The Platters – Song for the lonely “The ’59” #031

“The ’59” 2018 #031: 180131

The Platters – Song for the Lonely (1962)

The Platters formed in Los Angeles in 1952 and were initially managed by Federal Records A&R man, Ralph Bass. The original group consisted of Alex Hodge, Cornell Gunter, David Lynch, Joe Jefferson, Gaynel Hodge and Herb Reed, who joined the group after he was discharged from the Army in December 1952. Reed also created the group’s name.

In June 1953, Gunter left to join the Flaires and was replaced by lead vocalist Tony Williams. The band then released two singles with Federal Records, under the management of Bass, but found little success. Bass then asked his friend music entrepreneur and songwriter Buck Ram to coach the group in hope of getting a hit record. Ram made some changes to the lineup, most notably the addition of female vocalist Zola Taylor; later, at Reed’s urging, Hodge was replaced by Paul Robi. Under Ram’s guidance, the Platters recorded eight songs for Federal in the R&B/gospel style, scoring a few minor regional hits on the West Coast, and backed Williams’ sister, Linda Hayes. One song recorded during their Federal tenure, “Only You (And You Alone)”, originally written by Ram for the Ink Spots, was deemed unreleasable by the label, though copies of this early version do exist.

Despite their lack of chart success, the Platters were a profitable touring group, successful enough that the Penguins, coming off their No.8 single “Earth Angel”, asked Ram to manage them as well. With the Penguins in hand, Ram was able to parlay Mercury Records’ interest into a 2-for-1 deal. To sign the Penguins, Ram insisted, Mercury also had to take the Platters. The Penguins would never have a hit for the label, but The Platters were altogether more successful.

“It’s Magic”, from their 1962 album ‘Song for the Lonely” was written by Jule Styne, with lyrics by Sammy Cahn. The song was introduced by Doris Day in her film debut, ‘Romance on the High Seas’ (known in the UK as ‘It’s Magic’ after the song), and was published in 1947.


The electrifying Aretha Franklin (“The ’59”) #030

“The ’59” 2018 #030: 180130

The Electrifying Aretha Franklin (1962)

Aretha Franklin’s third studio album, was released on March 19, 1962 by Columbia Records. It’s also known under its working title The Incomparable Aretha Franklin and was recorded at Columbia Recording Studios, 799 Seventh Avenue, New York. It was produced by John Hammond and arranged by Richard Wess.

The Tornados – The Original Telstar (“The ’59”) #029

“The ’59” 2018 #029: 180129

The Tornados – The Original Telstar (1962)

The Tornados were essentially a backing group for many of record producer Joe Meek’s productions and also for singer Billy Fury. But they also enjoyed several chart hits in their own right, including the UK and U.S. No. 1 “Telstar” (named after the satellite and composed and produced by Meek), the first U.S. No. 1 single by a British group.

The Tornados (Dave Watts version) still perform concerts around the UK and Europe; the band consists of Dave Watts (keyboards), Shaun Corrigan on guitar for ’60s band the Symbols (“The Best Part of Breaking Up”), Pete Gill on bass from ’60s band The Rebounds, Jamie Thurston (vocals/guitar from ITV Heartbeat tour, “ITVtheRoyal”) and Tristan Long on drums (performed with Gareth Gates, Deacon Blue, Midge Ure, SKIN, Halloween, Foundations, Fortunes, etc.).

Ben E King – Don’t play that song (“The ’59”) #028

The ’59 2018 #028: 180128

Ben E King – Don’t Play that Song (1962)

Don’t Play That Song! was the third studio album from Ben E. King. It was released by Atlantic Records as an LP in 1962 and was home to five notable singles: “Stand by Me”, “Ecstasy”, “First Taste of Love”, “Here Comes the Night”, and the title track, “Don’t Play That Song (You Lied)”

Herbie Hancock – Takin Off (“The ’59”) #027

“The ’59” 2018 #027: 180127

Herbie Hancock – Takin Off (1962)

Herbie Hancock’s debut was released in 1962 on the Blue Note label. The recording session included Freddie Hubbard on trumpet and veteran Dexter Gordon on tenor saxophone. ‘Takin Off’ was a typical hard bop LP, with its characteristic two horns and a rhythm section.

The bluesy single “Watermelon Man” made it to the Top 100 of the pop charts, and went on to become a jazz standard.

It was released on CD in 1996 with three alternate takes and then remastered in 2007 by Rudy Van Gelder. The 2007 edition features new liner notes by Bob Blumenthal.

The Beach Boys – Surfin Safari (“The ’59”) #026

“The ’59” 2018 #026: 180126

The Beach Boys – Surfin Safari (1962)

Surfin’ Safari was the Beach Boys’ debut, released on October 1, 1962 on Capitol Records. The official production credit went to Nick Venet, though it was Brian Wilson with his father Murry who contributed substantially; Brian also wrote or co-wrote nine of its 12 tracks.It peaked at No. 32 in its 37-week run on the US charts.

‘Surfing Safari’ was preceded by two singles: “Surfin'” and “Surfin’ Safari”, which charted at Nos. 75 and 14, respectively. The success of “Surfin’ Safari” helped secure a full album for the group while an additional single, “Ten Little Indians”, was issued, charting at No. 49.

Peter, Paul and Mary (“The ’59”) #025

“The ’59′” 2018 #025: 180125

Peter, Paul and Mary (1962)

The self-titled debut album from Peter, Paul and Mary was released in 1962 on Warner Bros. Records. Released in both mono and stereo on catalog no. 1449, it’s one of the rare folk albums to have reached the No.1 slot in the US – staying there for over a month.

The lead-off singles “If I Had a Hammer” and “Lemon Tree” reached numbers 10 and 35 respectively. It was the group’s biggest selling studio album, eventually certified Double Platinum. It was reissued as 180 Gram vinyl in 2016 under the Waxtime Label. The Waxtime issue has 3 Bonus tracks which are side 1 track 7 – One Kind of Favor (Live), side 2 track 7 – The Times They Are A’ Changin’ (Live) & Track 8 – If I Had My Way (Live)

At the Grammy Awards of 1963, their recording of “If I Had a Hammer” won the Best Folk Recording and Best Performance by a Vocal Group Grammies.