There’s a Meetin’ Here Tonight

We continue here with our latest boffo series that explores the one-hit wonders whose lone chart hit peaked at #101 on the Hot 100. All data comes from Joel Whitburn’s fabulous Bubbling Under Singles and Albums; all mistakes I made without any help at all. (First installment here.)

“Need Your Love”/The Metallics (4/28/62, five weeks on chart). The Metallics were a doo-wop quartet from Los Angeles. Two of the members were brothers. “Need Your Love” was the first of four singles they made. Lead singer J. D. Wright has one of the most powerful falsettos you’ll ever hear.

“Don’t Break the Heart That Loves You”/Bernie Leighton (9/15/62, six weeks). Leighton was a pianist who recorded extensively with big bands before World War II and as a studio musician afterward. “Don’t Break the Heart That Loves You” had been a Number-One hit for Connie Francis earlier in 1962. Although I haven’t been able to find Leighton’s version anywhere, it’s hard to imagine it wouldn’t be an improvement.

“The Bird”/The Dutones (3/23/63, seven weeks). A transparent (and derivative) attempt to start a dance craze, “The Bird” was an early production by future Brunswick Records impresario Carl Davis, sung by Richard Parker and Jerry Brown.  In 1988, it was heard in the John Waters movie Hairspray. Do not confuse these Dutones with the Five Du-Tones, famous for “Shake a Tail Feather”—a record that was also heard in Hairspray.

“Talk Back Trembling Lips”/Ernest Ashworth (10/12/63, six weeks). Ernest Ashworth was a reasonably successful hitmaker on the country charts, with seven top-10 hits between 1960 and 1964. “Talk Back Trembling Lips” was one of only nine singles to top the country chart in 1963, a very good year for country. Legendary songs hitting #1 that year included “Ring of Fire” by Johnny Cash and Buck Owens’ “Act Naturally.” While “Talk Back Trembling Lips” isn’t in that league, it’s a solid record.

“There’s a Meetin’ Here Tonight”/Joe & Eddie (2/22/64, four weeks). Joe Gilbert and Eddie Brown were from Louisiana and Virginia respectively, but met while in high school in California. They were a popular act at the University of California in the Harry Belafonte mold. After being discovered by a record producer, they became stars on the folk scene, although their music tended more toward gospel. They were on a number of important TV shows in the early 60s,  including Hootenanny and Shindig! (where they performed “There’s a Meetin’ Here Tonight.”) For a brief time in 1963, Gilbert was romantically involved with an aspiring singer named Joni Anderson, later to be known as Joni Mitchell. Joe and Eddie’s career was cut short in 1966 when Gilbert died in an automobile accident.

“Everyday”/The Rogues (1/23/65, four weeks). The Rogues were California bigshots Bruce Johnston and Terry Melcher, who did a great deal to popularize surf music in its heyday; “Everyday” is a surf-inspired update of the Buddy Holly original. They recorded as Bruce and Terry, and also cut “Hey Little Cobra,” but credited it to the Rip Chords, a group Melcher had a hand in forming, as a way of boosting that band’s profile. In 2003, Johnston told an interviewer that Columbia Records “hired us to be their rock ‘n’ roll department. We had girls drop by, we’d skateboard round the studios, the bosses were really freaked out—except that we’d get on the charts!”

In the next installment, we travel through the mid 1960s and meet a famous singer under another name, and discover an answer song to  multi-format smash that was one of the biggest hits of 1966.

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