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This Week In Vocal Group History
December 1, 1956 Pat Cordell & The Crescents “Darling Come Back” and The Youngsters “Christmas In Jail” were released.

1958 –
After publisher Al Nevin played a demo of “The Diary” by Neil Sedaka to RCA’s Steve Sholes, the A&R man signed Sedaka as an artist.

Top Single: “The Love I Lost” Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes” #1 R&B 1973 “To Know Him Is To Love Him” The Teddy Bears #1 1958

Birthday: Billy Paul (Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes) 1934 Lou Rawls (The Pilgrim Travelers) 1935

December 2, 1957
Due to a last minute cancellation by Little Anthony & The Imperials, newcomers Danny & The Juniors performed their new single “At The Hop” on Dick Clark’s American Bandstand. A month later the record was #1.

1967 –
When The Monkees “Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd” LP reached #1 it became the 4th Monkees album of the year to do so setting a record for new releases.

Top Single: “The Rain, The Park & Other Things” The Cowsills #2 1967 “Daydream Believer” The Monkees #1 1967 Birthday: Roebuck “Pop” Staples (The Staple Singers) 1915

December 3, 1958
The Skyliners recorded their timeless classic “Since I Don’t Have You” (#12 Pop, #3 R&B) at Capitol Studios in N.Y.C.

Top Single: “Only You” The Hilltoppers #9 1955

Joe McIntyre (New Kids On The Block) 1972


December 4, 1961
The Shirelles “B” side, “Baby It’s You”, was issued soon becoming one of their biggest hits (#8). 1988 Roy Orbison played his final show at the Front Row Theater in Highland Heights, Ohio.

Top Single:
“I Can Never Go Home” The Shangri-Las #9 1965 “Family Affair” Sly & The Family Stone” #1 1971

Dennis Wilson (The Beach Boys) 1944

December 5, 1953
The Harptones standard “A Sunday Kind Of Love” was released. It was their first of 29 singles between 1953 and 1982.

1968 – Graham Nash left The Hollies. Within a year he would be part of the “Super Group” Crosby, Stills & Nash.

Top Single:
“A Thousand Stars” Kathy Young & The Innocents #5 1960 “Are You Lonesome Tonight” Elvis Presley #1 1960

December 6, 1956
Savory Records signed The Jive Five Bombers six days after their momentous “Bad Boy” session. 1969 – The Rolling Stones held a free concert at Altamont Raceway in Livermore, California but unlike Woodstock four months earlier, Altamont was a deadly affair as an 18 year old was beaten to death by the supposed security, a cover for Hell’s Angels.

Top Single:
“Eli’s Coming” Three Dog Night #10 1969 “Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye” Steam #1 1969

Len Barry (Dovells) 1942

December 7, 1988
Rock great Roy Orbison died at his mother’s home of a heart attack. He was 52. Bruce Springsteen, at Orbison’s induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame said “I want to write words like Bob Dylan that sound like Phil Spector but with singing like Roy Orbison, but nobody sings like Roy Orbison.”

Top Single:
“Love Child” The Supremes #1 1968


December 8, 1956
The Schoolboys classic “Please Say You Want Me/Shirley” (#13 Pop, #15 R&B) was released as were The Flamingos “Would I Be Crying” The Jaguars “The Way You Look Tonight” and The Moonglows “I Knew From The Start”

1980 –
John Lennon was gunned down by a madman outside his New York apartment who earlier in the day had sought and received Lennon’s autograph. Top Single: “Don’t Hang Up” The Orlons #4 R&B “To Know Him Is To Love Him” The Teddy Bears #1 1958

Birthday: Jerry Butler (The Impressions) 1939


December 9, 1957
On the strength of their American Bandstand performance on December 2nd, Danny & The Juniors “At The Hop” was picked up by ABC Paramount from the small Philadelphia label, Singular and went on to sell over two and a half million copies. 1967 – The Doors Jim Morrison, who spent almost as much time being arrested as performing, was taken into custody for breach of the peace in New Haven, Connecticut.

Top Single:
“Day Dream Believer” The Monkees #1 1967 “If You Don’t Know Me By Now” Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes #1 1972

Birthday: Sammy Strain (The Imperials & The O’Jays” 1940 Donny Osmond (The Osmonds) 1957

December 10, 1955
The Cadillacs immortal “Speedo” charted on its way to (#17 Pop, #3 R&B).

Top Single: “I’m Ready For Love” Martha & The Vandellas #6 1966 Birthday: Jessica Cleavers (Friends of Distinction) 1948 Ralph Tavares (Tavares) 1948


December 11, 1958
The Coasters recorded “Charlie Brown” (#2 Pop and R&B) in New York City.

1957 –
Jerry Lee Lewis wed his 13 year old cousin Myra Gale Brown while still married to his wife Jane Mitcham.

Top Single: “Please Mr. Postman” The Marvelettes #1 1961 Birthday: Jermaine Jackson (The Jackson 5) 1954

December 12, 1964
The Righteous Brothers wall-of-sound winner “You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling” charted reaching #2. The harmony included The Ronettes and Cher. Bobby Hatfield of the brothers wasn’t sure about the records possibilities asking co-writer Phil Spector “What do I do while he (Bill Medley) is singing the whole first verse?” Spector’s blunt response was, “You can go directly to the bank!”

1965 –
The Beatles played their last concert in Britain at the Capitol Theatre in Cardiff, Wales.

Top Single: “Let’s Go, Let’s Go, Let’s Go” Hank Ballard & The Mignighters #2 R&B 1960 “Are You Lonesome Tonight” Elvis Presley #1 1960

Dionne Warwick (The Drinkard Singers & The Gospelaires) 1940 Terry Kirkman (The Association) 1941

December 13, 1947
The Ravens first release on National “Write Me A Letter” became the first R&B record to breach the Pop Top 25 reaching #25.

1986 –
Jackie Wilson’s debut hit of 1958, “Reet Petite” reentered England’s charts 28 years after first appearing and two years after Wilson died.

Top Single: “Walk Like An Egyptian” The Bangles #2 1986 “The Way It Is” Bruce Hornsby #1 1986


December 14, 1964
The Left Banke’s Mike Brown met Rene Fioden at a recording session in New York. The meeting inspired him to write the hit “Walk Away Renee”.

Top Single:
“Heartaches” by The Numbers” Guy Mitchell #1 1959


December 15, 1956
The Nutmegs “Comin’ Home” and The Cufflinks “Guided Missiles” were released.

1985 –
“Do They Know It’s Christmas” entered the British charts at #1 and became the biggest U.K. single in British history, selling three million copies.

Top Single:
“Beep Beep” The Playmates #4 1958 “Big Girls Don’t Cry” The Four Seasons

Alan Freed 1922 Cindy Birdsong (The Bluebells) 1939 Harry Ray (Ray, Goodman & Brown) 1946 Steve Lundy (Force Md’s) 1965

The Lettermen Interview
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November 6, 2013

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