Here’s songs 1-11 on the 2019 Great 88:
“A Hundred Pounds of Clay” by Gene McDaniels (1961)
In the early 60s, the BBC banned the song and wouldn’t allow British radio stations to play it. The controversy arose not from the fact that it was a religious song, but because the censors interpreted the song as suggesting women were created simply to be sexual beings, and the BBC felt something that was considered blasphemous should not air to avoid controversy.
2018: #7, Highest Ranking: #7 in 2018
“In the Still of the Night” by The Five Satins (1956)
The song was recorded in the basement of St. Bernadette Church in the group’s hometown of New Haven, Connecticut. They first tried recording the song in another New Haven building (on Whalley Avenue), but street noise degraded the recording. The church basement had great acoustics and was insulated from ambient noise, making it a perfect place to record.
2018: #4, Highest Ranking: #1 in 2015 and 2017
“Runaround Sue” by Dion (1961)
Two years after this song was released, Dion married a woman named Sue. In a 2009 interview with Blueswax, Dion revealed that his wife tells people this song is about her, even though she knows it isn’t. Said Dion: “She goes around telling everybody, ‘Yeah, I’m Runaround Sue.’ I said, ‘Why do you tell people that?’ She says, ‘They remember me.’ She said, ‘If I don’t tell them that, they won’t remember me.'”
2018: #5, Highest Ranking: #5 in 2018
“Palisades Park” by Freddy Cannon (1962)
Chuck Barris wrote a song about an amusement park and it was suggested he use the name of an amusement park as the title. One night he was in Manhattan when he looked toward the New Jersey Palisades Cliffs, on which the amusement park sat. That was when inspiration hit and the title was added.
2018: #8, Highest Ranking: #2 in 2012
“Angel Baby” by Rosie and the Originals (1961)
Rosie Hamlin wrote this when she was 14 years old. It began as a poem about a boyfriend, and was based on “Earth Angel (Will You Be Mine)” by The Penguins. Rosie had some experience as a singer with a local band, getting the job by telling them she was 16.
2018: #17 Highest Ranking: #17 in 2018
“My True Story” by The Jive Five (1961)
The single was the biggest hit for the group on both the R&B and pop charts. “My True Story” made it to number three on the Billboard Hot 100 and was number one on the R&B Sides chart for three weeks. Lead singer Eugene Pitt co-wrote the song.
2018: #6, Highest Ranking: #3 in 2016
“Earth Angel” by The Penguins (1954)
The song was recorded in June 1954, and released in September. It was issued as the B-side of another song called “Hey Senorita,” but DJs flipped the record and “Earth Angel” was deemed the A-side. It was a huge hit, and landed The Penguins a major label record deal with Mercury Records. The Penguins never had another hit, although a re-release of “Earth Angel” bubbled under at #101 in 1960.
2018: #2, Highest Ranking: #2 in 2018
“Duke of Earl” by Gene Chandler (1962)
Vee Jay bought the master tapes to Duke of Earl and wanted to release it immediately, but Nat Records did not want the Dukays’ name on the record. The producers then offered Eugene Dixon a choice: Start a solo career with “Duke of Earl” and be replaced as lead singer of the Dukays by a man named Charles Davis, or stay with the Dukays and have Davis start HIS solo career with “Duke of Earl.” Chandler chose option #2 with the blessings of the group.
2018: #14, Highest Ranking: #14 in 2018
“Will You Love Me Tomorrow” by The Shirelles (1961)
When first presented with the song, lead singer Shirley Owens (later known as Shirley Alston-Reeves) did not want to record it, because she thought it was “too country.” She relented after a string arrangement was added.
2018: #12, Highest Ranking: #5 in 2017
“Come Go With Me” by The Dell-Vikings (1957)
The song was originally recorded by The Del-Vikings in 1956 and was released on Fee Bee Records. Norman Wright was the lead vocalist on this song. When the group signed with Dot Records in 1957, the song became a hit, peaking at #4 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and becoming the group’s highest-charting song. The song was later featured in the films American Graffiti (1973), Diner (1982), Stand by Me (1986) and Joe Versus the Volcano (1990).
2018: #1, Highest Ranking: #1 in 2018
“Be My Baby” by The Ronettes (1963)
Spector had already produced seven chart hits when he auditioned The Ronettes for his Philles record label. The Ronettes were Veronica (Ronnie) Bennett, her sister Estelle Bennett and their cousin Nedra Talley. Phil fell in love with Veronica’s voice and immediately went about signing the group to Philles (the trio was under contract with Colpix Records who had issued a few singles and a album which did not chart). Spector and Bennett got married in 1968, and they divorced in 1974.
2018: #8, Highest Ranking: #2 in 2014
Join us for “The Grooveyard” following “Rick’s Redneck Ranch” each Saturday night at 7 PM. We count down the Grooveyard Top Ten songs from the date in history at 8 PM, and your requests on the Grooveyard Party Hour at 9 PM. Hear us on 88.1 FM on Long Island, by clicking the 88.1 FM link on wcwp.org or via the TuneIn app. or the 88.1 FM button on the WCWP app for Android or iPhones. You can also follow us on Twitter.
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