The Friday 5×2: WLS, Labor Day Weekend 1961

It’s Labor Day weekend in the United States and Labour Day weekend in Canada, so my idea was to pick a random year and look at the WLS survey for Labor Day weekend that year. The year I chose was 1961, and Labor Day was September 4 that year. Since WLS issued their Silver Dollar Survey on Saturdays back then, here’s the Top 10 from September 2.

  1. Gary “U.S.” Bonds, “School Is Out” Not for long, Gary… From his 1960 album Dance ‘Til Quarter To Three With U. S. Bonds, it reached #5 on the Hot 100 and #12 on the R&B chart.
  2. The Four Preps, “More Money For You And Me (Medley)” One of many “college” singing groups to come out of the folk music boom in the late ’50’s and early ’60’s, this was from their 1961 album The Four Preps On Campus. It reached #17 on the Hot 100, #4 on the AC chart, and #39 in the UK.
  3. Linda Scott, “Starlight, Starbright” The B side to her hit “Don’t Bet Money Honey,” which reached #9 on the Hot 100 and #3 on the AC chart. This reached #44 on its own.
  4. Curtis Lee, “Pretty Little Angel Eyes” Curtis benefitted from his association with Phil Spector and his “Wall Of Sound” with this song, which reached #7 on the Hot 100.
  5. Lonnie Donegan, “Does You Chewing Gum Lose Its Flavour?” Skiffle guitarist Donegan had a big influence on The Beatles and other British Invasion groups, and was the first British musician to have more than one record reach the charts in the US. This song reached #3 in the UK in 1959 and #5 in the US two years later.
  6. Dick & Dee Dee, “The Mountain’s High” Richard Gosting (Dick) and Mary Sperling (Dee Dee) found their biggest success with this song (their first record), which reached #2 on the Hot 100 and #37 in the UK.
  7. Barry Mann, “Who Put The Bomp” Better known as a songwriter (with wife Cynthia Weil), Barry wrote this with Gerry Goffin as a way to make fun of the nonsense words in many doo-wop songs, and had a Top 40 hit anyway, peaking at #7.
  8. Brian Hyland, “Let Me Belong To You” Best known for “Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini” and “Sealed With A Kiss,” this is his only Top 20 hit between the two, reaching #20.
  9. The Highwaymen, “Michael (Row The Boat Ashore)” Another “collegiate folk” group, they hit it big with this one, reaching #1 on the Hot 100 and AC charts and in the UK.
  10. Troy Shondell, “This Time” An international one-hit wonder (reaching #1 in the US and the UK), Troy nonetheless influenced young Tommy Jackson to rename his high school band from “Tom and The Tornados” to “The Shondells” (and himself to “Tommy James”). Around the same time, a band from Chicago named itself “The Shon-Dells” until they learned the name was taken, and renamed themselves “The Ides Of March.” As Paul Harvey would say, “and now you know the rest of the story.”

And that’s The Friday 5×2 for August 30, 2019. Have a good holiday weekend!

13 thoughts on “The Friday 5×2: WLS, Labor Day Weekend 1961

  1. Hi John – hope you’re having a happy Labour Day weekend … a few of those I know … but they were the good old days for music – always interesting to hear – cheers Hilary


    1. I was saying earlier that it was a sort of musical limbo, because the rock and roll period was all but over and the British Invasion hadn’t started here yet. Still, some pretty good music from then.


  2. Wow! You picked some doozies! Some I remember and some I don’t. I always liked Gary “U.S.” Bonds group. Happy Labor Day weekend!


  3. Musically it seems like a more innocent time. And kind of a more mundane time. Not much of this is music that I would listen to for long under normal circumstances. I’d have to be in a pretty strange mood to be listening to music like this.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out


  4. The only song I know from this list is: Michael (Row The Boat Ashore). Of course I remember it most fondly from Wings when Antonio sang it as “My goat knows the bowling score, Hallelujah!” Happy Weekend, John.


      1. Yes. He was confused about the lyrics to the song and insisted to Helen that he knew them correctly. There’s a YouTube video of it out there somewhere. Very funny.

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