Here’s an incredibly late 78 from May 1960. It’s by Elmore James on Chess 1756 titled, “The Sun Is Shining” backed with “I Can’t Hold Out.” I always liked Elmore, but a lot of his recordings are just variations on other blues that he already recorded. Of the 30+ commercial 78s I have documented from 1960, three of them are by Elmore James.
A U.S. 78 pop record from 1962
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.
Look at Little Sister
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!
Mack The Knife, etc.
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.
1962 Polka 78
Apparently as late as 1962 this small polka record company was still pressing 78s for their older rural listeners in the Lawrence Welk land of the Upper Midwest.
He Will Break Your Heart
Well, I can dream, can’t I?
I’ll Take Care of You
From November 1959 this is Duke 314, “I’ll Take Care of You” backed with “That’s Why” by Bobby Bland. Note that the song was written by Brook Benton. It made #2 on Billboard’s R&B chart in early 1960.
The next Duke release by Bland was “Lead Me On”, issued in March 1960. I haven’t been able to confirm that one on 78 yet.
A Simon and Garfunkel 78???
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.
Don’t Let The Sun Catch You Crying
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.
Cry Cry Cry
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.