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

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Cruisin' with Porky and Woo Woo

It's time to enjoy selected tracks from two more volumes of the Cruisin' series. As always I picked my favorite song from each Cruisin' and then threw in a bonus Pick to Click released that same year.

For added ambiance I posted some classic soda pop ads from the period.

Hop in and let's cruise to Pittsburgh and New England!

Porky Chedwick - WAMO, Pittsburgh

"This I Swear" - Skyliners (July 1959)

The Skyliners, a mixed gender white doo-wop group from Pittsburgh led by Jimmy Beaumont, cracked the top 30 with "This I Swear," the follow-up to their bigger hit "Since I Don't Have You."

As much as I love songs like this one by the Skyliners it is actually hard for me to listen to them. Why? Because they remind me of how much things have changed since the much innocence has been lost in America.

During the 60s, life affirming songs that celebrated the power of a promise and honored the commitment between one man and one woman somehow went the way of the passenger pigeon. In the year 2525, if man is still alive, maybe he will once again embrace these lofty ideals and silly love songs will be back in style.

In the late 50s and early 60s before the Beatles arrived to clean house, the pop chart was littered with novelty records. It could be argued that a disproportionate number of those wacky songs became major hits.

Along with the series of break-in records released by Buchanan & Goodman, novelty ditties by David Seville & the Chipmunks, and a plethora of other songs mainly with horror or sci-fi themes, America fell in love with flag waving patriotic songs recounting historic events both real and fictional.

Here are four history making history-themed records that immediately come to mind.

"Battle of New Orleans" - Johnny Horton (July 1959)

"Sink the Bismarck" - Johnny Horton (May 1960)

"Mr. Custer" - Larry Verne (October 1960)

"North to Alaska" - Johnny Horton (November 1960)

All four of those historic sagas became top 5 national hits.

"The Battle of New Orleans" and "Mr. Custer," the song that reminds us of those politically incorrect arrow shirt jokes, went all the way to number one!

Arnie Woo Woo Ginsburg - WMEX, Boston

"Nadine" - Chuck Berry (April 1964)

Yes, this is an anachronism. Somehow the guys who put together the 1961 volume of Cruisin' went back to the future and inserted a 1964 song. No problem as far as I'm concerned. "Nadine" by the merry Mr. Berry was my favorite track on the album even if it doesn't belong on a 1961 playlist. Here's Chuck-a-go-go slammin' the 1964 T.A.M.I. Show with his rockin' top 30 hit!

"I'm Gonna Knock on Your Door" - Eddie Hodges
(August 1961)

In his 1959 film acting debut Eddie Hodges gave us a classic movie moment when he sang "High Hopes" with Frank Sinatra in A Hole in the Head.

Like several other child actors Eddie Hodges put together a short, moderately successful recording career. A few months before Paul Petersen hit the charts with the similar sounding "She Can't Find Her Keys," Eddie Hodges scored his biggest hit (#12 on Billboard) with "I'm Gonna Knock on Your Door."

Eddie Hodges bonus tracks:

Since they are seldom heard I thought you might enjoy two more great ones by Eddie Hodges including his killer rendition of "New Orleans."

"(Girls, Girls, Girls) Made to Love" - Eddie Hodges (July 1962)

"New Orleans" - Eddie Hodges (July 1965)

More great music from the Cruisin' series is on the way in the weeks and months to come, so please stick around!

Have a Shady day!


  1. Thats model Catherine Monahan (nee Hurley) smiling in the iconic coke ad above the johnny Hodges/Frank Sinatra item. She was the Coke 'Girl' for dozens of print and tv ads, billboards, this one from 1956.

    1. Thank you for this information. I appreciate it when readers provide interesting pieces of trivia related to my posts. If you aren't already a regular follower I hope your visit will inspire you to become one. Thanks again!


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