This Month In Vocal Group History

January 1, 1955

The Five Keys rollicking novelty “Ling, Ting, Tong” charted R&B on its way to #5 (#28 Pop). It was their first chart record since “Glory of Love: four years earlier.
1962 – Decca Records A&R head Dick Rowe established his place in history when he auditioned and turned down four Liverpool musicians (who performed 15 songs for him) called The Beatles. Instead, he signed the Essex band Brian Poole & The Tremeloes because they lived closer to London.

Top Single: “Let’s Hang On” The Four Seasons #6 1966
“Let Me Go Lover” Joan Weber

 

September 13, 1969

The 4 Seasons “And That Reminds Me” (#45) charted. Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, Bo Diddley, Alice Cooper, Gene Vincent and The Doors appeared at the Toronto Rock & Roll Revival Concert.

Top Single: “Oh What A Night” The Dells #11 1969
“Rhinestone Cowboy” Glen Campbell #1 1975

 

January 2, 1952

Jackie Wilson recorded his last sides with The Dominoes (including “To Each His Own” and “St. Louis Blues”) for Decca before embarking on his tremendous solo career.
1968 – Newark, NJ police confiscated an entire shipment of John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s “Two Virgins” album. The highlight of which was a full frontal nude photo on the couple. The L.P.’s were only allowed in America when the record label agreed to wrap them in plain brown paper.

Top Single:
“Come See About Me” The Supremes #2 1965
“I Feel Fine” The Beatles #1 1965

 

January 3, 1967

The Four Aces first 45 “It’s No Sin” charted reaching #4. The group paid for their session with lead Al Alberts and his fiancés wedding money and $500 from two college students.

1956 – Paul Anka recorded his first single “I Confess” at Modern Records in Los Angeles with vocal backing by the R&B group The Cadets.
Top Single: “Sherry” The 4 Seasons #1 1962

 

January 4, 1935

The Ink Spots had their recording debut at RCA’s New York studio taping “Swing On The Strings” which never charted.

January 4, 1936

Billboard Magazine, founded in 1894 as an entertainment periodical for circus’, published its first music chart for record sales. The first #1 record (on 78 RPM) was “Stop! Look! Listen” by jazz artist Joe Venuti.

Top Single: “I’m Gonna Make You Love Me” The Supremes and The Temptations #3 1969
“There! I’ve Said It Again” Bobby Vinton #1 1964

January 5, 1963

Jan Bradley had her biggest hit when “Mamma Didn’t Lie” charted eventually reaching #14. When other hits failed to follow Jan went on to be a social worker.

1960 – Hank Ballard & The Midnighters became the first Rock & Roll group with 3 hit singles when “Let’s Go, Let’s Go, Let’s Go” joined “Finger Poppin’ Time” and “The Twist” on the Top 100 at the same time.

Top Single: “The Chipmunk Song” David Seville #1 1959

Birthday Billy Ward (The Dominoes) 1921 Brook Benton (Jerusalem Stars) 1931 Nick Massi (4 Seasons) Cass Elliot (The Mama’s & The Papa’s)

January 5, 1963

Jan Bradley had her biggest hit when “Mamma Didn’t Lie” charted eventually reaching #14. When other hits failed to follow Jan went on to be a social worker.

Top Single: The Chipmunk Song” David Seville #1 1959

January 6, 1962

Danny & The Juniors 7th hit “Twistin’ All Night Long” charted with guest vocals by Freddie Cannon and the un-credited Four Seasons.

January 5, 1957

Elvis Presley made his last of seven appearances on the Ed Sullivan Show singing seven songs including “Hound Dog”, “Love Me Tender”, “Heartbreak Hotel”, Don’t Be Cruel” and his new single “Too Much”,

Top Single: “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” The Tokens #1 1961
“At The Hop” Danny & The Juniors #1 1958

Birthdays:


Wilbert Harrison (The Roamers) 1929
Paul Wilson (The Flamingos) 1935
Kathy Sledge (Sister Sledge) 1959

January 7, 1953

The Five Royals label Apollo filed a $10,000 lawsuit against The Royals for impersonating the hit act. One year later The Royals had their own hit “Work With Me Annie” and renamed themselves Hank Ballard & The Midnighters going on to have 13 hits themselves.

January 7, 1963

Chubby Checker’s 15th hit “Dancin’ Party” (#12) earned him a plagiarism suit by Gary “U.S.” Bonds who felt the “Chubsters” single was too similar to Bonds 1961 hit “Quarter To Three”.

Top Single: “The Great Pretender” The Platters #4 1956
“Memories Are Made of This” Dean Martin #1 1956
Birthday Jim West (The Innocents” 1941

January 8, 2001

Laura Webb Childers, tenor vocalist for The Bobbettes, died. She and her four school mates were barely out of their teens when they formed The Harlem Queens but soon became the rage with their classic “Mr. Lee”, a song they wrote about their fifth grade teacher which went to #1 R&B and #6 Pop in 1957. It made them the first all-girl Rock & Roll group to have a top 10 hit.

Top Single: “Mr. Sandman” The Chordettes #1 1955
Birthday Little Anthony (Little Anthony & The Imperials) 1940
Marcus Hutson (The Whispers) 1943

January 9, 1961

Buzz Clifford’s only charter, “Baby Sittin’ Boogie” debuted on the top 100 reaching #6.

January 9, 2001

Lynn Dixon Denicker, lead of The Aquatones, passed away. The group formed in Valley Stream, Long Island, New York in 1957, had a hit with their first single “You” (#21 Pop, #11 R&B) but couldn’t chart again despite seven excellent follow-up singles and disbanded in 1960. Lynn was trained as an operatic soprano.

Top Single: “Wonderland By Night” Bert Kaempfert #1 1961
In The Still of The Night” Boys ll Men #4 1993

Birthday
Scott Engel (The Walker Brothers) 1944
Bill Cowsill (The Cowsills) 1948

January 10, 1956

Rock & Roll took an exciting turn with the release of Frankie Lymon & The Teenagers “Why Do Fools Fall In Love” (#6 Pop, #1 R&B)
Elvis recorded his first sides for RCA, “I Got A Woman” and “Heartbreak Hotel”.

Top Single: “I Want You Back” The Jackson Five #4 1970
“Just Like Starting Over” John Lennon #1 1981
Birthday Kenneth Kelley (The Manhattans) 1943

January 11, 1956

The Robins first session as The Coasters included “Down In Mexico” (#8 R&B) and “Brazil”.
1965 – While The Righteous Brothers were in London their new single “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling” was featured on the TV show Juke Box Jury. All four panelists voted it a miss and one questioned if it was being played at the right speed. By February 4th it was #1 in England and America.

Top Single: “Popsicles, Icicles” The Murmaids #3 1964
“I Heard It Through The Grapevine” Marvin Gaye” #1 1969
Birthday Chuck Barksdale (The Dells) 1935
Bill Reed (The Diamonds) 1936
Janice Pought (The Bobbettes) 1944

January 12, 1963

Eight months before his first album charted (The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan, #22), Bob Dylan appeared in London in a BBC radio play “Madhouse On Castle Street” in the part of, what else, a folk singer.

Top Single: “Go Away Little Girl” Steve Lawrence #1 1963

January 13, 1958

The original version of “Dedicated To The One I Love” (The Five Royals) was released. Three years later it became a hit (#3) for The Shirelles and again in 1967 for The Mama’s & The Papa’s (#2).
1969 – Fourteen years after his last recording session in Memphis, Elvis Presley returned to record for RCA.

Top Single: “At The Hop” Danny & The Juniors #1 1958
“The Twist” Chubby Checker #1 1962
Birthday Bobby Lester (The Moonglows) 1930

January 14, 1955

Alan Freed’s first Rock & Roll Ball in New York at St. Nick’s Arena included The Drifters, The Moonglows, The Harptones and the Clovers.
1970 – Diana Ross performed her last show as a Supreme at Las Vegas’ Frontier Hotel.

Top Single: “Words Of Love” The Mama’s & The Papa’s #6 1967
“I’m A Believer” The Monkees #1 1967

January 15, 1956

The Magnificents were discovered by Chicago D.J. “The Magnificent Montaque”.

Top Single: “Five O’Clock World” The Vogues #4 1966
Birthday Edward “Sonny” Bivans (The Manhattans) 1942

January 16, 1954

The Orioles “Robe Of Calvary” and The Spiders “You’re The One” were released.
1988 – Tina Turner performed before 180,000 fans at Rio de Janeiro’s American Stadium. A box office record for a single artist.

Top Single: “Lonely Days” The Bee Gees #7 1971 “Come See About Me” The Supremes #1 1965
Birthday Hal Miller (The Rays) 1931 Maxine Jones (En Vogue) 1966

January 17, 1953

R&B collectors favorite “Keep It A Secret” by The Five Crowns was released. Purchase price $0.79. Today it is a $2,000 rarity.
1972 – Bellvue Street in Memphis was renamed Elvis Presley Blvd.

Top Single: “I Played The Fool” The Clovers #3 R&B 1953
“I Write The Songs” Barry Manilow #1 1976
Birthday Elsberry Hobbs (The Drifters) 1936 William Hart (The Delfonics) 1945
Sheila Hutchinson (The Emotions) 1953 Susanna Hoffs (The Bangles) 1957

January 18, 1979

Neil Sedaka (The Tokens), with 29 chart singles to date, was given a star on Hollywood’s “Walk of Fame”.
1964 – “I Want To Hold Your Hand” became The Beatles first U.S. charted single (#1). It was already their 6th single in the U.K.

Top Single: “Quicksand” Martha & The Vandellas #21 1964
“Running Bear” Johnny Preston #1 1960
Birthday Berman Patterson (The Cleftones) 1938 Martha Reeves (Martha & The Vandellas) 1941
David Ruffin (The Temptations) 1941

January 19, 1981

Frank Sinatra, Donny & Marie Osmond and Dean Martin performed at President Reagan’s inaugural ball.

Top Single: “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes” The Platters #1 1959

January 20, 1988

The Drifters and The Supremes were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
1965 – The founding father of Rock & Roll, Disc Jockey Alan freed died, out of work at the age of 43.

Top Single: “When I Fall In Love” The Lettermen #7 1962
“You’re So Vain” Carly Simon #1 1973
Birthday Ron Townson (The 5th Dimension) 1941 Billy Powell (The O’Jays) 1942
Dave Libert (The Happenings) 1943

January 21, 1987

The Coasters were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Clyde McPhatter (The Drifters) was posthumously inducted.
1984 – Legendary vocalist Jackie Wilson died after an eight year coma brought on by a heart attack while on stage (September 25, 1975), He was singing “Lonely Teardrops” at the time.

Top Single: “Moments To Remember” The Four Aces #6 1956 “Baby Come Back” Player #1 1978

January 22, 1958

The Chantels recorded 5 sides including their hit follow-up to “Maybe”, “Every Night” (#16 R&B, #39 Pop).

Top Single: “Hot Line” The Sylvers #6 1977
Birthday Sam Cooke (The Soul Stirrers) 1935 Micki Harris (The Shirelles) 1940

January 23, 1959

Dion (of Dion & The Belmonts) began the infamous “Winter Dance Party” tour with Richie Valens, Buddy Holly & The Big Bopper. He would become the only headliner to survive as the other three all died in a small plane crash midway through the tour.

Top Single: “If I Ever Fall In Love” Shai #2 1993 “Downtown” Petula Clark #1 1965
Birthday Jerry Lawson (The Persuasions) 1944 Bonnie Pointer (The Pointer Sisters) 1948

January 24, 1970

James “Shep” Sheppard, lead of The Heartbeats” and Shep & The Limelites was found murdered in his car on the Long Island Expressway in New York.
1962 – The Beatles signed a management agreement with record store owner Brian Epstein. Interestingly enough, Brian never signed a copy himself.

Top Single: “Baby, Don’t Do It” The Five Royales #5 R&B 1953
“Do You Know Where You’re Going To” Diana Ross #1 1976
Birthday Zeke Carey (The Flamingos) 1933

January 25, 1963

The Classics recorded “Till Then”.
1956 – Elvis Presley’s first RCA single “Heartbreak Hotel” was released. By April 21st it was #1.

Top Single: “That’s What Friends Are For” Dionne & Friends #1 1985
“There I’ve Said It Again” Bobby Vinton 31 1964
Birthday Etta James (Peaches)

January 26, 1970

Phil Spector and John Lennon wrote and recorded Lennon’s “Instant Karma” in one day. It charted 33 days later (February 28) eventually reaching #3.

Top Single: “Walk Right In” The Rooftop Singers #1 1963

January 27, 1956

The Platters, The Drifters, The Five Keys and The Turbans began a tour in Pittsburg while The Flamingos and The Sweethearts toured the south starting in Richmond, Virginia.
1962 – Rock & Roller Chubby Checker achieved a first when he put four albums in the U.S. Top 10.
Prior to that, only MOR-Pop artists had reached such a milestone.

Top Single: The Wanderer” Dion & The Del-Satins #8 1962
“Peppermint Twist” Joey Dee & The Starliters #1 1962

Birthday Nedra Talley Ross (The Ronettes) 1946

January 28, 1950

When The Robins single “If It’s So, Baby” charted (#10 R&B) they became the first west coast vocal group to make the top 10.
1970 – A cross section of musical messengers including The Rascals, Blood, Sweat & Tears, Judy Collins, dave Brubeck, Harry Belafonte and the cast of the Broadway musical “Hair” performed in an anti-war benefit concert at New York’s Madison Square Garden.

Top Single: “Standing In The Shadows of Love” The Four Tops #6 1967
“Owner Of A Lonely Heart” Yes #1 1984

January 29, 1956

The Cleftones played Detroit’s prime venue The Fox Theater on the strength of their new release “You, Baby, You” (#78).

Top Single: “Barbara Ann” The Beach Boys #2 1966

January 30, 1958

The Silhouettes standard rocker “Get A Job” charted (#1 Pop & #1 R&B). The 70’s group Shan a NA was named after a line in the song.
1969 – The Beatles and Billy Preston (on organ) performed four songs on the roof of Apple Records in Saville Row, London. It was their last live performance.

Top Single: “Will You Love Me Tomorrow” The Shirelles #1 1961

Birthday Joe Terry (Danny & The Juniors) 1941 Sandy Yaguda (Jay & The Americans) 1943
Jody Watley (Shalamar) 1959

January 31, 1953

Decca’s Brunswick label was reactivated with its first single by the vocal group The Five Bills (“Can’t Wait For Tomorrow”) now a $500 collectable.
1958 – Little Richard retired at the peak of his career to become an evangelist. His conversion lasted all of four years.

Top Single: “The Bells” The Dominoes #4 R&B 1953
“I Want You Back” The Jackson Five #1 1970
Birthday Marvin Junior (The Dells) 1936

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