Posts Tagged ‘Platters’

A Bunch Of ‘Sorry’ Songs

Thursday, April 24th, 2014

The Texas Gal and I have a friend who’s been looking for a used printer, and I told that friend Sunday that I’d send her the phone number and email address of Dale the Computer Guy down on Wilson Avenue.

I forgot.

I sent the info yesterday in an apologetic email, and this morning, I got back a kind email saying my delay was not a problem. But it got me to wondering how many recordings among the 75,000 currently logged into the RealPlayer have the word “sorry” in their titles.

I was surprised. There are only thirty-eight such recordings (and one album: the Gin Blossoms’ 1996 effort Congratulations I’m Sorry). Those recordings span the years, however, starting with the 1935 single “Who’s Sorry Now” by Milton Brown & His Musical Brownies and ending with a 2013 version of the same song recorded by Karen Elson for the HBO show Boardwalk Empire.

Here’s the western swing version from Milton Brown & His Musical Brownies:

It’s worth noting that “Who’s Sorry Now” seems to be a pretty sturdy song. Written by Ted Snyder, Bert Kalmar and Harry Ruby, it was first recorded in 1923 by a number of folks including Isham Jones (whom we met here last autumn when we were listening to versions of “I’ll See You In My Dreams”), and according to the information at SecondHand Songs, it’s been recorded several times in every decade since then except the 1930s (and I’ll bet there are recordings from that decade that have not yet been listed at the website). The most recent version noted there before Elson’s 1920s-styled take on the tune is one from Mary Byrne, a 2010 contestant in the United Kingdom’s version of the singing contest, The X Factor.

But what else did we find when searching for “sorry”? Well, the second-oldest recording stashed here in the EITW studios with “sorry” in its title is from 1951, when Johnny Bond saw his “Sick, Sober & Sorry” go to No. 7 on the Billboard country chart. And the second most-recent is from quirky singer-songwriter Feist, whose “I’m Sorry” was released on her 2007 album, The Reminder.

Looking chronologically, and picking one track from each decade from the 1950s on, we find some gems: “I’m Sorry” by the Platters went to No. 11 on the Billboard jukebox chart and to No. 15 on the R&B chart in 1957. (And yes, we doubled up on the 1950s, considering we’d hit the Johnny Bond record, but it’s worth it for the Platters.) From 1962, we find “Someday After Awhile (You’ll Be Sorry)” by bluesman Freddy King (a departure from his normal “Freddie” spelling).

In the 1970s, we find the funky “Both Sorry Over Nothin’” from Tower of Power’s 1973 self-titled album. The pickings in the files from the 1980s are pretty slender, so we’ll skip over one track each by the Moody Blues and the Hothouse Flowers and head to the 1990s. And that’s where we find the atmospheric “Not Sorry” by the Cranberries from their 1993 album, Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can’t We?

And we have one more stop with “sorry,” heading back to 1968 and the regrets expressed by the HAL 9000 computer in the film 2001: A Space Odyssey.

And At No. 44 on April 4 . . .

Monday, April 4th, 2011

It’s time for Games With Numbers again. It’s April 4 today, or 4/4. So I thought I’d dig into some charts from selected years and see what tunes were at No. 44.

We’ll start in 1961, looking at the chart from fifty years ago this week. Sitting at No. 44 was “Spanish Harlem” by Ben E. King. The record, King’s first solo hit after his work with the Drifters, had peaked at No. 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 and at No. 15 on the R&B chart. It was the first of twenty-two Hot 100 hits for King.

A few years ago, I found in a box of old records the Rays’ classic version of “Silhouettes,” from 1957. The first version I ever heard of the tune, however, was the one sitting at No. 44 in 1965, forty-six years ago today. Herman’s Hermits’ version of “Silhouettes” was on its way to No. 5, the third of an eventual nineteen Hot 100 hits – including two at No. 1 – for the pop-rock group from Manchester, England.

Looking at 1969, I don’t think I’d ever heard the No. 44 tune from the week of April 4 until this morning. But then, I was never much a fan of Engelbert Humperdink. I did like “Les Bicyclettes De Belsize,” which went to No. 31 in 1968, but I seem to have missed “The Way It Used To Be” the following spring. The record would only move up two spots more, to No. 42. It was the seventh of an eventual twenty-three Hot 100 hits for the man born Arnold Dorsey in Madras, India.

The Wattstax concert in Los Angles during the summer of 1972 provided the Staple Singers with the eighth of an eventual fifteen Hot 100 hits, including two No. 1 hits on the pop charts and three on the R&B Chart. A live version of “Oh La De Da” was at No. 44 as of April 4, 1973, and probably should have done better than it did: It peaked at No. 33 on the pop chart and at No. 4 on the R&B chart.

After seventeen years with the Miracles, Smokey Robinson went out on his own in 1972. In the spring of 1977, “There Will Come A Day (I’m Gonna Happen To You)” brought him the tenth of an eventual twenty-five Hot 100 hits as a solo artist. The record, which was at No. 44 during the first week of April, eventually peaked at No. 42 on the pop chart and at No. 7 on the R&B chart.

And we’ll close our excursion this morning by doubling back to a time four years earlier than we started, in April of 1957. The No. 44 song in the Billboard Hot 100 fifty-four years ago this week was “He’s Mine” by the Platters, the thirteenth of an eventual forty Hot 100 hits for the long-lived group from Los Angeles. A quick check at YouTube this morning brought a video of the Platters lip-synching the record, which would peak at No. 16 on the pop chart and at No. 5 on the R&B chart.

Chart Digging: August 5, 1967

Thursday, August 5th, 2010

Doing something once is an occurrence. Doing it twice, well, you can call it a pattern. So today starts a pattern, a pattern of digging around in a listing of the Billboard Hot 100 matching the current date. In this case, the Billboard list comes from August 5, 1967, forty-three years ago today.

First, as we did last time – and will likely do from here on in – let’s check out the Top Ten:

“Light My Fire” by the Doors
“I Was Made To Love Her” by Stevie Wonder
“All You Need Is Love” by the Beatles
“Windy” by the Association
“A Whiter Shade of Pale” by Procol Harum
“Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You” by Frankie Valli
“Mercy, Mercy, Mercy” by the Buckinghams
“White Rabbit” by the Jefferson Airplane
“Pleasant Valley Sunday” by the Monkees
“Little Bit O’ Soul” by the Music Explosion

Boy, would that make a nice forty minutes or so out in the yard with the transistor radio, with only one groaner for me; I’ve never much cared for the Frankie Valli tune. As far as the other nine go, yes, there’s some over-familiarity there, but that’s a product of the long-term quality of those nine singles.

Two comments: First, the Beatles’ single jumped from No. 29 to No. 3 this week after jumping from No. 71 to No. 29 the previous week. Second, there’s one true one-hit wonder in this Top Ten: The Music Explosion’s record, which had spent two weeks at No. 2 in early July (blocked from the top spot by “Windy”), was the only Top 40 hit for the group from Mansfield, Ohio.

Heading down the list from there, we find some interesting things. At No. 14, we find the seventh Top 40 hit for Nancy Sinatra, this one a duet with her mentor, the eccentric studio genius Lee Hazlewood. In the previous fifteen months, Sinatra had scored four Top Ten hits, with two of them – her solo performance on “These Boots Are Made For Walkin’” and her duet with her famous father, “Somethin’ Stupid” – reaching No. 1. “Jackson” would stay at No. 14 one more week and then begin to fall down the chart; Sinatra would never crack the Top 20 again.

Moving lower down, the Critters were in their second week at No. 40. A year earlier, the Plainfield, New Jersey, quintet had reached No. 17 with “Mr Dieingly Sad” and had two other 1966 singles reach the Hot 100: “Bad Misunderstanding” went to No. 55, and “Younger Girl” reached No. 42. The current entry, “Don’t Let The Rain Fall Down On Me,” would spend one more week at No. 40, then move up one notch to No. 39 for a week before leaving the Top 40. It was the group’s last single to make the Top 40, or the Hot 100 for that matter.

Since 1955, the Platters – in various configurations – had seen thirty-seven singles reach the Billboard Hot 100, with twenty-three of those reaching the Top 40, seven hitting the Top 10 and four – “The Great Pretender,” “My Prayer,” “Twilight Time” and “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes” – reaching No. 1. (Eighteen of those singles also reached the R&B chart, and one spent some time in the chart that is now called Adult Contemporary.) That run was close to the end; the group’s current single, “Washed Ashore (On A Lonely Island In The Sea),” would be its next-to-last entry in the Hot 100; the record was at No. 57 on August 5, 1967, and would peak a week later at No. 56. In the autumn, the Platters would reach the Hot 100 for the thirty-eighth and last time as “Sweet, Sweet Loving” got to No. 70.

A little further down the Hot 100 from forty-three years ago, Davie Allan and the Arrows were seeing “Blue’s Theme,” their only Top 40 hit, climb up the chart. I’m not at all familiar with the group, but All-Music Guide notes: “Providing the soundtrack to numerous biker and teen exploitation movies in the mid- and late ’60s, Davie Allan & the Arrows bridged the surf and psychedelic eras. Their driving, basic instrumentals featured loads and loads of fuzz guitar, as well as generous dollops of tremolo bar waggling and wah-wah. The guitarist and his band first made their mark with the minor hit ‘Apache ’65,’ a version of the Shadows/Jorgen Ingmann’s instrumental classic ‘Apache’.” That record had peaked at No. 64; “Blue’s Theme” – recorded for the soundtrack of the Peter Fonda movie, The Wild Angels – got to No. 37.

Heading closer to the bottom of the Hot 100 from August 5, 1967, we find the only entry for the Blades of Grass, a sunshine pop band from the East Coast. All-Music Guide notes that the performance of the group’s only charting single, “Happy,” wasn’t helped by the fact that another pop group, the California-based Sunshine Company, released its own version of “Happy” at the same time. The Sunshine Company’s version got to No. 50 while the version by the Blades of Grass got only to No. 87. Of the two, I prefer the Blades of Grass’ version, which was in its second week at that peak position forty-three years ago today; a week later it was out of the Hot 100.

I never knew the name of the boy/girl duo Jon & Robin until this week, although I recall hearing their one Top 40 hit somewhere. That hit, “Do It Again A Little Bit Slower,” went to No. 18 earlier in 1967 (credited in the Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits to “Jon & Robin and The In Crowd”). I know, however, that I’d never heard until this week the record that Jon & Robin had bubbling under the Hot 100 forty-three years ago today: “Drums.” The record was at No. 109 on August 5 and in the next two weeks, it climbed to No. 100, where it spent two weeks before falling back to the “Bubbling Under” section and then disappearing.

That should do it for today; actually, that should do it for the rest of the week. The Texas Gal and I are going to go out to play for a while, and I suggest you do the same before summer slides away completely. I’ll be back with Odd and Pop next week, maybe Monday, certainly – all things going well – by Tuesday. Be well.