For a long time record collectors thought Fire records 1008, “Fannie Mae” b/w “Lost In A Dream” by Buster Brown, was the last American 78 record. Since then several even later 78s have been unearthed. But this is still a great rock and roll (actually blues) song released in November 1959 and considered a 1960 hit.
Well, this blew me away. Pickwick was a budget label that, among other endeavors, produced budget covers of current hits in the tradition of Tops, Promenade, Bell, etc. But I didn’t know that they were doing it as late as 1962! The three songs on this side are covers of the Routers’ “Let’s Go,” Steve Lawrence’s “Go Away Little Girl,” and Little Esther Phillip’s “Release Me.” I don’t know what three songs are on the other side of the record.
I had previously thought that King 5274 was the latest 78 on that label. But here is King 5289 from November 1959, “Look at Little Sister” by Hank Ballard and the Midnighters. The “B” side is “I Said I Wouldn’t Beg You.” “Little Sister” is pure rock and roll featuring hilarious lyrics like:
What about the neighbors? What they gonna say? Stop! Little sister’s getting carried away!
Here’s one of those budget records where second and third tier performers were asked to cover current hits. Apparently, the record is from late 1959.
The actual hit versions are as follows:
“Mack The Knife” – Bobby Darin
“Just Ask Your Heart” – Frankie Avalon
“Put Your Head On My Shoulder” – Paul Anka
“Thank You Pretty Baby” – Brook Benton
I believe that this business model fell apart a few years later when listeners started only accepting the actual versions. And “Your Hit Parade” finally went off the air the previous year, where their staff of singers would sing the week’s hits.
Bell 120 was a budget version of Jan and Dean’s “Baby Talk.” I wondered if “Tom & Jerry” was a pseudonym for Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel before they became famous under their own name. The reason is that Bell issued a song called “Hey Schoolgirl” by Tom & Jerry in 1958 that really was S&G. But, while “Baby Talk” from the next year is also credited to Tom & Jerry, the actual identities of the singers are unknown. Such was the world of budget record labels.
Note that this release, which was issued in August 1959, came with a picture sleeve. The flip side was a cover of Lloyd Price’s “I’m Gonna Get Married” by Ronnie Lawrence.
From the Album “The Genius of Ray Charles”, Atlantic 2047 was “Don’t Let The Sun Catch You Crying” b/w “Let The Good Times Roll”, released in December 1959. I have “The Genius” album in stereo. But there were no stereo 78s. Both of these songs were recorded by Louis Jordan in the 1940s. This was the next-to-last known Atlantic 78.
Here it is – the Holy Grail of Late 78s: Bobby “Blue” Bland’s “Cry Cry Cry” from September 1960. It was Duke 327. The A-side rose to #9 on Billboard Magazine’s R&B charts that fall, and even charted #71 on the pop music charts. The B-side was “I’ve Been Wrong So Long.”
I have confirmed with record collector extraordinaire John Tefteller that this is authentic and not a photoshop creation. He regularly auctions off high quality collector records at his website, tefteller.com .
Unbelievable – fall of 1960. This may very well be the last regular issue, non-niche/fringe/novelty American 78 rpm record.
A January 1960 78 record: “Goodbye Kansas City” backed with “1960” by Wilbert Harrison on Fury 1028. This follow up to his no. 1 hit “Kansas City” featured the same melody, written back in 1952 by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller. However, as you can see on the record label, the didn’t get co-composer credit on this. They probably could have pressed the issue if they wanted to, like Chuck Berry did with ‘Surfin’ USA”, or what happened with “My Sweet Lord” and Ronnie Mack’s heirs.