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Dominique

“Dominique” is a 1963 French language popular song, written and performed by Jeannine Deckers of Belgium, better known as Sœur Sourire or The Singing Nun. “Dominique” is about Saint Dominic, a Spanish-born priest and founder of the Dominican Order, of which she was a member (as Sister Luc-Gabrielle).[1] The English-version lyrics of the song were written by Noël Regney.[2] In addition to French and English, Deckers recorded versions in Dutch, German, Hebrew, Japanese, and Portuguese.

“Dominique” reached the Top 10 in 11 countries in late 1963 and early 1964, topping the chart in the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. It reached the Top 5 in Norway, Denmark, Ireland and South Africa, with the song making it into the lower reaches of the Top 10 in the Netherlands, West Germany, and the United Kingdom. The song reached and stayed at No. 1 on WLS for the last three weeks of November, then both the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and “easy listening chart” (since renamed the Adult Contemporary chart) for the four weeks in December of 1963. It was the second foreign language song to hit #1 on the Hot 100 in 1963, the first being “Sukiyaki” by Kyu Sakamoto. For the next ten years or so, although there were a number of hits with most of the vocals in a language other than English (e.g., The Sandpipers’ “Guantanamera”, Rene y Rene’s “Lo Mucho Que Te Quiero”, etc.), no other purely foreign language song reached the Billboard Hot 100’s top 40 until the Spanish language hit “Eres tú (Touch The Wind)”, which entered the top 40 on 16 February 1974 and peaked at No. 9 on 23–30 March 1974.[3]

Deckers never again reached the same success and continued to lead a colourful, but tragic life. She and her companion of ten years, Annie Pescher, both committed suicide in 1985, as a result of financial and tax problems stemming from the recording of the song.[4]

“Dominique” outsold Elvis Presley during its stay on the Billboard Hot 100; it was the second to last No. 1 hit before the British Invasion.

I’m Leaving It Up to You

“I’m Leaving It Up to You” is a song written by and originally performed by Don Harris and Dewey Terry in 1957.[1] It was later popularized in 1963 by the American duo Dale and Grace, who took the song to number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. In 1974, Donny and Marie Osmond reached the top five on the US Hot 100 chart and peaked at number one on the Billboard Hot Adult Contemporary chart with their cover version.

Deep Purple (song)

“Deep Purple” was the biggest hit written by pianist Peter DeRose, who broadcast, 1923 to 1939, with May Singhi as “The Sweethearts of the Air” on the NBC radio network. “Deep Purple” was published in 1933 as a piano composition. The following year, Paul Whiteman had it scored for his suave “big band” orchestra that was “making a lady out of jazz” in Whiteman’s phrase. “Deep Purple” became so popular in sheet music sales that Mitchell Parish added lyrics in 1938:

When the deep purple falls over sleepy garden walls

And the stars begin to twinkle in the sky—

In the mist of a memory you wander back to me

Breathing my name with a sigh.

In the still of the night

once again I hold you tight.

Tho’ you’re gone your love lives on when moonlight beams.

And as long as my heart will beat,

lover, we’ll always meet

here in my deep purple dreams….

Larry Clinton and His Orchestra recorded one of the most popular versions of the song on 23 December 1938. Featuring vocalist Bea Wain, the Clinton version was a huge hit. Released in January 1939 on Victor Records, the Clinton recording was number one on the U.S. popular music charts for nine consecutive weeks in 1939. The next most popular version was made by Artie Shaw with vocalist Helen Forrest. The song was also a top ten hit for Guy Lombardo in 1939. The song is a sentimental ballad. The tune was a favorite of Babe Ruth, and Peter DeRose performed the song at Ruth’s birthday parties for about a decade.

It was Adelaide Hall who introduced the song to Britain and recorded it for Decca. Her version was released on 15 May 1939.[1] The song remained a traditional pop favourite, recast in 1957 as a doo wop classic by The Dominoes with vocals by Eugene Mumford. Screamin’ Jay Hawkins (best remembered for his song “I Put A Spell On You”) also released his version of “Deep Purple” on his 1958 album, At Home with Screamin’ Jay.

Harry James recorded a version in 1951 on the album Your Dance Date With Harry James And His Orchestra (Columbia CL 6138). The saxophone player Earl Bostic had an instrumental hit with “Deep Purple” c. 1951, along with his biggest hit “Flamingo” (both on his 1963 LP The Best Of Earl Bostic). Joe Loss and His Orchestra recorded it on October 15, 1956. It was released on the 78 rpm record HMV POP 107. Pop and jazz recording artist Joni James also covered “Deep Purple” for her 1956 album In the Still of the Night. The song was released in 1959 by Ralph Marterie on the Wing album Marvelous Marterie. Avant-garde jazz keyboardist Sun Ra recorded the song in 1953 with Swing violinist Stuff Smith.[2] An instrumental version of “Deep Purple” was recorded by The Shadows for their 1965 album The Sound of The Shadows.

Sugar Shack

“Sugar Shack” is a song written in 1962 by Keith McCormack and Jimmy Torres. Torres gave his song rights to his aunt, Fay Voss, as a birthday present. The song was recorded in 1963 by Jimmy Gilmer and the Fireballs at Norman Petty Studios in Clovis, New Mexico.[1] The unusual and distinctive organ part was played on a Hammond Solovox, Model J.[2]

“Sugar Shack” hit number one on both the Billboard Hot 100 (where it spent five weeks from October 12 to November 9, 1963)[1] and Cashbox singles charts (where it spent three weeks from October 19 to November 2, 1963[3]). Its run on the Billboard R&B chart was cut short because Billboard ceased publishing an R&B chart from November 30, 1963 to January 23, 1965. “Sugar Shack” has the distinction of being the last single to make it to number one on the Billboard R&B chart because Billboard did not publish an R&B chart for fourteen months.[4] On November 29, 1963, the song received RIAA certification for selling over a million copies, earning gold record status, and was the number-one single of the year according to Billboard.[5] Billboard also ranked it as the No. 1 song for 1963.[6] “Sugar Shack” also hit the UK at #45 on the Record Retailer chart

Songwriter Keith McCormack stated in an interview that one night he wrote most of the song ‘Sugar Shack’ but asked his aunt (Faye Voss) what black skin-tight pants were called. She said ‘Leotards’ and so they finished the song together.[7]

Blue Velvet (song)

“Blue Velvet” is a popular song written in 1950 by Bernie Wayne and Lee Morris. The song was originally recorded and performed by Tony Bennett, who charted with it in 1951. It was remade four years later by the traditional R&B group the Clovers. Many other artists have recorded the song, most notably Bobby Vinton. The original recording by Bennett was a top twenty hit, while Vinton’s version soared to the number one position on the Billboard Hot 100.

My Boyfriend’s Back (song)

“My Boyfriend’s Back” was a hit song in 1963 for the Angels, an American girl group. It was written by the songwriting team of Bob Feldman, Jerry Goldstein and Richard Gottehrer (a.k.a. FGG Productions who later formed the group The Strangeloves). The recording, employing the services of drummer Gary Chester,[1] was originally intended as a demo for The Shirelles, but ended up being released as recorded.[2] The result was a single that spent three weeks at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, and number two on the R&B Billboard.

The song is a word of warning to a would-be suitor who, after the narrator of the song rebuffed his advances, went on to spread nasty rumors accusing the narrator of romantic indiscretions. Now, the narrator declares, her boyfriend is back in town and ready to settle the score, and she tells the rebuffed would-be suitor to watch his back.

Other musicians on the record included Herbie Lovelle on drums, Billy Butler, Bobby Comstock, and Al Gorgoni on guitar, and Bob Bushnell overdubbing on an electric and an upright bass. This song also features a brass section as well.

The song begins with a spoken recitation from the lead singer that goes: “He went away, and you hung around, and followed me every night. And when I wouldn’t go out with you, you said things that weren’t very nice.”

The album version features the line: “Hey. I can see him comin’/ Now you better start a runnin'”. before the instrumental repeat of the bridge section and a repeat of one stanza from the refrain, before the coda section.

The inspiration for the song was when co-writer Bob Feldman overheard a conversation between a high school girl and the boy she was rebuffing.[3]

Fingertips

“Fingertips” is a 1963 number one hit single recorded live by “Little” Stevie Wonder for Motown’s Tamla label.[1] Wonder’s first hit single, “Fingertips” was the first live, non-studio recording to reach number one on the Billboard Pop Singles chart in the United States since Johnny Standley’s 1952 comic monologue “It’s in the Book”.

Written and composed by Wonder’s mentors, Clarence Paul and Henry Cosby, “Fingertips” was originally a jazz instrumental recorded for Wonder’s first studio album, The Jazz Soul of Little Stevie. The live version of the song was recorded in June 1962 during a Motortown Revue performance at the Regal Theater in Chicago, Illinois. Containing only a few stanzas of lyrics, “Fingertips” is essentially an instrumental piece, meant to showcase Wonder’s talents on the bongos and the harmonica.

So Much in Love

“So Much in Love” is a popular song sung by The Tymes that was a #1 song in the United States during the year 1963. It was The Tymes first hit single, topping the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart on August 3, 1963, and remaining there for one week. The song was written by George Williams, Bill Jackson, and arranged by Roy Straigis.

The song has been covered several times since the original version was recorded. Jay and the Americans released a cover version of the song on their 1969 album, Sands of Time. “So Much in Love” was sung by Eagle Timothy B. Schmit on the soundtrack to Fast Times at Ridgemont High released in 1982 and reached #59 on the Hot 100 as a single.[1] A 1988 rendition by Art Garfunkel got to #11 on the Adult Contemporary chart. R&B vocal group All-4-One released “So Much in Love” in late 1993 as their debut single. The All-4-One version peaked at #5 on the Hot 100 in early 1994 and was certified gold by the RIAA, selling 600,000 copies.[2][3]

Surf City (song)

“Surf City” is a song written by Brian Wilson and Jan Berry about a fictitious surf spot where there are “two girls for every boy.”[1] It was first recorded and made popular by the American duo Jan and Dean in 1963, and their single became the first surf song to become a national number-one hit.[2]

In 1991, after moving to Huntington Beach, California, Dean Torrence helped convince elected officials that the town be officially nicknamed Surf City, USA.[3] As of 2009, more than 65 businesses in the city included “Surf City” as part of their name.

Easier Said Than Done

“Easier Said Than Done” is a popular song sung by The Essex that was a number-one song in the United States during 1963. It topped the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart on July 6, 1963, and remained there for two weeks.[1] The song was written by William Linton and Larry Huff.[2]

The Essex were active-duty members of the United States Marine Corps at the time, as was Linton, who wrote the song at the request of Essex member Walter Vickers. Linton said the song’s rhythm was inspired by the sound of the Teletype machines in the communications office at Camp Lejeune.[2] The group was not thrilled with the song, but recorded it for use as the B-side of their debut single, “Are You Going My Way”. The recording was unusually short, and editing was used to repeat part of the recording; even so, the song was only a little over two minutes. The single was released in May 1963, but “Easier Said Than Done” quickly emerged as the more popular side.[3] The song became a major hit with broad appeal, reaching number one on both the pop and rhythm and blues charts.[4] The song became the title track of the group’s first album, which reached number 113 on the Billboard album chart, becoming their only charting album.[5]

Sukiyaki (song)

“Ue o Muite Arukō” (上を向いて歩こう?, “I Look Up As I Walk”) is a Japanese-language song that was performed by Japanese crooner Kyu Sakamoto, and written by lyricist Rokusuke Ei and composer Hachidai Nakamura. Ei wrote the lyrics while walking home from a Japanese student demonstration protesting continued US Army presence, expressing his frustration at the failed efforts.[1]

In Anglophone countries, it is best known under the alternative title “Sukiyaki”, a term with no relevance to the song’s lyrics, as sukiyaki is a Japanese dish of cooked beef.

The song reached the top of the Billboard Hot 100 charts in the United States in 1963, and remains the only Japanese-language and Asian song ever to have done so. In addition, it was and still is one of the few non-Indo-European languages’ songs to have reached the top of the US charts.

It is one of the best-selling singles of all time, having sold over 13 million copies worldwide.[2][3] The original Kyu Sakamoto recording also went to number eighteen on the R&B chart.[4] In addition, the single spent five weeks at number one on the Middle of the Road charts.[5] The recording was originally released in Japan by Toshiba in 1961. It topped the Popular Music Selling Record chart in the Japanese magazine Music Life for three months, and was ranked as the number one song of 1961 in Japan.

Well-known English-language cover versions with altogether different lyrics include “My First Lonely Night” by Jewel Akens in 1966 and “Sukiyaki” by A Taste of Honey in 1980. The song has also been recorded in other languages.

It’s My Party (Lesley Gore song)

“It’s My Party” is a pop song recorded by multiple artists since the 1960s. In 1963, American singer Lesley Gore’s version hit #1 on the pop and rhythm and blues charts in the United States.[1] It was the first hit single for producer Quincy Jones.

The song lyrically portrays the discomfiture of a teenage girl at her birthday party when her boyfriend Johnny disappears, only to surface in the company of Judy, another girl, who is “wearing his ring,” to indicate she’s replaced the birthday girl as his love interest.[2]

The song’s chorus, “It’s my party, and I’ll cry if I want to… You would cry too if it happened to you!” became a part of American pop cultural language as a phrase used to describe being utterly humiliated and miserable during an event that is supposed to be a happy occasion.

“It’s My Party” is in the key of A major.[3] The song’s effectiveness is enhanced by several musical touches producer Quincy Jones incorporated, including Latin-sounding rhythms, double tracked vocals and effective horn parts.[2] Allmusic critic Jason Ankeny wrote of the song, “‘It’s My Party’ remains one of the most vivid evocations of adolescent heartbreak ever waxed — Quincy Jones produced the record, although you’d swear it was Aaron Spelling instead.”[2]

If You Wanna Be Happy

“If You Wanna Be Happy” is a 1963 song recorded by Jimmy Soul, written by Joseph Royster, Carmella Guida and Frank Guida.

“If You Wanna Be Happy” is based on the song “Ugly Woman” by the Trinidadian calypsonian Roaring Lion recorded in 1934. It hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100 on May 18, 1963, as well as the R&B singles chart.[1] It was issued on Guida’s S.P.Q.R. label and distributed by London Records, and in the United Kingdom on EMI’s Stateside label.

The original single lists a running time of 2:14; some later releases are slightly longer due to a longer fade-out. The song was banned on many radio stations, due to the use of the words “Ugly Girl/ Woman.” Towards the end of the song, a brief dialogue takes place between Soul and a backup singer, based on Bo Diddley’s song “Say Man”: “Say Man!!”/ “Hey baby”/ “I saw your wife the other day.”/ “Yeah??”/ “Yeah, and she’s ugly-y-y-y-y!!!”/ “Yeah, she’s ugly, but she sure can cook, baby”./ “Yeah, alright.”/ Soul’s counterpoint melody in a falsetto is heard as the song fades out.

I Will Follow Him

“I Will Follow Him” is a popular song that was first recorded in 1961 by Franck Pourcel, as an instrumental titled “Chariot”. The song achieved its widest success when it was covered by Little Peggy March in 1963. The music was written by Franck Pourcel (using the pseudonym J.W. Stole) and Paul Mauriat (using the pseudonym Del Roma).[1] It was adapted by Arthur Altman. The English lyrics were written by Norman Gimbel.[2]

He’s So Fine

“He’s So Fine” is a song written by Ronald Mack. It was recorded by The Chiffons who topped the Billboard Hot 100 for four weeks in the spring of 1963. One of the most instantly recognizable Golden Oldies with its doo-lang doo-lang doo-lang background vocal, “He’s So Fine” is also renowned as the plaintiff song in the now-infamous plagiarism case against George Harrison’s “My Sweet Lord”. Country music singer Jody Miller scored a Top Ten hit of her own in 1971 with her cover of “He’s So Fine”.

Our Day Will Come

“Our Day Will Come” is a popular song composed by Bob Hilliard and Mort Garson, which was a million-selling No. 1 chart hit in 1963 for Ruby & the Romantics.

The song’s composers were hoping to place “Our Day Will Come” with an established easy listening act and only agreed to let the new R&B group Ruby & the Romantics record the song after Kapp Records A&R director Al Stanton promised that if the Ruby & the Romantics’ single failed Kapp would record the song with Jack Jones. Stanton cut two versions of “Our Day Will Come” with Ruby & the Romantics, one with a mid-tempo arrangement and the other in a bossa nova style; the latter version, featuring a classic Hammond organ solo, was selected for release as a single in December 1962 and reached #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in March. “Our Day Will Come” was also a chart hit in Australia (#11) and the UK (#38).[1] The personnel on the original recording include Leroy Glover on organ, Vinnie Bell, Al Gorgoni and Kenny Burrell on guitar, Russ Savakus on bass, Gary Chester on drums and George Devens on percussion.

Walk Like a Man (The Four Seasons song)

“Walk Like a Man” is a song written by Bob Crewe and Bob Gaudio and originally recorded by The Four Seasons.[1]

The song features the counterpoint of Nick Massi’s bass voice and the falsetto of lead singer Frankie Valli. It was their 3rd #1 hit, initially reaching the top of the Billboard Hot 100 on March 2, 1963, remaining there for three weeks. “Walk Like a Man” also went to number three on the R&B singles chart [2]

During the sessions that produced the hit recording, the fire department received an emergency call from the Abbey Victoria Hotel (the building that housed the Stea-Phillips Recording Studios). As producer Bob Crewe was insisting upon recording the perfect take, smoke and water started to seep into the studio as the group repeated their efforts upon Crewe’s insistence: the room directly above the studio was on fire, yet Crewe blocked the studio door and continued recording until a few firemen used their axes on it and pulled Crewe out.[3]

Cover versions of the song have been recorded by other musicians such as the Mary Jane Girls (1986), Divine (1985), Dreamhouse and Jan & Dean (1963) off the album Jan & Dean Take Linda Surfin. Plastic Bertrand did a cover version in French, entitled C’est Le Rock ‘n’ Roll (1978) and Hungarian band Bon Bon also covered the song with the title Sexepilem (1999).

The song “Walk Like a Man” is part of the The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll list.[4]

Hey Paula (song)

“Hey Paula” is an American pop standard love song recorded by the singing duo Paul & Paula. It hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100 on the week ending February 9, 1963, and also made it to number one on the Hot R&B Singles chart.[1] “Paul” was the song’s writer, Ray Hildebrand,[2] a student at Texas’ Howard Payne University, a Baptist institution in the city of Brownwood. “Paula” was Jill Jackson, the niece of the owner of the boarding house where Ray lived.

Hildebrand wrote the song, originally titled “Paul and Paula”, taking inspiration from the Annette Funicello hit “Tall Paul”.[3] Hildebrand and Jackson performed the song on a local radio station[4] and the song soon became popular enough for the duo to try to make a professional recording. They went to a studio in Fort Worth, Texas, and were fortunate enough to find a producer, Major Bill Smith, with studio time and musicians booked and a missing lead vocalist. He recorded their version of the song and released it on his LeCam Records label, changing the name to “Hey Paula”, credited to Jill and Ray. When the record became a success, it was picked up by the larger Philips Records, which changed the billing to Paul and Paula.[3] Musicians on the recording included Marvin Montgomery on guitar, Guy Parnell on bass, Hargus Robbins on organ, Little Caesar on piano, and Ronnie Dawson on drums.

Walk Right In

“Walk Right In” is the title of a country blues song written by musician Gus Cannon and originally recorded by Cannon’s Jug Stompers in 1929, released on Victor Records, catalogue 38611.[1] It was reissued on album in 1959 as a track on The Country Blues. A revised version of the song by The Rooftop Singers, with the writing credits allocated to group members Erik Darling and Bill Svanoe, became an international hit in 1963.

Go Away Little Girl

“Go Away Little Girl” is a popular song written by Gerry Goffin and Carole King. It was first recorded by Bobby Vee for Liberty Records on March 28, 1962. The lyrics consist of a young man asking a young woman to stay away from him, so that he will not be tempted to betray his steady girlfriend by kissing her. The song is notable for making the American Top 20 three times: for Steve Lawrence in 1962 (US number 1), for The Happenings in 1966 (US number 12), and for Donny Osmond in 1971 (US number 1). It is also the first song, and one of only nine, to reach US number 1 by two different artists.[1]

Telstar (song)

“Telstar” is a 1962 instrumental written and produced by Joe Meek for English band the Tornados.[1] The track reached No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 in December 1962 (the second British recording to reach No. 1 on that chart in the year, after “Stranger on the Shore” in May), and was also a number one hit in the UK Singles Chart. It was the second instrumental single to hit No. 1 in 1962 on both the US and UK weekly charts.[note 1]

The record was named after the Telstar communications satellite, which was launched into orbit on 10 July 1962. It was written and produced by Joe Meek, and featured either a clavioline, or the similar Jennings Univox, both keyboard instruments with distinctive electronic sounds. It was recorded in Meek’s studio in a small flat above a shop in Holloway Road, North London. “Telstar” won an Ivor Novello Award and is estimated to have sold at least five million copies worldwide.[2]

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