Here’s songs 34-44 on the 2020 Great 88:
“Bird Dog” by The Everly Brothers (1958)
This hit the charts two years after Elvis Presley compared his lover to a whiny canine in the #1 hit “Hound Dog.” The harmonizing duo maintained that Elvis, who burst on the scene while they were still trying to land a record deal, wasn’t an influence on their country-flavored rock and roll tunes. Don Everly explained in 1998: “Elvis didn’t have the kind of voice I liked, nor a sound I liked. I was listening to Ray Charles, Brownie McGhee & Sonny Terry, and Bo Diddley.”
2019: #74, Highest Ranking: #52 in 2018
“Stay” by Maurice Williams and the Zodiacs (1960)
The song was written by Williams in 1953 when he was 15 years old. He had been trying to convince his date not to go home at 10 o’clock as she was supposed to. He lost the argument, but as he was to relate years later, “Like a flood, the words just came to me.” It became a hit after being put on a demo recording by the group seven years later.
2019: #13, Highest Ranking: #8 in 2017
“Sixteen Candles” by The Crests (1959)
The song was used in the original 1972 release of John Waters’ film Pink Flamingos, but was edited out of the 25th Anniversary Edition re-release in 1997 because the rights could not be obtained, and it was therefore also not included on the CD soundtrack which was issued at the same time.
2019: not on survey, Highest Ranking: #67 in 2017
“Oh Boy!” by Buddy Holly and the Crickets (1957)
Holly and The Crickets performed this on their second and final Ed Sullivan Show appearance on January 26, 1958. Sullivan was not happy with the song selection, as he considered it too raunchy, but Holly insisted on performing it. Possibly in retaliation, Sullivan introduced him as “Buddy Hollet,” and Holly can be seen trying to turn up his guitar, which had been set too low. While most musical guests were given 2 songs, Holly got just the one.
2019: #57, Highest Ranking: #18 in 2018
“The Wayward Wind” by Gogi Grant (1956)
According to eminent author Mark Lewisohn, The Beatles performed The Wayward Wind live from 1960 through 1961 (in Hamburg and Liverpool and elsewhere). It is unclear whether the lead vocal was by John Lennon or Paul McCartney or both. No recorded version is known to survive. Lewisohn believes that the Gene Vincent 1958 record is the basis of the Beatles version but it may have also been the Tex Ritter one.
2019: #46, Highest Ranking: #46 in 2019
“I Wonder Why” by Dion and the Belmonts (1958)
The song was used in the film A Bronx Tale, in the pilot episode of the television series The Sopranos, and in John Carpenter’s film adaption of Stephen King’s “Christine”
2019: #36, Highest Ranking: #3 in 2018
“Papa Oom Mow Mow” by The Rivingtons (1962)
“Papa-Oom-Mow-Mow” is a novelty nonsensical doo-wop song by the Rivingtons in 1962. It peaked at number 48 on the Billboard Hot 100, and number 35 on the Cashbox charts. The band released two similar follow-up songs over the next several months, “Mama-Oom-Mow-Mow (The Bird)” and “The Bird’s the Word”. The last song was the basis for the song “Surfin’ Bird”, a number four hit in 1963 by The Trashmen.
2019: not on survey, Highest Ranking: first year on survey
“Peggy Sue” by Buddy Holly (1957)
Holly wrote this about Peggy Sue Gerron, who was dating Holly’s drummer with The Crickets, Jerry Allison. Holly was not involved with Peggy Sue, but liked the name for the song. Allison and Peggy Sue eventually got married, but divorced 11 years later.
2019: #31, Highest Ranking: #16 in 2016
“I’ve Had It” by The Bell Notes (1959)
The Bell Notes were regular performers in The Bronx in the 1950s, and performed at a bar owned by the father of Ray Tabano; he and Steven Tyler (of Aerosmith) occasionally played between Bell Notes sets and covered their song “I’ve Had It”. New York DJ (WADO) Alan Fredericks saw the group play at a record hop on Long Island and saw the group’s potential. In 1958 he recorded “I’ve Had It” at a recording studio in Times Square.
2019: #54, Highest Ranking: #54 in 2019
“The Twist” by Chubby Checker (1960 and 1962)
Hank Ballard & The Midnighters tried to get a Twist craze going with their original version of the song, doing the dance at their shows as they toured America (their dance was a little different, with band members lifting a leg to twist). It caught on in Philadelphia and in Baltimore, but was far from a national craze until Chubby Checker covered the song.
2019: #25, Highest Ranking: #2 in 2017
“Pretty Little Angel Eyes” by Curtis Lee (1961)
When Curtis Lee and co-writer Tommy Boyce first performed the song for their publisher, he wasn’t impressed. “I thought I told you to write me a hit!” He said again. But Boyce and Lee were convinced that they had written a hit and decided to play it for their publisher’s girlfriend, who immediately loved the song. She convinced her boyfriend that they had a smash on their hands and he finally gave the green light for Curtis to record the tune.
2019: #18, Highest Ranking: #18 in 2019
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