February 2018

R-1477843-1306806466.jpeg#11 – Connie Francis – “No One” – (1961)

Nearly every Connie Francis record has great vocals. This is among the best. It’s almost Patsy Cline-like, but with an Italian flair. I feel like Connie could’ve recorded a completely alternate soundtrack to West Side Story featuring original songs. What a voice.

R-2931300-1374419307-9225.jpeg.jpg#12 – Floyd Cramer – “On the Rebound” – (1961)

Floyd Cramer was a pianist who worked in country music in Nashville. In 1961 he released an album that contained this very distinctly not country song. It’s a somewhat jazzy instrumental with rock (and okay, a little country) elements.


Ricky_nelson_-_cover_is_21#13 – Ricky Nelson – “Travelin’ Man” – (1961)

If you listen, you can tell that this song was written for Sam Cooke (whose manager rejected it). It even has that chord progression that “Another Saturday Night” has (so much so that I thought that one of them ripped the other off and am still convinced of it). It hit number one and still  is a favorite of mine on oldies stations.

R-2395162-1459710174-7309.jpeg#14 – Bruce Channel – “Hey! Baby” – (1962)

This #1 hit, released as a single in December of 1961, has become a popular song among collegiate marching bands. It’s got great harmonica and could be heard in the movie Dirty Dancing.

R-3031020-1312499893.jpeg#15 – Jorgen Ingmann – “Apache” – (1960)

Released in November of 1960, this song hit #2 on the Hot 100 in 1961. Written by Jerry Lorden, the song was originally recorded by Bert Weedon and later The Shadows, but Ingmann (who is Danish), had the biggest hit with it. It was later heavily sampled by The Sugarhill Gang and then their song was sampled by Sir Mix-A-Lot’s “Jump on It.” This is the rock instrumental that keeps on giving.

R-2777265-1342084633-6089.jpeg#16 – Neil Sedaka – “Calendar Girl” – (1960)

Neil Sedaka released this single at the tail end of 1960. It climbed the charts, peaking at #4 and becoming his first top five single.

R-4051077-1353605320-5137.jpeg#17 – The Church Street Five – “A Night With Daddy ‘G'” – (1960)

If this sounds pretty familiar, it’s because Gary U.S. Bonds pretty much straight took it and turned it into “Quarter to Three” – but he was nice enough to leave a lyric in there about dancing with “the Church Street Five.” It’s a funky, upbeat instrumental. This band is relatively obscure compared to Bonds.

R-1523495-1396522381-8451.jpeg#18 – The Highwaymen – “Michael” – (1961)

This #1 hit was by a folk group from Wesleyan University – not the country supergroup from the 1980s. “Michael, Row the Boat Ashore” is a traditional hymnal that dates back to the Civil War. Good luck charting a traditional hymn nowadays.

220px-Patsy_Cline-_Original_Showcase#19 – Patsy Cline – “Crazy” – (1961)

Patsy Cline took this song to #2 on the country charts in 1961 (and the top ten on the Hot 100). It’s a straight-ballad, but did you know it was written by Willie Nelson (how long has Willie Nelson been around!?). It’s a great vocal performance and sounds like some of the great country vocals of the 50s.

220px-Blue_Moon_(The_Marcels_album)#20 – The Marcels – “Blue Moon” – (1961)

“Blue Moon” was written originally in 1934 and was a hit upon release by Billy Eckstine and later Mel Torme. The Marcels covered it in full doo wop style in 1961 and added some sound effects of their own to really make a standout version. It went to #1, making this version the biggest of them all.

little-caesar-and-the-romans-those-oldies-but-goodies-remind-me-of-you-delfi#21 – Little Caesar & The Romans – “Those Oldies But Goodies (Remind Me of You)” – (1961)

Welcome to 1961, when doo wop was still alive and well. Strangely, this song reminisces about older songs and looking back on it (what we consider “oldies”, i.e., songs that sounds like this) it’s like they are reminiscing about the genre they are singing, which was dying out.

ACDC_Back_in_BlackAC/DC– “Rock and Roll Ain’t Noise Pollution” – (1980)

This song was the last track on Back in Black and the final single released from the album. Interestingly, this was the highest charting song from this album in the U.K., peaking at #15.