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!

Monday’s Music Moves Me: Start At The Bottom, 1961

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.

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.

The Friday 5×2: Top 10 from KDWB, 2/18/61

Was having a hard time coming up with a theme, so I decided to plow into Oldiesloon’s collection of surveys yet again, and came up with this survey from KDWB, Minneapolis, which at the time was broadcasting on 630 kHz on the AM dial. It switched over to FM in the mid-1970’s and is now on 101.3 MHz, and it’s been a Top 40 outlet since 1959. Currently it’s owned by iHeart Media, as are so many other “contemporary hits” stations these days. Here’s their Top 10 from February 18, 1961.

  1. The Shirelles, “Will You Love Me Tomorrow?” Written by Gerry Goffin and Carole King, it went to #1 on the Hot 100, the first time a record by a Black female group had done so. It was down from #8 the week before.
  2. Brenda Lee, “Emotions” Title track from her 1961 album. Written by Ramsey Kearney and Mel Tillis, it peaked nationally at #7. Down from #6 here.
  3. Buzz Clifford, “Baby Sittin’ Boogie” This novelty record reached #6 nationally and was up from #11 this week in Minneapolis.
  4. Neil Sedaka, “Calendar Girl” Written by Neil and Howard Greenfield, this made it to #4 nationally. This week, it stayed in the #7 spot it occupied the week before.
  5. Smokey Robinson & The Miracles, “Shop Around” Classic Motown that reached #1 on the R&B chart and #2 on the Hot 100. Down from #2 this week.
  6. Lawrence Welk, “Calcutta” You heard me right. This was Welk’s first flrt with chart success. It was written in 1958 by Heino Glaze as “Tivoli Melody,” but Hans Bradtke’s lyrics made mention of the city now known as Kolkata, and the English lyrics, written by Paul Vance and Lee Pockriss, celebrated “the ladies of Calcutta.” In some ways, it was classic Champagne Music, but the handclaps and brisk rock rhythm were a departure for him. It spent two weeks at #1 nationally; in Minneapolis, it had slipped a couple of spots from #3.
  7. Shelby Flint, “Angel On My Shoulder” For some reason, I went in thinking this was sung by a man, as I had never heard it before. This only reached #22 nationally. In MSP, it held steady at #4.
  8. Jørgen Ingmann, “Apache” Written by Jerry Lordan, it was a #1 hit in the UK for Hank Marvin & The Shadows in 1960. Ingmann’s recording went to #2 in the US and Canada, and had slipped from #1 the previous week.
  9. The String-A-Longs, “Wheels” A simple instrumental that reached #3 on the Hot 100, #4 on the Cash Box survey, and #8 in the UK. It was awarded a gold disc for selling over a million copies, and was #6 for 1961. In Minneapolis, it was up from #5 the week before.
  10. The Everly Brothers, “Ebony Eyes” From Don and Phil’s days in the Marines, a classic John D. Loudermilk song about tragic love. It reached #8 nationally, but topped the KDWB chart this week, jumping all the way up from #9.

So that’s your Friday 5×2 for February 16, 2018.

The Friday Five: Top 5 from WLS, Veterans’ Day 1961

I know, I did a survey post for Monday’s Music Moves Me. I’ve reached the point where I need to figure out what I’ve already done so I don’t repeat myself. If anyone knows how to get a post index out of WordPress, or if anyone has actually done it, please let me know. I’ll be eternally grateful.

Meanwhile, here’s what they were listening to 55 years ago today on WLS, “The Bright Sound” of Chicago (that’s what they were calling themselves in 1961). As always, surveys are courtesy of Oldiesloon.

#5: You’re The Reason – Bobby Edwards WLS had abandoned country music for rock & roll the year before, but country hits were still hitting the pop charts in the early Sixties. This is one of two country tunes in the Top Five this week.

#4: I Love How You Love Me – The Paris Sisters I didn’t realize that Bobby Vinton’s version of this was a cover. I like the Paris Sisters’ version better.

#3: Goodbye Cruel World – James Darren In addition to his acting, James had a pretty good voice, and had a couple of hits, specifically this one and “Her Royal Majesty.” We had a friend who broke up with his girlfriend and seriously considered entering the seminary, so we changed the words to “Goodbye cruel world, I’m off to join the priesthood…”

#2: Big Bad John – Jimmy Dean The other country song in the Top Five. Jimmy’s better known for his sausage products these days. In fact, I had one of his breakfast sandwiches this morning. My mom used to sing this to me to give me grief. Listening to it now, I should have been flattered.

#1: Runaround Sue – Dion The only song on this week’s survey you’re guaranteed to hear at least once a day (and usually more often) on “oldies” stations. Great song anyway.

You know, the next time I do a survey post, I think I’ll start from the other end and present the bottom five songs. There are some real goodies there. Anyway, there’s your Friday Five for Veterans’ Day 2016. And, to you veterans, thank you. We gripe about elections and who gets elected and who doesn’t without giving much thought to the men and women who served in the Armed Forces to secure the right and the freedom to cast our ballots for the people who would govern us, sometimes paying the ultimate price. Remember them today.


Source: Wikimedia Commons