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

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1989 Waterfront – Cry

1989 Waterfront – Cry  

Phil Cilia and Chris Duffy were two singers from Wales who were members of the Cardiff band The Official Secrets. When that band collapsed, the duo joined forces and began recording as Waterfront.

They signed with Polydor Records and released their first album in 1989. Chris and N Henry co-wrote the song Cry, and Glenn Skinner produced the single. It reached #17 in the UK and #10 in the US Hot 100.

The single nearly reached the top of the Adult Contemporary chart but stalled at #2. 

A few months later that year, the single Nature Of Love peaked at #63 in the UK, #70 on the Hot 100, and only #44 on the AC chart.

The band appears to have broken up shortly after. Chris released a solo album in 1992 that even contained three songs co-written by Phil.

The band reunited for public performances a few times before recording a new album in 2009.

The band announced that they finally had regained control of their catalog of recordings in 2018.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waterfront_(band)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cry_(Waterfront_song)

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1988 Scarlett and Black – You Don’t Know

1988 Scarlett and Black – You Don’t Know 

Robin Hild had been the keyboard player for the British band Big Supreme and met Sue West when the two of them were working on an album for Doctor and the Medics in 1986. That band had an international hit with a song from that album, their cover of Spirit In The Sky.

Robin and Sue were each studio musicians and songwriters and began working together on their own album using the name Scarlett and Black. Their first two singles did not do much, but a remix of the second one later became their sole hit record.

The pair wrote You Don’t Know and the remix in 1987 began reaching the charts. By early 1988, the single had peaked at #20 on the Hot 100 and reached #13 on the Adult Contemporary chart.

Thanks to additional remixes, the record also reached #32 on the Hot Dance/Club Play chart.

The group had a connection to the Go-Gos. Their hit single included background vocals from Jane Wiedlin and they also released the single Let Yourself Go-Go which had background vocals from Belinda Carlisle.

The band was unable to reach the Hot 100 a second time and don’t appear to have released any other recordings after 1988.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scarlett_and_Black
https://www.last.fm/music/Scarlett+&+Black/+wiki

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1987 Bruce Willis – Respect Yourself

1987 Bruce Willis – Respect Yourself 

Bruce Willis began pursuing a career as an actor after briefly working as a security guard and then as a private detective. His big break came when he beat out over 3,000 other actors and won a starring role in the Moonlighting television show in 1985. 

The comedic air of the show and the brash character of his role sometimes allowed Bruce to sing, and it was probably inevitable that he would begin recording music. The only surprise was the label he signed with: Motown!

His first single was a cover of a 1971 song by the Staple Singers, Respect Yourself. Bruce had some help on the song; the Pointer Sisters backed up his singing and June Pointer even sang one verse. The single reached the top ten on both the US and the UK charts in 1987.

Later that year, Bruce landed two more records on the Hot 100, but they did not perform as well. A remake of Young Blood stalled at #68, while a cover version of Under The Boardwalk only reached #59 on the Hot 100 a few months later. Surprisingly, Under The Boardwalk reached #2 in the UK.

Two albums failed to move his music career back on track, but after starring in Die Hard in 1988 ignited his career as an action hero, he may simply have stopped focusing on his singing.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bruce_Willis
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Respect_Yourself
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Under_the_Boardwalk

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1986 Falco – Vienna Calling

1986 Falco – Vienna Calling 

Johann Hölzel was born in 1957 in Vienna and grew up in Austria. In the early seventies, he began playing bass guitar and singing in local bands. He used several stage names, finally settling on Falco. He soon began recording his own songs.

Falco’s first charting single was Der Kommissar. Falco and Robert Ponger co-wrote the song and Robert produced his single. The lyrics were in German, which helped the record reach the top of the German chart in 1982, but it failed to chart in the UK or on the Billboard Hot 100.

The single -did- reach #22 on the US Mainstream Rock chart. Perhaps that led the British band After the Fire to record and release the song with English lyrics in the second half of 1982. The single failed to catch at first, and the band announced their break-up in December. The following year, a video for the song began to get heavy airplay on MTV. Their single raced up the charts, reaching #5 on the US Hot 100 but stalling at #47 in the UK.

 

Falco had another hit or two in Austria and/or Germany and released a second album in 1984.

In 1985, he released Rock Me Amadeus, a song he co-wrote with Rob and Ferdi Bolland (who also produced the record). Thanks to 21 additional versions produced by Rob (including a few with English lyrics), the single reached the top of the charts in the UK, the US, and at least ten more countries.

A funny thing happened when Falco was on his way to pick up his trophy for becoming a one-hit-wonder: he had a second hit.

The same crew wrote and produced his next single, Vienna Calling. They released it in late 1985. The single peaked at #18 on the US Hot 100 in May 1986. The record fared better in the UK, where it reached the top ten.

He even appeared on American Bandstand, where he performed both songs.

After that, the hits kept coming, but only in Austria and Germany.

Shortly after finishing his last album, and before he could stage a comeback, Falco died when his car crashed into a bus in 1998. He had several posthumous hits from that album (but only in the two countries where his career started).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Falco_(musician)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Der_Kommissar_(song) 
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rock_Me_Amadeus
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vienna_Calling

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1985 Air Supply – Just As I Am

1985 Air Supply – Just As I Am 

An Australian production of Jesus Christ Superstar in 1975 introduced singers Chrissie Hammond and Russell Hitchcock and guitarist Graham Russell to each other. They began performing as a harmony group until Chrissie left. Jeremy Paul then joined the group in 1976, contributing vocals and playing bass guitar.

The band’s first single reached the top ten in Australia that year. They spent several years chasing another hit until Graham spent 15 minutes writing the song Lost In Love in 1979. The song became a top twenty hit in Australia, but a newly recorded version of the song became an international hit that reached #3 on the US Hot 100. 

Seven more top five hits followed in the US, three of which also reached the top of the Adult Contemporary chart.

American singer/songwriter Rob Hegel co-wrote the song Just As I Am with Dick Wagner and released it as a single in 1982. The record did not chart in the US.

In 1985, Air Supply recorded and released their eighth album. The first track on the album was a cover version of Just As I Am. They released it as a single that peaked at #19 on the Hot 100 and reached #3 on the Adult Contemporary chart.

No more singles from the band reached the top forty on the Hot 100, but two more of their singles reached #13 and #12 on the Hot 100 within the next two years. 

The band split up for a few years after releasing a Christmas album in 1987. They reformed in 1991 and became popular in Southeast Asia during the next decade.

Out of nowhere, in 2010, the band released two more singles that reached the top thirty on the Adult Contemporary chart. Their single Dance With Me became their first charting record in over 15 years!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Air_Supply
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Air_Supply_discography
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Just_as_I_Am_(Rob_Hegel_song)

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1984 Twisted Sister – We’re Not Gonna Take It

1984 Twisted Sister – We’re Not Gonna Take It 

While music videos existed before MTV arrived on the scene, the network made it possible for anybody with a record to publicize. Many videos were little more than bands lip-synching to their records, but the nature of videos quickly expanded to allow mini-dramas to take place on the screen.

And that made it easy for bands to stand out from the crowd. Like Twisted Sister. The band began life as Silver Star in 1972. The group’s lineup changed dramatically over the next four years, after which frontman Danny Snider joined the group. Danny then changed his name to Dee Snider.

They initially patterned themselves on the New York Dolls and their music varied from glam rock to punk. Their performances were as much spectacle as music, similar to attending an Alice Cooper concert.

By 1978, the band had moved into heavy metal and went through several more lineups before settling into the lineup that recorded most of their records. Twisted Sister played in a variety of clubs in the New Jersey and Long Island areas before abandoning the US and moving to London.

They began recording demos and signed with Secret Records, a punk label. Their record label went out of business, but an appearance on the UK music television show The Tube led to a contract with Atlantic Records in 1983 and their second album.

It was their third album, Stay Hungry, that came out in 1984 and finally brought them a measure of success. Dee wrote the single We’re Not Gonna Take It. The video revolved around teenage angst and featured enough slapstick-style humor to play almost every hour on MTV. 

The single peaked at #21 on the Hot 100 and the video became controversial thanks to the way it depicted parents and teachers.

Actor Mark Metcalf played Niedermeyer in the film Animal House. The song ended with two of Niedermeyer’s lines from the film so it was fitting that Mark played the lead role of the suffering high school student in the video.

MTV refused to air Twisted Sister’s next video and the band’s fortunes failed quickly. Dee recorded an album with studio musicians without any help from other members of the band, but Atlantic insisted on treating it as a Twisted Sister album. Nobody cared, Dee left the band, and the band disintegrated by 1987.

Twisted Sister became a one-hit-wonder.

The band has reformed from time to time and still sometimes appears in concert.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twisted_Sister
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/We%27re_Not_Gonna_Take_It_(Twisted_Sister_song)

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