Cool Stuff

  • SHAKE, RATTLE & ROLL was cut by Big Joe Turner in ’54 but Bill Haley stole it and turned it into a white-boy monster hit phenomenon. They changed some of the risque lyrics to appease the sensitive masses, but left in, “I’m like a one-eye-cat peepin in a seafood store”...
  • SHAG: Just the mention of the word shag stirs the blood of old time lindy hoppers, jitterbugs, shufflers and fast dancers. Truth is the word’s been around for a long while. Meant to shake or wiggle in the 1800s. In England it’s the F-word. Lewis Hall swears he introduced the Shag in...
  • There are many kinds of ridicule, all cruel. Stutterers especially suffer as children. Country singer Mel Tillis succeeded in spite of it. So did Bill Withers & BB King. But only one stutterer emptied his heart out in a song. No one’s ever described it better than the lyrics in John Lee...
  • Michael Jackson wasn’t the first R&B child star. There was Frankie Why Do Fools Fall in Love Lymon at 13, Stevie Fingertips Wonder at 12, Toni Candy Store Blues Harper at 11, Little Esther singing Double Crossing Blues at 14. But the prodigy champeen might be 9-year-old SUGARCHILE...
  • STRANGER ON THE SHORE: Who was the first Brit to top the USA charts? Not the Beatles, not the Stones, not the Hermits, not Elton John. It was Acker Bilk’s swoony cheek to cheek, clarinet instrumental, Stranger on the Shore in 1962.
  • Who was blind at birth and only a tweeny 12-year-old when he scored his first #1 hit? You guessed it, LITTLE STEVIE WONDER, and the song was Fingertips. One of the very first (live) singles to hit #1 on the Hot 100.
  • MAURICE WILLIAMS and the ZODIACS started out as six Lancaster, S.C. high school glee club members. They called themselves The Royal Charms. When the owner of Ernie’s Record Rack in Nashville signed them, they became The Gladiolas. But when they saw a Ford Zodiac pass them in West Virginia...
  • SOUL STIRRERS are all but forgotten except by folks like us who dig music history. Started in 1929 they evolved into a remarkably innovative group creating the concept of 2nd lead, repeating verses in the background. They sang for Roosevelt and Churchill during the war years.  Sam Cooke...
  • Another Beach Music classic, SO FINE, by The Falcons was sung by lead singer, Eddie Floyd. Guess who replaced him in 1961? Wilson Pickett.
  • SOCK IT TO ME was the original name of Hank Ballard’s 2nd song, Work with Me Annie. They thought the original name was too suggestive and wouldn’t be played on air. They were right. They didn’t play Annie Had a Baby either.