First recorded by The Laurels (1958).
Hit version by The Echoes (US #12/CAN #8 1961).
Also recorded (as “Merry Christmas, Baby Blue”) by The Echoes (1961).
From the wiki: “‘Baby Blue’ was written by Long Island assistant high school principal Sam Guilino and music teacher Val Lagueux. Brooklyn vocal group the Laurels (not to be confused with the Laurels who first recorded the similarly-titled ‘Baby Talk‘ in 1959) cut ‘Baby Blue’ in 1958 as a demo but couldn’t find any takers for the song. A bit more than two years later, in early 1961, the Laurels replaced a couple of members, changed their name to the Echoes, rerecorded ‘Baby Blue’ and had a hit.
“The Echoes’ single spent 12 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 chart peaking at #12.
First recorded by The Laurels (1958).
Hit version by Jan & Dean (US #10/R&B #28 1959).
From the wiki: “‘Baby Talk’ was written by Melvin Schwartz, and was first recorded and released by Schwartz’s group, The Laurels, from Crown Heights, Brooklyn, NYC, in 1958. Released on the tiny Spring Records label, promotion and distribution were limited and the recording had no chart impact … but it did not go unnoticed.
“Fast forward one year. A chance encounter backstage would provide ‘firsts’ for two different, but professionally related, pairs of people who would wind up working together to record a hit version of ‘Baby Talk’: Lou Adler and Herb Alpert (their first co-production); Jan Berry and Dean Torrance (their first Top-10 single).
First recorded by The Platters (1954).
Hit versions by The Hilltoppers (US#8/UK #3 1955), The Platters (US #5/R&B #1 1955 |UK #18 1957), Frank Pourcel (US #9/R&B #18/CAN #3 1959), Ringo Starr (US #6/MOR #1/UK #28 1975), Reba McEntire (C&W #13 1982).
From the wiki: “‘Only You (And You Alone)’ (often shortened to ‘Only You’) was composed by Buck Ram, originally intended for the vocal group The Ink Spots.
“Instead, The Platters, with whom Ram was then working as manager and vocal coach, would first record ‘Only You’ in 1954 but the results were disappointing and Federal Records decided to shelve the recording. The following year, in 1955, another attempt at the song was made by the vocal quintet – with astounding results. ‘Only You’ became the Platters’ first charting single, peaking at #5 on the Billboard Hot 100 and topping the R&B chart.
“Platters bass singer Herb Reed later recalled how the group hit upon its successful version: ‘We tried it so many times, and it was terrible. One time we were rehearsing in the car … and the car jerked. Tony went ‘O-oHHHH-nly you.’ We laughed at first, but when he sang that song – that was the sign we had hit on something.’
“‘Only You’ was the only Platter’s recording on which songwriter and Platter’s manager Ram played the piano. The Platters’ re-recording also beat out a rival cover version by The Hilltoppers (‘Marianne‘).
Written and originally recorded by The Chords (US #9/R&B #2 1954).
Other hit version by The Crew Cuts (US #1/UK #12/AUS #1 1954).
From the wiki: “‘Sh-Boom’ was written by James Keyes, Claude Feaster, Carl Feaster, Floyd F. McRae, and James Edwards, all members of the R&B vocal group The Chords, and was first recorded on Atlantic Records’ subsidiary label Cat Records by The Chords on March 15, 1954 . It would be their only hit song.
First recorded by The Willows (US #62/R&B #11 1956).
Other hit version by The Diamonds (US #14/CAN #23 1956).
From the wiki: “After two flops as ‘The Five Willows’ in 1954, the group hit as The Willows in 1956 with ‘Church Bells May Ring’ (which featured an uncredited Neil Sedaka playing the chimes).
“As the Willows’ original version began climbing the charts, a number of cover singles were quickly released to cash in on the song’s popularity, including one by The Cadets (‘Stranded in the Jungle’). However, the biggest cover by far of ‘Church Bells May Ring’ came from a Canadian group, the Diamonds (‘Little Darlin”, ‘Silhouettes’).
“The Willows’ arrangement hit #11 of the R&B chart but stalled at #62 on the Billboard pop chart while the Diamonds’ single soared to a peak at #14 on the Hot 100.”
First recorded by The Dell-Vikings (1956).
Hit versions by The Del-Vikings (re-recording US #4/R&B #2 1957), Dion (US #48 1962), The Beach Boys (US #18 1981).
From the wiki: “‘Come Go with Me’ was written by C. E. Quick (aka Clarence Quick), an original member of the doo-wop vocal group The Del-Vikings (also spelled ‘Dell-Vikings’ on Dot records releases, with no dash). The song was originally recorded by The Del-Vikings in 1956 and was released by them on Fee Bee Records with Quick as the lead vocalist. The 1957 re-recording released on Dot Records featured Norman Wright as the lead vocalist.
First recorded by The Wrens (1955).
Also recorded by Cardinals (1955).
Hit version by Darts (UK #2 1978).
From the wiki: “The Wrens were an American doo-wop vocal group from The Bronx, New York City, and were best-known for their song ‘Come Back My Love’ which achieved some local popularity in New York City early in 1955 and put the Wrens on the map for R&B vocal fans. ‘Come Back My Love’ became their signature song despite competition from a cover version done by the Cardinals on Atlantic that same year. Neither recording charted nationally. In 1998, The Wrens were inducted into the United In Group Harmony Association’s Hall of Fame.
“Darts (‘The Girl Can’t Help It‘) were a nine-piece British Doo-wop revival band that achieved chart success in the late 1970s and early 1980s, including three successive #2 hits with revivals of early US Rock ‘n roll and R&B songs – among them ‘Come Back My Love’.”
Based on “Papa-Oom-Mow-Mow” (US #48 1962) and “The Bird is the Word” (US #52/R&B #27 1963) by The Rivingtons.
Hit version by The Trashmen (US #4 1963 |UK #50 2009).
From the wiki: “‘Surfin’ Bird’ has two musical foundations: ‘Papa-Oom-Mow-Mow’ and ‘The Bird Is The Word’, both written and recorded first by from The Rivingtons before The Trashmen mixed both songs together … without giving proper credits, leaving the opportunity wide open for The Rivingtons to sue (successfully). The Rivingtons had been known as the Sharps, and they had already had success in the charts with Thurston Harris’s ‘Little Bitty Pretty One‘, in 1957, after which they appeared on several Duane Eddy recordings when any extraneous sounds of rebel yells were required (e.g. Eddy’s 1958 hit ‘Rebel Rouser’). The group also recorded for Warner Brothers Records as The Crenshaws in 1961.
First recorded by The Rays (US #3/R&B #3 1957).
Other hit versions by The Diamonds (US #10/R&B #6 1957), Herman’s Hermits (US #5/UK #3 1965), Cliff Richard (UK #10 1990).
Also recorded by Frankie Lymon (1960), Bob Crewe, co-writer (1961), Paul Anka (1961), The Four Seasons (1964), The Nylons (1982).
From the wiki: “In May 1957, songwriter-producer Bob Crewe (‘The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine (Anymore)‘, ‘Lady Marmalade‘, ‘Big Girls Don’t Cry’, ‘Silence is Golden‘) saw a couple embracing through a window shade as he passed-by on a train. He quickly set about turning the image into a song. Frank Slay, who owned the small Philadelphia record label XYZ with Crewe, added lyrics, and they soon had a complete song ready to record.
“The Rays’ original recording received a break when popular Philadelphia disc-jockey Hy Lit fell asleep at home listening to a stack of newly-released records on his record player. ‘Silhouettes’ happened to be the last record to play, and so it repeated until he woke up. Lit began to playing the song on his show and it became popular enough that Cameo-Parkway picked it up for national distribution. The Rays’ ‘Silhouettes’ eventually reached #3 on Billboard Hot 100, while also hitting the Top-5 on both the sales and airplay charts. It became the group’s only Top 40 hit.
First recorded by The Penguins (R&B #1 1954).
Other hit versions by The Crew Cuts (US #3/UK #4 1955), Gloria Mann (US #18 1955), New Edition (US #21/R&B #3 1985).
From the wiki: “The recording sounds so simple, and it is: four voices and a piano. It first aired on the radio before the records were even pressed, and the immediate and massive reaction it received forced the group to release the recording “as-is” without the additional embellishment and orchestration that had been originally planned. ‘Earth Angel’ became one of the blueprints for Doo-wop; the second such recording to hit the Top 10 (after The Chords’ ‘Sh-Boom’). The Penguins were four high school students from Fremont High in Los Angeles, and they recorded ‘Earth Angel’ in a garage and released it on a small black-owned label called Dootone Records. The recording became the first independent label release to appear on Billboard’s national pop charts.
Written and first recorded (as “Leavin’ It All Up to You”) by Don & Dewey (1957).
Hit versions by Dale & Grace (US #1/R&B #6 1963), Donny & Marie (US #4/C&W #17/UK #2 1974).
Also recorded by Linda Ronstadt (1970).
From the wiki: “‘I’m Leaving It All Up to You’ was written and first recorded by the Rock ‘n’ roll and Doo-wop duo Don & Dewey in 1957. Don & Dewey were Don ‘Sugarcane’ Harris and Dewey Terry, both of Pasadena, California. Both Don and Dewey played guitar, with Dewey often doubling on keyboards. When not playing guitar or bass, Don occasionally played the electric violin, a skill for which he subsequently became well known under the name of ”Sugarcane’ Harris’. ‘Wrecking Crew’ drummer Earl Palmer played frequently on their sessions.
“In 1970, Harris re-emerged from semi-retirement to a wider rock audience, playing violin on the Hot Rats solo album by Frank Zappa, with Captain Beefheart (vocals) on ‘Willie The Pimp’ and on the lengthy instrumental jam, ‘The Gumbo Variations’. Harris went on to play on many more solo Zappa, and Mothers of Invention, albums.
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