Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Billy Vaughn

Billy Vaughn was the musical director of Dot Records, and his arrangements are all over recordings by Pat Boone and The Fontane Sisters. And he released plenty of records under his own name, and he had 28 records on the top 100 between 1955 and 1966, 12 of them on the top 40.

The album is called Golden Hits: The Best Of Billy Vaughn, and it was released in the early 60s, it has 11 tracks, and I believe that I picked it up at Pyramid Records. The first two track are from a double sided hit single reissue, which I probably also picked up at Pyramid.

Billy Vaughn:

· Raunchy – Three versions of this battled their way up the pop charts in late 1957, this one, and Bill Justis, and Ernie Freeman, and Justis’ is the one people remember, and the one that placed highest.
· Look For A Star – Four version of this battled their way up the pop charts in the summer of 1960, this one, and Garry Mills, and Garry Miles, and Deane Hawley, and I only know the last one from the Whitburn book, I don’t have it nor have I heard it. Both Garrys sing the words, Billy just plays the tune.
· Sail Along Silv’ry Moon – An old chestnut, Billy’s version found itself in the top 10 as 1957 sailed into 1958
· Melody Of Love – A biggie, early 1955. Also a hit for Frank Sinatra, and David Carroll.
· Moon Over Naples (Spanish Eyes) – Bert Kaempfert wrote this, and he recorded it of course, and Al Martino put it on the charts, something that Billy didn’t do, in 1966.
· A Swingin’ Safari – One of the great underrated singles. Another Kaempfert composition, but it was Billy who had the hit, in the fall of 1962.
· Theme From A Summer Place – It was Percy Faith who had the hit; this doesn’t really belong here, but it may have helped sell a few more copies.
· Blue Hawaii – so many people did this, Elvis did this, The Ray Charles Singers did this, Billy did it and it was a hit in early 1959.
· The Shifting Whispering Sands, part 1 – This is kind of bizarre. Ken Nordine is the narrator, and no, I don’t know anything about him. The song was a hit on the fall of ’55, and there was a competing version by Rusty Draper. “How I escaped from the valley I do not know” says Ken. Isn’t he curious?
· The Shifting Whispering Sands, part 2 – The Sequel
· Wheels – a hit for Billy and for the String-A-Longs in early 1961.
· La Paloma – reached number 20 in fall ’58; I think I have a version by Catarena Valente but I’m too lazy to check.
· Orange Blossom Special – Billy’s version doesn’t quite do it justice. Ah well, it still made number 63 on Billboard in March of 1961. This is our second encounter with this song, and we are keeping track. The first was Bill Monroe.

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