Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Tagged: Gary Lewis & The Playboys

Sealed with a Kiss

First recorded by Four Voices (US #109 1960).
Other hit versions by Brian Hyland (US #3/UK #3 1962 |UK #7 1975), Gary Lewis & The Playboys (US #11 1968), Bobby Vinton (US #19 1972), Jason Donovan (UK #1/IRE #1/AUS #8/ 1989).

From the wiki: “‘Sealed with a Kiss’ is a song written by Peter Udell and Gary Geld. It was first recorded by The Four Voices in 1960 as a single. It peaked ‘Bubbling Under’ the Billboard Hot 100, at #109.

“In 1962, Brian Hyland, who often performed Udell and Geld’s material, covered the song. Hyland’s single began its run on 6th June 1962 and became a hit, reaching #3 on both the Billboard Hot 100 and the UK Singles Chart. When re-released in 1975, Hyland’s recording charted in the UK at #7.

This Diamond Ring

First recorded (as a demo) by Jimmy Radcliffe (1964).
Hit released by Sammy Ambrose (US #117 1965)
Other hit version by Gary Lewis & the Playboys (US #1 1965).
Also recorded by Al Kooper (1976).

From the wiki: “‘This Diamond Ring’ was written by Al Kooper (who would later record with Bob Dylan, and found the group Blood, Sweat & Tears), Bob Brass, and Irwin Levine (‘Tie a Yellow Ribbon’, ‘Candida‘) in 1964. The song was first recorded as a demo that year by Jimmy Radcliffe in a session produced by Kooper.

“Sammy Ambrose, a Miami soul singer who had begun his recording career fronting the Afro-Beats, was the first to release a commercial single of ‘This Diamond Ring’, in December 1964. This was quickly followed by the January 1965 release of ‘This Diamond Ring’ by Gary Lewis & the Playboys. Both recordings appeared on Billboard magazine’s ‘Bubbling Under the Hot 100′ chart on January 9, 1965 – Ambrose’s recording at #117 and the Playboys’ recording at #101. But, that one appearance by Ambrose would mark his single’s only chart appearance while the Playboys continued the ascend the Hot 100 all the way to #1, on February 20, 1965, becoming the group’s only #1 single of their career.

“Ambrose’s biggest liability was that he didn’t have the same caché as being the son of a famous comedian (name recognition is everything in show biz) nor could make use off the chutzpah of producer Snuff Garrett, who promised radio disc jockey Murray the K a performance by the Playboys if he could break the Playboys’ record in New York City, and who also got Gary’s famous dad to call Ed Sullivan about booking an appearance on the The Ed Sullivan Show.

“None of the Playboys played their instruments on the hit recording and Lewis’s vocals were heavily supported by Ron Hicklin’s overdubs. The music was performed by members of The Wrecking Crew, including Hal Blaine (drums), Carol Kaye (bass) and Leon Russell (keyboard).

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