1964 Nino Tempo and April Stevens – Whispering

1964 Nino Tempo and April Stevens – Whispering 

Antonino Lo Tempio was a musical prodigy who won his first talent contest while only four years old. He learned to play the clarinet and saxophone and played with Benny Goodman when he was seven years old. His family moved to California to support his career. He played on radio shows and became a successful child actor, appearing as Nino Tempo.

His younger sister Caroline began recording records when she was only fifteen. In 1951, she recorded with Henri Rene and his Orchestra and reached #6 on the Hot 100 with the single I’m In Love Again, a song from the Broadway musical The Greenwich Village Follies Of 1925.

Two more singles that year reached the top ten and #27, but that turned out to be the end of solo recording successes until she recorded a song written by Nino. Teach Me Tiger briefly reached #86 in 1959 before the controversy over the lyrics caused radio stations to stop playing the record.

Nino released a few singles that failed to chart and went back to work as a session musician. He joined the Wrecking Crew and played on songs for Phil Spector. He also began arranging and composing music for other artists, including Rosemary Clooney, Steve Lawrence, and Eydie Gorme.

In 1960, he convinced the president of Atlantic Records to sign himself and his sister as a duo, initially billed as April Stevens & Nino Tempo. Atlantic released at least five singles for the duo over the next three years, but none of them charted any higher than #77 on the Hot 100.

Their record company swapped their names in the billing on the next record, listing them as Nino Tempo & April Stevens. The president of the company picked a strange song as the a-side of their next single in 1963: I’ve Been Carrying A Torch For You So Long That It Burned A Great Big Hole In My Heart. Promotional copies of the record got sent to radio stations and disk jockeys promptly turned the record over and played the B-side instead: Deep Purple. The single was a cover of a song that had been a hit by Larry Clinton & His Orchestra in 1939. Their cover version reached #1 on the Hot 100 and the Adult Contemporary chart in 1963.

Thanks in part to the non-contemporary categories the Grammy Awards were still using in 1963, the single earned the pair a Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Song.

Malvin and John Schonberger had published their next single, Whispering, in 1920. While the single did not do as well as their chart-topping record, it did reach #11 on the Hot 100 and #4 on the Adult Contemporary chart in 1964.

The duo recorded a cover of Hoagy Carmichael’s 1927 classic Stardust, but their single stalled at #32 on the Hot 100. The pair continued recording covers of songs from the 1920s and 1930s, but each single did more poorly than the one before and it would be over two years before they had a hit record with a new song co-written by April.

https://www.allmusic.com/artist/nino-tempo-mn0000420926/biography
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nino_Tempo_%26_April_Stevens
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whispering_(song)

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1963 Les Cooper and the Soul Rockers – Wiggle Wobble

1963 Les Cooper and the Soul Rockers – Wiggle Wobble

Les Cooper was born in Virginia and sang in several doo-wop groups in New York in the fifties. He also began managing the Charts, which featured lead  singer Joe Grier. The group reached #3 on the R&B chart in 1957 with their recording of Deserie. Most of the group disbanded when Joe entered the military in 1958, although several of the group’s members continued playing at oldies shows into the eighties.

Les formed a new group in the early sixties and began recording as Les Cooper and the Soul Rockers. In 1962, they released Dig Yourself on Everlast Records. The record featured Les on lead vocals and failed to chart.

Fortunately, the b-side of the single was an instrumental that featured Joe on a saxophone solo. Disk jockeys turned the record over and played Wiggle Wobble and the single took off. It peaked at #22 on the Hot 100 and #12 on the R&B chart.

Les never again reached the charts.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Les_Cooper
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Charts_(American_group)

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

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1962 The Majors – A Wonderful Dream

1962 The Majors – A Wonderful Dream

A group of four men and one woman vocalists from Philadelphia formed The Majors in 1961. Ricky Cordo handled lead vocals for the group, which became known for his extremely high falsetto.

Producer Jerry Ragovoy worked at Chancellor Records and co-wrote, produced, and arranged the group singing A Wonderful Dream. Imperial Records distributed the record. Many listeners thought the group’s female member was singing lead on the song, but it was Ricky!

The single peaked at #22 on the Hot 100 in 1962.

The group only charted with one more record. The two sides of their next single reached #63 and #83 on the Hot 100 near the end of 1962. One album and nearly a dozen other singles followed by 1964.

Jerry went on to write a few successful songs, including Cry BabyTime Is On My Side, Pata Pata, and Piece Of My Heart.

The Majors are still actively entertaining audiences on the oldies circuit and can be found at https://www.facebook.com/Earthstarz/

https://www.allmusic.com/artist/the-majors-mn0000048718/biography
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Majors_(band)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jerry_Ragovoy

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

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1961 Bobby Vee – Stayin’ In

1961 Bobby Vee – Stayin’ In 

John D. Loudermilk wrote a song that Bobby Vee released in 1961, but I’m not sure many radio stations are still willing to play it. The first line of the song is not what we would usually expect from Bobby:

I punched my buddy in the nose after lunch

It turns out that his buddy was telling lies about the singer’s girlfriend, and he decided the only way to defend her honor was (gulp!) violence. And Bobby isn’t even sorry he hit him:

I did it then, and I’d do it again

The single stalled at #33 on the Hot 100 in 1961, so perhaps the lyrics repelled stations even back then. 

The b-side of the single was a cover of a song from the second album the Crickets recorded after the tragic death of Buddy Holly. Jerry Allison and Sonny Curtis wrote the song. Their single failed to reach the Hot 100 in the US but got as high as #26 in the UK.

Bobby’s version of More Than I Can Say stalled at #61 on the Hot 100 but reached #4 in the UK. Bobby also performed the song in the film Swingin’ Along

A few months later, Bobby recorded his most successful single. Take Good Care of My Baby topped the Hot 100 in September 1961.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bobby_Vee
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bobby_Vee_discography

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

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1960 Barrett Strong – Money

1960 Barrett Strong – Money

Motown’s first hit record was recorded in 1959 by Barrett Strong, a friend of Berry Gordy. Barrett was one of the earliest artists to sign with Berry’s Tamla Record label. The song was developed during a jam session that included Berry playing piano and Barrett singing lyrics written by Janie Bradford. Barrett initially had credit for co-writing the song, but that appears to have been a clerical error that has since been corrected.

The single peaked at #23 on the Hot 100 and #2 on the R&B chart in early 1960.

The Beatles released their cover version of the song on their second album and often performed the song live in many of their early appearances. They released Please Mr. Postman as a single in Japan and included Money as the b-side of the record.

The Kingsmen released Money as their follow-up to Louie Louie. Their single peaked at #16 on the Hot 100 in 1964.

Barrett kept recording singles throughout his career, but never reached the Hot 100 again. He did, however, have a very successful career as a lyricist.

Working with Motown producer Norman Whitfield, Barrett co-wrote I Heard It Through The GrapevineJust My Imagination (Running Away With Me)Ball Of ConfusionWar, and many more hit records for Motown artists.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barrett_Strong
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Money_(That%27s_What_I_Want)

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

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1959 Reg Owen and His Orchestra – Manhattan Spiritual

1959 Reg Owen and His Orchestra – Manhattan Spiritual

George Owen Smith was born in London in 1921. He began playing the saxophone. He played in several bands before forming his own group while still a teenager.

World War II found him playing in a band for the RAF and began arranging music for Ted Heath after the war ended. He had his name legally changed to Reg Owen in 1954 and began scoring films.

In 1958, Reg and his orchestra recorded the instrumental Manhattan Spiritual. The single peaked at only #2o in the UK, but reached #10 on the US Hot 100 in early 1959.

Reg reached the UK chart one more time, but never breached the Hot 100 again.

He moved to Belgium in 1961 and continued composing and arranging music in Europe until his death in 1978.

https://www.allmusic.com/artist/reg-owen-mn0002242969
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reg_Owen

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

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1958 George Hamilton IV – Why Don’t They Understand

1958 George Hamilton IV – Why Don’t They Understand

The singer George Hamilton IV was born in North Carolina in 1937. He is not related to the actor George Hamilton who was born in 1939 in Tennessee (that actor is mostly famous for his sun tan).

The singer recorded A Rose and a Baby Ruth while still a college student. John D. Loudermilk wrote the song, and George’s single reached #6 on the Hot 100 just before Christmas in 1956.

His next two singles did not do well, but in 1958, he recorded Why Don’t They Understand, a song written by Jack Fishman and Joe Henderson. The single took him back up to #10 on the Hot 100.

George reached the top thirty again on the Hot 100 a few more times in the next year. The best-known of those records is probably The Teen Commandments, a spoken word single he recorded with Paul Anka and Johnny Nash that reached #29.

He took part in a rockabilly tour and landed on the cast of The Jimmy Dean Show before moving to Nashville in late 1959. From that point onward, George concentrated on Country rather than pop, scoring nine top ten records and seventeen more top thirty singles on the Country chart by 1971.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Hamilton_IV
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Hamilton_IV_discography
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Why_Don%27t_They_Understand

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. The Lost or Forgotten Oldies series starts with a volume entitled Introduction, which is only 99 cents.

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1957 Della Reese – And That Reminds Me

1957 Della Reese – And That Reminds Me

Delloreese Patricia Early grew up in Detroit and began singing in church by the time she was six years old. She sang with a gospel group headed by Mahalia Jackson when she was 13 and still graduated from high school when she was only 15 years old. She began singing in clubs and shortened her name to Della Reese.

Della signed with Jubilee Records in 1953 and began recording and releasing jazz-flavored pop tunes.

Italian musician Camillo Bargoni wrote and released the instrumental Concerto d’autunno. Several versions of the song were released as Autumn Concerto in 1956. Al Stillman and Paul Siegel wrote English lyrics for the song.

Della released the first commercial version of the song with the new lyrics.The Honey Dreamers were a vocal group that had been singing together since the late forties, and they backed up Della’s singing on the record.

The single became Della’s first charting record, reaching #12 on the Hot 100 in 1957. It sold over a million copies and earned her a gold record.

Kay Starr released a cover version of the song a week after Della’s record. Her record company renamed her single My Heart Reminds Me, and it peaked at #9 on the Hot 100.

While Della continued recording on Jubilee Records, she did not have another hit until she moved to RCA Records in 1959.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Della_Reese
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Della_Reese_discography
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/And_That_Reminds_Me

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. The Lost or Forgotten Oldies series starts with a volume entitled Introduction, which is only 99 cents.

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1988 Prince – I Could Never Take The Place Of Your Man

1988 Prince – I Could Never Take The Place Of Your Man 

Jazz singer Mattie Della and her husband, John Lewis Nelson, had a song in 1958 that they named Prince. He clearly inherited a great deal of music ability and wrote his first song at the age of only nine. He graduated from high school in Minneapolis and then formed the band 94 East with his cousin’s husband.

After signing with Warner Brothers Records in 1978, he moved to California and recorded his first album. Much success followed.

In 1987, Prince put together enough songs for a triple album he intended to call Crystal Ball, but Warner Brothers nixed the idea. Instead, they allowed him to prune the selection down to a double album that became Sign o’ the Times. The title song became a single that reached #3 on the Hot 100 and #1 on the R&B chart. 

Sheena Easton worked with Prince on the album, and their duet U Got the Look reached #2 on the Hot 100 and #11 on the R&B chart a few months later.

The last single from the album was first recorded in 1979 but never released until a 2020 remaster. 

A new version of the song appeared on the album and became a single in late 1987. The record reached #10 on the Hot 100 and #14 on the R&B chart in early 1988.

Prince produced an unannounced album that eventually became known as The Black Album. A few promotional copies escaped, after which they cancelled the album. It arguably became the most bootlegged album of all time. 

Later that year, Prince released his next album, LoveSexy. The first single from that album, Alphabet Street, reached #8 on the Hot 100 in 1988. I’ll admit to not remembering either the song or the video.

If you watch the swirling letters on the screen behind Prince in his video for the song, “hidden” messages pop up a few times. The most interesting message? “Don’t buy The Black Album, I’m sorry.”

Two more singles came from that album, but neither one reached the top forty on the Hot 100.

Prince had nearly a dozen singles that reached #1, #2, or #3, so it’s not surprising that some of his other singles get little airplay anymore on oldies stations.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prince_(musician)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prince_singles_discography
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I_Could_Never_Take_the_Place_of_Your_Man
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alphabet_St.

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. The Lost or Forgotten Oldies series starts with a volume entitled Introduction, which is only 99 cents.

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1987 Bruce Hornsby and the Range – Every Little Kiss

1987 Bruce Hornsby and the Range – Every Little Kiss 

Bruce Hornsby grew up in Virginia and attended three universities before finishing a degree in music in 1977. After school, he played in local clubs and began writing songs with his younger brother John. They moved to LA in 1980 and spent three years writing music for 20th Century Fox.

Bruce briefly joined Ambrosia and helped record their last album. In 1984, that group broke up and he and their bass player (Joe Puerta) became members of Sheena Easton’s touring band (you can see him in her video for Strut).

Later that year, he recruited Joe and three more musicians and formed Bruce Hornsby and the Range. The others included David Mansfield on guitar, George Marinelli on guitar, and John Molo on drums. The group signed with RCA Records the next year and released their initial album in 1986.

Bruce wrote the first single from their album, Every Little Kiss. It initially peaked at #72 on the Hot 100 and #37 on the Adult Contemporary chart, but managed to reach #18 on the US Mainstream Rock chart.

He also wrote the second release from the album, and it became his career song. The Way It Is topped the Hot 100 and the Adult Contemporary chart and reached #3 on the US Mainstream Rock Chart. It was probably the reason the group won the Grammy Award for Best New Artist in 1987.

Two more singles from the album also did well. On the Western Skyline peaked at #6 on the US Mainstream Rock chart and in 1987 Mandolin Rain topped the Adult Contemporary chart and reached the top five on the other two charts.

After that much success from the double platinum album, the record company decided to re-release a new remix of Every Little Kiss. This time, the single reached #14 on the Hot 100 and #3 on the Adult Contemporary chart.

The group recorded two more albums and had another half-dozen hit records before Bruce disbanded the group so he could concentrate on music that was stylistically different.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bruce_Hornsby
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bruce_Hornsby_discography
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Every_Little_Kiss

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

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