Rat Ron's back and he's packing
stax o' wax. (Say that 5 times fast!)
Ron and I along with Mr. Peabody and Sherman
are ready to hop into the Wayback Machine and
revisit some of the greatest seldom heard snugglers
of the pre-Beatles era. Return with us now to those
thrilling days of yesteryear when doo-wops ruled!
Ron, if you don't mind
I'd like to kick off the
festivities with one of
the best known names
in the biz - Dion.
AND THE BELMONTS
Some dismissed him as just another flash in the pan teenage idol, but Dion DiMucci proved them wrong the same way that Ricky Nelson proved them wrong. Both were the real deal.
Growing up in an Italian American family in the Bronx, Dion was influenced by rock and roll and rhythm and blues. He assimilated both genres, produced his own unique blend of New York style pop, rock and doo-wop, and became one of the most popular singers of the Eisenhower and Kennedy years, influencing many other performers.
Bob and Gene Schwartz signed Dion and his friends the Belmonts to their new Laurie record label and put the two acts together in the studio. From the spring of 1958 until
the fall of 1959, Dion and the Belmonts released half a dozen charting singles, achieving three top 40 hits and a top 5 hit, "Teenager in Love."
The early success of Dion and the Belmonts landed them a spot on the ill fated Winter Dance Party Tour. On February 2nd, 1959, after a concert in Clear lake, Iowa, Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper invited Dion to fly with them to their next gig. Dion declined because he couldn't afford the $36 cost of the flight. The plane crashed killing
all on board... the day the music died.
Dion and the Belmonts reaped their biggest hit with "Where or When" which went to #3 early in 1960. I already featured that record in a previous post but I'd like you to hear the killer bee, "That's My Desire."
"That's My Desire" - Dion and the Belmonts (March 1960,
uncharted B side of "Where or When")
In 1960 Dion split from the Belmonts and began a solo career, finding success with his first release "Lonely Teenager."
"Lonely Teenager" - Dion (January 1961, highest chart
More hits followed, including Dion's best known recordings "Runaround Sue" and "The Wanderer." In 1962 Dion rocked out with "Little Diane," a top 10 record that featured the Del Satins accompanying Dion and a distinctive hook in the form of a kazoo solo!
"Little Diane" - Dion (Aug. 1962, highest chart position #8)
Ron, looks like your first spin is another
golden goodie by York's own R&B group
the Quin-Tones! Don't delay - Play away!
"Now, I say to you today my friends, even
though we face the difficulties of today and
tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream
deeply rooted in the American dream. I have
a dream that one day this nation will rise up
and live out the true meaning of its creed:
we hold these truths to be self-evident,
that all men are created equal."
- Martin Luther King, Jr.
Shady, it's time to pick up
where we left off with the
story of the Quin-Tones,
five vocalists and a key-
boardist who achieved a
national hit in 1958 with
their second 45rpm release
"Down the Aisle of Love."
The success of that single
multiplied opportunities for
the Quin-Tones. They did
more touring and made a
guest appearance on
The Quin-Tones' most
memorable gig took place
on Saturday night, August 23rd, 1958 at the Apollo Theater
when they shared the stage with famous acts that included
the Coasters, the Olympics, the Danleers, the Spaniels
and the Chantels and received a standing ovation.
Riding high as a result of their hit record, "Down the Aisle
of Love," and still in a position to benefit from a national
distribution deal with ABC Records, the Quin-Tones
hoped to repeat their success with a follow-up single.
However, their third release, "There'll Be No Sorrow,"
did not make the national charts even though it appeared
on the top tunes surveys of radio stations throughout the
"There'll Be No Sorrow" - Quin-Tones
(September 1958, uncharted)
The killer bee, "What Am I To Do," was another sweet
ballad that came and went unnoticed.
"What Am I To Do" - Quin-Tones (November 1958, uncharted)
Ron, let me interrupt
you here to add that
our Quin-Tones have
been called a cross
between the Chantels
and the Bobbettes.
The Bobbettes were an early R&B girl group from Spanish Harlem. The girls killed at the Apollo, attracted a manager, got an Atlantic recording contract and in 1957 scored a
#1 charting R&B/top 10 pop hit with the tongue-in-cheek novelty record "Mr. Lee." In so doing the Bobbettes were the first girl group to achieve that degree of crossover success. A derivative recording, "I Shot Mr. Lee" became a minor hit for the Bobbettes, but neither of those jump tempo records can touch the power of the group's churchy doo-wop ballad "The Dream."
"The Dream" - Bobbettes (1958, uncharted)
Led by classically trained Arlene Smith, The Chantels from The Bronx, NY were the next girl group after the Bobbettes to achieve nationwide success. "Maybe" and "Look in My Eyes" were the Chantels' biggest crossover hits but I'm shattered every time I listen to this one, the devotional, gospel drenched "Every Night (I Pray)."
"Every Night (I Pray)" - Chantels (May 1958, highest
chart position #39, R&B #16)
Ron, the ball's back in
your court, my friend.
Play us some hardcore
sock hop doo-wop!
THE JIVE FIVE
with ARLENE SMITH
& THE CHANTELS
Shady, I agree with those who
compare the Quin-Tones with
the Bobbettes and Chantels and
I think The Quints were as hot
as those more famous girl groups!
Speaking of the Chantels, here's
a recording that I never knew
existed until recently, where the
original Chantels and the Jive Five
do a cover of Lenny Miles's "Don't
Believe Him Donna." I may prefer
Lenny Miles's version a little better,
but just to hear these two fabulous groups TOGETHER is
a real treat!
"Don't Believe Him Donna" - The Jive Five with special guests
Arlene Smith & The Chantels (1982)
I know how much Jerre likes the Jive Five and in this
live performance they sing their two biggest hits.
"My True Story"/"What Time Is It" (live) - The Jive Five
Ron, let me give Jerre
a high five with more
Here's a seldom heard gem by Eugene Pitt's Brooklyn vocal group. "Rain (Makes My Baby Cry)," with a melody derived from that fall 1962 hit "What Time Is It," was released as a single in the spring of 1963 and registered for just one week near the bottom of Billboard's Bubbling Under chart. Shady's Law applies. "Rain" is a great record that deserved more chart action back then and deserves to be heard right now!
"Rain (Makes My Baby Cry)" - The Jive Five (April 1963,
highest chart position #128)
Those last three songs have inspired me
to play a quick game of Six Degrees with
Jerre's Jive Five by connecting them with
two other great groups!
THE JIVE BOMBERS
The Jive Five always makes me think of The Jive Bombers,
a jazzy, bluesy New York City R&B group that recorded for Savoy Records, the Newark, NJ label that played a key role in popularizing bebop. The Jive Bombers' biggest hit, "Bad Boy," can be traced back to 1936 when the song was written and recorded by Louis Armstrong's second wife, Lil Armstrong.
The Jive Bombers originally recorded the song as "Brown Boy" but changed it to "Bad Boy" for release on Savoy in 1957. Lead singer Clarence Palmer renders the song in a lazy, offbeat style and comes across sounding very much like Satchmo!
"Bad Boy" - The Jive Bombers (April 1957, highest
chart position #36 Hot 100, #7 Black Singles)
The Jive Five told "My True Story." For the Nutmegs, a group from New Haven, Connecticut, theirs was a "Story Untold." Led by tenor Leroy Griffin, whose ardent vocals are among the finest in all of doo-wop, the Nutmegs watched their single climb all the way to #2 on the Billboard R&B Singles chart during the summer of 1955, yet it never showed up on the white dominated pop chart. The Nutmegs' popularity was confined primarily to the East Coast and Northeast and they never achieved widespread crossover success. That reality notwithstanding, their "Story Untold" is regarded as one of the greatest doo-wop recordings of the 50s.
"Story Untold" - The Nutmegs (August 1955, highest
chart position #2 R&B)
The Nutmegs followed "Story Untold" with another R&B hit, "Ship of Love," which includes a spoken passage.
"Ship of Love" - The Nutmegs (October 1955, highest
chart position #13 R&B)
AND THE FLIPS
In the fall of 1961 the Dovells flirted with the #1 chart spot with "Bristol Stomp." In the summer of 1962 that hit sound and stompin' beat were back on the radio in a shamelessly derivative recording called "Bongo Stomp" by another Philly act called Little Joey and the Flips. The group rerecorded "Bongo Stomp" from a demo of theirs which was originally called "African Twist."
Cameo-Parkway, Swan and other Philly labels rejected the record before Eddie Joy released the single on his Joy label and achieved a top 40 hit.
"Bongo Stomp" - Little Joey and the Flips (July 1962,
highest chart position #33)
Ron, it's been great fun
playing doo-wop gold with
you again today. There
are two more exciting
volumes yet to come,
so please stay close!
Have a Shady day!
Makeup of A Modern Muse
7 hours ago