Stay (Maurice Williams song)

“Stay” is a doo-wop song recorded by Maurice Williams and the Zodiacs.[1] The song was written by Williams in 1953 when he was 15 years old. He had been trying to convince his date not to go home at 10 o’clock as she was supposed to. He lost the argument, but as he was to relate years later, “Like a flood, the words just came to me.”

In 1960, the song was put on a demo by Williams and his band, the Zodiacs, but it attracted no interest until a ten-year-old heard it and impressed the band members with her positive reaction to the tune.[citation needed] The band’s producers took it along with some other demos to New York City and played them for all the major record producers that they could access. Finally, Al Silver of Herald Records became interested, but insisted that the song be re-recorded as the demo’s recording levels were too low. They also said that one line, “Let’s have another smoke” would have to be removed in order for the song to be played on commercial radio. After the group recorded the tune again, it was released by Herald Records and was picked up by CKLW. It entered the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 on October 9, 1960 and reached the number one spot on November 21, 1960. It was dislodged a week later by Elvis Presley’s “Are You Lonesome Tonight?”.

The original recording of “Stay” remains the shortest single ever to reach the top of the American record charts, at 1 minute 36 seconds in length. By 1990, it had sold more than 8 million copies. It received a new lease of popularity after being featured on the Dirty Dancing soundtrack.

Georgia on My Mind

“Georgia on My Mind” is a song by Hoagy Carmichael and Stuart Gorrell, now often associated with the version by Ray Charles, a native of Georgia, who recorded it for his 1960 album The Genius Hits the Road. It became the official state song of Georgia in 1979.[1]

The song was written in 1930 by Hoagy Carmichael (music) and Stuart Gorrell (lyrics). Although it is frequently asserted that the lyrics were written not about the state of Georgia, but rather for Carmichael’s sister, Georgia Carmichael,[2] Hoagy Carmichael himself contradicted this view with his recounting of the origin of the song in his second autobiography Sometimes I Wonder. Carmichael wrote that the song was composed when bandleader Frankie Trumbauer suggested that he write about the state of Georgia. According to Carmichael, Trumbauer also suggested the opening lyrics should be “Georgia, Georgia …”, with the remaining lyrics coming from Gorrell. Carmichael made no mention at all of his sister in his telling of the song’s genesis.[3]

The song was first recorded on September 15, 1930, in New York by Hoagy Carmichael and His Orchestra with Bix Beiderbecke on muted cornet and Hoagy Carmichael on vocals. It featured Eddie Lang on guitar. The recording was part of Beiderbecke’s last recording session.[4] The recording was released as Victor 23013 with “One Night in Havana”. In 2014, the recording was inducted in the Grammy Hall of Fame.

I Want to Be Wanted

“I Want to Be Wanted” is a popular song sung by Brenda Lee that was a number-one song in the United States during the year 1960. It topped the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart for the issue dated October 24, 1960, and remained there for one week. It is an Italian song, Per tutta la vita (For all lifetime), that was in the original version of Never on Sunday. This was Brenda Lee’s second number-one single, her first being “I’m Sorry”. The English lyrics of “I Want to Be Wanted” were written by Kim Gannon.[1]

Andy Williams released a version as the B-side to his single “Stranger on the Shore”. The song was covered by Olivia Newton-John on her 1992 album Back to Basics: The Essential Collection 1971–1992.

Save the Last Dance for Me

“Save the Last Dance for Me” is the title of a popular song written by Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman, first recorded in 1960 by The Drifters, with Ben E. King on lead vocals.

In a 1990 interview [1] songwriter Doc Pomus tells the story of the song being recorded by the Drifters and originally designated as the B-side of the record. He credits Dick Clark with turning the record over and realizing Save The Last Dance was the stronger song. The Drifters’ version of the song would go on to spend three non-consecutive weeks at #1 on the U.S. pop chart, in addition to logging one week atop the U.S. R&B chart.[2] In the UK, the Drifters’ recording reached #2 in December 1960.[3] This single was produced by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, two noted American music producers who at the time had an apprentice relationship with a then-unknown Phil Spector. Although he was working with Leiber and Stoller at the time, it is unknown whether Spector assisted with the production of this record; however, many Spector fans have noticed similarities between this record and other music he would eventually produce on his own.[4] Damita Jo had a hit with one of the answer songs of this era called “I’ll Save The Last Dance For You”. On September 9, 1965, the group peformed the song live at the Cinnamon Cinder with Charlie Thomas lip-syncing the lyrics, along with fellow Drifters Johnny Moore and Eugene Pearson on backing vocals.

In the song, the narrator tells his lover she is free to mingle and socialize throughout the evening, but to make sure to save him the dance at the end of the night.[5] During an interview on Elvis Costello’s show Spectacle, Lou Reed, who worked with Pomus, said the song was written on the day of Pomus’ wedding while the wheelchair-bound groom watched his bride dancing with their guests. Pomus had polio and at times used crutches to get around.[6] His wife, Willi Burke, however, was a Broadway actress and dancer. The song gives his perspective of telling his wife to have fun dancing, but reminds her who will be taking her home and “in whose arms you’re gonna be.”[7] Musicians on the Drifters’ recording were: Bucky Pizzarelli, Allen Hanlon (guitar), Lloyd Trotman (bass), and Gary Chester (drums).

Mr. Custer

“Mr. Custer” is a march novelty song, sung by Larry Verne, and written by Al DeLory, Fred Darian, and Joseph Van Winkle. It was a number-one song in the United States in 1960, topping the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart for the issue dated October 10, 1960, and remained there for one week. It is a comical song about a soldier’s plea to Custer before the climactic Battle of the Little Bighorn against the Sioux, which he did not want to fight.[1]

“Mr. Custer” was also a No. 12 hit in the UK for Charlie Drake in 1960.

My Heart Has a Mind of Its Own

“My Heart Has a Mind of Its Own” is a song written by Howard Greenfield and Jack Keller which was a #1 hit for Connie Francis in 1960.

Francis recorded “My Heart Has a Mind of Its Own” at Radio Recorders studio in Hollywood CA over three different sessions on July 9, 25, and 31, 1960 with Jesse Kaye and Arnold Maxin acting as producers; Gus Levene arranged the orchestration and conducted. Jack Keller brought one of the LA tapes back to New York for a Sax & Guitar overdub at Olmstead Studios. Artie Kaplan and Al Gorgoni were brought in for the sax and guitar overdub.

Several takes from these sessions are still extant. The original MGM K 12923 single utilized Take 49 (recorded July 31, 1960) but two weeks into release this was replaced by Take 37 (recorded July 25, 1960) at the behest of Francis and the song’s writers.

“My Heart Has a Mind of Its Own” became Francis’ second consecutive A-side to top the Billboard Hot 100 reaching #1 on the chart dated 26 September 1960 and holding there the following week. The single also marked Francis’ final appearance of the R&B charts at #11.

In the UK “My Heart Has a Mind of Its Own” reached #3.

On 18 October 1960, Francis recorded a German-language version of “My Heart Has a Mind of Its Own” entitled “Mein Herz weiß genau, was es will” which would remain unreleased until 1988.

The Twist (song)

“The Twist” is an American pop song written and originally released in early 1959 by Hank Ballard and the Midnighters as a B-side to “Teardrops on Your Letter”.[1] Ballard’s version was a moderate 1960 hit, peaking at number 28 on the Billboard Hot 100.[2]

Chubby Checker’s 1960 cover version of the song gave birth to the Twist dance craze. His single became a hit, reaching number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 on September 19, 1960, where it stayed for one week, and setting a record as the only song to reach number 1 in two different chart runs when it resurfaced and topped the chart again for two weeks starting on January 13, 1962.[3]

In 1988, “The Twist” again became popular due to a new recording of the song by The Fat Boys featuring Chubby Checker. This version reached number 2 in the United Kingdom and number 1 in Germany. In 2014, Billboard magazine declared the song the “biggest hit” of the 1960s.[4]

It’s Now or Never (song)

“It’s Now or Never” is a ballad recorded by Elvis Presley and published by Gladys Music, Elvis Presley’s publishing company, in 1960. It is one of two popular songs based on the Italian song “‘O Sole mio” (music by Eduardo di Capua), the other being “There’s No Tomorrow”, recorded by U.S. singer Tony Martin in 1949, which inspired Presley’s version. The lyrics were written by Aaron Schroeder and Wally Gold. The single is the second best-selling single by Presley, and one of the best-selling singles of all time.[1]

In the late 1950s, while stationed in Germany with the U.S. Army, Presley heard Martin’s recording. According to The New York Times, quoting from the 1986 book Behind The Hits, “he told the idea to his music publisher, Freddy Bienstock, who was visiting him in Germany… Mr. Bienstock, who many times found songwriters for Presley, returned to his New York office, where he found songwriters, Mr. [Aaron] Schroeder and Wally Gold, the only people in that day. The two wrote lyrics in half an hour. Selling more than 20 million records, the song became number one in countries all around and was Presley’s best selling single ever… a song [they] finished in 20 minutes to a half hour was the biggest song of [their] career.”[2]

In 1960, “It’s Now or Never” was a number-one record in the U.S., spending five weeks at number one and the UK, where it spent eight weeks at the top in 1960 and an additional week at number one in 2005 as a re-issue, and numerous other countries, selling in excess of 25 million copies worldwide, Elvis Presley’s biggest international single ever. Its British release was delayed for some time because of rights issues, allowing the song to build up massive advance orders and to enter the UK Singles Chart at number one, a very rare occurrence at the time. “It’s Now or Never” peaked at number seven on the R&B charts.[3]

A live version featuring “‘O Sole mio” is available on the 1977 live album Elvis in Concert. “‘O Sole mio” is sung by tenor Sherrill Nielson.

In early 2005, the song was re-released along with the other Presley singles in the UK, and again reached number one on the UK Singles Chart for the week of 5 February 2005. The song also appears in the TV mini-series Elvis.

Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polkadot Bikini

“Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polkadot Bikini” is a novelty song telling the story of a shy girl wearing a revealing polkadot bikini at the beach. It was written by Paul Vance and Lee Pockriss and first released in June 1960 by Brian Hyland with orchestra conducted by John Dixon.

Hyland’s version hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 on August 8, 1960[1] and also made the top 10 in other countries, including #8 on the UK Singles Chart.[2] It also reached #1 in New Zealand.[3]

The story told through the three verses of the song is as follows: (1) the young lady is too afraid to leave the locker where she has changed into her bikini; (2) she has made it to the beach but sits on the sand wrapped in a blanket; and (3) she has finally gone into the ocean, but is too afraid to come out, and stays immersed in the water – despite the fact that she’s “turning blue” – to hide herself from view.

Trudy Packer recited the phrases “…two, three, four / Tell the people what she wore”, heard at the end of each verse before the chorus; and “Stick around, we’ll tell you more”, heard after the first chorus and before the start of the second verse.[4]

I’m Sorry (Brenda Lee song)

“I’m Sorry” is a 1960 hit song by 15-year-old American singer Brenda Lee. It peaked at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart in July 1960. AllMusic guide wrote that it is the pop star’s “definitive song”, and one of the “finest teen pop songs of its era”. It was written by Dub Allbritten[1] and Ronnie Self.[2] On the UK Singles Chart, the song peaked at No.12.

According to the Billboard Book of Number One Hits by Fred Bronson, Brenda Lee recorded the song early in 1960, but her label, Decca Records, held it from release for several months out of concern that a 15-year-old girl was not mature enough to sing about unrequited love. When the song finally was released, it was considered to be the flip side of the more uptempo “That’s All You Gotta Do”. Although “That’s All You Gotta Do” was a chart success in its own right, reaching No. 6 on the Hot 100, it was “I’m Sorry” that became the smash hit and the standard.[3] On other charts, “I’m Sorry” peaked at number four on the R&B chart and “That’s All You Gotta Do” peaked at number nineteen on the R&B charts.[4]

“I’m Sorry” was released as the A-side (with “That’s All You Gotta Do” as the B-side) when the single was released in the U.K. in July 1960. “I’m Sorry” was not one of Lee’s more successful singles in the U.K., where Lee’s previous single, “Sweet Nothin’s”, and several later releases (notably “Speak to Me Pretty”, “All Alone Am I” and “As Usual”) were substantially bigger hits.

Although “I’m Sorry” was never released to country radio in the United States as a single, it would in time become accepted by American country fans as a standard of the genre. The song — a fixture on many “country oldies” programs — was an early example of the new “Nashville sound”, a style that emphasized a stringed-instrumental sound and background vocals.[citation needed]

A remake of “I’m Sorry” was a minor hit for Joey Heatherton in 1972 reaching No. 87 on the Billboard Hot 100. Recorded July 26, 1972, the track was issued that November as the second single from The Joey Heatherton album being the followup to Heatherton’s sole Top 40 hit “Gone”.

“I’m Sorry” has also been recorded by Bobby Vee (album Bobby Vee Sings Your Favorites/ 1960), Jane Morgan (album In My Style/ 1965), Dottie West (album Feminine Fancy/ 1968), Allison Durbin (album Are You Lonesome Tonight/ 1977), Billy Joe Royal (album Billy Joe Royal/ 1980), Maywood (album Walking Back to Happiness/ 1991), and Roch Voisine (album AmerIIcana/ 2009). A recording by Pat Boone made in 1960 was first released on the 2006 Pat Boone box set The Sixties 1960-1962.

A Czech-language rendering of “I’m Sorry”, titled “Roň Slzy”, was recorded in 1965 by Yvonne Přenosilová. “I’m Sorry” has since been rendered in Danish as “Jeg be’r dig” recorded by Birthe Kjær on her 1974 album Tennessee Waltz and in Flemish as “Vergeef me” recorded by Mieke (album Horen zien en zingen/ 1978).

Alvin and the Chipmunks covered the song for their TV series episode “The Secret Life of Dave Seville”.

Ben Vaughn referenced it in his song “I’m Sorry (But So Is Brenda Lee)”.

Alley Oop (song)

“Alley-Oop” is a song written and composed by Dallas Frazier. The song, inspired by the V. T. Hamlin-created comic strip of the same name, was first recorded by Frazier as a country tune in 1957.

The Hollywood Argyles, a short-lived studio band, recorded the song in 1960, and it reached #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #3 on the US R&B chart.[1] It also went to #24 on the UK chart. It was produced by Gary Paxton, who also sang lead vocals. At the time, Paxton was under contract to Brent Records, where he recorded as Flip of Skip & Flip.[2]

According to Paxton:

“              There were NO Hollywood Argyles at the very beginning. I was the only lead singer. Kim Fowley helped me produce it, because we were partners in Maverick Music International/BMI at the time… The drummer was Ronnie Silico (Lloyd Price’s road drummer). The piano player was Gaynel Hodge of the Penguins. The bass player was Harper Cosby, a jazz bassist in L.A. Sandy Nelson (of “Teenbeat” fame) played the garbage can and screamed on the record. The background singers were: Dallas Frazier…Buddy Mize, Scotty Turner, Diane ?? (A friend I knew), and [myself]. It was recorded at American Recorders, next door to Lawrence Welk’s Palladium, and across from the Moulin Rouge on Sunset Blvd. near Sunset and Vine Street. A little bitty street (Argyle Street) was next door to the studio, so I said, ‘Let’s call ourselves The Hollywood Argyles!'[3]

Everybody’s Somebody’s Fool

“Everybody’s Somebody’s Fool” is a song written by Jack Keller and Howard Greenfield that was a No. 1 hit for Connie Francis in 1960. A polka-style version in German, “Die Liebe ist ein seltsames Spiel”, was the first German single recorded and released by Connie Francis, and it reached No. 1 on the single chart in 1960 in West Germany.

“Everybody’s Somebody’s Fool” was written as a bluesy ballad, and the song was recorded at Olmstead Studios (NYC) during the 1960 recording session when Francis cut the song with the Joe Sherman Orchestra.

The arrangement performed by Connie Francis is noted for its organ introduction.

The song originally recorded by Connie Francis entitled “Everybody’s Somebody’s Fool” is often confused with an earlier song of the same title written by Ace Adams and Lionel Hampton, which has been recorded by LaVern Baker, Red Garland, Michael Jackson, Etta James, the Heartbeats (No. 78/ 1957), Clyde McPhatter, Arthur Prysock, Little Jimmy Scott, Kay Starr, Dakota Staton, and Dinah Washington.

Cathy’s Clown

“Cathy’s Clown” is a popular song, written and recorded by The Everly Brothers, in which the singer informs Cathy that “[I] don’t want your love anymore.”

The musicians included the Everlys on guitars, Floyd Cramer on piano, Floyd Chance on bass and Buddy Harman on drums. The distinctive drum sound was achieved by recording the drums with a tape loop, making it sound as if there were two drummers.[1]

“Cathy’s Clown” was The Everly Brothers’ first single for Warner Bros., after they had recorded for Archie Bleyer’s Cadence label for three years. It sold eight million copies worldwide, spending five weeks at number one on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart and one week on the R&B chart.[2] It spent seven weeks at number one on the UK Singles Chart in May and June 1960.[3] It was the Everly Brothers’ biggest-selling single and their third and final U.S. number 1 hit. Billboard ranked it as the number 3 song of the year for 1960.[4]

In 2004, the song was ranked 149th on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

Stuck on You (Elvis Presley song)

“Stuck on You” is Elvis Presley’s first hit single after his two-year stint in the US Army. He recorded the song during March 1960, and the single was released within weeks and went to number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in late-April 1960, becoming his first number-one single of the 1960s and thirteenth overall. “Stuck on You” peaked at number six on the R&B chart.[1] The song knocked Percy Faith’s “Theme from A Summer Place” from the top spot, ending its nine-week run at number one on the chart. The record reached number three in the UK. The song was written by Aaron Schroeder and J. Leslie McFarland and published by Gladys Music, Elvis Presley’s publishing company.

In New Zealand (and perhaps other countries), the single had a special paper sleeve with the usual RCA logo top left and 45 R.P.M. bottom left and included, in large letters, “ELVIS” top right and bottom left: “Elvis’ 1st new recording for his 50,000,000 fans all over the world.”[citation needed]

Theme from A Summer Place

“Theme from A Summer Place” is a song with lyrics by Mack Discant and music by Max Steiner, written for the 1959 film A Summer Place, which starred Sandra Dee and Troy Donahue. It was recorded for the film as an instrumental by Hugo Winterhalter. Originally known as the “Molly and Johnny Theme”, the piece is not the main title theme of the film, but a secondary love theme for the characters played by Dee and Donahue.

Following its initial film appearance, the theme has been recorded by many artists in both instrumental and vocal versions, and has also appeared in a number of subsequent films and television programs. The best-known cover version of the theme is an instrumental version by Percy Faith and his orchestra that was a Number One hit for nine weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1960.[1]

Teen Angel (song)

“Teen Angel” is a teenage tragedy song written by Jean Dinning (1924–2011)[1] and her husband, Red Surrey, and performed by both Jean’s brother, Mark Dinning, and Alex Murray in 1959. “Teen Angel” was released in October 1959. The song was not an instant success, with radio stations in the U.S. banning the song, considering it too sad.[2] Despite the reluctance of radio stations, the song continued to climb the charts. In the last week of 1959, the single jumped from #100 to #50 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.[3] It went on to reach #1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 (February 1960) and number thirty-seven in the UK Singles Chart (even though it was banned from being played by the BBC).[citation needed] Billboard ranked it as the No. 5 song of 1960.[4]

Running Bear

“Running Bear” is a song written by Jiles Perry Richardson (a.k.a. The Big Bopper) and sung most famously by Johnny Preston in 1959.[1] The 1959 recording featured background vocals by Richardson and George Jones and the session’s producer Bill Hall, who provided the “Indian chanting” of “uga-uga” during the three verses, as well as the “Indian war cries” at the start and end of the record. It was No. 1 for three weeks in January 1960 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States. The song also reached No. 1 in the UK Singles Chart in 1960.[1] Coincidentally, “Running Bear” was immediately preceded in the Hot 100 No. 1 position by Marty Robbins’ “El Paso”, another song in which the protagonist dies. Billboard ranked “Running Bear” as the No. 4 song of 1960.[2]

Richardson was a friend of Preston and offered “Running Bear” to him after hearing him perform in a club. Preston recorded the song at the Gold Star Studios in Houston, Texas in 1958. The saxophone was played by Link Davis.

Preston was signed to Mercury Records, and “Running Bear” was released in August 1959, seven months after Richardson’s death in the plane crash that also killed Buddy Holly and Ritchie Valens.[1]

“Running Bear” was used in the 1994 movie A Simple Twist of Fate, which stars Steve Martin as Michael McCann, a fine furniture maker in rural Virginia, who adopts a little girl named Mathilda. There is a scene about midway through the movie where he plays “Running Bear” on the record player, and he and Mathilda are dancing to the song. The song, performed by Ray Gelato, also features in the London night-club scene in the film Scandal, based on the Profumo affair.

El Paso (song)

“El Paso” is a country and western ballad written and originally recorded by Marty Robbins, and first released on Gunfighter Ballads and Trail Songs in September 1959. It was released as a single the following month, and became a major hit on both the country and pop music charts, reaching number one in both at the start of 1960. It won the Grammy Award for Best Country & Western Recording in 1961, and remains Robbins’ best-known song. It is widely considered a genre classic for its gripping narrative which ends in the death of its protagonist, its shift from past to present tense, haunting harmonies by vocalists Bobby Sykes and Jim Glaser (of the Glaser Brothers) and the eloquent and varied Spanish guitar accompaniment by Grady Martin that lends the recording a distinctive Tex-Mex feel. The name of the character Faleena was based upon a schoolmate of Robbins in the fifth grade — Fidelina Martinez.[1]

Members of the Western Writers of America chose El Paso as one of the Top 100 Western songs of all time.[2]

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