12 Days of Greats


Here’s the 12 songs that just missed the 2016 Great 88, featured in our annual “12 Days of Greats”:


“Ain’t That a Shame” by Fats Domino (1955)

This was the first song to crossover from the R&B charts to the mostly white pop charts of the day. Like several other songs previously heard exclusively in black bars or nightclubs, this was covered by the crooning Pat Boone.  Boone’s cover was a huge hit, going to #1 on the US Pop charts and reaching #7 in the UK. This gave Domino’s original recording a boost, and helped it cross over.

2015:  #36, Highest Ranking:  #36 (2015)



“Maybe” by The Chantels (1958)

“Maybe” is one of the earliest examples of the girl-group phenomenon, which would sweep the United States shortly after this single’s release. Thus, The Chantels broke ground for the likes of The Shirelles, The Ronettes, and The Supremes. And yes, the girl groups, especially the early ones, were largely spawned by the 1650 Broadway/Brill Building scene and its famous tenants.

2015:  not on survey, Highest Ranking:  First year on survey



“The Angels Listened In” by The Crests (1959)

The Crests were an American doo-wop group, formed by bass vocalist J. T. Carter in the mid-1950s. Their most popular song, “16 Candles”, rose to #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1959, selling over one million copies, earning a gold disc. The interracial group had three African American members (one female), one Puerto Rican, and one Italian American.

2015:  not on survey, Highest Ranking:  First year on survey



“Book of Love” by The Monotones (1958)

The banged drum in the first line of each verse (while that line was sung acapella) was not planned – in one of the first takes, a batted baseball struck the outer wall of the studio. When the take was played back, the group decided to keep the sound in the song.

2015:  #80, Highest Ranking:  #76 (2014)



“Blowing in the Wind” by Peter Paul and Mary (1963)

Bob Dylan claims that he wrote this song in about 10 minutes one afternoon. He put words to the melody of an old slave song called “No More Auction Block,” which he might have learned from Carter family records.

2015:  not on survey, Highest Ranking:  #23 (2014)



“Summertime Summertime” by The Jamies (1958)

The song’s fame far eclipsed the band’s; The Fortunes, the Doodletown Pipers, Hobby Horse, Jan and Dean, The Legendary Masked Surfers, and Sha Na Na all covered the tune, and it was used in commercials for Buick, Ken-L Ration Burger Time Dog Food and Applebee’s.  It was also featured in the 1978 film Fingers.

2015:  not on survey, Highest Ranking:  First year on survey



“Quarter to Three” by Gary U.S. Bonds (1961)

Before Bonds recorded this, it was an instrumental by The Church Street Five called “A Night With Daddy G.” Bond’s manager added lyrics to it and had him record it.

2015:  #11, Highest Ranking:  #11 (2015)



“Blue Moon” by The Marcels (1961)

Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart wrote this for the 1934 movie Manhattan Melodrama.  This was also used in the movies Words And Music (1948); Malaya (1949); East Side, West Side (1950); and With A Song In My Heart (1952) before Elvis Presley recorded it for Sun Records in 1954.

2015:  #6, Highest Ranking:  #6 (2014 and 2015)



“Dream Lover” by Bobby Darin (1959)

Neil Sedaka played piano on this track, and also the B-side of the single, which was a song called “Bullmoose.” Sedaka had a song on the charts called “The Diary,” but was not yet widely known as a solo artist.

2015:  #30, Highest Ranking:  #22 (2013)



“La Bamba” by Ritchie Valens (1958)

“La Bamba” is a traditional Mexican Folk song that became a hit for the young rocker Ritchie Valens’ after he died in a plane crash on February 3, 1959 along with Buddy Holly and The Big Bopper. The song is very popular with Mariachi bands and is often played at weddings. The lyrics are in Spanish: “Para bailar la Bamba se necessita una poca de gracia” means “To dance La Bamba you need to have a little grace.”

2015:  #83, Highest Ranking:  #20 (2012)



“Blue Suede Shoes” by Carl Perkins (1956)

Perkins recorded this in Memphis for Sam Phillips at Sun Records. As he was driving to make his first national appearance to promote it (on the Perry Como Show), he got into an accident that seriously injured him and killed his brother. “I was 85 miles away from being the first rockabilly on national television,” he recalled.

2015:  not on survey, Highest Ranking:  First year on survey



“Honeycomb” by Jimmie Rodgers (1957)

Honeycomb” is a popular song written by Bob Merrill in 1954.  The song is referenced in the McGuire Sisters hit song “Sugartime”, when the soloist sings the line: “Just be my “Honeycomb” which is echoed by the other sisters and the male chorus. (Honeycomb, Honeycomb, Honeycomb.)

2015:  not on survey, Highest Ranking:  First year on survey


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

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