Last month, I took a first dive into the singles my father had purchased over the years that Amy and I hadn’t confiscated. I’d found them in a cabinet drawer at my parents’ townhouse as I began to clear it out five years ago. While I’m not currently planning on going in rough chronological order, this time we are seeing the remaining 45s in the set that hit the charts before the calendar turned over to 1960. Peak positions, unless otherwise noted, are from the Hot 100.
Boyd Bennett and His Rockets, “Seventeen” (#5 Best Sellers, August 1955)
The oldest hit I found, and even though the sleeve is close to falling apart, I can’t pin down exactly when my father bought it. Don’t know that Dad ever referenced this song in my presence, but it’s a rockin’ little tune.
Bennett seems to be have been based around Louisville in the early 50s. He wasn’t quite a one-hit wonder; the very similar “My Boy Flat Top” reached #39 a few months later. Covers of “Seventeen” by the Fontane Sisters and Rusty Draper charted simultaneously, peaking at #6 and #18, respectively. It was the last Top 10 hit for the Fontanes.
Bill Haley and His Comets, “See You Later, Alligator” (#6 Best Sellers, February 1956)
Maybe I should be a little surprised that “Rock Around the Clock,” Dad’s #1 song of all time, wasn’t in his collection, while this one is (it was his #18 song). Pretty sure I came across a Haley LP, though.
Chuck Berry and His Combo, “Roll Over Beethoven” (#29 Top 100, June 1956)
Answer to a trivia question Casey once answered about one-week wonders: amazingly, this classic debuted on the chart at #29, yet fell all the way to #87 the following week. It waddled around in that neighborhood for three more weeks before falling off. Dad ranked this one at #34.
Jack Scott, “My True Love” (#3, August 1958)
Scott was a native of Windsor, Ontario, and had three other songs go Top 10 over the next couple of years. I confess that the ballad-y style doesn’t really square with what I considered Dad’s musical tastes to be, yet here it is.
This was a double-sided hit; the flip is “Honey,” which reached #11 on the Best Sellers chart. Scott passed away this past December.
Freddy Cannon, “Tallahassee Lassie” (#6, June 1959)
I know 1962’s “Palisades Park” much better (that’s Dad’s #24), but this was the song that got Cannon’s career going. He turned 83 late last year.
To be continued next month…