Monday’s Music Moves Me: Some Early ’60’s Favorites

Next week, of course, starts our annual Christmas music extravagana here in M4 Land, but today’s a free day, so I chose some songs from the period 1961 to 1964 that I like and that don’t get heard like they did back then.

  1. Lawrence Welk, “Calcutta” A sprightly little instrumental (what might be considered “Champagne Music”) that reached #1 on the Hot 100. Welk, who was 57 at the time, became the oldest person to have a #1 record, staying in that position until Louis Armstrong reached #1 in 1964 (at the age of 63) with “Hello, Dolly!” It blended accordion and harpsichord with a rock beat and hand claps.
  2. B. Bumble & The Stingers, “Bumble Boogie” According to Wikipedia, three African American studio musicians (Earl Palmer, René Hall, and Plas Johnson) wanted to come up with a way to make money without leaving the studio. Their first attempt, a rockin’ version of Glenn Miller’s “In The Mood,” was released under the name The Ernie Fields Orchestra and went to #4 on the Hot 100 in 1960. This was their next effort, a rockin’ version of Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Flight Of The Bumble Bee,” released as “B. Bumble and The Stingers.” It rose to #21 on the Hot 100 in June 1961.
  3. James Darren, “Goodbye Cruel World” “Moondoggie” from the Gidget movie had a minor hit with the theme song from that movie, and was encouraged to record some more. This, from 1961, was his biggest hit, reaching #3.
  4. The Orlons, “The Wah-Watusi” The song that kicked off the “Watusi” dance craze, this went to #2 in 1962. The Orlons also sang backup on Dee Dee Sharp’s “Mashed Potato Time” and “Gravy (For My Mashed Potatoes)” earlier that year.
  5. Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass, “The Lonely Bull” Title track from Herb and the TJB’s 1962 debut album, this rose to #6 that year. Herb recorded the trumpet portion in his garage as he was experimenting with overdubbing, and members of The Wrecking Crew recorded the other parts later.
  6. Jimmy Soul, “If You Wanna Be Happy” Jimmy Soul (real name James Louis McCleese) based this song on the 1934 calypso tune “Ugly Woman” by Roaring Lion. It’s a reminder that beauty is only skin deep.
  7. Gene Pitney, “Twenty-Four Hours From Tulsa” This reached #3 on the Hot 100 in 1963, but oddly you never hear it anymore. Gene had a successful and prolific recording career in the US during the early and mid ’60’s. By 1966 his popularity was waning in this country, so he moved to England and revitalized it.
  8. Serendipity Singers, “Beans In My Ears” At the height of the folk boom in the early ’60’s, The Serendipity Singers recorded this protest song by Len Chandler. Many radio stations wouldn’t play this after doctors complained that kids were actually putting beans in their ears, so the song only reached #30.
  9. Roger Miller, “Dang Me” Roger claims that he wrote this one in four minutes in a hotel room. It spent half of 1964 on the country chart, where it peaked at #1, and it also reached #7 on the pop chart.
  10. Johnny Rivers, “Mountain Of Love” Some singers I just like, and Johnny Rivers is one of them. This is a cover of Harold Dorman’s 1960 original that reached #21 on the Hot 100 and #7 on the R&B chart. Johnny’s version, recorded with members of The Wrecking Crew, reached #9 in 1964.

As I said earlier, next week starts our Christmas music extravaganza, so be sure and join us for that. That’s Monday’s Music Moves Me for November 26, 2018.

Monday’s Music Moves Me is sponsored by X-Mas Dolly, Callie, Cathy, Alana, Michelle and Stacy, so be sure and visit them, where you can also find the Linky for the other participants.

34 thoughts on “Monday’s Music Moves Me: Some Early ’60’s Favorites

    1. Except for the last two, they were all golden oldies by the time I heard them.

      Johnny Rivers puts on a good show. I saw him live when he was warming up for Roy Orbison in 1987. Roy was so good, it’s hard to remember that Johnny was just about as good, and had a great band with him.


  1. John,

    I hope you and Mary had a great Thanksgiving. It’s hard to believe it’s the end of November already. I listened to ‘your choice song picks’ while busy in the kitchen. The post-Thanksgiving chores are every bit as hectic. Many on your playlist are ones I haven’t heard in years, so it was good to listen to them again. Some made me smile and others had me tapping my toes. Have a furtastic week and thanks for boogieing with the 4M gang, my friend!


  2. As a teen of the sixties, all of these songs bring back memories of high school, college, military service and my young adulthood. Growing up in Tulsa, I can tell you that the Gene Pitney song as huge in our fair city. I was also a big fan of Johnny Rivers. I know that most of his early music was comprised of cover tunes from other artists and many from the soul music genre. Thanks for the trip down memory lane.


    1. Johnny did a lot of Chuck Berry and blues covers, too. Could play guitar pretty well.

      Gene Pitney had a good voice and did some great songs. Kind of strange that his popularity dropped off so quickly.


  3. I remember most of these–some rather trite music back then along with the great stuff. After listening to “Beans in My Ears” I did remember it. I probably only heard it once or twice, but I do remember it. Now, please, let me forget that one. Kind of a silly song.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out


  4. I saw Johnny Rivers too. He was headlining and Blood, Sweat and Tears was his opening (or maybe it was the other way around). We had gone to Vegas with my parents and I was 16 or 17 I think. They sent my little sister and I to see the show while they went off and gambled (or that’s what they said they did – you know Vegas). It was a really good show from what I remember.


    1. Right, kids can’t hang around in the casinos (not until you’re 18, anyway). That must have been around the time BS&T had the big shakeup and added Jerry Fisher, Georg Wadenius, Larry Willis and Lou Marini (yes, I know, BS&T is pretty much faceless; there are now none of the original members in the band, but you wouldn’t know it). And Johnny Rivers always put on a good show (and likely still does). I’d rather go see that show than gamble…

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Now this era was my big brother’s rock & roll period. I can remember hearing his music blasting out of his room as he played them 45’s on his record player. James Darren, Tijuana Brass, Gene Pitney, Jimmy Soul, Roger Miller oh my I could go on and on. His favorite was the Rebel Rouser and Bobby Darin and so many others for he loved to dance. Thanks for bringing back some cool memories for me my friend. My brother passed away when he was 45 of a massive heart attack… taken too soon, but he did leave me some great memories like teaching me how to jitter bug so he could practice his own moves. hahaha Have a great day my friend and thanks for playin’ along once again! hugs


  6. Good list. For most, I can hear the music, and for those with lyrics, I still know them. But I can’t recall what I had or lunch today. A mind is a …. oh I forget that, too.


  7. I remember most of these songs and thanks for the blast from the past mewsic. I don’t remember Beans in my Ears, even after I heard it. Perhaps, I was in the wrong place at the right time or in the right place at the wrong time – wahtever!


  8. What memories some of these brought back – Goodbye Cruel World, Calcutta…Some of these were new to me, including Beans in my Ears, and Gene Pitney. The later reminded me of just how good a singer Gene Pitney was. Listening to your music brought me a few minutes of joy – thank you!!


    1. Listeners in this country kind of gave up on Gene when the British Invasion happened, so Gene decided to go the other way and take England by storm. He was quite popular there and was active until his death a few years ago. It makes me happy that you enjoyed this. Think I’ll do it some more. After the Christmas Music Extravaganza, of course…


  9. I’ve never been a fan of 60’s music (probably because my musical ‘education’ didn’t come until the 80’s…heh!!) but I enjoyed your selections, John! 🙂 Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving, and have a great weekend!


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