feature 45
Title:Bumble Boogie
Artist:B. Bumble and The Stingers
Composer:Jack Fina
Label:Top Rank
Release:1961
This is a version of Rimsky-Korsakov's 1899 composition, Flight of the Bumble Bee arranged in boogie style by Jack Fina in 1946. A session group "B. Bumble and the Stingers", with pianist Ernie Freeman recorded Fina's arrangement in 1961. It went to No.21 on Billboard. In the following year, Tchaikowsky's Nutcracker Suite: Marche was given a similar treatment with Nut Rocker topping the British charts. A touring group was recruited to pose as "B. Bumble And The Stingers" for promotions and appearances.
feature 45
Title:Everybody's Twisting Down in Mexico
Artist:Billy Vaughn and his Orchestra
Composer:Killen-Kennedy
Label:London
Release:February 1962
Billy Vaughn, multi instrumentalist and senior member of a vocal group, 'The Hilltoppers' joined Dot Records as music director in 1954. In the same year he recorded with his orchestra, James Engelmann's 1903 composition, Melody of Love. It went to No.2 on Billboard and topped the Australian hit parades in 1955, beginning a string of hit singles which ran for ten years. Everybody's Twisting Down in Mexico followed his popular Berlin Melody and preceded his cover version of Bert Kaempfert's A Swingin' Safari.
feature 45
Title:Imogene
Artist:Les Reed
Composer:Reed
Label:Deram
Release:September 1967
Les Reed joined the John Barry Seven in 1959 and began a career in popular music as pianist, composer and arranger. For thirty years he was involved in more than 2000 popular recordings, including the writing of many big hits for British artists such as It's Not Unusual and Delilah for Tom Jones and The Last Waltz for Engelbert Humperdinck. Imogene recorded by The Les Reed Orchestra was released world-wide and became Reed's best known recording. Reed was awarded an OBE in 1998 for his services to music.
feature 45
Title:Mr. & Mrs. Rock 'n Roll
Artist:Bobby Day
Composer:J Thomas-J Vikki
Label:Leedon
Release:July 1959
Eight years after forming 'The Flames', Bobby Day hit with his compositions Buzz-Buzz-Buzz (as 'The Hollywood Flames') and Little Bitty Pretty One (as 'Bobby Day and The Satellites'). Both made the Billboard Hot 100 in 1957 but a bigger hit (No.2) would come a year later with his solo smash Rockin' Robin, the last to chart despite a number of subsequent recordings, including our Feature 45. Bobby Day was born in Texas, grew up in California and lived in Australia for a short time before relocating to Florida.
feature 45
Title:Bing! Bang! Bong!
Artist:Sophia Loren
Composer:Livingston-Evans
Label:Coronet
Release:January 1959
The song that Sophia Loren sang in the 1958 Paramount film, 'Houseboat' in which she co-starred with Cary Grant. Sophia was born in Naples, Italy and she began in movies in 1950. She signed a five-picture contract with Paramount in 1956 and her international movie career thus began. Despite much airplay, Bing! Bang! Bong! failed to make Sydney's Top 40 but Sophia appeared later on our charts in the duet with Peter Sellers, Goodness Gracious Me! inspired by their performances in the film 'The Millionairess'.
feature 45
Title:Uncle Sam Needs You
Artist:The Viceroys
Composer:H.B.Barnum-Frank Robinson
Label:Mercury
Release:October 1961
A song about a group of guys facing a term in the service of their country. It was written by Frank Robinson and H.B.Barnum who was a successful arranger for Frank Sinatra and Count Basie and later worked with Aretha Franklin and The Supremes. A studio group, The Viceroys recorded it for Little Star Records and it was later distributed throughout the U.S.A. on the Smash label (a subsidiary of Mercury Records). The group had further mild success with Dreamy Eyes/Ball 'n Chain and My Heart/I Need Your Love.
feature 45
Title:New Baby For Christmas
Artist:Johnny Preston
Composer:Jones-Blackwell
Label:Mercury
Release:December 1960
George Jones recorded the song in 1957, having written it in collaboration with Lester Blackwell. Johnny Preston had an association with George Jones from 1958 when Jones helped on Preston's recording of Running Bear. Between Running Bear and New Baby for Christmas were three popular singles, namely Cradle of Love, Feel So Fine and Charming Billy.
For more---see---Kissin' Tree and Running Bear '65.
hollyleaf
feature 45
Title:Green Grass of Texas
Artist:Jack Nitzsche
Composer:J Burnette-D Burnette
Label:Reprise
Release:February 1965
Jack Nitzsche began in 1955 as a songwriter and producer and in 1962 he was enlisted as an arranger for Phil Spector's first Los Angeles recording session, He's a Rebel. In the same year, he met Specialty Records A&R man, Sonny Bono and together they composed the hit song Needles and Pins. Shortly after, he recorded his first hit as an artist, The Lonely Surfer. In 1965 he revived Green Grass of Texas which had been an instrumental hit for Johnny and Dorsey Burnette (performing as 'The Texans') in 1961.
feature 45
Title:Let's Have a Party
Artist:Wanda Jackson
Composer:Jessie May Robinson
Label:Capitol
Release:September 1960
Jessie Mae Robinson wrote the song for Elvis Presley to sing in his 1957 film Loving You. Wanda Jackson who had performed on radio since 1948, recorded the song for an album in 1958. Two years later Capitol decided to release it as a single and it made No 37 in the U.S., No.32 in the U.K. and in Sydney it made No.4 on 22nd October 1960. The success prompted EMI (Aust.) to release an earlier recording Mean, Mean Man and eight more singles until 1972. There were two Capitol 78's released in 1956 and 1957.
feature 45
Title:A Lover's Concerto
Artist:The Toys
Composer:Linzer-Randell
Label:Stateside
Release:October 1965
The song was adapted from Minuet in G composed by the 17th century organist, Christian Petzold; later copied into the Anna Magdalena Bach Notebook (1725). Sandy Linzer and Denny Randell wrote words, altered the rhythm and called it A Lover's Concerto. The Toys, formerly a vocal backing trio for Diane Renay, recorded it in one take for Bob Crewe's DynoVoice label in August 1965 and it sold a million copies before the end of the year. In Sydney it made No.2 on 1st December 1965.
feature 45
Title:Ol' Man River
Artist:Rim D.Paul and The Quin-Tikis
Composer:Kern-Hammerstein
Label:Zodiac
Release:April 1964
A song from the 1927 musical Show Boat written by Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II. The Quin-Tikis was a New Zealand rock and roll band formed in 1961 in Rotorua. They moved to Auckland and released Ol' Man River/ Poi Poi Twist on Zodiac Records in mid 1963, it was later released in Australia and late in 1964 the band moved to Australia and became regular performers at the Tiki Club (Kings Cross, Sydney), vocalist Rim D Paul being a regular on Australian television in the late sixties and seventies.
feature 45
Title:Denise
Artist:Randy and The Rainbows
Composer:Neil Levinson
Label:Festival
Release:August 1963
Formed in New York in 1962 from the Safuto Brothers, Dominick ("Randy") and Frank (formerly of the Dialtones), brothers Mike and Sal Zero and Ken Arcipowski, Randy and the Rainbows had the same production team as The Tokens and recorded Neil Levinson's composition, Denise for Rust Records early in 1963. It made the Top 10 on the Billboard 100. Later in the same year, a follow up single Why Do Kids Grow Up made No.97 on Billboard.
feature 45
Title:Captain Zero
Artist:The Mixtures
Composer:Flinn-Williams
Label:Fable
Release:November 1971
The Mixtures was a Melbourne-based group formed in 1965 who recorded for EMI and CBS before joining Ron Tudor's independent 'Fable' label. Their first record Koko Joe was released in 1965 but not until 1970 did they have a hit: a cover version of Mungo Jerry's In the Summertime topping the charts in August. Their follow-up The Pushbike Song made No.2 in Britain and No.44 on Billboard. In February 1972, Captain Zero made No.5 on the Sydney Top 40.
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feature 45
Title:My Bonnie Lies
Artist:The Ventures
Composer:Wilson-Bogle-Edwards
Label:Liberty
Release:July 1962
An instrumental version of the old Scottish song from the eighteenth century thought to be about Bonnie Prince Charlie. The song became so popular that sheet music was published in 1881. In 1962, Liberty Records released this version by the American instrumental group The Ventures. The group formed in the late fifties and in 1960 they had an international hit with Johnny Smith's 1954 tune, Walk Don't Run.
feature 45
Title:Have I the Right?
Artist:The Honeycombs
Composer:H.& A. Blaikley
Label:Astor
Release:September 1964
Ann (Honey) Lantree worked as a hairdresser in London, exchanging combs for drumsticks on weekends as a competent drummer in a group 'The Sherabons'. Early in 1964 the quintet met songwriters Ken Howard and Alan Blaikley whose composition, Have I The Right they recorded with producer Joe Meek for Pye Records under their new name 'The Honeycombs'. It was their only big hit but it sold a million copies and made No.1 in the U.K., Australia, Canada and Sweden, topping the Sydney charts in October 1964.
feature 45
Title:Nola
Artist:Billy Williams
Composer:Arndt-Skylar
Label:Coral
Release:March 1959
Billy Williams spent almost 20 years as lead singer of 'The Charioteers' before forming his Quartet in 1949. In 1957 the quartet disbanded and Billy recorded a version of Fats Waller's I'm Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter which became a million seller. A little later he revived the Felix Arndt 1915 ragtime tune Nola, made popular in the early twenties by Vincent Lopez and his Orchestra. On the Sydney Top 40, the Billy Williams version of Nola made No.8 on 30 May 1959.
feature 45
Title:The Rebel-Johnny Yuma
Artist:Larry Collins
Composer:R Markowitz-A Fenady
Label:CBS Coronet
Release:September 1960
Theme of the ABC TV Production, The Rebel, which starred Nick Adams as the confederate soldier, Johnny Yuma. Richard Markowitz and Andrew Fenady wrote the theme and Johnny Cash recorded it for the soundtrack of the series. Guitarist Larry Collins, the younger of 'The Collins Kids' duo, provided an instrumental version recorded in Nashville for Columbia Records in November 1959. Larry later turned to writing and co-penned Delta Dawn with Alex Harvey in 1971.
feature 45
Title:Right Back Where We Started From
Artist:Maxine Nightingale
Composer:Pierre Tubbs-Vince Edwards
Label:United Artists
Release:January 1976
The first big hit for London-born Maxine Nightingale who began a recording career in the late sixties for Pye Records. Record sales were poor so she turned to acting on the West End. In 1975 Pierre Tubbs and Vince Edwards penned a song especially for her after they heard her backing vocals. It was recorded mid 1975 at Century Sound Studio, Camden (Greater London) with ex-members of ELO. It made No.8 on 18 March 1976 in Sydney and was followed by Gotta Be The One also a No.8 hit.
feature 45
Title:Don't Try to Fight It, Baby
Artist:Eydie Gorme
Composer:G Goffin-J Keller
Label:CBS
Release:June 1963
Eydie Gorme was born in New York and made her recording debut with Tommy Tucker in 1950 on MGM records. She met her future husband, Steve Lawrence on her television debut in 1953 and they married in 1957. As well as duets with Steve she had solo hits such as You Need Hands, Gotta Have Rain and the big-selling Blame It on the Bossa Nova. Gerry Goffin and Jerry Keller wrote Don't Try to Fight It Baby and it made No.12 in Sydney on 26th July, 1963.
feature 45
Title:The Lion Sleeps Tonight
Artist:The Tokens
Composer:Weiss-Peretti-Creatore
Label:RCA
Release:1961
The song was adapted from Mbube, a 1920's composition by Solomon Linda which became a hit in South Africa in 1939. It resurfaced in America in 1952 with versions by Yma Sumac and The Weavers who misheard the Zulu word 'Mbube' as 'Wimoweh'. Then in 1961 English words were written and it became The Lion Sleeps Tonight with opera soprano Anita Darian adding counterpoint above 'The Tokens' vocals. It made No.2 in Sydney (6th January 1962).
feature 45
Title:Round and Round
Artist:Rosemary Clooney
Composer:L Stallman-J Shapiro
Label:United Artists
Release:November 1966
The song had been a hit for Perry Como in 1957 but on 25th August 1966 Rosemary Clooney recorded a new version in Hollywood, California with the help of Bill Justis and Jack Gold. In the forties, Rosemary sang on radio with her sister Betty and she recorded for Columbia with the Tony Pastor Orchestra for three years. In 1950 she recorded a popular duet with Guy Mitchell, The Place Where I Worship and followed in 1951 with a solo hit Come On-a My House. She continued with more hits through the fifties.
feature 45
Title:Goodness Gracious Me
Artist:Peter Sellers and Sophia Loren
Composer:Lee-Kretzmer
Label:Parlophone
Release:November 1960
Produced by George Martin at the Abbey Road Studios in London with the musical backing of Ron Goodwin Orchestra, this recording was inspired by the film "The Millionairess" which starred Peter Sellers and Sophia Loren. The recording made the Top 5 on the British and Australian Charts (No. 5 in Sydney 28th January 1961). They followed with Bangers and Mash but separately and two years before, they made the predictions list for the Sydney Top 40 with I'm So Ashamed (Sellers) and Bing! Bang! Bong! (Loren).
feature 45
Title:Rock and Roll (I Gave You the Best Years of My Life)
Artist:Kevin Johnson
Composer:Kevin Johnson
Label:Good Thyme
Release:September 1973
Queensland-born singer and songwriter, Kevin Johnson first recorded for Col Joye's ATA label in 1966, releasing his first single Hayman Island in February 1967, but it wasn't until early in 1971 that he had his first hit, Bonnie Please Don't Go for the independent record label "Sweet Peach". Kevin composed Rock and Roll during his years writing under contract for a U.S. company but he quit in 1973 to record it for the local label "Good Thyme". It made No. 20 in Sydney on 25th November 1973.
feature 45
Title:Bobby's Girl
Artist:Marcie Blane
Composer:H Hoffman-G Klein
Label:London
Release:November 1962
In June 1962, high school student Marcie Blank was asked by a song-writer friend to record some demos of his compositions. The executives at Seville Records were more impressed with Marcie's performance than the songs and gave her the Hank Hoffman and Gary Klein composition Bobby's Girl and a slight name change to Marcie Blane. Bobby's Girl made No.3 on Billboard and was also No.3 in Sydney (22nd December 1962). A follow-up What Does a Girl Do? failed to repeat the success of the initial hit.
feature 45
Title:(Son Of) Old Rivers
Artist:Tony, Bob and Jimmy
Composer:Cliff Crofford
Label:Capitol
Release:June 1962
Tony, Bob and Jimmy were 'The Lettermen' who signed with Capitol Records in 1961 after an unsuccessful year with Warner Bros. Their first hit was a revival of the Jerome Kern song, The Way You Look Tonight, first recorded by Fred Astaire in 1936. Despite the three names on the label, only Bob Engemann and Jimmy Pike were heard in the recording. It was a parody of Walter Brennan's hit, Old Rivers, the flipside being a parody of an earlier Walter Brennan hit, Dutchman's Gold.
feature 45
Title:Milord
Artist:Edith Piaf
Composer:J Moustaki-M Monnot
Label:Columbia
Release:January 1961
Milord was Piaf's penultimate hit, recorded in 1959 it was a massive hit in Germany the following year and a No.1 in Sydney in February 1961. Edith Piaf began recording in the 1930s gaining international fame in the late 1940s with La vie en rose and The Three Bells. Through the fifties she had a string of successes including Padam Padam, Hyme à l'amour and The Poor People of Paris. Her last hit was Non, je ne regrette rien in 1960 before her life came to an early end in 1963 at age 47.
feature 45
Title:Don't You Know
Artist:Millie
Composer:T Thomas-M Small
Label:Philips
Release:February 1964
Millie Small established herself as a recording star in Jamaica after winning the Vere Johns Opportunity Hour talent quest in 1960. She recorded duets with Roy Panton and others until July 1963 when she flew to London to record her own composition Don't You Know as a solo vocalist for the Fontana label. It failed to chart but the follow-up, My Boy Lollipop, a revival of a 1956 American recording, became an international smash hit for Millie, eventually selling over seven million copies.
feature 45
Title:Well Hello
Artist:Yellowstone & Voice
Composer:Yellowstone & Voice
Label:Regal Zonophone
Release:March 1973
Songwriter Peter (Yellowstone) Papini and record producer Steve Voice formed a duo, 'Yellowstone and Voice' in England in 1972. Their debut single released by Parlophone in July 1972 was Philosopher but they later signed to Regal Zonophone and recorded Grandmother Says and Well Hello which charted in Sydney at No.26 on 24th June 1973. Two more singles followed for the EMI label in 1974. Yellowstone went on to write songs for others such as Lady in Blue for Joe Dolan and Feels Like I'm in Love for Kelly Marie.
feature 45
Title:Blue Bird of Happiness
Artist:Carole Smith and the Band-Its
Composer:Harmati-Heyman
Label:Festival
Release:September 1959
Carole Smith first performed on the Children's Hour on her local radio station 2WL Wollongong in 1956 then sang in Country and Western Shows in Nowra, Wollongong and Sydney. In March 1959 she appeared in the Grand Ole Opry Show at the Sydney Stadium. This led her to make a series of films with Roy Acuff's troupe for international distribution. Before she turned 16, she cut her version of the Jan Peerce favourite, Bluebird of Happiness and sang it on TV's "Desmond and the Channel 9 Pins" (TCN9 Sydney).
feature 45
Title:Sukiyaki
Artist:Kenny Ball and his Jazzmen
Composer:Ei-Nakamura
Label:Pye
Release:February 1963
It was an English jazzband leader who introduced the Japanese song 上を向いて歩こう (Walk With a High Head) to western audiences. It had been a top seller for Kyu Sakamoto in Japan in 1961 but was largely unknown in the west until Kenny Ball recorded an instrumental jazz version in 1962 for Pye records, cheekily renaming it Sukiyaki. It made No.40 in Sydney (2SM Top100) on 5th April 1963. Ball had previous success with Cole Porter's Samantha and Vassili Solovyev's Midnight in Moscow.
feature 45
Title:Deefeecult For You-Easy For Me
Artist:Senor Wences
Composer:Hoffman-Manning-Wences
Label:W&G
Release:July 1959
One of the twentieth century's best known songs, Ay-Ay-Ay composed in 1913 by Osman Perez-Freire became a novelty hit in 1959 for Señor Wences with his ventriloquist doll 'Yanni' and interruptions from 'Pedro' (the head-in-a-box). The song made No.18 in Sydney on 29th August 1959. Wences was born in Spain and migrated to the U.S.A. at age 38. He became a favourite on Broadway and at Las Vegas and appeared 48 times on the Ed Sullivan Show. He died in New York three days after his 103rd birthday.
feature 45
Title:He's My Little Devil
Artist:Ginny Arnell
Composer:Taylor
Label:M-G-M
Release:April 1964
Ginny Arnell believed that He's My Little Devil, the B side of her 1964 release I Wish I Knew What Dress to Wear should have been the A side of a separate single. Ginny started her recording career in 1959 with Gene Pitney in the short-lived duo 'Jamie and Jane'. Later, recording as a solo artist for MGM she had a No.50 Billboard hit, Dumb Head and followed with five more single releases for that label. A 12-inch LP with 12 tracks, Meet Ginny Arnell was released later in 1964.
feature 45
Title:Marshall’s Portable Music Machine
Artist:Robin Jolley
Composer:Mudie-Cadd
Label:Fable
Release:March 1972
Robin Jolley was called on to re-work the vocal track for this song written by Brian Cadd and Don Moodie for the Tokyo Song Contest. The record went to No.1 in Melbourne, No.9 in Sydney (9 July 1972) and Top 20 in Tokyo. Robin Jolley won best male vocal in the Australian Record Awards, afterwards appearing numerous times on the Ernie Sigley and Graham Kennedy variety television programmes. In 1977 he played a part in an early episode of the TV series Young Ramsay.
feature 45
Title:Scarlett O'Hara
Artist:Jet Harris and Tony Meehan
Composer:Lordan
Label:Decca
Release:18 May 1963
Jet Harris and Tony Meehan were members of Cliff Richard's backing group, The Shadows. Meehan (drummer) left The Shadows late in 1961 to work for Joe Meek and Decca Records and Harris (bass guitarist) followed early in 1962 after a disagreement with Cliff Richard. Together they recorded the Jerry Lordan composition Diamonds which topped the British charts in 1963. The follow up was another Jerry Lordan composition, Scarlett O'Hara.
feature 45
Title:We’ll Sing In The Sunshine
Artist:Trini Lopez
Composer:Garnett
Label:Reprise
Release:May 1965
The song was written and recorded in 1963 by New Zealand-born folk singer Gale Garnett and won a Grammy Award in 1965. Trini Lopez recorded it late in 1964 for the British market on an extended play Trini's Folk Mood; a special export single was issued by Reprise Records in Australia and Europe. Trini began recording in 1958 for the Volk label in Dallas, Texas and later signed with King Records of Nashville. In 1962 he was heard at P.J.'s, a nightclub in West Hollywood and was signed to Reprise Records.
feature 45
Title:If You Were a Rock and Roll Record
Artist:Freddy Cannon
Composer:Jay Goodis
Label:His Master's Voice
Release:November 1962
Freddy Cannon has featured in this spot twice before with two of his Top Rank releases (from the U.S. Swan label): Jump Over and Humdinger [Click on the blue links for more]. The last of the five Freddy Cannon hits on Sydney's 2UE Top 40 was If You Were a Rock and Roll Record which attained No.35 on its last appearance on the chart on 5th January 1963. Afterwards Freddy Cannon had two popular releases for his new label Warner Brothers: Abigail Beecher (1964) and Action (1965).
feature 45
Title:I'm Gonna Get Married
Artist:Lloyd Price
Composer:Lloyd Price-Harold Logan
Label:W&G
Release:August 1959
Lloyd Price made his first recording for Specialty Records in 1952, Lawdy Miss Clawdy and released 12 singles for that label before Just Because on his own label. It gained the attention of ABC Paramount Records and he joined them in 1957. His first Billboard No.1 came with his version of Stagger Lee and was followed by the world-wide hit Personality. Our featured disc I'm Gonna Get Married completed the hit trio for 1959, making No.4 on 17th October on Sydney's 2UE Top 40.
feature 45
Title:I'm Popeye the Sailor Man
Artist:The Nomads
Composer:Sammy Lerner
Label:Ampar
Release:May 1961
Popeye began as a comic strip character in 1929 and moved to the theatre in 1933. Billy Costello gave Popeye his first voice and he recorded the Sammy Lerner theme, Popeye the Sailor Man in 1935 for Brunswick's Melotone label (released December 1936 in Australia on Regal Zonophone). In 1959, The Nomads, a quintet from Indiana led by saxophonist Ron Hinshaw, recorded an instrumental version for Genie Records (Michigan City, Indiana) which was later picked up by ABC Paramount and released in Australia on Ampar.
feature 45
Title:True, True Lovin'
Artist:Ronnie Burns
Composer:Bruce Welch
Label:Spin
Release:July 1966
Ronnie Burns, began as a folk singer in Melbourne then became a member of the group The Flies in 1964. He went solo in August 1965 and cut his first single for Spin in 1966, a cover version of Peter, Paul and Mary's Very Last Day. His second single release was a version of Cliff Richard's 1964 hit, True, True Lovin' written by Bruce Welch, a member of Cliff Richard's backing group, The Shadows. Both of the Ronnie Burns singles made the Top 20 in Melbourne, then Ronnie went on to have national Top 40 hits including Coalman and Smiley.
feature 45
Title:Look Who It Is
Artist:Helen Shapiro
Composer:J Schroeder- M Hawker
Label:Columbia
Release:31 October 1963
Look Who It Is failed to chart after Helen Shapiro's big No.1 double A-side Aus hit Not Responsible/No Trespassing. Helen was born in London and began her recording career at age 14. In England her first four singles made the Top 3; in Australia her third release Walking Back to Happiness (1961) was the first to make our charts then Let's Talk About Love and a release coinciding with her Australian tour, Little Miss Lonely. Columbia (Aust.) released 13 of her singles and she had more (from Pye) on the Astor label until 1970.
feature 45
Title:After the Dance
Artist:Dion
Composer:R Allen-J Meyer
Label:Festival
Release:March 1964
This recording was released by Dion's previous record label, Laurie more than a year after signing with Columbia. Dion was from the Bronx NY and made his debut on Paul Whiteman's Teen Club radio show. As an 18 year old in 1957 he and his band The Belmonts scored an audition with Mohawk Records and they released two singles but the hits started with Laurie Records. As a solo artist from 1960 he had further hits.
See When the Red Red Robin...
and Donna the Prima Donna
feature 45
Title:Surfin' Bird
Artist:The Trashmen
Composer:Wahrer
Label:Stateside
Release:13 February 1964
The song Surfin' Bird was recorded in 1963 in Minneapolis from a blend of the choruses of two songs, Papa-Oom-Mow-Mow and The Bird's the Word, written by Al Frazier and other members of The Rivingtons. Initially composer credit of Surfin' Bird was to the drummer of the Trashmen, Steve Wahrer until legal action made them share credit with The Rivingtons. It climbed to No.4 on Billboard and No.3 in both the UK and Sydney (20 Mar 1964). The following release, Bird Dance Beat was not as successful.
feature 45
Title:Twist, Li'l Liza
Artist:Frank D'Rone
Composer:E.Mascari-J.Tracy
Label:Mercury
Release:April 1962
Frank D'Rone worked as a jazz singer and guitarist in Manhattan before settling in Chicago in the late fifties. There he began recording with Mercury records and had mild success with a version of My Special Angel in 1957. His first album was endorsed by Nat King Cole and released in 1959. The following year he had a hit single in Britain with Strawberry Blonde using the old tune The Band Played On and in 1962 he recorded a twist version of Li'l Liza Jane re-titled Twist, Li'l Liza.
feature 45
Title:Looking For an Echo
Artist:Ol'55
Composer:R Reicheg
Label:Mushroom
Release:August 1976
A rock 'n' roll band originally formed in Sydney in 1972 as Fanis was renamed Ol' 55 in 1975 with vocalists Frankie J. Holden, Wilbur Wilde and Jimmy Manzie. The song Looking for an Echo was written by Richard Reicheg and first recorded in America by Kenny Vance. The Ol'55 cover version made No.22 in Sydney on 22nd September 1976 and it was the follow-up single to their first Top 40 hit, On the Prowl.
For more see Two Faces Have I.
feature 45
Title:Wimoweh
Artist:Karl Denver
Composer:arr. Campbell
Label:Decca
Release:March 1962
Karl Denver took his name from Denver, a city in Colorado (U.S.A) and claimed that he learned Solomon Linda's song Wimoweh when he was in South Africa as a merchant seaman. He was signed to Decca (U.K.) and recorded it in his first session in June 1961. Decca thought it was too weird to release, so Marcheta was his first single. When The Tokens version became popular as The Lion Sleeps Tonight, the Decca company released Wimoweh in January 1962 and it made No.4 in the UK and No.2 in Sydney on 14th April 1962.
feature 45
Title:Turn Your Radio On
Artist:Ray Stevens
Composer:Brumley
Label:CBS
Release:December 1971
One of many versions of a gospel song written by Albert Brumley and first recorded in 1939 by Lulu Belle and Scotty Wiseman for Vocalion Records. Ray Stevens recorded it for Barnaby Records in 1971 on an album of the same name. Stevens began his recording career in 1957 and had a big novelty hit, Ahab the Arab for Mercury in 1962. Most of his hits came in the late 60s and 70's including Gitarzan, Along Came Jones, Everything Is Beautiful, Nashville and The Streak.
feature 45
Title:You're the Limit
Artist:The Delltones
Composer:Stallman-Shipira
Label:CBS Coronet
Release:January 1961
The Delltones formed as a vocal rock and roll group in 1958 in Sydney; the four members were Sydney beach lifesavers. In 1959 they auditioned for entrepreneur Lee Gordon and were selected for his big show at the Sydney Stadium with Tab Hunter. They went on to record for Lee Gordon's record label before putting out this hit, You're the Limit for CBS Coronet. It made No.4 in Sydney on 18th February 1961.
For more see The White Cliffs of Dover.
feature 45
Title:Click Go the Shears
Artist:Peggy Hayama
Composer:J Meredith arr. A Hill
Label:Festival
Release:July 1963
The "Girl With the Golden Voice", Peggy Hayama commenced her singing career at a U.S. military camp in Japan and made her professional debut in 1952, later hosting her own TV show in Japan. In 1960 she appeared on Graham Kennedy's variety television show in Melbourne and while in Australia she learned two of our folk songs, Click Go the Shears and Waltzing Matilda; faithfully translated the lyrics into Japanese and recorded them for King Records.
feature 45
Title:A Little Like Lovin'
Artist:Dorothy Baker
Composer:Morris-Barkan
Label:Parlophone
Release:July 1963
Melbourne radio and TV singer, Dorothy Baker recorded an LP of old favourites for Planet Records in 1959 and became known as "Australia's Vera Lynn". In 1962 she released her first single, I'm the Girl From Wolverton Mountain on the W&G label which was also released in the UK, Canada and South Africa. Early in 1963 she appeared on TV in the USA and then went to England to give concerts during which time she recorded Try Being Nice to Me/A Little Like Lovin' for Parlophone.
feature 45
Title:Lazy Mary
Artist:Lou Monte
Composer:Citorello, lyrics: Lou Monte
Label:RCA
Release:April 1958
C'è la luna mezzo mare was a 1927 composition by Paolo Citorello based on an 1835 Neapolitan art song La Danza, a tarantella in 6/8 time. Modern hit variations of the song were Oh! Ma-Ma! recorded in 1938 by Rudy Vallée and two decades later, Lazy Mary by Lou Monte (No.14: 29th June 1958 in Sydney). Lou Monte was a New Yorker of Italian heritage whose first hit was a 1954 revival of Darktown Strutter's Ball. In 1962 he was awarded a gold record by Reprise for Pepino the Italian Mouse.