Here’s the 12 songs that just missed the 2017 Great 88, featured in our annual “12 Days of Greats”:
“Then He Kissed Me” by The Crystals (1963)
Dolores “La La” Brooks is the only Crystal to perform on this song. Spector recorded the group’s first recordings in New York City, where they were from. When he relocated to Los Angeles, he had a group called The Blossoms (with Darlene Love singing lead) record the songs “He’s A Rebel” and “He’s Sure the Boy I Love,” which he issued as The Crystals.
2016: not on survey, Highest Ranking: #12 (2013)
“True Love Ways” by Buddy Holly (1960)
The song’s haunting melody was inspired by one of Buddy’s favorite black Gospel hymns, “I’ll Be Alright,” which was recorded by The Angelic Gospel Singers. This song was likely inspired by his wife Maria Elena.
2016: not on survey, Highest Ranking: #29 (2015)
“Till I Kissed You” by The Everly Brothers (1959)
A cover version by country singer Connie Smith reached #10 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart in 1976. It has also been a popular choice for reggae artists and several covers have been recorded including those by: Nan McClean, Delroy Jones, Dobbie Dobson and Al Campbell.
2016: not on survey, Highest Ranking: #25 (2014)
“Party Doll” by Buddy Knox (1957)
The drum sound on this was actually made by a cardboard box filled with cotton. The Crickets stickman Jerry Allison was inspired to also use a cardboard box instead of a drum for “Not Fade Away” after hearing this song.
2016: not on survey, Highest Ranking: #60 (2015)
“Bobby’s Girl” by Marcie Blane (1962)
Brooklyn native Marcie Blaine recorded a demo of “Bobby’s Girl” as a favor for a friend. Released in the fall of 1962, the song made #2 on the Cash Box chart and #3 on the Billboard Hot 100, and was later recorded for the German market in their language.
2016: not on survey, Highest Ranking: First year on survey
“You Send Me” by Sam Cooke (1957)
Cooke was signed to Specialty Records, which was a Gospel label. Cooke’s producer, Bumps Blackwell, brought this to Art Rupe, who owned the label. Rupe objected to the use of the choir on this track and was afraid it was too secular and would alienate the label’s Gospel fans. He offered Cooke a release from his contract in exchange for outstanding royalties. The song was passed to the Keen label where it sold over 2 million copies.
2016: #58, Highest Ranking: #31 (2014)
“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. Along with his songwriting partner Howard Greenfield, he had written “Keep a Walkin’,” which Darin recorded in 1958. Darin was comfortable with Sedaka’s style, and gave him the leeway to play what he thought was right for the track.
2016: not on survey, Highest Ranking: #22 (2013)
“The Great Pretender” by The Platters (1956)
This was the first ever Doo Wop #1 in the USA, and it also made The Platters the first R&B group to have a #1 on the Pop charts. The music was not known as “Doo Wop” at the time – it was categorized as Rock or R&B. Around 1970, Gus Gossert, who was an oldies DJ on WCBS in New York City, started using the term “Doo Wopp” to describe this type of music.
2016: #60, Highest Ranking: #27 (2013)
“So Much in Love” by The Tymes (1963)
The Tymes were a vocal group from Philadelphia comprised of George Williams, George Hilliard, Al “Ceasar” Berry, Norman Burnett and Donald Banks. “So Much In Love” was the first song they ever recorded.
2016: not on survey, Highest Ranking: #53 (2015)
“Summertime Blues” by Eddie Cochran (1958)
Cochran was 19 when he recorded this. It was a big hit with his teenage fans, who could relate to the lyrics about being held back by society (and parents). Cochran got an image as a rebel with a guitar, and his legend was secured when he died 2 years later while riding in the back of a taxi. He was often compared to James Dean, who was 24 when he died in a car accident.
2016: #66, Highest Ranking: #4 (2015)
“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.
2016: #51, Highest Ranking: #51 (2016)
“Have You Heard” by The Duprees (1963)
Written by Lew Douglas, Frank LaVere and LeRoy W. Rodde and published in 1952, the biggest hit version was recorded by Joni James in 1952 and charted the next year. The song was revived by The Duprees and became a hit again in 1963.
2016: not on survey, Highest Ranking: #74 (2014)
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