Sunday, March 7, 2010

Golden Anniversary Song of the Week: "Werewolf" by the Frantics

Retiring Guy is a sucker for surf-guitar instrumentals, which makes it so amazing that he's never heard of the Frantics, though he's sure Little Steven has. Not that this Seattle group tore up the charts with this song, though I suspect they had a loyal regional following.

"Werewolf" entered the Billboard Hot 100 at #83 for the week ending March 7, 1960. It then spent another week at the same position before going bye-bye.

Other songs making their first appearance.

"About This Thing Called Love" by Fabian. (53, 31, 7)
The "B" side of "String Along".

"Teddy" by Connie Francis. (77, 17, 11)
The "B" side of "Mama".

"Summer Set" by Monty Kelly. (82, 30, 11)
His only Hot 100 appearance. Luxuria Music must certainly have this song on its playlist, if only the strength of the kitschy album cover.

"Starbright" by Johnny Mathis. (84, 25, 11) Typically lush and pretty song from the easy-listening master, who scored 3 top 10 hits in 1957 -- "It's Not For Me To Say", "Chances Are", and "The Twelfth of Never" -- but hasn't since this territory since then.

"Chattanooga Choo Choo" by Ernie Fields. (85, 54, 8)
Two songs with "Chattanooga" enter the Hot 100 in consecutive weeks. What's with that?

"The Same Old Me" by Guy Mitchell. (89, 51, 6)
In late 1956/early 1957, Mitchell's "Singing the Blues" spent an amazing 10 weeks at #1 and 26 weeks on the Hot 100 overall.

"Step by Step" by the Crests. (90, 14, 15)
This infectious song, which almost reached the top 10, should eliminate the Crests from being considered a one-hit wonder. Most folks, however, know the group via "16 Candles", which reached #2 on the Hot 100 in early 1959.

"You Don't Know Me" by Lennie Welch. (95, 45, 13)
Three-and-a-half years later, as Lenny Welch, he enjoyed the biggest hit of his career, "Since I Fell for You". Yes, this is the same song that Ray Charles remade two years later, effectively making this version disposable.

"Mountain of Love" by Harold Dorman. (96, 21, 19)
Dorman's only visit to the Hot 100 resulted in a 19-week stay. Remade by Johnny Rivers in 1964.

"Road Runner" by Bo Diddley. (97, 75, 6)
Although "Bo Diddley" is #62 on Rolling Stone's list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time, Bo Diddley's signature, self-referential song never appeared on Billboard's Hot 100. It did, however, spend 18 weeks, two at #1, on R&B chart.

"Old Payola Roll Blues" by Stan Freberg & Jesse White. (99, 99, 1)
The satirist's final appearance on the Hot 100.

"Just Give Me a Ring" by Clyde McPhatter. (100, 96, 2)
Of his 21 singles that charted, only 2 of them reached the top 10. Both have "lover" in their titles: "A Lover's Question" (1958) and "Lover Please" (1962).

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