Saturday, April 3, 2010

Golden Anniversary Song of the Week: "It Could Happen to You" by Dinah Washington

None of Retiring Guy's favorite oldies entered Billboard's Hot 100 for the week ending April 3, 1960.  He was never a huge Neil Sedaka fan, and the lyrics to "Cradle of Love" sound like a series of nursery rhymes strung together.

Dinah Washington's biggest hits of 1960 were the two songs she recorded with Brook Benton:  "Baby You've Got What It Takes" and "A Rockin' Good Way".  "It Could Happen to You", almost as good as her smashing 1959 debut, "What a Diff'rence a Day Makes", debuted at #83 but spent a short-lived 6 weeks on the charts, peaking at #53.  For more about the "Queen of the Jukeboxes", listen to NPR's "Dinah Washington:  A Queen in Turmoil".

Other songs making their first appearance on the Hot 100.

"Cradle of Love" by Johnny Preston.  (76, 7, 15)
The follow-up to "Running Bear" -- #1 for three weeks earlier in the year -- that saved Johnny from becoming a one-hit wonder.

"Ooh Poo Pah Doo (Part 2)" by Jessie Hill.  (81, 28, 16)
R&B singer/drummer/pianist Hill reached the Hot 100 just twice, both times in 1960.

"Teen Ex" by the Browns.  (84, 47, 7)
The 'B' side of "The Old Lamplighter".

"House of Bamboo" by Earl Grant.  (88, 88. 3)
Pianist, organist, and vocalist, Grant died in an auto accident in 1970 at the age of 39.

"What Am I Living For" by Conway Twitty.  (93, 26, 11)
Twitty had 55 number one songs on the country charts.

"Why I'm Walking" by Stonewall Jackson.  (96, 95, 2)
#6 on the country charts.

"I Need You Now" by Joni James.  (98, 98, 1)
Joni didn't connect with "Top 40" listeners with this remake of a #1 Eddie Fisher's 1954 "Music of Your Life" staple.  Retiring Guy suspects that it was a big hit on radio stations that played an "Adult Contemporary" format.

"Stairway to Heaven" by Neil Sedaka.  (99, 9, 15)
Neil composed more than 1,000 songs during his career.  The first song he sold, "Stupid Cupid" became a big hit for Connie Francis in 1958.  Nearly 20 years later, he hadn't lost his touch.  His "Love Will Keep Us Together", performed by the Captain and Tennille, won the Record of the Year Grammy in 1975.

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