I remember picking up the WLS Silver Dollar Survey every Friday from a record shop on Morse Avenue. Most of my attention was on the Top 10, but I’d always try and catch the song at #40, which was usually a new song. More often than not, it never got very far, unless it was from a band like The Beatles (and their songs usually broke in higher than that). So, here’s what I’m going to do: I’m going to play the #40 song from the WLS Silver Dollar Survey for the last survey of each month in 1961 (and thanks to my friends at Oldiesloon for curating the surveys). You can see where I’m going with this, can’t you?
- January 28: The Diamonds, “Daddy Cool” This one didn’t even chart for this Canadian quartet. Seventeen years later, Mary and I were married on this day.
- February 25: Bobby Darin, “Lazy River” Only reached #14 nationally, but went to #2 in the UK.
- March 25: Jerry Lee Lewis, “What’d I Say” Jerry Lee’s cover of Ray Charles’s #1 hit only reached #30 on the Hot 100 and #27 on the Country chart, but went to #10 in the UK. This was on my fifth birthday.
- April 29: Gene Pitney, “Louisiana Mama” A song that didn’t chart nationally. Gene would have to wait until later in 1961 for chart success.
- May 27: The Brothers Four, “Frogg” Reached #32 on the Hot 100. The Brothers were unable to repeat the success they had with “Greenfields” the year before.
- June 24: The Drifters, “Please Stay” While this didn’t reach the Top 10, it reached #14 on the Hot 100 and #13 on the R&B chart, so it was a minor hit for them. This was an early hit for songwriter Burt Bacharach, and Dionne Warwick sang backup.
- July 29: Johnny Crawford, “Daydreams” Only reached #70 for Johnny, who excelled as Mark McCain on The Rifleman with Chuck Connors.
- August 26: Jose Jimenez, “Astronaut (Part 1)” Political correctness hadn’t yet caught on in 1961, and Bill Dana’s “Jose Jimenez” schtick was a huge hit. This peaked at #19 and launched (sorry) his career.
- September 30: Duane Eddy, “My Blue Heaven” From his album The Twang’s The Thang, it only reached #50 nationwide.
- October 28: Faron Young, “Back Track” Country star Faron Young had a hit on the country chart with this, which reached #8 there, but it didn’t cross over so well, only reahing #89 on the pop chart.
- November 25: Johnny Hallyday, “One More Time” I’ve seen his name around, but this was the first I heard him. Hallyday was a French rock singer. This doesn’t seem to have gone anywhere in this country, and I can’t find it anywhere…
- December 30: Bob Conrad, “Love You” You know Bob Conrad as Robert Conrad, who starred in The Wild Wild West and Baa Baa Black Sheep (also known as Black Sheep Squadron) and a series of commercials for Eveready batteries. As you can see, this is from a collection of songs sung by actors that also included a song by Dwayne Hickman, better known as Dobie Gillis. Can’t find any information on his singing career, but he was hardly a “golden throat.”
Next time I do this (probably in two weeks), I’ll try and follow the songs through their lives on the Silver Dollar Survey. I sorta ran out of time this week…
That’s Monday’s Music Moves Me for January 14, 2019.