Saturday Single No. 290

As I’ve been hanging around 1957 for the first two posts of the week, it seems almost churlish to leave that year today, when I can play our occasional Saturday morning game of “Jump!” with the Billboard Top 40 of May 15 of that year.

Thirteen of those forty records moved more than six places from the previous week’s chart, with most of that movement coming from records ranked between No. 21 and No. 40, a circumstance that is not at all surprising.

Two records moved seven places: Jim Lowe’s “Four Walls” went from No. 44 to No. 37, and Ken Copeland’s “Pledge of Love” (featured here Tuesday) climbed from No. 24 to No. 17. And three records shifted nine places: “Mangos” by Rosemary Clooney dropped from No. 25 to No. 34; “Wonderful Memories” by Johnny Mathis moved up from a tie for No. 34 to No. 25; and Andy Williams’ “Butterfly” fell from No. 11 to No. 20.

(How many of these records do I know? Until I listened to Copeland’s record the other day, I had heard only three of the twelve I’ll mention here this morning. Even now, after years of tracking back into the history of rock, pop and R&B, looking at charts from the years before 1960 is something like archeology: I have very little knowledge about what’s out there, so I dig and sift, hoping to find something that clarifies the history of the music. If it turns out to be something I like, that’s great; if it’s something I already know, then the digging and sifting helps me put it in the context of its time, and I learn something.)

There was one record that moved ten places between the charts of May 8 and May 15, 1957: Charlie Grace’s original version of “Butterfly” – Williams’ version noted above was a cover – fell from No. 16 to No. 26. One record – Pat Boone’s “Love Letters In The Sand” – moved twelve spots, climbing from No. 21 to No. 9.

Then two artists already mentioned this morning pop back up: Jim Lowe shows up for the second time, this time with “Talkin’ To The Blues,” which jumped fourteen places, from No. 43 to a tie for No. 29; and Charlie Grace makes his second entrance, as his “Fabulous” climbed fifteen places from No. 51 to No. 36.

Two records moved up twenty places, which is a pretty good leap: “I Just Don’t Know” by the Four Lads went from No. 53 to No. 33, and Jim Reeves’ “Four Walls” went from No. 36 to No. 16. (I think Reeves’ version of the song was the original and Lowe’s version – mentioned above – was the cover, based on the data I found at Second Hand Songs.)

As large as those leaps were, however, they were not the largest of the week. The biggest movement of the week came from a familiar song, one that moved thirty-eight places, flying from No. 76 to No. 38 as it headed to No. 3. And that makes “Searchin’” by the Coasters Today’s Saturday Single.

(I was going to do my own video of the tune this morning, as each of the several videos I found at YouTube seemed to be in a different key with a different level of clarity. But the mp3 on my digital shelves has a muddy quality to it, and to my baffled amazement, I have no Coasters LPs or CDs. That gap will be closed soon, but in the meantime, the video I have posted above is in the same key as my muddy mp3, and I sincerely hope it’s the original recording. Sadly, that’s not the case, as Yah Shure notes below in his assessment of the Coasters’ catalog on CD.)

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One Response to “Saturday Single No. 290”

  1. Yah Shure says:

    That’s definitely a remake; probably one that a latter-day Coasters lineup cut for King Records in the late ’60s (which was where they waxed the original version of “D.W. Washburn.”)

    The YouTube clip showing the Atco 78 label is the real deal, although that particular dub sounds awful. Then again, none of those Atco label Coasters efforts were ever hallmarks of hi-fidelity.

    In terms of what’s out there on CD, the Coasters’ catalog is a mess, even beyond the late-’60s remakes. The stereo LP version of “Yakety Yak” differed from the mono LP track/45, and “Charlie Brown”, “Poison Ivy” and “Little Egypt” all had 45 and LP distinctions, and ALL of these are available on one CD or another. For the true mono 45 versions of all their top-40 hits, I’d recommend either of two Rhino collections: ‘Very Best Of’ (Rhino 71597, and apparently reissued on Rhino Flashback) or ’50 Coastin’ Hits’ (Rhino 71090, put of print and pricey.)

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