Thursday, September 24, 2009

Danny & The Juniors

It was 1970 and it was the Labour Day weekend. I was 13 years old and the local top 40 station, which was actually a top 30 station, and which was called CFRW, was having a Top 300 Of All Time weekend.

Well I’d had my ear glued to the radio since sometime in 1965 (I was 8 then, do the math) so I knew the stuff from the previous six years. I knew some older stuff too, Beatle songs, maybe Stones tracks that you’d hear as oldies (flashbacks, they were called then), but so many of those songs were new to me.

There was a contest – 100 free albums: you had to write down all 300 songs, title and artist, correctly, and send it in. Then they had to select it.

What a dream for a 13 year old kid with no allowance and a music addiction, 100 free LPs. But I didn’t win. For all I know they picked my entry, but I know that I wrote down Judy’s Turn To Cry as Judy Start To Cry. There’s an irony in that that I will not explain. I’m sure that I got others wrong as well, but that’s the one I remember.

After the fact, you know, they published the chart as a supplement to the weekly top 30. So that’s when I got to read the list. And down towards the bottom, there was a song that I’d written down as “At The Hop” by Danny & The Juniors. But what was written on the published chart was “At The Top.” Curious, I thought, that they sang “at the hop” but they called it “At The Top.”

They didn’t, or course, call it “At The Top” at all. But the typo won the day for me. For years I thought of the song as At The Top, and it was only later in my adult years that I’d realized that I’d been right the first time.

DJ: 1
Typo: 0.

When I first discovered Pyramid Records at the corner of Notre Dame and Princess, they had a rack of new records, mostly imported collections of old stuff, Rhino, Ace, SeeForMiles etc. I bought a few titles, but I couldn’t buy everything I wanted. So I had to pass on the collection by Danny & The Juniors. I didn’t realize at the time, but I’m sure it only had 3 of their hits, the ones on ABC Paramount.

Anyway, I never saw it again. I’ve thought about it since then, though, and I’ve only ever picked up their 2 biggest records. It seems that all their hits are available on Amazon on 2 different collections; the ABC Paramount recordings are available on Golden Classics Edition, and you can buy it for $110.72 USD. The Swan recordings are a bargain at $25.00, but you don’t know any of those songs anyway. So for now, I’ve got 2 songs…

Danny & The Juniors:

At The Hop – Rock and roll in excelsis. Sha Na Na made a career out of this song. They did it at Woodstock and they did it on Grease. It was Flash Cadillac & The Continental Kids, though, who did it on American Graffiti. But it was Danny & The Juniors who had the number 1 hit in the winter of 1958. This has been a collection for a long long time.
Rock And Roll Is Here To Stay – A rather bold claim back in the winter of 1958 when this was a hit. It proved to be true, of course. This is At The Hop redux, but no matter. Sha Na Na appropriated for the title of their first album, in 1969. This is from the soundtrack to Stand By Me.

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