Here’s songs 78-88 on the 2017 Great 88:
“Little Darlin’ ” by The Diamonds (1957)
It was written by Maurice Williams with both melody and doo-wop accompaniment strongly emphasizing the clave rhythm. It was first recorded by Excello Records in January 1957 and quickly released as a rhythm-and-blues song by Williams’ R&B group, The Gladiolas.
2017: #66, Highest Ranking: #4 (2014)
“Love Me Tender” by Elvis Presley (1956)
This was the theme song to the first of 31 Elvis movies. The movie was titled The Reno Brothers before it was renamed to capitalize on the song. Elvis originally had just a small role in the movie, but during filming it became apparent that he was a really big deal, and his role was expanded to take advantage of his stardom.
2017: not on survey, Highest Ranking: #70 (2015)
“At My Front Door” by El Dorados (1955)
The group formed in Chicago in 1952, originally as “Pirkle Lee and the Five Stars”. It comprised Pirkle Lee Moses Jr. (lead vocals), Louis Bradley and Arthur Basset (tenors), Jewel Jones (second tenor/baritone), James Maddox and Richard Nickens (both baritone/bass). When Moses Jr. got out of the United States Air Force in 1954, they changed their name to The El Dorados.
2017: not on survey, Highest Ranking: first time on survey
“Shout (Parts 1 and 2)” by The Isley Brothers (1959)
The Isleys wrote this on the spur of the moment at a Washington, DC, concert in mid-1959. As they performed Jackie Wilson’s “Lonely Teardrops,” Ronald Isley ad-libbed, “WELLLLLLLLLLL… you know you make me want to SHOUT” and Rudy and O’Kelly joined in on the improvisation. The audience went wild and afterwards, RCA executive Howard Bloom suggested putting it out as their first RCA single.
2017: not on survey, Highest Ranking: #35 (2015)
“Sixty Minute Man” by Billy Ward and the Dominos (1951)
Written by group member Billy Ward and his collaborator/business partner Rose Marks, this is an early Doo-Wop classic that held up to many Rock and Roll records that emerged later in the ’50s. The song is rooted in Blues music, and follows the frequent Blues theme of the singer bragging about his sexual prowess. This song had more of an R&B sound and was an early influence on Rock music.
2017: not on survey, Highest Ranking: #22 (2015)
“Crazy” by Patsy Cline (1961)
This was written by Willie Nelson. He was a struggling country singer at the time and got a big break when Cline recorded this and made it a hit. It has become one of Nelson’s most enduring songs. On an episode of VH1’s Storytellers, Willie Nelson revealed that this was originally titled “Stupid.”
2017: not on survey, Highest Ranking: First year on survey
“The Lion Sleeps Tonight” by The Tokens (1961)
South African singer Solomon Linda recorded the song in Johannesburg after being discovered by a talent scout. The chanting was mostly improvised, but worked extraordinarily well. Released on the Gallo label, it became a huge hit across South Africa. Around 1948, Gallo sent a copy to Decca Records in the US, hoping to get it distributed there. Folk singer Pete Seeger got a hold of it and started working on an English version.
2017: #70, Highest Ranking: #3 (2015)
“You Belong to Me” by The Duprees (1962)
A 1952 version of this song by Jo Stafford was the most popular, topping the charts in both the US and UK. The version by The Duprees reached #7 on the national charts.
2017: #35, Highest Ranking: #7 (2015)
“Spanish Harlem” by Ben E. King (1961)
Phil Spector was an apprentice of sorts to Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, who took him on as a favor to their music publisher, Lester Still. After a few months, the duo agreed to write a song with him. According to Leiber, they decided to meet at his house at 6:30, and Spector showed up at 5:00. Stoller was having dinner with his family and running late; by the time he was ready to come over, Leiber and Spector had finished the song.
2016: not on survey, Highest Ranking: First year on survey
“Big Girls Don’t Cry” by Four Seasons (1962)
This song was designed to sound similar to The Four Seasons first hit, “Sherry”, which topped the charts for 5 weeks a month before “Big Girls Don’t Cry” hit the top spot. Motown soon applied the same approach to its acts: if someone had a hit – especially an unexpected one – follow it up with something very similar. Like “Sherry,” this spent 5 weeks at #1 in the US.
2016: not on survey, Highest Ranking: #30 (2012)
“It’s Now or Never” by Elvis Presley (1960)
This was one of seventeen songs written by songwriter and producer Aaron Schroeder for Elvis. Others include “Stuck on You” and “A Big Hunk O’ Love” but this was the biggest hit that he penned for The King. Another familiar tune to many that he wrote was the theme song for the TV series Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!
2016: not on survey, Highest Ranking: #24 (2013)
Join 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.
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