SUMMER SONG #1: THEME FROM 'A SUMMER PLACE"--PERCY FAITH AND HIS
Wednesday marks the official first day of Summer.
So what is the greatest song ever with the word “Summer” in its title.
The envelope, please…
“Theme From ‘A Summer Place’” – Percy Faith and His Orchestra. It was
the biggest hit single of 1960…and second only to the Beatles’ “Hey
Jude” as the biggest single of the entire decade of the 1960’s.
Well, it was one of the biggest instrumentals of all time. Nine weeks
And it wasn’t even #1 during the summer!
Instead, it was #1 in the late winter/early spring of 1960…and here’s
how it sounded.,..
If you prefer to see Percy Faith and his Orchestra in action, then
here you go…
Percy Faith was no fluke. He had the biggest single of 1953 also with
“The Song From Moulin Rouge”. Only a handful of acts/artists can lay
claim to having two year-end pop #1 hits. The others: Elvis Presley,
the Beatles, Paul McCartney, George Michael and Mariah Carey. Plus,
Faith and his Orchestra backed many Columbia recording stars like
Johnny Mathis, Doris Day, Tony Bennett and Rosemary Clooney.
Why was this song so successful? Well, it was a beautiful romantic
ballad…easy to dance to. And it came from a movie starring two of the
hottest young starts of the time, Sandra Dee and Troy Donahue. Oh, and
the movie? Lots of shenanigans!!!
The story of “Theme From ‘A Summer Place’ “ didn’t stop with Percy
Faith’s version. Two years later, the late Dick Roman gave us lyrics
to the song…
In 1965, so did the Lettermen…
Finally, with the last of the four charted versions of the song, the
Faith's version of "Summer Place" won the Grammy for Record Of The
Year and a disco version of the song (also by Faith) reached #13 on
the Adult Contemporary chart in the mid-70's.
There's a bit of sad irony to the Top two summer songs. Percy Faith
died of cancer on February 9, 1976. Exactly five years later to the
day--February 9, 1981--Bill Haley died in his home in Harlingen,
Texas. While the cause of death was listed as "natural causes, most
likely heart attack," the latter years of Haley's life were plagued by
alcoholism and bouts with paranoia.
COMING SOON: THE TOP 40 ELVIS SONGS
SUMMER SONG #2: (WE'RE GONNA) ROCK AROUND THE CLOCK--BILL HALEY AND
HIS COMETS, 1955 & 1974
The #2 summer song of all time is also the biggest selling rock and
roll single with 25 million copies sold. And it's our rock and roll
"(We're Gonna) Rock Around The Clock" by Bill Haley and His Comets was
originally recorded April 12, 1954 as the B side of "Thirteen
Women"--and it went nowhere at first. James Myers (a/k/a Jimmy
DeKnight) refused to give up on the song and when he got it to start
the controversial movie, "The Blackboard Jungle," the rest was musical
history. As the first bonafide rock and roll single to hit #1, it
stayed at the top for eight weeks
"Blackboard Jungle" was controversial because it depicted violence and
centered on juvenile delinquincy. Glenn Ford starred as the teacher
who turns a group of routy kids into kids who get motivated to learn.
Sidney Poitier and the lateVic Morrow were among the stars
"Rock Around The Clock" was revitalized in the 1970's when it became
the first theme song for the show "Happy Days." It even reentered the
Top 40 in 1974. The song was played at the start of the year 2000 on
the "Casey's K2 Kountdown" special although it wasn't the original
version that was 2:08 long.