Here’s songs 1-11 on the 2016 Great 88:
“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.
2015: #19, Highest Ranking: #16 (2013)
“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.
2015: #56, Highest Ranking: #2 (2012)
“Only the Lonely (Know the Way I Feel” by Roy Orbison (1960)
Roy Orbison wrote this with his songwriting partner Joe Melson, but intended to offer the song to either Elvis Presley or the Everly Brothers (who had already recorded Orbison’s song “Claudette”). The Everly Brothers persuaded Orbison that he should cut it himself.
2015: #15, Highest Ranking: #3 (2012)
“Oh What a Night” by The Dells (1956)
Re-released in 1969, the song was refashioned as a soul song released on the Cadet label. “Oh, What a Night” was notably different from its original counterpart with an altered arrangement and tempo, which included a spoken recitation, in the Introduction, from the bass member of the group.
2015: #2, Highest Ranking: #2 (2015)
“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”
2015: not on survey, Highest Ranking: #35 (2014)
“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.
2015: #37, Highest Ranking: #14 (2012)
“In the Still of the Night” by The Five Satins (1956)
This is the only song to have charted on the Billboard Hot 100 three separate times, by the same artist with the same version each time. After initially reaching #24 in 1956, it was released again in 1960 and reached #81. Then more than a year later in 1961 it reached #99.
2015: #1, Highest Ranking: #1 (2015)
“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).
2015: not on survey, Highest Ranking: #29 (2012)
“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.
2015: not on survey, Highest Ranking: first time on survey
“That’ll Be the Day” by Buddy Holly and the Crickets (1957)
Buddy Holly and Jerry Allison, the drummer on the Crickets, saw John Wayne’s movie, “The Searchers”. In the movie, Wayne keeps replying “That’ll be the day” every time another character in the film predicts or proclaims something will happen when he felt it was not likely to happen. The phrase stuck in Jerry’s mind, and when they were hanging out at Jerry’s house one night, Buddy looked at Jerry and said that it sure would be nice if they could record a hit song. Jerry replied with, “That’ll be the day,” mocking John Wayne in the western.
2015: #21, Highest Ranking: #8 (2014)
“Runaway” by Del Shannon (1961)
Shannon and his keyboard player, Max Crook, came up with this while they were playing a club in their hometown of Battle Creek, Michigan. Crook played a keyboard called a “Musitron” on the song.
2015: #13, Highest Ranking: #1 (2012)
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