Frankenstein Meets Brenda Lee

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(Pictured: Tracey Dey, protege of Four Seasons’ producer Bob Crewe, who recorded a handful of singles 50 years ago, and whose appearance here proves that Getty Images has something on almost everybody.)

The first week of August 1964 was a momentous one. It was the week of the Gulf of Tonkin incident and the famous Congressional resolution it inspired, which led to the escalation of the Vietnam War. The bodies of murdered civil rights workers Andrew Goodman, Michael Schwerner, and James Chaney were discovered in Mississippi. The Ranger VII spacecraft had just sent back the first close-up pictures of the moon’s surface. A country superstar died in a plane crash (about which more below). Some of the most famous music of the 1960s was on the radio, as we noted on Friday.

That post could have been twice as long if I’d spent time looking at the 35 songs that made up the Bubbling Under chart for the week of August 1, 1964. Some of the songs bubbling under 50 years ago this week became legitimate hits: the Newbeats’ “Bread and Butter” (#115) and “We’ll Sing in the Sunshine” by Gale Garnett (#116), while “Haunted House” by Jumpin’ Gene Simmons (#131) and “20-75” by Willie Mitchell (#132) are mainly of interest to the kind of geek who reads this blog.

If you are that kind of geek, you should see what’s on the flip.

102. “Me Japanese Boy I Love You”/Bobby Goldsboro (up from 103). I saw this title and my first thought was as follows: “What in the actual fk is this?” Turns out “Me Japanese Boy I Love You” is a Burt Bacharach/Hal David number which, apart from the pidgin English in it, is not horrible. (Hot 100 peak: #74.)

107. “Hangin’ on to My Baby”/Tracey Dey (holding at 107). The first of Dey’s three Hot 100 singles, “Teenage Cleopatra,” was inspired by the romance between Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton during the filming of their famous movie. We have encountered her already in this feature, and her version of “Gonna Get Along Without You Now.” “Hangin’ on to My Baby” was her last single to get much notice, despite being pretty good. (Did not make the Hot 100.)

109. “My Heart Skips a Beat”/Buck Owens (up from 119). Owens, whose voice is the quintessential country music instrument, had been hitting the country charts since 1959, but “My Heart Skips a Beat” would become his first Hot 100 hit. It did seven weeks at #1 on the country chart. (Hot 100 peak: #94.)

110. “More”/Danny Williams (up from 117). Sounding more like Johnny Mathis than ever, the “White on White” singer provided his take on “More.”  Kai Winding had the big hit in 1963 and Vic Dana put a version into the Hot 100; Williams’ version and a cover by Steve Lawrence both bubbled under, as would a disco version by Carol Williams, no relation to Danny, in 1976. (Did not make the Hot 100.)

111. “I Guess I’m Crazy”/Jim Reeves (debut). On August 2, 1964, wreckage of the plane Reeves had been flying was found near Brentwood, Tennessee, along with the bodies of Reeves and his manager, Dean Manuel. While the crash ended Reeves’ life, it barely slowed his career. “I Guess I’m Crazy” would go to #1 on the country chart, and over the next eight years, Reeves would hit the country top 10 an additional 14 times with five more #1 songs. RCA would continue to release singles by Reeves into the 80s. (Hot 100 peak: #82.)

112. “She’s My Girl”/Bobby Shafto (down from 105). As obscure as he is, Bobby Shafto has appeared at this blog before. All we knew about “She’s My Girl” back then was that Jimmy Page plays guitar on it. It’s still all we know. (Did not make Hot 100.) (Well, duh. Perhaps I should read my own damn links.)

120. “It’s All Over Now”/Valentinos (debut). In the same week the Rolling Stones jumped to #81 with a version that would become definitive, the Valentinos version charted for the first time. The Valentinos were the Womack Brothers from Columbus, Ohio: Bobby, Cecil, Harry, Curtis and Friendly. Friendly Womack—officially Friendly Womack Jr.—is an awesome name. (Hot 100 peak: #94.)

130. “I’m Sorry”/Pete Drake and His Talking Steel Guitar (debut). Earlier this summer, I said I liked Drake’s “Forever.” I am not at all wild about “I’m Sorry.” The talking effect on “Forever” (achieved with a rubber hose and a coffee can) was limited to a word or two and it gave the record an eerie, floating effect; on “I’m Sorry,” Drake delivers whole lines with his device, and it sounds as if Frankenstein’s monster had begun speaking in Brenda Lee lyrics. (Did not make the Hot 100.)

Read about some other under-bubblers of 50 years ago here.

3 thoughts on “Frankenstein Meets Brenda Lee

  1. Mark CDproject

    “mainly of interest to the kind of geek who reads this blog” Who you callin’ a geek? Nevermind, you’re right.

    That Mitchell instrumental is sweet, btw.

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