soda pop print ads.
east to Philly where a deejay
known as The Rockin' Bird
station called Wibbage!
"A Thousand Miles Away" by the Heartbeats,
was one of the best group ballads of the 50s.
this time with his new group Shep & the Limelites.
halting at position #2 while Roy Orbison's
"Running Scared" and Ricky Nelson's
a record that finished in the top 20 and gained them
national exposure. To me the Sparkletones sounded
like The Everly Brothers hopped up on Jolt Cola.
I dug what those boys were puttin' down!
up single was released in December of 1957 and halted
just shy of the top 40. Although not as big a hit as
playing deejay more than two years in my downstairs
game room. I spent hours at a time sifting through
stacks of 45s that belonged to my parents and
teenage brother, listening, learning and
evaluating the songs on both sides.
"Wake Up Little Susie" by the Everly Brothers and
"Peggy Sue" by Buddy Holly were a few of the
45s left behind by my brother when he joined
the Air Force and moved away. I played
those records countless times on my
tiny tinny toy turntable.
a certain something, a soulfulness, that set him
apart from most pop singers of the WWII
generation. Johnnie infused songs like "Cry"
and "The Little White Cloud That Cried,"
the A and B sides of a hit 1952 single,
with a pre-rock 'n' roll R&B hipness
that made a connection with young
In 1956 Johnnie waxed "Just Walkin' in the Rain,"
a single that rode the U.S. chart more than half
a year and spent 7 weeks at #1 in the UK.
performed more modestly in the U.S., only reaching the
top 20. "Josephine" was closer to rock 'n' roll than the
pop pabulum they were singing on Your Hit Parade
and I spun this platter a gazillion times!