We’ve reached the bottom of the stack of singles I found among my father’s effects. It’s been a fun ride, and I’ve learned some things about decades-old songs, popular artists of long ago, and maybe Dad, too. I started eleven months ago with a few big hits from what I tend to think of as the golden era (late 50s/early 60s) of IRH-approved tunes; as the end neared, it felt right to have the final installment feature some rockin’ songs from that same period. In chronological order:
Two of the artists today were also featured in Part 1. “New Orleans” was the first hit for Gary U.S. Bonds. Boy, is it a smokin’ hot track.
Is there a more brazen case in rock music of the double standard applied to the behavior of men and women than Dion’s back-to-back hits of “Runaround Sue” and “The Wanderer”? (Dad paid no mind, ranking the former at #23 on his list of all-time favorites, the latter at #36.) Maybe it’s not such a shock that they were written by the same man (co-written with DiMucci in the case of “Sue”); as you can see above, it was…
Maresca wrote a few other hits, but this was the only time he charted as a performer (and he actually sings precious little on it, leaving a lot to the backups). If this had been written ten, even five, years later, would one have still yelled “loud and swell”?
Montez had five Top 40 hits, four of them middle-of-the-road numbers in 1966. The other was the biggest, the decidedly more uptempo “Let’s Dance.” The organ really makes this one go. (And now you know the address of the house we lived in when I was born.)
Growing up, I favored this one over “Surfin’ U.S.A.” Dad did, too: he had “Safari” at #14 on his hit parade, while “U.S.A.” clocked in at #37.
We wrap up Part 12, as we did Part 1, with a jaunty little number from Joey Dee. This sleeve is fascinating, with class from Dinah Washington and Sarah Vaughan, Murray the K pitching ‘golden gassers’ of (in some cases) just five years previous, and How to Strip for Your Husband: Music to Make Your Marriage Merrier. I must say I didn’t expect the last history lesson on this journey to be focused on Ann Corio, a burlesque performer of the 20s, 30s and 40s.
I hope everyone has enjoyed the series. I guess, though, this isn’t quite the final installment; next month, a postscript.