_Bus
http://elaine5.blogspot.com/2005/12/special-interview-with-bill-bloom.html

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

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