ROCK FACTS–8/31/10

Hello,  Thank you for stopping by today.  FACT…Did you know that, RANDY BACHMAN, a member of  THE GUESS WHO, left that group in 1970 to form BACHMAN-TURNER OVERDRIVE.  The group included brothers RANDY and ROBBIE BACHMAN, C. FRED TURNER and BLAIR THORNTON.  Many radio announcers shortened their name to BTO.  The group had two HUGE classic rock hits in 1974, “TAKIN’ CARE OF BUSINESS”-#12 and “YOU AIN’T SEEN NOTHING YET”-#1.  RANDY BACHMAN left  BTO in 1977 to form the group IRONHORSE.

FACT…Did you know that, LaVERN  BAKER was born Delores Williams on November 11, 1929 in Chicago, Illinois.  Recorded at first as LITTLE MISS SHARE CROPPER and then BEA BAKER before using LaVERN BAKER as stage name.  She is one of the most popular female vocalists of the GOLDEN ERA OF ROCK AND ROLL, charting 20 Billboard Top and Hot 100 hits.  Her hits, TWEEDLEE DEE in 1955, JIM DANDY in 1956 and I CRIED A TEAR in 1958 are considered rock classics.  She was inducted into the ROCK AND ROLL HALL OF FAME in 1991.  She died in 1997 at the age of 67.

FACT…HANK BALLARD AND THE MIDNIGHTERS were originally THE ROYALS an R&B vocal group from Detroit, Michigan.  HANK BALLARD  joined the group in late 1953.  Hank’s birth name is JOHN KENDRICKS and he was born on November 18, 1927.  He became lead singer and the group’s name was changed to THE MIDNIGHTERS in 1954.  Hank recorded and wrote the original version of  THE TWIST  the world-wide hit that made CHUBBY CHECKER a big star.  Hanks version charted at #28 in 1960.  Hank Ballard and The Midnighters had 2 Top 10 hits in 1960…..FINGER POPPIN’ TIME-#7 and LET’S GO, LET’S GO, LET’S GO-#6.  They charted 13 Billboard Hot 100 hits between 1959 and 1962.  They also charted 3, #1 R&B hits…..ANNIE HAD A BABY in 1954, WORK WITH ME ANNIE also in 1954 and LET’S GO, LET’S GO, LET’S GO in 1960.  Hank died in March of 2003 at the age of 75.  Hank Ballard and The Midnighters were inducted into the ROCK AND ROLL HALL OF FAME in 1990.

Till the next time—Joe

Rock & Roll Classics–The Five Satins–“IN THE STILL OF THE NIGHT”

Hello,  There have been so many things written about The Five Satins and their classic recording of “IN THE STILL OF THE NIGHT” but I wanted to write this because “In The Still Of The Night” is truly a classic.  Not only in rock or doo-wop, but in any genre.

The group was formed in New Haven, Connecticut.  Members were, Fred Parris-lead, Al Denby, Jim Freeman, Eddie Martin and Jessie Murphy.  The Five Satins recorded “In The Still Of The Night” as the “B” side to the single “THE JONES GIRL”.  The single was originally released on the tiny local label, Standord Records.  After some local sales in the Connecticut area the record was re-issued in 1956 on the New York label, Ember Records, with “In The Still Of The Night” as the “A” side.

On September 8, 1956  The Five Satins entered the Billboard Top 100.  Their record climbed the chart, enjoying a 19 week stay on the Top 100 and peaking at #24.  Which in 1956 was rare, because most R&B hits were usually covered by white artists.  “In The Still Of The Night” was also a huge hit on the Billboard R&B chart as it climbed to #3.  The Five Satins classic hit sold well over a million copies and was awarded a “Gold Record”.

Fred Parris entered the US Army when “In The Still Of The Night” was climbing the charts, he was stationed in Japan.  The group re-formed with Bill Baker as lead singer.  Parris returned in January of 1958 and replaced Baker as lead singer.

In January of 1960 “In The Still Of The Night” was reissued and entered the Billboard Hot 100 again.  On the second go round it charted at #81 and remained on the chart for 4 weeks.  There would be another reissue in January of 1961.  This time The Five Satins would just make the chart at #99.  Three separate years 1956, 1960 and 1961 that this all time classic made the Billboard chart, that is some kind of a feat.

The Five Satins continued to record and make very good records.  They would chart 4 more Hot 100 singles with the biggest being “TO THE AISLE” in 1957, it peaked at #25 and remained on the chart for 17 weeks.

“In The Still Of The Night” is listed as one of best Doo-Wop records of all time by Graibin/Schiff in their book, “The Complete Book Of Doo-Wop”.  It is one of the most famous and most requested oldies of all time.  A song does not get any “bigger” the The Five Satins classic hit.  Anyone who grew up in the late ’50s and early ’60s heard this song on the radio all the time.  It remains one of the most requested songs that I’m asked to play on the road.  Sadly Bill Baker died in 1994 at the age of 58.  Fred Parris and Jim Freeman continue to perform and carry on the legacy of The Five Satins.

“In The Still Of The Night” is listed at #90 on the Rolling Stone Top 500 Songs of All-time.  It was awarded a Hall of Fame, Grammy Award, and is listed at #100 by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), which selected the” Top 365 Songs Of The Century”.  Joel Whitburn in his ” Top Pop Singles” edition has “In The Still Of The Night” listed at #44 on “Honor Roll Of Hits, Top 100”.

Get your favorite dance partner, turn down the lights and slow dance across the floor, to one of the greatest oldies of all time, “In The Still Of The Night” sung by the original hit makers, The Five Satins.

Till the next time—Joe

TRIVIA TEASER-103

Hello,  The answer to yesterday’s Trivia Teaser question is: C-SOME KIND OF WONDERFUL-#3 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1974.

Today’s question is:  “The Queen of Soul”, Aretha Franklin was born on March 25, 1942 in what city? was it A-Detroit, Michigan…B-Memphis, Tennessee…C-New Orleans, Louisiana

Leave your answer in the comment box or check back tomorrow for the answer.

Till the next time—Joe

Number 1 Songs/Rock & Roll Classics–DION–“RUNAROUND SUE”

Hello,  Dion needs no introduction, because he has been making hit records since 1958, first with The Belmonts and then in 1960 as a solo artist.  He is a member of the “Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (1989) and is still performing and thrilling crowds with his many hits and new music that he puts out on albums from time to time. 

Dion was never more at the top of his craft when in 1961 he released one of the greatest rock records of all time, “RUNAROUND SUE”.  Before we get into the chart facts of the song, here is a little background.  The song was written by Ernie Maresca and Dion.  The backing group on the record is The Del-Satins.  The song is about a girl, Sue and is sung by her ex-boyfriend.  She had a commitment problem and ran around with a lot of guys.  With its catchy hook, “Runaround Sue” caught on with millions of record buyers and became Dion’s biggest hit ever.

“RUNAROUND SUE” on Laurie Records entered the Billboard Hot 100 on September 25, 1961.  It had a 14 week run on the chart and peaked at #1 on October 23, 1961.  It remained at #1 for 2 weeks.  It also reached #11 on the UK Singles Chart.  The “B” side of the record was “RUNAWAY GIRL” a good song on its own, but it did not chart, probably because of the popularity of “Runaround Sue” it received very little air play.  Dion’s classic recording was a million seller and is ranked #342 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of “The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time”.  The song was also awarded a “Hall of Fame” Grammy Award.

There were a couple of answer songs to “Runaround Sue”.  Ginger and the Snaps on Swan Records in 1961 recorded, “I’M NO RUNAROUND SUE” and in 1962 on the Rust Record label, Linda Laurie recorded “STAY AT-HOME SUE”, neither charted.  In 1977 teen idol Leif Garrett recorded his version of “Runaround Sue” on Atlantic Records and charted at #13 on the Hot 100.

Dion’s million selling version is the ultimate, the one that can’t be duplicated.  His recording of “Runaround Sue” has not left the air-waves since 1961 and is still one of most requested oldies of all-time.  This classic recording fills my dance floors each and every time it’s played.  The song and the man are both “classics”, both #1’s.  If you are ever looking for a classic example of great rock and roll, from the “Golden Era of Rock and Roll”, look no further than Dion’s #1 classic, “RUNAROUND SUE”. 

Till the next time—Joe

TRIVIA TEASER-102

Hello, Thanks for stopping by today.  The answer to yesterday Trivia Teaser question is:  Bobby Rydell’s last charted hit came in 1965 with a song that was a #1 hit for Paul Anka in 1957, “DIANA”.  Bobby’s recording of “Diana” was a slower version than Paul Anka’s.  It charted at #98 and was on Capitol Records.

Today’s question is:  Which one of these songs was not a #1 hit for GRAND FUNK:  A-WE’RE AN AMERICAN BAND…..B-THE LOCO-MOTION…..C-SOME KIND OF WONDERFUL?

Leave your answer in the comment box or check back tomorrow for the answer.

Till the next time—Joe

Number 1 Hits–Santo & Johnny–“SLEEP WALK”

Hello,  Santo & Johnny Farina are a guitar duo from Brooklyn, New York.  Brothers, Santo-steel guitar, born on October 24, 1937 and Johnny-rhythm guitar, born on April 30, 1941.  Their mother Ann Farina helped with songwriting.

The brothers signed a recording contract with Canadian-American Records.  There first release was “SLEEP WALK”.  Santo & Johnny entered the Billboard Hot 100 on July 27, 1959.  On September 21 their record was #1 and it remained at #1 for 2 weeks.  “Sleep Walk” had an 18 week run on the Hot 100.  It was the last instrumental to hit #1 in the 1950’s.  “Sleep Walk” sold well over a million copies and Santo & Johnny were awarded a “Gold Record”.

The record they replaced at #1 was “THE THREE BELLS” by The Browns and the record that took “Sleep Walk’s” place at #1 was, “MACK THE KNIFE by Bobby Darin.  On November 30, 1959 Santo & Johnny charted their second hit record. “TEARDROP” was a strong follow-up, climbing the Hot 100 to #23 and staying on the chart for 11 weeks.  They would have  4 more Hot 100 hits.  In 1964 their last Hot 100 hit, “I’LL REMEMBER (In The Still Of The Night) would peak at #58.

“Sleep Walk” continues to be a popular oldie due to heavy radio airplay as well as being used in commercials, TV shows and movies. Not to mention that it is a great “slow dance” tune.  Santo & Johnny were inducted into “The Steel Guitar Hall Of Fame” in 2002.  “Sleep Walk” is listed at #26 on the list of the “Top 100 Instrumentals” by Fred Bronson in his book “Billboard’s Hottest Hot 100 Hits”.  “Sleep Walk”, steel guitar at its best.

YOU CAN SEE A VIDEO OF SANTO & JOHNNY ON MY FACEBOOK PAGE.

Till the next time—Joe

TRIVIA TEASER-101

Hello,  The answer to yesterday’s question is:  Before making it as a super star PAUL SIMON recorded as “Tico And The Triumphs”, “Jerry Landis”, “Tom & Jerry” (with Art Garfunkel) and charted Top 100 hits using each name.  In 1965 as part of the great folk-rock duo of  SIMON & GARFUNKEL they reached Billboard’s  Hot 100 with their first #1 hit “SOUNDS OF SILENCE” on Columbia Records.

Here are Paul’s pre Simon & Garfunkel, charted hits:  “MOTORCYCLE”-TICO AND THE TRIUMPHS #99……”THE LONE TEEN RANGER-JERRY LANDIS #97 and “HEY, SCHOOLGIRL-TOM & JERRY #49.

Today’s Trivia Teaser question is:  In 1965 Bobby Rydell charted his last Billboard Hot 100 hit to date with a song that was originally recorded by Paul Anka, Can you name it?

Leave your answer in the comment box or check back tomorrow for the answer.

Till the next time—Joe