Van Piano Man Walls
VAN PIANO MAN WALLS was said to be quite an eccentric as well as a great session pianist. His piano work included Chains of Love, 5-10-15 Hours and One Mint Julep where according to lead singer Buddy Bailey, he schlepped in wearing raincoat, sunglasses and Sherlock Holmes hat. And never took em off during the entire session. Cool dude.
THE TWIST: Hank Ballard wrote and sung it but Chubby Checker from SC immortalized it to #1 in 1960 and danced it to #1 again in 1962. Never been done before or since. And he rode that twist angle all the way to the bank. He sang Let’s Twist Again, Twistin USA, Slow Twistin, & Twist…
#1 hit TWILIGHT TIME by the Platters was originally a poem written by Buck Ram in college.
That’ll Be The Day
THAT’LL BE THE DAY was a Buddy Holly hit. It was said he scooped the title from John Wayne’s usual stoic answer in “The Searchers” Another #1 song title lifted from a movie line in a Rhonda Fleming flick was a falsetto hit by the Four Seasons, called Big Girl’s Don’t Cry.
Tossin and Turnin
Bobby Lewis who recorded the huge hit TOSSIN AND TURNIN in 1961 learned piano and music in an orphanage. Adopted at 12 he had jobs as ice man, desk clerk, janitor and truck driver. His first song was Solid As A Rock in 1956.
In the 50s little SUN RECORDS of Memphis probably had more talent walk in and out than any other record label. Elvis, Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Howlin Wolf, Rufus Thomas, Roy Orbison, Charlie Rich to name a few. The man just couldn’t keep good help.
Hoagy Carmichael who wrote Heart and Soul, Lazy River and Georgia also wrote STAR DUST at a college class reunion in 1927. Star Dust became one of the Clover’s first hits. Hoagy is the piano player who taught the armless man to play chopsticks in the movie, The Best years of Our Lives.
Smoke Gets In Your Eyes
The Platters’ SMOKE GETS IN YOUR EYES written by Jerome Kerns was held up by his widow until publisher Max Dreyfus helped change her mind by whispering gently, “Madame, this might be a million seller.” And it was in 1959.
SMOKIE, a way cool instrumental by Bill Black’s Combo was a hot dance number in 1959. Bill Black, who learned on a cigar box with a string, played bass for Elvis on Don’t Be Cruel. That smokin sax on Smokie is Ace Cannon.
SIXTEEN TONS, Tennessee Ernie Ford’s #1 1955 hit was the song Bo Diddley was scheduled to play on his first appearance on Ed Sullivan. But when he took the stage, he double-crossed Sullivan and played his rompin, rockin Bo Diddley. Yea we dug it.