It could be any night between 1955 and 1965. At the wheel of your Cadillac - which complete with twin fins looks like a rocket ship, your arm around your sweetheart, you are on the way to the nearest sock hop or drive-in. No need to talk, the radio fills in for conversation, with one after another of these classics. Perhaps though, you aren't actually going anywhere. Maybe you are just... Cruising. Over the years, everyone has sung the praises of rock & roll allied to the automobile. They...
Out of Philly, Jamie was yet another label to showcase thriving hit records as did Cameo-Parkway and yet another label driven out in 1964 by the British Invasion. The twangy sound of Duane Eddy is a name that comes to mind and he made his home at Jamie, providing as the back-up musician to so many here. So from the land of American Bandstand, here's a label that is going to get you moving.
Sister label to Fury, it was also led by Bobby Robinson. You'll hear Bobby Marchan's version of "There Is Something On Your Mind, parts 1 and 2 (originally done by Big Jay McNeely), the harmonica of Buster Brown and the King of the Slide Guitar, Mr. Elmore James. These records are on fire, just burning out of my hands!
Cameo, along with Parkway later, out of Philly, helped break some of the most influential artists of the Rock and Roll Era. The heart of American Bandstand, which for some is regarded as the most fun label of all. So tune in and relive the Hucklebuck, the Mexican Hat Dance, the Bristol Stomp, the Mashed Potato and so many more dances.
Coming from our nation's capital, Monument provided us with the Roy Orbison hit-making machine. Hit after hit from the Big O, while he also made the label for what it would become to be, when he discovered 4 high school students and their teacher Virgil Johnson who would later become the Velvets, and he introduced them to the label. You'll also hear the label's very first release hit "Gotta Travel On" by Billy Grammar, the original "Tobacco Road" by Bobby Brinkley and you'll end up dancing...
Based in Chicago, Argo was a subsidiary of Chess Records. Its biggest hit "The Book Of Love" was inspired by a TV commercial - "You'll wonder where the yellow went when you brush your teeth with Pepsodent. Yes, the Moontones, may have been a one hit wonder, but what a hit it was!
Founded by legendary Bobby Robinson, the Fury label had to wait only 2 years before it registered a No. 1 smash nationally in "Kansas City," a cover version by Wilbert Harrison who sped up the tempo from Little Willie Littlefield's original back in 1952. You'll also hear the distinctive croaked voice of Lee Dorsey, Frankie Lymon's sibling, and the very early works of Gladys Knight with her Pips.
Another great label which had to shut its doors in 1964 because of the British Invasion. Out of New York, hear the likes of the Everlys, the guitar licks of Link Wray and the finest Country crossover ballads of Johnny Tillotson.
Taking a trip back to L.A. in the 50s for some West coast doo-wop. You'll hear the original Little Bitty Pretty One by Bobby Day, the duo of Bob (Bobby Day) and Earl before their fame with the Harlem Shuffle and some obscure R n B material not heard on stations since the days of old.
Named after label founder Sussel's daughter Laurie, this label took the streets of NY city in 1958 with a huge artist Dion DiMucci who teamed up with the Belmonts and who later had a successful solo career. It was Dion's B-side "The Wanderer" which rose to No. 2 nationally that made the Italian-American a Rock and Roll Superstar. Quick trivia: Dion survived the Day The Music Died, as he didn't board the plane which killed Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper.
Chicago based. Major acts on the label in the 1950s included blues singers Jimmy Reed, Memphis Slim, and John Lee Hooker, and rhythm and blues vocal groups the Spaniels, the Dells, and the El Dorados. The 1960s saw the label become a major soul label with Jerry Butler, Gene Chandler, Dee Clark, and Betty Everett having hit singles on both the pop and R&B charts. Vee-Jay was also the first label to nationally issue a record by the Pips (through a master purchase from the tiny Huntom label of...
The Big Top label operated out of New York City. Del Shannon was their star artist and scored big time with them, pouring out one Top 40 hit after another. Before there was actually Sammy Turner who peaked the Top 10 in '59 with "Lavender Blue" and his follow-up "Always" (a song John Lennon loved). Don and Juan, half coming from the Genies (Who's That Knocking) climbed up to No. 3 nationally in '62 with "What's Your Name." Rounding out big names Johnny and the Hurricanes had exciting...
Out of L.A. this legendary label was run by Bob Keane who first launched the careers of Ritchie Valens, Sam Cooke and Bobby Fuller, and lost them all tragically. You'll hear the original Hippy Hippy Shake, Canadian-born Bobby Curtola, teen idol Johnny Crawford, some tunes from sister label Donna Records by the Pentagons and Ron Holden, and the doo-wop masterpiece "Those Oldies But Goodies" by Little Caesar and the Romans.
In this show, notice I play the original Only You by the Platters, but it isn't the one we've known all along. The one you know well was released shortly afterwards on another label - Mercury if my memory doesn't fade. People like the Mercury version instead, but I like both.