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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!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Little Girl - Big Talent. This Year, Let's Spend Christmas with Dodie Stevens!


I guess you could say

that Geraldine Pasquale 

was precocious.


Geraldine, aka Dodie Stevens,

had a top 5 hit record at age 13.


She recorded it at age 12!

"Pink Shoe Laces" 
(April 1959, highest chart position #3)




For more than 50 years I overlooked and
underestimated perky songstress Dodie Stevens.
I thought of her as a one hit wonder. Maybe that's true.
"Pink Shoe Laces" was the only single of Dodie's
that ever climbed as high as the Billboard top 50.


When I did a little digging, however, I discovered
many fine recordings by this talented songbird.
Incredibly, all were made before her 18th birthday!
As a Christmas present for you (and for me),
I picked a dozen favorites for this 2-part series.


From the songwriting/composing team of
Aaron Schroeder and Wally Gold who gave us
"It's Now or Never" and 16 other songs waxed
by Elvis Presley, came the tender ballad "Miss
Lonely Hearts."  Barely in her teens, Dodie
turned in a wonderful vocal performance that
revealed maturity far beyond her tender years.

"Miss Lonely Hearts" 
(August 1959, highest chart position #111)




Unsolved mystery: In the late 50s when romantic
ballads were quite popular, how could a record
as sweet as Dodie's "Miss Lonely Hearts" have
been confined to the Bubbling Under chart?


On the flip side of "Miss Lonely Hearts" is a pop
standard inspired by the opera Madame Butterfly.
"Poor Butterfly" was introduced on Broadway in
1916's The Big Show and in 1959 Dodie Stevens
recorded the song and made it her own!

"Poor Butterfly"  
(August 1959, B side of "Miss Lonely Hearts")




"Where or When," the oft recorded show tune
from the 1937 Rogers and Hart musical
Babes in Arms, was a top 5 hit for
Dion and the Belmonts in the
early weeks of 1960.


Dodie Stevens released a fine version
of the song around that time on her
second album, Over the Rainbow.

"Where or When" 
(from 1960 album Over the Rainbow)




Dodie's album Over the Rainbow also
included a splendid rendition of a
frequently recorded jazz standard.


George and Ira Gershwin's "Someone to
Watch Over Me" was introduced in the
1926 musical Oh, Kay!

"Someone To Watch Over Me" 
(from 1960 album Over the Rainbow)




"Candy Store Blues" originally became a hit
in 1946 for child singing star Toni Harper.


In 1960 Dodie Stevens waxed
a fine version of her own.

"Candy Store Blues" 
(March 1960, uncharted B side of "Amigo's Guitar")




Stick around!

More fabulous recordings by teen

singing sensation Dodie Stevens

are coming up in my next post as

 we spend Christmas with Dodie!

Have a Shady day!

28 comments:

  1. What a great post, and what wonderful memories and music. Thank you so much for sharing, I had forgotten all about Pink Shoe Laces, it has been so long since I have heard this song. :)

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    1. Hi, Linda! How's your Montreal morning going? Thank you very much for coming back over to see me here at SDM&M.

      "Pink Shoe Laces" was a hit when I was 9 years old. For 55 years it remained the only Dodie Stevens recording I knew about. Recently, when I did my research for this two-part series, I discovered several more Dodie gems. It goes to show that you can always find treasure if you are willing to dig a little deeper.

      I am very happy to see you today, dear friend Linda. Have a happy Thursday and a wonderful weekend!

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  2. I liked the music video from the "olden days." I heard that song but was having technical difficulties with some of the others. :-\ Have a good weekend, Shady!

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    1. Hi, Susie! Thank you very much for visiting, dear friend. Gosh, I wonder why so many people are having problems playing the YouTube videos. All I can think of is that it's a busy time of the day. Try coming back over here at 3 am. I'm sure the videos will play better then. :)

      Well, at least you got to see and hear young Dodie performing her big hit on national television. She was incredibly poised for her age, don't you think?

      Thank you again for coming, Susie. I wish you a safe and happy weekend, too!

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  3. She looks older than thirteen on the first record cover, but she was cute as a bug's ear and you know how cute a bug's ear is. I think I've heard her name before, but I don't remember anything else about her. Is she still among the living?

    Love,
    Janie

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    1. Hi, dear Janie Junebug! Thank you very much for coming. Yessum, as of five seconds ago, Dodie Stevens was still among the living. Shucks, she's still a spring chicken, only 68 years old, 69 come February. Inexplicably, Dodie was an underachiever. She was cute as a bug's ear (even a Junebug's), she was precocious, poised and talented and sang the type of girl pop songs that were popular in the pre-Beatles years. Yet, "Pink Shoe Laces" was her only hit record. Go figure!

      Thank you again for dropping in, dear Janie. I greatly appreciate your friendship and support. I'll see you tomorrow!

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  4. Thought number 1:
    Did all photographers of the 50s and 60s go to a school that required them to tilt their subjects' heads a defined angle?

    Thought 2:
    Why did the little curl at the side of the forehead fall out of favor? It's my favorite hairline look.

    Okay, now that I got that out, I can address Dodie!

    Why is it that such a beautiful voice and talent (obviously inborn, to have sprung forth at such a young age) didn't have a string of number one hits? And why didn't they let her have a part on The Patty Duke Show? She would have made a perfect school chum and overnight buddy.

    Somewhere in my 21 years (ahem), I've heard the song, "Pink Shoelaces" but I don't think it was this version. I love her clean delivery.

    Likewise, "Where or When" was a favorite at our house - but it was a Frank Sinatra record, I'm almost certain.
    "Someone to Watch Over Me" is a great song, no matter who sings it (remember when it was in "Mr. Holland's Opus?").

    This gal deserved more, but once again, I'll never understand why one good singer is a smash and another is on the fringes. Dodi Stevens is every bit as good as those who dominated the 60s.

    'Night, friend! I'm arriving late!


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    1. Hello, dear Cherdo! Welcome back to my humble abode, SDM&M, a peaceful, quiet little place where you can escape the crowds and have a nice chat with your chums.

      It does seem like those glamour poses were used in publicity pictures taken of every young female singer and actress back then. It's a generalization, but girls in the pre-Beatles 50s and 60s tried to look older, like grown-ups, and girls of the mid 60s and later embraced their youth and made their own fashion statement. Does that make sense to you?

      Dodie's top 5 hit "Pink Shoe Laces" landed her a contract with Dot Records, but another novelty record "Mairzy Doats," was her first release for the label. Seems to me they could have come up with better material for her because she immediately lost momentum. Dot also released a remake version of "Pink Shoe Laces" in 1962. Dodie had a few minor hits but nothing anywhere near as successful as her signature song.

      I'm surprised, too, that Dodie didn't become a TV actress appearing regularly on a hit series and making records on the side. I could see her playing Kitten's school friend on Father Knows Best. The problem is that Dodie got married at age 16, put her singing career on hold and moved to a farm in Missouri. By the time she resumed her work as a recording artist in 1966, times had changed and her brand of girl pop was old news.

      Thank you very much for taking time for a visit and for your terrific comments, dear friend Cherdo. I'll meet up with you soon over at your place!

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  5. Hi Shady,
    It's funny when Cherdo mentioned the Patty Duke show, I was thinking along the same lines. That "Pink shoe laces" video looked like something right off that set! In that video when Dodie talks you can hear her age but, boy when she sings , she sounds waaaay beyond her years--especially in the song, "Someone to watch over me"! I've heard that song many times mostly in pageants, girls sing it as their talent. It will be so nice spending Christmas with a young teen with such a powerful voice! Thank you for showcasing her! Hope you and your family have a wonderful Christmas!!!
    Toni Deroche

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    1. Hi, dear Toni! Thanks for coming by, my special friend. By golly, you're right, I have heard countless beauty and scholarship pageant contestants sing "Someone to Watch Over Me." "Miss Lonely Hearts" and "Where or When" are also very popular, oft recorded songs. My Pick to Click, however, is the spirited "Candy Store Blues." You will hear young Dodie tackle more up tempo and rock & roll material in Part 2 of the series coming up Christmas Eve.

      I chose to feature Dodie Stevens the last two weeks of the year because this is the time when old standards are sung. It just seemed to fit the season. I also want to mention that Dodie has a Christmas song coming up in the next post.

      Thank you very much for your visit and your kind comments, dear friend Toni. I hope to see you back here for Part 2 next Wednesday. Until then take care and God bless!

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  6. I remember Pink Shoelaces, but wasn't familiar with any of her other songs. She has such a clear, strong voice. I liked all of her songs/versions. :)

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    1. Hi, dear Rita! Hi, Karma! Hi, Ian! I'm very happy to see you, dear friends. I spent almost 60 years not realizing how many other great recordings Dodie Stevens made in addition to her hit "Pink Shoe Laces." She really won me over as I did my research and I'm glad you enjoyed the other songs featured here in Part 1 of the series. Please stay tuned for more great sounds from Dodie coming up in Part 2 next Wednesday.

      Thank you again for being here, dear friend Rita. Have a wonderful weekend!

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  7. what a lovely girl! i especially like that Candy Store Blues. she has a wonderful, powerful voice and it's a shame she didn't go farther, but as i read in a previous comment, she was on a farm in Missouri. i guess i can't really blame her, that sounds lovely.

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    1. Hi, dear Abigail! That's right. Success in life is measured in different ways by different people. Dodie Stevens left show business in her mid teens to get married, live on a farm and have a baby. She got a divorce and returned to the studio and, in the early 70s, began touring as a back-up singer for name artists that included one you might know, country star Mac Davis.

      I'm glad you like "Candy Store Blues" as much as I do. Come on back here for Part 2 of Dodie beginning Christmas eve and taking us into the new year.

      Thank you very much for coming for a visit and for your sweet comment, dear friend Abigail. Smooches to you and Daisy!

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  8. Hello, I hope you don't mind if I follow you over here. We seem to have a few mutual friends, and as I've been itching to discover some new blogs to follow lately thought I'd take a little look around. And I'm glad I did! Such a wonderfully fascinating blog you've created, I've browsed back a few pages and feel like I've learnt so much already! I enjoy listening to mostly old music from the 50s onwards and always enjoy learning about lesser known artists I haven't heard of before, I certainly hadn't heard of Dodie Stevens, not even her Pink Shoe Laces. What an amazingly powerful voice she had, it's quite hard to believe she recorded it at age 12! And such a charming clip accompanying the song. I do love her version of Poor Butterfly, she sings with such emotion. I enjoyed Candy Store Blues very much too. I'm so glad I clicked over, I'll look forward to part 2!

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    1. Hello, dear Faye, and welcome to Shady Dell Music & Memories! It's so nice of you to pop in and become a new follower. You're correct. We do have mutual friends including Abigail and her fluff ball Daisy. I am now following your blog, too, and look forward to becoming friends with you.

      I am delighted to learn that you are already browsing around my back pages and having fun learning. As you can see I offer a varied musical menu here on SDMM, something for every taste.

      FYI, I was age 14 when the Beatles conquered the world and consider myself very fortunate to have been a teenager when all that excitement was taking place. Can you imagine? I am eager to delve into your blog and your posts as well.

      Thank you again for joining the fun here on SDM&M, dear Faye. I will be over to your place a.s.a.p., certainly sometime this weekend, and I wish you a safe and happy one!

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    2. Thank you for visiting my blog and the comments, it was a lovely surprise when I logged on and I'm enjoying getting to know you!

      How wonderful that you got to experience Beatlemania first hand, wow, I can't even imagine how exciting that must have been!

      Thank you for welcoming me so warmly, I hope you had a wonderful weekend too (and holiday season!)

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    3. Thank you ever so much, Faye. Clearly we have a lot in common and the makings of a great friendship. Good night to you, my new friend, and have a safe and happy holiday week ahead!

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    1. Hello, Krobi, and welcome to Shady Dell Music & Memories! I am very excited to have another music blogger take an interest in what I'm doing here. I'll have more of Dodie coming up next week and lots more music and memories coming in the year ahead. I hope you'll join me. Thank you again for your visit and comment, my friend!

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  10. Ok, this is my second attempt at commenting so I hope this goes through! I'm late in this posting but I actually read the post last week while on lunch break but didn't have time to listen and reply. I think Dodie Stevens had an amazing voice for a 12yr old...or any year old for that matter! I was only 6 when "Pink shoelaces" came out but I've heard the song before and I really enjoyed the video. My fav has to be "Someone to Watch over Me" because it reminds me of one of my favorite movies..."Mr. Holland's Opus". She sings it perfectly! I hope you have a wonderful Christmas week with family and friends. Think of us up North as we're suppose to have a white Christmas. Your white will be in the form of sand I'm assuming! Take care!

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    1. Hi, YaYa! Thank you for taking time out from your busy work schedule and holiday preps to spend some time in the Shady. As I told others, I thought the smooth, easy listening pop sounds of Dodie Stevens were a good choice for the holidays and that's why I scheduled this two-parter for the end of the year. Yessum, Cherdo (above) also mentioned Mr. Holland's Opus and it is one of my favorite movies, too. I see that Richard Dreyfuss has a new TV family sitcom called Your Family or Mine coming up next year.

      I remember when I lived in PENNA the chance of a white Christmas was 40% on average. White or not, I wish you and Jack and Eddy and your mom and your entire lovely family a splendid Christmas. Thanks again for being here, dear friend YaYa!

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    2. Hi shady del,

      So this is a talented person being able to sing and unfold a sofa bed on live tv:) it is the same person isn't it shady del. Well i am on a mobile device so only skimned this blog but what i have read she certainly flew under the radar and thanx to you has a presence, merry christmas! Cheers allie-millie

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    3. Hi, Allie-Millie! Thank you very much for traveling here from halfway around the world, dear friend! No, you are thinking of Bernadette Castro, the little girl I featured a few posts back demonstrating her father's convertible beds. Dodie Stevens is another child prodigy who came along a few years later. As you can tell there were quite a few 12 and 13 year olds leading vocal groups and making fine solo recordings back then. Starting tomorrow and taking us through the end of the year, I will be presenting more ear pleasing songs in part 2 of my Dodie series.

      Thank you again for coming by, dear friend Allie-Millie, and merry Christmas to you!

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  11. Hi Shady. What a beautiful voice this girl had. I'm with Chardo, I can't believe recording studios didn't see what a huge success she could be. They should have bought better songs for her, I think.

    I do remember 'Pink Shoe Laces' very will. I still know the words more than fifty years later. lol Her other songs were lovely. 'Someone to Watch Over Me is one of my favorite songs. I first heard it on a Dorothy Provine album from the TV series, 'The Roaring 20s'. Then I heard it by Frank Sinatra. Everyone was talking about the movie, 'Mr. Holland's Opus' so I went over and listened. It was lovely, but I like Dodie's voice much better. I'm excited to read more about her.

    Merry Christmas, Tom. "May your days be merry and bright; and may all your Christmases be white."

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    1. Hi, Belle! I'm so glad to see you, dear friend, and this is such a sweet and welcome comment from you. I think Dodie Stevens could have become another Connie Francis or Lesley Gore, but she dropped out of singing at age 16, got married and had a child. By the time she returned to the studio a few years later, popular music had changed drastically thanks to the Beatles and the British Invasion. As you will hear in tomorrow's Part 2 post, Dodie performed rock 'n' roll as well as any other genre and it is a shame she didn't or couldn't reinvent herself and make a go of it.

      I remember Dorothy Provine and watched her every week in The Roaring 20s. If I'm not mistaken, you discussed that program on your own blog two or three years ago. I also loved Dorothy's performance as Ethel Merman's daughter in the zany, all star comedy movie It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.

      Once again I am thrilled to have you over today, dear friend Belle. I wish you the merriest Christmas imaginable and I give thanks every day for our long lasting friendship. God bless!

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  12. Oh Dodie! What a little sweet heart! thank you for the listen!

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    1. Thank you for coming over, dear Catherine.

      Happy new year to you!

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