CLOSE YOUR EYES. TAKE A DEEP BREATH. OPEN YOUR HEART.

SHADY DEL KNIGHT, ADMINISTRATOR

SHADY DEL KNIGHT, ADMINISTRATOR
High School Yearbook Photo

"More than a place, the Shady Dell was and will forever remain a state of mind." - Shady Del Knight

"More than a place, the Shady Dell was and will forever remain a state of mind." - Shady Del Knight
HELLO STRANGER ... IT SEEMS LIKE A MIGHTY LONG TIME!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Like Buttah on Silk Wrapped in Velvet - Christmas With Dodie Stevens, Part 2!


 IT'S CHRISTMAS 

 AND WE'RE SPENDING IT 

 LISTENING TO THE SONGS OF 

 MISS DODIE STEVENS! 

At age 13 Dodie Stevens was

a singing star with a hit record.


(When I was 13 I was still
learning to wave bye-bye.)

"Pink Shoe Laces" was just one of the
many wonderful recordings made
by the gifted young singer.


Keep in mind that all the great songs
in this series were recorded by
Dodie Stevens while she was
in her early to mid teens!


Here's 14 year old Dodie performing
"So Let's Dance," a great rock 'n' roll
number written by Paul Anka.

"So Let's Dance" (September 1960,
B side of "Am I Too Young")




In 1957 the Tune Weavers had a top 5
hit with "Happy, Happy Birthday Baby," a song
I recently presented in Dueling Doo-Wops 10.


In late 1960 Dodie Stevens took the same
instrumental track and changed the words of
the song to "Merry, Merry Christmas, Baby."
Year after year, Dodie's record continues to
be played during the holidays.  Incidentally,
in 1988, the Tune Weavers recorded their
own version of the seasonal song.

"Merry Christmas Baby" 
(Nov./Dec. 1960, uncharted)




In the early weeks of 1961 Elvis Presley had
a #1 hit with the partly sung and partly spoken
"Are You Lonesome To-Night."


Dodie Stevens wasted no time releasing an
answer song, the moderately successful
"Yes, I'm Lonesome Tonight."

"Yes, I'm Lonesome Tonight" 
(Jan. 1961, highest chart position #60)




In 1949 Little Miss Toni Harper,
the singing prodigy I mentioned in Part 1,
recorded a spoken word teenage lament
entitled "Miss In-Between Blues."


In October of 1961, James MacArthur, the actor
who appeared in Disney movies and later co-starred
in Hawaii 5-0, reached the top 30 on the Canadian
chart with a spoken word recording that had a similar
theme and title, "(The Story of) The In-Between Years."
That same month, Dodie Stevens released a version
of the song in America but it remained uncharted.

"(The Story of) The In-Between Years" 
(October 1961, uncharted)




In 1962 Dodie Stevens released "I Cried,"
a variation of "She Cried," the top 5
hit by Jay and the Americans.


I prefer the B side, a zesty rendition
of the Rogers and Hart standard
"Dancing On the Ceiling" from
the 1930 musical Ever Green.

"Dancing On the Ceiling (He Dances On My Ceiling)" 
(February 1962, uncharted B side of "I Cried")




"Sailor Boy," not to be confused with a song the
Chiffons recorded and released in August 1964,
was a girl group sound most notably released two
months earlier in June of '64 by The Sherry Sisters.
The record by the Brooklyn sister act failed to
make the American chart but was a huge hit
in Japan and became a million seller.


Dodie Stevens was apparently the first to record
"Sailor Boy." Dodie's Dolton single was released
at the end of 1963, thereby predating the version
by The Sherry Sisters and two similar themed
records made by Diane Renay, "Navy Blue"
and "Kiss Me, Sailor."  "Sailor Boy" is yet
another great Dodie Stevens record
that somehow failed to chart.

"Sailor Boy" (Dec. 1963, uncharted)




Prolific as she was terrific, Dodie Stevens
proved herself capable of performing
in a variety of vocal styles.


Lady sang the blues, jazz standards, show tunes,
teen pop and rock 'n' roll. It's both a mystery and
a shame that she only had one hit in her career.


It took me more than 50 years to discover
the full extent of Dodie Stevens' talent.
Better late than never.

Have a Shady day

 AND A MERRY CHRISTMAS! 

26 comments:

  1. I absolutely love your blog, and your posts are so enjoyable and bring back so many fond memories for me! I remember the 45 rpm records, I had stacks of them as a teen and in my 20's, and when I was a little girl my father would purchase comic books for me...they were 12 cents each back then! My favourites were the Harvey collection (Casper, Little Lotta, Little Dot, Spooky), but there were others as well. They were like an escape for me, as school could sometimes be tough, so I would spend an hour or two absorbing and kind of like taking myself to another place for a brief time.

    Thank you so much for all you share here, I absolutely love your blog.

    Merry Christmas to you. :)

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    1. Hi dear Linda! Thank you very much for your kind Christmas eve visit and marvelous comments. I was a record collector, too. At one point I owned approximately eleven hundred 45 rpm singles and more than 500 vinyl albums. My brother and I were avid comic book readers and, as you might expect from boys, preferred horror and sci-fi comics such as Tales from the Crypt, Strange Tales and Famous Monsters of Filmland.

      I am very pleased to know that you enjoy yourself here at SDMM, my online version of the Shady Dell. The original Dell was a place where teenagers could go to relax, unwind, dance and escape the pressures of homework, parents, teachers and other authority figures. I am trying to provide a similar environment enabling you to get in touch with your inner teenager and feel young and free again.

      Thank you again for coming, dear friend Linda, and have a merry Montreal Christmas!

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    2. Thank you so much! I also used to read Tales from the Crypt. Now in my adulthood at 58 years young, I enjoy suspense movies. :) Hope you are having a great Christmas. :)

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    3. Hi, Linda! I always love it when friends swing by for a second or third chat. Thank you! I'm glad you remember Tales From the Crypt which, as you might recall, inspired the horror anthology television series of the same name in the late 80s through mid 90s. The TV station where I worked at the time broadcast that series along with Freddy's Nightmares, the syndicated series that grew out of the Nightmare on Elm Street movies.

      Thanks again for your kindness, dear Linda. I'm having a fine Christmas and hope you are as well. Talk to you soon!

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  2. Hi Shady,
    I am shocked that this talented ,sweet voice Dodie didn't reach the charts --or ranked pretty low on the list!
    My fav on this post was" Merry , Merry Christmas, Baby"--I love how she changed a few words. I also enjoyed how she switched up , "Yes , I'm lonely tonight"! It Surprises me that the tweenies didn't love and support her and buy those records!!! Those are the years you buy a lot of records--I know I did (45's). She was the Debby Gibson and Tiffney of the late 50's early 60's! Does it have to do with "Payola"??
    Merry, Merry Christmas, Baby!--aaa er, I mean,
    SHADY!
    Toni Deroche

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    1. Hi, dear Toni! Welcome back to Part 2 of my tribute to Dodie Stevens. Dodie had just one major hit, "Pink Shoe Laces," which I posted in Part 1. None of her other singles reached the top 50. "Yes, I'm Lonesome Tonight," the answer song to the Elvis hit, went to #60. Dodie's single "No" reached #73. "Yes-sir-ee" made it to #79. "Five Pennies" stopped at #89. "Miss Lonely Hearts" Bubbled Under at #111 and "Billy, I've Got to Go To Town," an answer to Kenny Rogers' "Ruby, Don't Take Your Love To Town," halted at #117. That was the extent of Dodie's chart action. I hope you agree that she belonged in the top 40 much more often.

      You are absolutely right about the late 50s and early 60s being a period when teens and pre-teens, especially girls, bought gobs of girl pop records like the ones Dodie released. All I can think of is the fact that Dodie recorded too many old time standards, the kind favored by the older generation. Her label, Dot Records, was not a "cool" label. It was the label of Pat Boone and other adults who tried to break into the youth market with lame covers. Maybe those factors resulted in Dodie being grouped with the older set in spite of her tender years. I don't know whether the Payola Scandal played a part in limiting her success.

      Thank you ever so much for taking time for a visit and for your excellent comments, dear friend Toni. This post runs until January 1st and therefore I wish you and your family a very merry Christmas and a happy new year!

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  3. I had to have a chuckle at Yes, I'm Lonesome Tonight. I'm surprised the young girls of the day didn't take Dodie into their hearts. She's such a pretty little thing with a real spark to her and one heck of a voice, it's a real shame she isn't better known of. Thank you for introducing me to her at least!
    I hope you and your family have a wonderful Christmas!

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    1. Hi, dear Faye! It's true. Dodie Stevens and countless other artists attempted to hit the charts with "answer songs" like "Yes, I'm Lonesome Tonight." I can't think of very many that measured up to the originals and quite a few are ludicrous. Dodie did a nice job with the song but why bother if the King of Rock 'N' Roll already released the definitive?

      I can imagine Dodie having a more successful career and surviving the British Invasion if she had become a country and/or gospel artist like many other U.S. solo singers did, including Elvis Presley.

      Thank you very much for being here for Part 2, my very special new friend. I wish you and all your loved ones a merry Christmas and a happy new year. See you in January, Faye!

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  4. first of all, MERRY CHRISTMAS, SHADY!! how about those soaring vocals on Merry Christmas, Baby? Made my night. i just love christmas music and when it's vintage christmas music i really go crazy. i think that's my favorite out of all of these ( i do listen to each one). Dancing on the Ceiling is such a fun one, too.
    i really think that i'm becoming a big fan of this gal!
    -Abigail and Daisy

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    1. Hi, dear Abigail and Daisy, and merry Christmas to you both! Your visit and comments are a precious gift to me and I thank you.

      I'm glad you enjoyed the Dodie Stevens recordings that I selected for this series, including "Merry Christmas, Baby," sung to the tune of "Happy Birthday, Baby." Until I did my research the only "Dancing on the Ceiling" song I knew was the 80s hit by Lionel Richie. Dodie's interpretation of the 1930s Rodgers and Hart song with the same name is also a favorite of mine.

      Thank you again for taking time on Christmas eve to spend some time here with me. I am deeply grateful that you and Daisy and I have become such great friends this year and have learned so much from each other. Have a wonderful Christmas, dear friend Abigail, and give Daisy an extra hug from Shady. I'll be back here January 1st to kick off another fun filled year.

      God bless you!

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  5. Merry Christmas Tom and family! I was reading this post at my morning break yesterday and decided to up the sound and share with all in that break room..ha! They weren't even a glimmer in their Daddy's eyes when this came out and they looked at me like I was crazy! But when I told them she was only 14 they came over and looked at Dodie's pictures. They couldn't believe her voice and came to realize I wasn't really that crazy for enjoying it! I did laugh at one of the gals who said she looked much older but people back in that time married around 12 and had kids by 16. I said, "Hey smart aleck...I was born back then...it was the 1960's...not the 1860's!" Anyway, thanks for the lesson for all of us and I hope this is a wonderful day for you!

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    1. Hi, dear YaYa! Looks like we were writing on each other's blogs simultaneously. What a wonderful friendship we have, and it all started when you reached out to me and asked if you could join the fun here at SDM&M. I will always remember that glorious day.

      I'm glad your co-workers enjoyed the Dodie Stevens Christmas concert and that they didn't pour a bucket of ice water over your head. :)

      I agree that Dodie looks older than her actual age. As I told another reader, I think young girls in the 50s and early 60s tried to look "grown-up" by wearing the clothing, make-up and hair styles of adults. When the youth explosion of the 60s took place a few years later, girls adopted casual, fun, youthful styles of their own.

      I'm delighted to know that you enjoyed Dodie's music, dear friend YaYa. Merry Christmas to you, to Jack, to your mother, to Eddy and to your whole family of kiddos and grandkiddos coast to coast. God bless!

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  6. She has such a clear, clean voice--sang almost anything well--and was cute as a button. Surprised she didn't become more famous. Thanks for telling us about her. Merry Christmas to you and yours!! :)

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    1. Hi, Rita! Yessum, Dodie had a smooth, pleasing voice and lots of poise and confidence. She deserved to go farther. I think she just needed a little more luck, fresher, more modern material and better timing.

      Thank you very much for coming over, dear friend Rita. Please give Karma a smooch for me and have a merry Christmas!

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  7. Hey,buddy! I am on the road and reading this on a phone screen, lol. Gotta read my favorite blogs! Great post! If I say more, I will be car sick...no joke! Have a great weekend!

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    1. Hi, dear Cherdo! Well at least you showed up. I'm ready to send a search party out to look for Janie Junebug! :)

      This isn't the first time I've been told that my blog induces vomiting. :) It was very nice of you to risk losing your lunch to peek at my year-ender, Part 2 of Dodie Stevens. If you get time between now and January 1, please come back and listen to the tunes I posted for your enjoyment.

      Thanks for the poke, dear friend Cherdo, and have a safe and happy weekend!

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    2. Finally got a chance to listen - SO LET'S DANCE sounds like ole' Dodie (or young Dodie) is full on rockabilly. I like it!

      And I can't believe that SAILOR BOOY didn't chart - that's crazy. Believe me, I've heard some that were duds that made the charts.

      Happy New Year, Shady!

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    3. Hello again, dear friend! Thank you very much for returning and listening to this second batch of recordings made by 50s/60s teenager Dodie Stevens.

      I'm glad you like "So Let's Dance," a song penned by Paul Anka. Dodie reminds me of Connie Francis on that one. I could also hear the late Annette F. singing it. Notice that it's a B side of a bland ballad. Apparently Dot Records didn't have a clue how to market music to young people. Maybe they weren't even trying to. Regardless, it might explain why Dodie wasn't more successful. Dot kept her a pop princess when she could have been a rock 'n' roll queen.

      Dodie's version of "Sailor Boy" is pleasing to the ear and I'm a little surprised (and might be wrong in calculating) that hers is the original recording and not a cover. The fantastic rendition released a few months later by the Sherry Sisters is the definitive.

      Thank you very much for making time for me, dear friend Cherdo, and happy new year to you and yours!

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  8. Hello! It's been a while since i've commented on a post of yours but I have been reading them. This was another informative, foot tapping post. I could hardly believe she started singing that young after listening to the songs you included. I'm surprised she wasn't more popular.

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    1. Hi, Anneka! It's great to see you back on the dance floor at SDMM. I've missed you and appreciate your visit. I see that you have a Christmas post published and I will be over soon to read it.

      Thank you for continuing to read my blog even though this is a busy time for you. In the coming year I promise to do my best to entertain and educate you about pop music and culture from the mid 20th century into the new millennium.

      I'm glad you enjoyed the surprisingly mature vocal style of young teenager Dodie Stevens. Please come back again soon, Anneka, and have a very happy new year, my good friend!

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  9. Another great collection you have here. Btw, that kissing sailor died I think this year. Sad. He's very endearing.

    How was your Christmas? :)

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    1. Hi, SuperLux! I'm thrilled to see you again, my new friend. Thank you very much for coming. I wasn't aware that the sailor in that iconic photograph died this year. Thanks for letting me and the other readers know.

      I had a great Christmas and hope you did, too. I also want to wish you a happy new year and hope we can continue to grow our friendship in 2015. Hurry back, sweet friend!

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  10. I'm going to be honest and say that I haven't had time to read any of your latest posts :( But I did want to take time to stop by and wish you a belated Marry Christmas and an early Happy New Year!

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    1. Hi, dear Ashton! The problem with my posts is that they require time to read and even more time to listen to the music. I understand that time is a scarce commodity for you during this chapter of your life and I really do appreciate you coming over and saying hello.

      I hope your Christmas was filled with joy and I can't wait to see pictures of your new baby when he or she arrives. Take care, dear friend Ashton. I wish you all the best in the coming year.

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  11. I was going to start off by saying Dodie reminded me of Connie Francis but you beat me to it. She does have a beautiful voice. I think my favorite today is, 'Yes, I'm Lonesome Tonight.' 'Let's Dance' was a really fun song, and I loved the Christmas song too.

    My cousin and his wife are visiting now. I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and have a Happy New Year!

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    1. Hi, dear Belle! While I was waiting for the ball to drop in Times Square I decided to log on. I'm very happy to see that you visited and listened to the second group of recordings by Dodie Stevens. I'm glad you agree that Dodie occasionally sounds like Connie Francis. "Lonesome Tonight," Dodie's answer to the big Elvis hit, was her second best performing single after "Pink Shoe Laces." Even so, it made it less than halfway up the pop chart. It remains a mystery why so many of her efforts fell short.

      Thank you for being here this evening, dear Belle. I hope you are enjoying your cousin's visit this New Year's eve. You are my oldest remaining blog friend and I'm sure you know how very grateful I am to have you. I wish you and your entire family all the best in 2015. God bless you, Belle!

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