Number 78 – 88


Here’s songs 78-88 on the 2017 Great 88:


“Surfin’ Safari” by Beach Boys (1962)

Written by Brian Wilson and lead singer Mike Love, this was the first recording to display the distinctive counterpoint harmonies for which the group became famous. The recording was also self-produced, and taken to Capitol complete with its B-side “409” which was a minor hit. This precedent made the Beach Boys the first total, self-contained artists of the rock era, not to be matched for many years to come.

2016:  not on survey, Highest Ranking:  First year on survey


“Travelin’ Man” by Ricky Nelson (1961)

Ozzie Nelson tried to work it into the plot whenever Ricky had a new record out. As Ricky became popular and the demand for his songs was overwhelming, working his singing into the plot became impossible.  Ozzie filmed Ricky singing “Travelin’ Man,” superimposed some travelogue scenes over the film and tacked it onto a show episode at the end. Viola! The music video was born.

2016:  not on survey, Highest Ranking:  #27 (2012)


“Save the Last Dance for Me” by The Drifters (1960)

Doc Pomus found a wedding invitation in a hatbox, and back came his most vivid memory from his wedding: watching his brother Raoul dance with his new wife while Doc, who had polio, sat in his wheelchair. Inspired, he stayed up all night writing the words to this song on the back of the invitation.

2016:  #71, Highest Ranking:  #8 (2015)


“Lonely Teardrops” by Jackie Wilson (1959)

This was written by the Detroit songwriting team who wrote Wilson’s first several hits – the duo of Tyran Carlo (the pen name of Wilson’s cousin Roquel Davis) and a pre-Motown Berry Gordy Jr. They co-wrote eight other songs for Wilson. At the time, Gordy was a struggling songwriter, but this song – his first Top-10 hit as a songwriter – gave him the confidence to rent a building in Detroit and start the Tamla label, which would become Motown.

2016:  #43, Highest Ranking:  #43 (2016)


“Beyond the Sea” by Bobby Darin (1960)

This is an English translation of “La Mer,” a French song from the 1940s originally recorded by Charles Trenet. “La Mer” was used in the 1948 movie Every Girl Should Be Married, starring Cary Grant.

2016:  #45 Highest Ranking:  #24 (2015)


“Take Good Care of My Baby” by Bobby Vee (1961)

Before this song, Bobby Vee’s claim to fame was filling in for Buddy Holly, who along with Ritchie Valens and The Big Bopper, died in rock history’s most famous plane crash en route to a show in Fargo, North Dakota. Vee had been scraping up a band already. On the date of the crash, the local radio actually put out a call for replacements, and Vee and his band volunteered.

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



“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:  not on survey, Highest Ranking:  #20 (2012)


“Stand By Me” by Ben E. King (1961)

After leaving The Drifters, King auditioned for the legendary songwriting team of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, singing a few popular songs before doing what he had of “Stand By Me,” which was just a few lines of lyrics with some humming to fill in the words. He agreed to collaborate on the song with Leiber and Stoller, who gave it a more contemporary sound and polished it into a hit.

2016:  #55, Highest Ranking:  #18 (2015)



“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.   Perkins never fully recovered, either emotionally or career-wise. With Perkins unable to touring and promote it, Elvis’ cover version became a massive hit. Presley’s copy was done at RCA studios in Nashville.

2016:  not on survey, Highest Ranking:  First year on survey


“There’s a Moon Out Tonight” by The Capris (1961)

All of the original members were from Queens. Started by first tenor Mike Mincieli, the original group coalesced in 1958 – also including Nick Santo (Santmaria) lead baritone, second tenor Frank Reina, baritone Vinnie Narcardo, and bass John Cassese. Their name was taken from the Lincoln Capri.

2016:  not on survey, Highest Ranking:  First year on survey



“Roll Over Beethoven” by Chuck Berry (1956)

Berry was careful to write lyrics that told a coherent story, which in this case follows a young many as he pursues his favorite music. Berry also took care to deliver his lyrics clearly so a wider audience could understand them. This helped him avoid the fate of many Little Richard songs: more popular, but sanitized covers by Pat Boone.

2016:  #87, Highest Ranking:  #87 (2016)


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

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