Cool Stuff

  • MARVIN GAYE’S first lead vocal was on what song? I’ll Be Doggone, Stubborn Kind of Fellow, nope. They say he sang lead on Mama Loocie for Harvey Fuqua’s Moonglows in 1959. Harvey and Marvin both married sisters of Berry Gordy. Marvin was so bummed out after Tami Terrell...
  • An airborne jitterbug, fast shag of the 50s was LITTLE BITTY PRETTY ONE by Thurston Harris. Written and first recorded by Bobby Day, Thurston knocked it off almost exactly and sang it to a hit. The next year Frankie Lymon covered it. Then Clyde McPhatter, then the Jackson Five, Huey Lewis...
  •   BOOGIE WOOGIE pioneers are beaucoup, but four names cream off the top. There was Pinetop Smith who might have recorded the first song with the name boogie woogie in the title in 1928. Pinetop’s career core-dumped the following year when a stray bullet in a bar fight caught him...
  • Polish-born PAT BENATAR grew up classically trained with a 31/2 octave opera voice. After jobs as a singing waitress she caught a gig at Catch a Rising Star club. One night she showed up spandexed as cat woman in her halloween costume and career lightning struck. She went on to become one of the...
  • Even in the Jim Crow days there was always a light shining at the end of the race tunnel. Sexy lyrics and boogie beats brought the races together on the dance floors and the stage. Some of the INTEGRATED GROUPS were the Clefttones, Del Vikings, Frankie Lymon, Booker T, Falcons, Meadowlarks,...
  • The HOUSE OF THE RISING SUN cut in 1964 by the Animals has no known author. No one knows where or when it was written. Probably a folk tale about about a New Orleans flophouse or maybe an opium den, the British invasion group growled and guitared it into a hit.  
  • WYNONIE HARRIS of Good Rockin Tonight, lived the life he sang. Hard drinkin, hard lovin, hard shoutin. “I knew I had to be different If I was going to make any bread,” Harris said in an article for Tan Magazine. “The woods are full of blues singers, some good, some great, some...
  • When WORK WITH ME ANNIE by Hank Ballard was released it was dissed bigtime by the FCC. “They almost came into Syd Nathan's office and snatched his license off the wall,” Ballard joked. “Nuns in Boston went around snatchin my song off the jukebox.” Ballard did admit the...
  • VOO VEE AH VEE & Beer Barrel Boogie were two popular shag songs by The Platters on many Myrtle Beach and Carolina jukeboxes in the mid 50s. And you thought they only sang ballads.
  • MUSICAL FREEDOM DAY for kids occurred around 1949. After Columbia Records developed the LP in 1948, RCA jumped in and pressed the first VINYL 45 single.  Vinyl, almost unbreakable, replaced brittle shellac. With a small cutsy pink turntable, teens no longer needed mom’s buick-size...