12 Days of Greats


Here’s the 12 songs that just missed the 2018 Great 88, featured in our annual “12 Days of Greats”:


“The Night Has a Thousand Eyes” by Bobby Vee (1963)

Bobby Vee was a pioneer in music videos, appearing in several musical films and in the Scopitone series of early film-and-music jukebox recordings.

2017:  not on survey, Highest Ranking:  #2 (2013)



“Smokey Places” by The Corsairs (1962)

“Smoky Places” was used in the 1994 movie, There Goes My Baby and in the 2006 Sopranos episode “Mayham”.

2017:  not on survey, Highest Ranking:  first year on survey



“The Monkey Time” by Major Lance(1963)

There has been some dispute over Major Lance’s birth year; some sources claim he was born in 1941 or in 1942 (as Lance claimed).   However, 1939 appears to be the correct year of birth. In the 1940 U.S. Census, there is a “Mager” Lance listed in Washington County, Mississippi, as the one-year-old son of Lucendy Lance, a widow.   Lance’s gravestone also states he was born in 1939.

2017:  not on survey, Highest Ranking:  first year on survey



“Heart and Soul” by The Cleftones (1961)

“Heart and Soul” is a popular song, with music by Hoagy Carmichael and lyrics by Frank Loesser, published in 1938.  Two different cover versions charted in 1961, with The Cleftones reaching #18 and Jan and Dean reaching #25. 

2017:  not on survey, Highest Ranking:  #53 (2014)



“Can’t Help Falling in Love” by Elvis Presley (1962)

This was Elvis’ most popular and famous “love song,” but it was not sung to his love interest in Blue Hawaii – It was sung to his grandmother on the occasion of her birthday. Elvis presented her with a music box, which she opened and it played the song, which Elvis then sang along with.

2017:  #24, Highest Ranking:  #9 (2015)



“Stranded in the Jungle” by The Cadets (1956)

The Cadets were originally the Jacks — they changed their name so they could cover the Jayhawks’ original version of this for Modern Records.

2017:  not on survey, Highest Ranking:  First time on survey



“Could This Be Magic” by The Dubs (1957)

The Dubs formed from the merging of two short-lived vocal groups in Harlem, New York, The Five Wings and The Scale-Tones.  After some prompting by Richard Blandon when he showed up at a Scale-Tones’ rehearsal, a new group emerged. This included Blandon and his cousin Billy Carlisle from the Five Wings, and Cleveland Still, James “Jake” Miller and Thomas Gardner from the Scale-Tones.

2017:  #42, Highest Ranking:  #42 (2017)



“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.

2017:  #13, Highest Ranking:  #13 (2017)



“If You Wanna Be Happy” by Jimmy Soul (1961)

Producer Frank Guida adapted this song from the calypso melody. Guida loved calypso music and spent some time in Trinidad; he came up with a song called “Twistin’ Matilda (And The Channel)” by combining calypso and R&B. Guida, who was from Norfolk, Virginia, had produced Gary U.S. Bonds and Tommy Facenda, but he found a new singer to record “Twistin’ Matilda” – James McCleese, who became Jimmy Soul.  “Wanna Be Happy” was his follow-up song.

2017:  not on survey, Highest Ranking:  first year on survey



“My Own True Love” by The Duprees (1962)

This was originally an instrumental known as “Tara’s Theme” and will be recognized by film buffs as the opening music of the epic film Gone With The Wind. The words were added by lyricist Mack David, and it was released in October 1948 by Margaret Whiting backed by Frank De Vol and his Orchestra. It has been widely recorded since. 

2017:  not on survey, Highest Ranking:  first year on survey



“Bristol Stomp” by The Dovells (1961)

Written in 1961 by Kal Mann and Dave Appell, two executives with the Cameo-Parkway record label, the song is about teenagers who were dancing a new step called “The Stomp” at Good Will Hose Company dances in Bristol. It refers to Bristol, Pennsylvania, a blue collar suburb of Philadelphia.

2017:  #65, Highest Ranking:  #65 (2017)



“Mack the Knife” by Bobby Darin (1959)

Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht wrote this song in 1928 for the German play The Threepenny Opera. “Mack” is Macheath, the title character, portrayed as a criminal. The light melody can make this feel like an upbeat song, but it contrasts sharply with the lyrics, which are about a murderer.

2017:  #63, Highest Ranking:  #5 (2014)



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

WCWP logo newJoin us  for “The Grooveyard” following “Rick’s Redneck Ranch” each Saturday night at 7 PM.  We count down the Grooveyard Top Ten songs from the date in history at 8 PM, and your requests on the Grooveyard Party Hour at 9 PM.  Hear us on 88.1 FM on Long Island, by clicking the 88.1 FM link on wcwp.org or via the TuneIn app.  or the 88.1 FM button on the WCWP app for Android or iPhones.  You can also follow us on Twitter.

It’s Saturday nights with. . .

“The Grooveyard”

…Where Oldies Come Alive!



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