Los Bravos

Although Los Bravos hailed from Spain, its leading singer, Mike Kennedy, was German by birth. Mike had changed his surname from that of Kogel because he reportedly believed that it would be more palatable to the British media.

The group sampled fame in the 1960s when its initial release, “Black Is Black”, became an international hit, in 1966. The single reached No.2 in Britain, No.4 in the United States and No.6 in Australia. In total, it was to sell more than one million copies.

Los Bravos’s only other success of note occurred in this same year when “I Don’t Care” peaked at No.16 in Britain.

In 1977, the French female vocal trio, La Belle Epoque, also took “Black Is Black” to No.2 in Britain, in the era of disco.

“Black Is Black”, by Los Bravos, is another of my favourite recordings.

The Bobby Fuller Four

Robert Gaston Fuller was born in Texas, in October of 1942. Robert, along with his brother, Randy, participated in a number of disparate bands.

“Bobby” Fuller moved to Los Angeles, in 1964, with his band, The Bobby Fuller Four. Bobby was its vocalist and also played the guitar. Just as his idol and fellow Texan, the late Buddy Holly, had done.

The group was signed to record for Mustang Records and, in January of 1966, what was to be its biggest hit entered Billboard’s Hot 100. “I Fought The Law” peaked at No.9. In Australia it only reached No.29 and, in Britain, No.33. The song had been written by Sonny Curtis, who introduced it to The Crickets, after he joined that group, in 1959, following the death of Buddy Holly.

The Bobby Fuller Four’s only other entry to the chart was “Love’s Made A Fool Of You”, a moderately successful cover of Buddy Holly’s recording.

The band disbanded shortly after the body of its leader was found, in his car, in July of 1966. Even to this day the cause of his death appears to be open to conjecture.

“I Fought The Law” was, in turn, covered by the English punk rock group, The Clash, in 1979.

The Ames Brothers

This quartet of brothers hailed from Malden, Massachusetts. The brothers’ parents, David and Sarah Urick, had emigrated from the Ukraine, and had nine children in all.

Only Ed Ames, who was born in July of 1927, survives at this time of writing. Joe (1921-2007), Gene (1923-1997) and Vic (1925-1978) were this vocal group’s other members.

Having moved to New York, in the late 1940s, it was decided that their collective name should be changed from The Amory Brothers to that of The Ames Brothers. The brothers became the first artists to record for Coral Records, a label that, in the late 1950s, was to become synonymous with the recordings of Buddy Holly.

Success was not long in coming, as “Rag Mop” reached No.1 in the early months of 1950.

The Ames Brothers became extremely popular, not only on the radio and television but in nightclubs, as well. Hit after hit followed “Rag Mop”, with “Sentimental Me” also reaching the covetted No.1 position, and, later in that year “Can Anyone Explain? (No, No, No)” ascended to No.5.

In 1951, “Undecided”, which was recorded with Les Brown and his Band of Renown, reached No.2. Nevertheless, the four had to wait until 1953 to savour their biggest success of all, “You You You”, which was to remain atop the hit parade for eight weeks. The Ames Brothers had just switched to recording on the RCA Victor label and were hence now accompanied by Hugo Winterhalter and his Orchestra.

The cleverly written “The Naughty Lady Of Shady Lane”, released in late 1954, climbed to sit at No.3. In total The Ames Brothers had forty-nine recordings enter the American charts. There, the quartet’s other recordings to enter the Top 10 were “Tammy” and “Melodie D’Amour”, both of which peaked at No.5, in 1957.


“Pussy Cat” climbed to No.3 in Australia, in 1958, and remained on the chart for twenty weeks.

When The Ames Brothers disbanded, in 1960, Ed Ames pursued a career as an actor; in conjunction with that as a solo recording artist. He is perhaps best remembered, as an actor, for his portrayal of ‘Mingo’, an American Indian, in the television series, ‘Daniel Boone’, which ran from 1964-1970.

As a solo performer, Ed’s most notable recording is ‘My Cup Runneth Over’, which reached No.8, in 1967.

My favourite recordings by The Ames Brothers are “You You You”, “The Naughty Lady Of Shady Lane”, “Melodie D’Amour”, “Pussy Cat” and, from 1956, “It Only Hurts For A Little While”.

All of the above five can be found on my list of favourite recordings, located in the suggested playlists. Perhaps you shall notice that in this list I have shown preference to Debbie Reynolds’ version of “Tammy”. It spent five weeks atop Billboard’s pop chart, in 1957, and features in the film, ‘Tammy And The Bachelor’, in which Debbie also stars.

Consecutive Centuries To Chappell: Monday, 23rd May, 1977

Despite the sunshine it was a cold nine degrees Celsius when we arose. At noon, “The Mike Walsh Show”, in the presence of a live audience, had among its guests Australian singers, Jamie Redfern and Ray Burgess. The latter, is the presenter of the pop series, “Flashez”, and sang “Gloria”, which was a hit in Australia, in 1965, for Them, a group, from Northern Ireland, led by Van Morrison. ‘Frankenstein’ came to life, however, when Mike Walsh pulled off its mask, it proved to be none other than the show’s resident larrikin, Mike Williams, whom, for whatever reason, is also regularly referred to as ‘Shirley Temple’. The irrepressible bandleader, Geoff Harvey, quaffed two glasses of champagne, served by a butler. Other guests included a lion cub, a seal called ‘Dopey’ and a penguin!

At three o’clock, Mannix looks for a Japanese courier, with the assistance of Tami Okada, a likeable Japanese private investigator.

“Flashez”, from half past five, is followed at six by “The Big Match”, in which Chelsea accounts for Hull City by four goals to nil. While still on the subject of soccer, Australian international, George Harris, who plays for St. George, in the Philips’ League, is interviewed on ATN Channel Seven’s “News” as a result of being unexpectedly struck above the right eye by a spectator at the conclusion to his side’s away game against Adelaide City.

“Michael Edgeley’s Circus Spectacular” was viewed from half past seven.

Australia defeated Gloucestershire by one hundred and seventy-three runs. Greg Chappell’s one hundred and two means that he has scored centuries in successive matches.

Sue Thompson

Eva Sue McKee was born in July of 1925 (or 1926 — I’ve seen both years quoted), in Nevada, Missouri (or Mississippi). Nevertheless, she was raised in San Jose, California. As Sue Thompson, she was to record as both a pop and country artist.

Sue performed on the radio station, KGO, in San Francisco, while still in her teens. Although she procured a contract to record as early as 1950, it would be more than a decade before her recordings would enter the charts.

In the meantime, Sue appeared on television in the country series, ‘Hometown Hayride’, and, by the late 1950s, had joined the Grand Ole Opry, in Nashville. There she worked with the highly popular Red Foley.

I state in ‘About Me’ of how I really admire songwriters who can tell a story in two or three minutes. It was one such recording that really launched Sue Thompson’s career. “Sad Movies (Make Me Cry)”, written by the prolific John D. Loudermilk, rose to No.5 on Billboard’s pop chart, in 1961.


“Norman”, recorded towards the end of that year, was to become Sue’s largest success, in her homeland,when it rose to two places higher than her initial release.



Further hits followed, also written by John D. Loudermilk. These included “James (Hold The Ladder Steady)”, in 1962, and “Paper Tiger”, in 1965.

In Australia, all four of the aforementioned releases reached the Top 10. While “Paper Tiger” reached No.2, “Sad Movies (Make Me Cry)” proved to be her largest hit because it remained in the Top 40 for eighteen weeks, having peaked at No.3.


A hiatus of six years was to ensue before Sue Thompson would again appear on the charts, however, this time it was to be as a country artist. Not only did Sue record country music as a solo performer, in the 1970s, she also had nine entries that were recorded in duet with the famed singer, songwriter Don Gibson.

“Sad Movies (Make Me Cry)” appears on the list of my favourite recordings, which can be found in the suggested playlists.


The 1910 Fruitgum Co.

The catchy, childlike pop songs that emanated from the studios of Jerry Kasenetz and Jeff Katz, in New York City, between 1967 and 1969, were dubbed bubblegum music.

Principal exponents of this sound included The Lemon Pipers and Ohio Express, both of whom emerged from the state after which the latter was named, and The 1910 Fruitgum Co., from New Jersey.

The 1910 Fruitgum Co. had as its leading singer, Mark Gutkowski. His boyish voice suited the songs, which the band came to record.

Officially, the group was comprised of Mark Gutkowski on vocals and the organ; Frank Jeckell, vocals and rhythm guitar; Floyd Marcus, vocals and drums; Steve Mortkowitz, on bass; and Pat Karwan, on vocals and leading guitar. Nonetheless, replacements were always in the wings and as these were often used, just who played what on which recordings appears blurred.

Placing to one side the actual composition of the group, there is no denying that its relatively short career produced recordings that the young, and young at heart, thoroughly enjoyed.

“Simon Says”, so obviously based upon the children’s game, swiftly brought the group international fame, in 1968, when it reached No.5 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart; as well as, for example, No.2, in Britain, and No.12 in Australia. The recording’s success in Great Britain was to also mark the band’s last there.

Seven months after the release of its initial hit, The 1910 Fruitgum Co. had another on hand this time in the form of “1, 2, 3, Red Light”, which peaked at No.5 in both America and Australia. “Goody Goody Gumdrops” faired considerably better in Australia (No.13) than in America (No. 37).



The new year came and with it, one last major success, “Indian Giver”. It ascended to No.5 in the United States and No.9, in Australia. I particularly like the intergration of the tom-toms in this cleverly written recording, which, emulated the group’s previous two major successes by managing to sell in excess of a million copies. “Indian Giver” was covered by The Ramones in the 1980s.



In all, seven of the quintet’s singles entered the charts while five albums were released in its name.

The Upsetters

The Upsetters was an early Jamaican reggae band which, in late 1969, released its only notable recording when the double A-sided single, “Return Of Django” and “Dollar In The Teeth”, ascended to No.5 on the British charts.



Decades later, these two tracks were used in the soundtrack to ‘Grand Theft Auto: London’, a video game series of the late 1990s. “Return Of Django” can also be heard in ‘This Is England’, a dramatic British film from 2006.

Some members of the group by 1972 had become Wailers alongside Bob Marley.

You can find “Return Of Django” on the list of my favourite recordings, which is located in the suggested playlists. I shall be adding to this list from time to time.

Bobby Vee

Robert Thomas Velline was born in Fargo, North Dakota, in April of 1943. When Buddy Holly, The Big Bopper and Ritchie Valens were killed in that devastating plane crash in Iowa, on the 3rd of February, in 1959 it was Robert, at the age of just fifteen, who was called upon to fill in for Buddy at the tour’s next venue, in Moorhead, Minnesota.

From there this singer, songwriter soon adopted the pseudonym of Bobby Vee and within two years had emerged as an international popstar. The third single he released, under the livery of Liberty Records, was a revival of The Clovers’ ballad, “Devil Or Angel”, from 1956.


However, it was to be his fourth single, “Rubber Ball”, that was to stamp him as an international success. The song was co-written by singer, Gene Pitney, who substituted his mother’s maiden name of Orlowski on the record’s label.


Bobby, between 1959 and 1970, was to enter the American charts with singles which numbered almost forty in total. This was no mean feat when one considers just how highly competitive entrance to the charts was in those days, what with such a stellar array of talent, both ensconced and burgeoning, on hand.

In the wake of “Devil Or Angel” and “Rubber Ball”, in 1960, Bobby’s most popular recordings proved to be “More Than I Can Say”, Take Good Care Of My Baby”, “Run To Him”, “Walkin’ With My Angel” (all from 1961), “Please Don’t Ask About Barbara”, “Sharing You”, “The Night Has A Thousand Eyes” (1962), “Charms” (1963) and “Come Back When You Grow Up” (1967).




Across the Atlantic, “More Than I Can Say”, which had only risen to No.61 in his homeland, ascended to No.4. Similarly, “How Many Tears”, in 1961, also performed considerably better in Britain, where it peaked at No.10. In 1962, in Britain, “A Forever Kind Of Love”, reached No.13 and stayed in the chart for nineteen weeks.


“Rubber Ball” and “One Last Kiss” (which Bobby shared with Crash Craddock, who had released a simultaneous version) both reached No.1, in Australia, in early 1961, and, in the second half of the year, his revival of the classic, “Baby Face”, from the 1920s, reached No.4 there.

“More Than I Can Say” spent four weeks at No.2, in America, in 1980, when the song was revived by Englishman Leo Sayer. Leo became a naturalised Australian citizen, in 2009.

Bobby Vee has continued to tour into his sixties.

I have included Bobby Vee’s original recording of “More Than I Can Say” on my list of favourite recordings, which is located in the suggested playlists.


Edith Zuser was a pop singer who recorded under the stage name of Lolita. She was born in January of 1931, in St Polten, Austria.

Lolita’s recording career began in 1957 and in December of 1959 she recorded her only truly international success, the single, “Seeman, deine Heimat ist das Meer” (“Sailor, Your Home Is The Sea”). It peaked at No.5 in the United States, No.6 in Australia, and performed well in Japan as well as, of course, certain European nations.

Multilingual British singer, actress Petula Clark took her English cover titled “Sailor” and her French equivalent, “Marin (Enfant du voyage)” to the top of the charts on both sides of the English Channel, in 1961.

Lolita died from cancer in Salzburg, Austria, in June of 2010, at the age of seventy-nine.


Alvin Stardust

Bernard William Jewry was born, in September of 1942, in London. While he was still a child, his family moved north to live in Nottinghamshire.

Bernard was a roadie with the group, Shane Fenton and The Fentones, and when Shane Fenton (nee John Theakstone) died, as the result of having rheumatic fever as a child, he was invited to become the new Shane Fenton.

The combination had four relatively minor hits covering a period of twelve months from October of 1961. The last of these, “Cindy’s Birthday”, was also the largest, ascending to No.19 on the singles chart in Britain. It was actually a cover of Johnny Crawford’s recording that had risen to No.8 in America, just a few months earlier. Johnny played Mark McCain in the highly popular television series, ‘The Rifleman’. In the series, his father, Lucas McCain, was portrayed by Chuck Connors; back in what truly was the golden age of television.

Once Shane Felton and The Feltones had disbanded, little was heard of Bernard. That is, until the early 1970s when he re-emerged having acquired the persona, Alvin Stardust, in the era of glam rock.

Alvin’s first single, “My Coo-Ca-Choo”, entered the British chart in November of 1973 and, in spite of peaking at No.2, was to spend some five months there.

Nineteen seventy-four was to be Alvin’s most successful year. He took “Jealous Mind” to No.1, “Red Dress” to No.7, “You You You” to No.6, and “Tell Me Why” to No.16.



Alvin’s only real achievement, in 1975, was to have “Good Love Can Never Die” reach No.11. Thereafter, a hiatus of some six years ensued before “Pretend” rose to No.4. The song had been a hit for Nat ‘King’ Cole, in 1953, and Gerry and The Pacemakers, in 1965.


Three more years passed before “I Feel Like Buddy Holly” (No.7) established him as an extant recording artist, yet again.

In late 1984, “I Won’t Run Away” followed, reaching its zenith, at No.7, in early 1985.

In Australia, Alvin’s “My Coo-Ca-Choo”, was virtually his only hit, having risen to No.2, as it had in Great Britain. To my knowledge, he remains an unknown to the vast majority of Americans.

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