Sunday, October 2, 2016

Artists Whose First Hit Was Their Biggest: Part 32

We were first introduced to these artists by their very first hit, and it is that one which they are best known for:

Peter and Gordon
"A World Without Love"

This London duo got off to a great start when Paul McCartney wrote their first three hits.  At the time, Paul was dating Jane Asher, sister of Peter Asher.  Peter and Gordon Waller went to #1 with this song and chalked up 14 career hits, including the Top 10's "I Go To Pieces" and "Lady Godiva".

Pet Shop Boys
"West End Girl"

This British duo hit #1 with their first in 1986.  They scored 12 career hits, including Top 10 songs "What Have I Done To Deserve This?", "Always On My Mind", "It's A Sin" and "Opportunities (Let's Make Lots Of Money)".

Phil Phillips With the Twilights
"Sea Of Love"

This song has been covered several times, but never as good as the original from Phil Phillips.  He was never able to get into the Top 100 again.  By the way, if you have a copy of the original release of this song on Khoury's 711 Records, it's worth $150.

Bobby Pickett
"Monster Mash"

Pickett's big dream was being an actor, but while pursuing that, he began recording.  In 1962, Bobby recruited fellow musicians Leon Russell, Johnny MacCrae of Ronny & the Daytonas, Rickie Page of the Bermudas and Gary Paxton of the Hollywood Argyles to form the "group" the Crypt-Kickers.  Their Halloween standard went to #1, far and away Pickett's biggest hit.


This Scottish group was formed by David Paton and Billy Lyall, who left the Bay City Rollers in 1973 before they made it big.  Their new group enlisted the help of ace producer Alan Parsons and scored a Top 5 smash in 1975 with this Gold record.  Their next-best, though, was #87.

"Baby Come Back"

This talented L.A. act came up with one of the biggest hits of 1978 with this million-seller.  They enjoyed another hit with "This Time I'm In It For Love", very underrated even at #10, but never could match their first.  Bassist Ronn Moss starred in the television soap opera The Bold & the Beautiful.  Lead singer and guitarist Peter Beckett later joined the Little River Band in 1992.

Perez Prado And His Orchestra
"Cherry Pink And Apple Blossom White"

This feature allows us to spotlight some pretty great songs that were hits just prior to the Rock Era, since the artists who recorded them continued to record after July of 1955.  This Cuban band leader released this instrumental in March of '55, and it was a monster hit, #1 for 10 weeks, as well as a Gold record.  Prado followed that up with another #1, "Patricia" in 1958, and had a total of five hits, but nothing close to this one.

Pratt & McClain
"Happy Days"

In 1976, this duo recorded one of the most memorable television themes of all-time.  It gave them a #5 hit, though they were never able to reach the Top 40 again.

Elvis Presley
"Heartbreak Hotel"

This legend had 151 career hits, including 18 #1's.  "Don't Be Cruel" sported more weeks at #1 (11), and is also among The Top 10 Songs of the Rock Era*.  "Hound Dog", "Love Me Tender", "(Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear", "Jailhouse Rock", "It's Now Or Never", "Are You Lonesome To-night?" and "It's Now Or Never" are also among Presley's classics that are close to his first hit.  But, ranking as The #2 Song of the Rock Era*, Elvis' first remains his most popular.

Johnny Preston
"Running Bear"

Discovered by disc jockey J.P. "Big Bopper" Richardson at the Twilight Club in Port Neches, Texas, Johnny Preston raced to #1 in 1959 with "Running Bear".  The Big Bopper wrote this song and he and Country star George Jones sing backing vocals.  Preston had a #7 hit with "Cradle Of Love", but was never able to generate the popularity of his first hit.

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