On September 29, 1962, Alouette I, a Canadian satellite and the first not made by either the USA or USSR, was launched into orbit, I was six years old and in first grade at St. Ignatius School, where Mother Irene Mary, SHCJ and Miss Disselhorst were busy whipping me into shape (particularly about my printing), brother Jimmy was in kindergarten, brother Kippy was stuck at home with Mrs. O’Boyle, who my mother hired because she had evidently watched children in castles in Ireland (from her demeanor, I’d say she watched them in the dungeon), and the following eleven songs (one was a double-sided single) were in the Top Ten of the Silver Dollar Survey issued by WLS 890 AM (“The Bright Sound In Chicago”). I couldn’t have cared less in 1962, but that would change rather quickly a year or so later, when my Aunt Cash gave me my first radio. By that time, these were all “golden oldies.”
#10: The Dovells, “Hully Gully Baby” Actually “(Baby) Hully Gully,” this was The Dovell’s cover of The Olympics’ 1960 record, which reached #72 and touched off the “Hully Gully” dance craze.
#9: Gene Pitney, “Only Love Can Break A Heart” Gene released this one after two successful movie themes, “Town Without Pity” (1961) and “(The Man Who Shot) Liberty Valance.”
#8: The Contours, “Do You Love Me?” Berry Gordy originally wanted The Temptations, who had no hit songs to this point, to record this, but when he couldn’t find them (they had left the studio and gone to a Detroit gospel festival) offered it to The Contours, and the rest was history.
#7: Nat King Cole, “Ramblin’ Rose” The Top 40 hadn’t totally been taken over by rock & roll in 1962, and Nat King Cole was still quite popular.
#6: Dickey Lee, “Patches” A rather morbid song, not to be confused with the song of the same name by Clarence Carter.
#5B: The Beach Boys, “409” The B side of the two-sided #5 entry, this song is credited with “initiating the hot rod music craze of the 1960’s”; so sayeth Wikipedia. No idea if the song was the inspiration for naming a once-popular cleaning product “Formula 409.”
#5A: The Beach Boys, “Surfin’ Safari” The A side, which I always heard was “Surfin’ Surfari.” It wasn’t, but it should have been. This was featured in the movie American Graffiti (“Where Were You In ’62?”).
#4: The Four Seasons, “Sherry” First of three straight #1 hits for Frankie Valli and the boys, on Gary, Indiana’s own Vee Jay Recoreds.
#3: Bobby “Boris” Pickett, “Monster Mash” This Hallowe’en classic had been on the survey for six weeks already by September 29, and would peak at #1 the week before Hallowe’en, falling to #4 the next week.
#2: Jimmy Clanton, “Venus In Blue Jeans” Jimmy’s last Top Ten single. Jimmy, from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, was dubbed “the swamp pop R&B teenage idol.”
#1: Chris Montez, “Let’s Dance” Chris isn’t exactly a one-hit wonder, having placed several songs in the Top 40 and having had some success on the Adult Contemporary chart, but this is the song everyone remembers.
My thanks, as always, to my friends at Oldiesloon for the survey data and to the people who posted these songs on YouTube. That’s The Friday 5×2 for September 29, 2017.