August 26, 2016

315 The Flamingos “Lovers Never Say Goodbye” 1958

Formed in 1952 by cousins Zeke and Jake Carey, the group’s first Billboard hit was “Lovers Never Say Goodbye” when they changed records to End. They first signed with Chance, but “they received no money for any of their Chance recordings! The label was young, operated on a small budget, was understaffed, and kept no records of sales…The Careys went on to say that they were in it to impress the girls. They knew nothing about the business and just loved being in front of an audience” (Encyclopedia of Rhythm & Blues and Doo-Wop Vocal Groups, 2000). 

The Flamingos “Lovers Never Say Goodbye”

314 The Everly Brothers “All I Have to Do Is Dream” 1958

“It was an important record for us because its success gave our career longevity and changed people’s attitudes towards us so that when people think of the Everly Brothers they think of us harmonically,” said Phil Everly. “The record was to be the Everlys’ biggest seller in America and is regarded by many as the most distinctive of all their hits” (The Everly Brothers: Walk Right Back). 

The Everly Brothers “All I Have to Do Is Dream”

313 Tommy Edwards (1922-1969) “It’s All in the Game” 1958

“This jazz/pop/R&B singer-songwriter began his professional career in 1931.” His 1958 hit song is “a tune based on a 1912 melody by future US Vice President Charles Gates Dawes” (The Encyclopedia of Popular Music). 

Tommy Edwards “It’s All in the Game” 

312 Duane Eddy (1938- ) “Rebel Rouser” 1958

“I knew in the beginning, when I was starting out—I was about seventeen or eighteen and did a few session in Phoenix—I discovered the bass strings were more powerful in a recording than the high strings…on Rebel Rouser I kept it all on the low strings and that became pretty much my style” (“Duane Eddy,” Maverick, Aug. 2011). 

Duane Eddy “Rebel Rouser”

311 Dion (1939- ) and the Belmonts “I Wonder Why” 1958

I remember the night that they first put “I Wonder Why”on the radio,’ Dion said, referring to the first big hit he had with the Belmonts. ‘Everybody on the block turned their radios up loud and stuck them out the window. The Belmonts and I, when that song first came on, we were silent, completely silent. We were saying to each other, you make a sound and I'll punch your face in. When it ended, we went absolutely crazy. The whole neighborhood did’” (Sam Verhovek, “A Wanderer, Dion Returns to His Roots,” The New York Times, 6/19/1987). 

Dion and the Belmonts “I Wonder Why”

August 19, 2016

310 Bobby Day (1930-1990) “Rockin’ Robin” 1958

Born Robert Byrd in Fort Worth, Texas. After his hits in 1958, “this distinctive singer-songwriter never returned to the Top 40…Although his songs were no longer selling, his songs were often revived…Michael Jackson taking ‘Rockin’ Robin’ to number 2 in 1972” (The Encyclopedia of Popular Music).

309 Bobby Darin (1936-1973) “Splish Splash” 1958

“The sense of humor is implanted in it from the beginning, thanks to the contribution of Tom Dowd. ‘When the recording date was over, I…filled a paper cup with some water, and jostled my fingers in the cup, making a splashing sound. I recorded this onto a piece of tape’… ‘Splish Splash’ was one of the few records by a white artist that sold well in the black community for the simple reason that most listeners assumed Bobby was black” (Roman Candle The Life of Bobby Darin).

Bobby Darin (1936-1973) “Splish Splash”

308 The Danleers “One Summer Night” 1958

The song “captured perfectly the teen angst of the rock ‘n’ roll era, and went to number 4 R&B and number 7 pop…Despite some equally evocative follow-ups on Mercury, the Danleers failed to have another hit, breaking up in 1959” (The Encyclopedia of Popular Music).

307 The Crests “Sixteen Candles” 1958

“In 1955, some junior high school students decided to form a vocal group and sang at schools, hospitals, and other local functions…After about a year, Johnny [Mastroangelo] joined the group, which in 1956 adopted the name ‘Crests.’” A wife of a record producer heard them in a subway, “and just weeks later, they were signed to record” (Encyclopedia of Rhythm & Blues and Doo-Wop Vocal Groups).

306 Eddie Cochran (1938-1960) “C’mon Everybody” 1958

“Eddie Cochran would later be forever associated with a handful of deceptively simple three-chord acoustic guitar-led songs...” As a session player with other musicians, he was known as “a highly skilled, forward-thinking and innovative guitarist” (Don’t Forget Me: The Eddie Cochran Story).

August 4, 2016

305 Eddie Cochran (1938-1960) “Summertime Blues” 1958

The hit song would “elevate Eddie’s status to that of a credible rock’n’roll singer.” Despite his fame, “he lived at home with his parents where he was still fondly regarded as the Cochran family’s youngest son” (Don’t Forget Me: The Eddie Cochran Story, 2001). 

Eddie Cochran “Summertime Blues”

304 The Coasters “Yakety Yak” 1958

“A good many of the early black rock acts were vocal groups with the sounds more imitative of the Ink Spots’ ballads than the brassy rhythms of R&B. Nonetheless, such stars as the Coasters provided a base for the eventual move of blues and R&B artists to major status…For the balance of the ‘50s, the Coasters remained among the most important influences on popular music” (Encyclopedia of Pop, Rock & Soul). 

The Coasters “Yakety Yak”

303 Jimmy Clanton (1938- ) and his Rockets “Just a Dream” 1958

Clanton formed his band while in a Baton Rouge high school and performed “on ‘Teen Town Rally,’ a local radio show.” He “continued to release hits after he was drafted into the U.S. Army”…and “starred in the rock n roll movie, ‘Go Johnny Go’” (“Jimmy Clanton,” 

Jimmy Clanton and his Rockets “Just a Dream”

302 The Chordettes “Lollipop” 1958

The Chordettes signed with Archie Bleyer’s label, Cadence Records. Their song, “Lollipop,” “climbed to number two on the popular music charts. It represented Bleyer’s attempt to give the group the rock ‘n’ roll sound they had not previously had.” Though their songs “may seem simple and even sappy to contemporary pop music fans…it is impossible to imagine American music of the 1950s without [their] unique sounds” (Contemporary Musicians). 

The Chordettes “Lollipop”

301 The Capris “There’s a Moon Out Tonight” 1958

Based in Queens, N.Y., not to be confused with same-named groups formed in the mid and early fifties from Philadelphia and San Diego. “’There’s a Moon Out Tonight’ was released in 1958 on Planet, but the group disbanded shortly thereafter as a result of poor sales. Mike (Mincelli) got married, Nick (Santamaria) enlisted in the service, and the Capris were gone.” The song was rereleased in 1960 and 1961 and became a hit (Encyclopedia of Rhythm & Blues and Doo-Wop Vocal Groups, 2000). 

The Capris “There’s a Moon Out Tonight”