12 Days of Greats

Here’s the 12 songs that just missed the 2021 Great 88, featured in our annual “12 Days of Greats”:

#100

“Rock Around the Clock” by Bill Haley and His Comets (1955)

Most people didn’t know what Rock And Roll was when this was released, so the record company had a hard time describing the song. The label on the single called it a “Novelty Foxtrot.”

2020:  not on survey, Highest Ranking:  #26 (2014)

#99

“Breaking Up Is Hard to Do” by Neil Sedaka (1962)

Although Sedaka had had eight Top-10 hits in the US to this point, this was his very first #1. Howie Greenfield penned the lyrics at Sedaka’s urging, and then it was presented to Barry Mann (of Mann and Weil) for appraisal. Mann didn’t think much of it, so Sedaka then added the opening “dooby-doo” part.

2020:  not on survey, Highest Ranking:  #11 (2012)

#98

“The Wallflower” by Etta James (1955)

This was Etta James’ first hit, topping the US R&B chart for 4 weeks. Originally the name of the song was “Roll With Me, Henry” but it was changed to “The Wallflower” to avoid censorship. The track is also known as “Dance With Me, Henry.”

2020:  not on survey, Highest Ranking:  first year on survey

#97

“Baby It’s You” by The Shirelles (1962)

This was written by Burt Bacharach, Mack David (Hal’s older brother), and Barney Williams (a pen name of Luther Dixon). It was originally “I’ll Cherish You,” but was re-written at the request of Dixon, who produced the track.  The Shirelles’ vocals were added directly to Bacharach’s demo recording.

2020:  not on survey, Highest Ranking:  first year on survey

#96

“Roll Over Beethoven” by Chuck Berry (1956)

Berry started writing this song to rib his younger sister, Lucy, who played classical music on the family piano. Chuck was telling her to yield the instrument so he could play rock and roll. The song ended up taking a different turn, but that’s where the title came from.

2020:  not on survey, Highest Ranking:  #19 (2018)

#95

“Ruby Baby” by Dion (1963)

Written for the Drifters in 1956 by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, Dion got worldwide success with this hit. It reached No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 (behind “Hey Paula” by Paul & Paula and “Walk Like a Man” by The Four Seasons).

2020:  not on survey, Highest Ranking:  first year on survey

#94

“Little Star” by The Elegants (1958)

This was the only hit for this Staten Island group. They adopted the name after a member saw a billboard ad for Schenley’s Whiskey – the ad had the phrase “liquor of elegance.” It was the only #1 record ever released by Apt records.

2020:  not on survey, Highest Ranking:  #17 (2016)

#93

“Baby (You’ve Got What It Takes)” by Dinah Washington & Brook Benton (1960)

Originally titled “You’ve Got What It Takes“, the song was first recorded by Brook Benton’s sister, Dorothy Pay, in 1958, as the B-side of her single “Strollin’ with My Baby”. In August 1959, Brook Benton partnered with Dinah Washington to record the song as “BABY, You’ve Got What It Takes”.

2020:  not on survey, Highest Ranking:  first year on survey

#92

“I Only Have Eyes for You” by The Flamingos (1959)

This song was written by Henry Warren and Al Dubin. The first recording was probably made by Ben Selvin in 1934. The Flamingos recorded it in 1959 for the musical Dames starring Joan Blondell, and it also appeared on the American Graffiti soundtrack from 1973.

2020:  67, Highest Ranking:  #5 (2015)

#91

“Silhouettes” by The Rays (1957)

In May 1957, songwriter Bob Crewe saw a couple embracing through a window shade as he passed 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 story has frequently been reported that Slay heard The Rays audition for Cameo-Parkway Records, for which he worked, and immediately decided that they were the perfect group for “Silhouettes”. However, Slay and Crewe were actually already familiar with the group, as “Silhouettes” was their third single with them.

2020:  not on survey, Highest Ranking:  #7 (2017)

#90

“A Little Bit of Soap” by The Jarmels (1960)

The Laurie label from New York wanted something like The Drifters and found the soundalike Jarmels, from Richmond, Virginia. Bert Berns, who later worked with Van Morrison and other greats, wrote “A Little Bit Of Soap” for the group, which became a one hit wonder.

2020:  not on survey, Highest Ranking:  First year on survey

#89

“He’s Sure the Boy I Love” by The Crystals (1963)

In 1962, The Blossoms recorded “He’s a Rebel” with Phil Spector. Instead of crediting the song to The Blossoms, Spector released the song under The Crystals without informing the group while they were on tour. After “He’s A Rebel” became a hit song, Spector brought The Blossoms back to record “He’s Sure the Boy I Love.”

2020:  not on survey, Highest Ranking:  #42 (2018)

Check out all the songs that made the 2021 Great 88 here. You can also see the first round results here.

Listen to “The Grooveyard” following “Rick’s Redneck Ranch” each Saturday night at 7 PM on 88.1 FM on Long Island or by clicking the 88.1 FM link on wcwp.org, via the TuneIn app. or the  WCWP app on your iPhone or Android device.  You can also follow us on Twitter. and on the Facebook groups for the show and WCWP.

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