Here’s songs 23-33 on the 2019 Great 88:
“New Orleans” by Gary US Bonds (1960)
Producer Frank Guida chose Anderson’s stage name, U.S. Bonds, in hopes that it would be confused with a public service announcement advertising the sale of government bonds and thereby garner more radio airplay. This was his first hit song.
2018: #41, Highest Ranking: #18 in 2017
“It’s Only Make Believe” by Conway Twitty (1958)
Conway Twitty was US singer Harold Lloyd Jenkins. He changed his name in 1957 upon signing with Sun Records (although nothing was released) and the next year he switched to MGM with whom he recorded this. He changed his musical style to country in 1965 and scored 41 chart toppers on the Country charts before dying from cardiac arrest in 1993.
2018: #57, Highest Ranking: #8 in 2013
“Peggy Sue” by Buddy Holly (1957)
Holly wrote this about Peggy Sue Gerron, who was dating Holly’s drummer with The Crickets, Jerry Allison. Holly was not involved with Peggy Sue, but liked the name for the song. Allison and Peggy Sue eventually got married, but divorced 11 years later.
2018: #24, Highest Ranking: #16 in 2016
“Sea of Love” by Phil Philips with the Twilights (1959)
Two other versions of this song entered the US Top-40. First, Del Shannon hit #33 in 1984, then The Honeydrippers took it to #2 in 1984. The Honeydrippers were a pet side project of Robert Plant’s, scratching his itch to have an R&B band. They were made up of Led Zeppelin alumni Plant and Jimmy Page, Yardbirds alumnus Jeff Beck, Nile Rodgers from the band Chic (Yowza, yowza, yowza!), and Paul Shaffer (Late Night with David Letterman bandleader).
2018: #49, Highest Ranking: #14 in 2016
“A White Sport Coat and a Pink Carnation” by Marty Robbins (1957)
Robbins rwrote the song in approximately twenty minutes while being transported in a standard automobile. He is said to have had the inspiration for the song while driving from a motel to a venue in Ohio where he was due to perform that evening. During the course of the journey, he passed a local high school, where its students were dressed ready for their prom.
2018: #66, Highest Ranking: #66 in 2018
“It’s All in the Game” by Tommy Edwards (1958)
This is the only #1 hit ever written by a US Vice President. It was composed in 1911 by then-banker Charles Gates Dawes, who became VP under Calvin Coolidge in 1925. The lyrics were added in 1951 by the Brill Building songwriter Carl Sigman, who also changed the song’s name to “It’s All in the Game.”
2018: #50, Highest Ranking: #20 in 2017
“Whole Lotta Shakin’ Going On” by Jerry Lee Lewis (1957)
Radio stations found all kinds of reasons not to play this song: It was too suggestive, he cursed on it, (“We-e-ll-a” sounded like “We-hella”), he sounded black (most stations didn’t play songs by black artists). Still, the song sold well in the southern United States, but it wasn’t until Lewis’ TV debut on The Steve Allen Show on July 28, 1957 that it became a national hit and sold over 6 million copies. The song also generated a lot of controversy, as the lyrics are rather lascivious and quite shocking coming from a singer from the Bible Belt.
2018: #65, Highest Ranking: #15 in 2017
“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.”
2018: #26, Highest Ranking: #16 in 2016
“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.
2018: #20, Highest Ranking: #2 in 2017
“Wake Up Little Susie” by The Everly Brothers (1957)
At an appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show while campaigning for President in year 2000, George W. Bush was asked by Oprah what his favorite song was. He said: “Wake Up Little Susie – by Buddy Holly.”
2018: #11, Highest Ranking: #1 in 2014
“Wait Til’ My Bobby Gets Home” by Darlene Love (1963)
As a minister’s daughter, Love grew up listening to gospel music and was a dedicated member of her church in San Antonio, Texas. She began singing in her church choir at age ten. During choir practice she caught the attention of choir director Cora Martin. After singing for Martin she was asked to go to the Music Mart where she sang and did some broadcasts; Love’s career began there.
2018: #32, Highest Ranking: #32 in 2018
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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