Thursday, September 16, 2010

Sonny Til & The Orioles

CHUM I got The CHUM Chart Book from a mail order catalogue. That was sometime around 1985. CHUM was a Toronto radio station, so what’s listed on their radio playlists reflects the pop charts with a Canadian twist. The Canadian music scene in the 60s was very regional, so it’s not to be taken as a reflection of Canada as a whole in every case, but it’s a window into the world of Canadian top 40 radio.

(The national Canadian chart was the RPM, equivalent roughly to USA’s Billboard, and Library and Archives Canada seems to have put some of them online, but it’s patchy.)

Now besides this, I have two versions of Whitburn (Billboard Top 100, 1955 – 1978, and Billboard Top 40, 1955 – 1983) and I have The Rock Almanac, which details top 20 records on Billboard from 1955 until 1973 and the equivalent UK listings. The Top 100 book lists Crying In The Chapel from the fall of 1953, which puzzles me, because the listings are supposed to start in 1955. But it’s the CHUM book that tells me that the song was reissued in 1959, and in Toronto, it reached the grand peak of #46. But it was there. And now, YouTube tells me that the song was rerecorded, not just reissued.

And so it is that Sonny Til & The Orioles take their rightful place as a group that hit the charts in the fall of 1959, however tenuous the claim.

The collection is called The Orioles Sing Their Greatest Hits, and indeed they do. It’s a CD I found at the downtown library, courtesy of the wonderful Province of Quebec.

Sonny Til & The Orioles

It’s Too Soon To Know – From 1948. They set the style here, very stark, almost no instrumentation (just a guitar it sounds like), Sonny’s lead vocal and humming by the group. Pat Boone covered this in 1958.
At Night
Tell Me So
It’s Gonna Be A Lonely Christmas
Forgive And Forget
What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve
I Miss You So – Later a hit for Paul Anka and for Little Anthony & The Imperials
Baby Please Don’t Go – They go a bit bluesy on this one. The song was by Joe Williams and it took on a life of its own, with versions by Muddy Waters etc. Bob Dylan recorded it but didn’t release it. Them did it, and it appeared on the A side of the single that was Gloria. The Amboy Dukes did a sledgehammer version.
Till Then – A hit for The Ink Spots, and in the rock era, by The Classics.
You Belong To Me – Recorded by Patti Page, and a hit for Jo Stafford. Later it was a hit by The Duprees, but my favourite is by Patsy Cline.
Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me – There are a bucketful of versions of this, but the best is the 1965 hit by Mel Carter, hands down.
Sonny Til & The OriolesI Cover The Waterfront – A hit for The Ink Spots
Crying In The Chapel –Darrell Glen wrote this – he was a country singer. They were friends, Glen and Til, so I hear. Anyway this was their landmark hit, originally in the fall of 1953, then redone in the fall of 1959. A bit of religion never hurt. Elvis put this back on the chart in 1965, though he recorded it earlier, and Don McLean had a crack at it on one of his 70s albums.
In The Chapel In The Moonlight – The chapel theme carried over. This, though, isn’t about devotion; it’s a wedding, plain and simple. A hit for The Bachelors and for Dean Martin.
Crying In The Chapel – Again.. This is the 1959 version, which I found on Echoes Of A Rock Era. No bells on this.

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