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

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Summer Means Fun, Part 2: Summer Love

I hold her hand much tighter now

Stars are shining brighter now 

And throughout the day I find 

she's always on my mind 

What a wonderful, 

wonderful feeling 

when liking..... 

turns to loving - Ronnie Dove 

"A Little Bit of Heaven" - Ronnie Dove 
(July 1965, highest chart position #16) 

It's time to sample more great 
summer sounds of the sixties!

We already heard a summer smashback from 1965 courtesy of Ronnie Dove. Now let's check in with a pair of western Pennsylvania vocalists who gave us one of the best warm weather snuggle songs of 1963. I've featured this song before but it's worth repeating because it's a perfect
fit for our summer love theme.

Marcy Jo
(aka Marcy Joe) was born Marcy Rae Sockel in Pittsburgh.

Marcy Jo teamed up with Hazleton product Eddie “Concrete And Clay” Rambeau
to record the beautiful duet, “Lover’s Medley.”

"Lover's Medley" combines “The More I See You,” a top 20
hit for Chris Montez in 1966, with “When I Fall In Love,”
a top 10 hit for the Lettermen in 1961. For whatever reason "Lover's Medley" failed to catch on with the record buying public. The song made only the slightest dent in Billboard’s Bubbling Under chart, holding down position #132 for a single
week before vanishing.

In spite of its poor chart showing, "Lover's Medley" became
a regional hit across the Susquehanna Valley thanks to a significant amount of exposure on WSBA radio. The song
was big on Ed Hurst’s Steel Pier Show and a chart topper
in the Baltimore market thanks to heavy promotion on
The Buddy Deane Show on WJZ-13.

Mr. Eddie Rambeau himself posted the 
following comment about my YouTube 
upload of "Lover's Medley": 

"Brings back many memories of myself 
and Marcy Jo traveling around promoting 
this record. Amazing that it got to be the 
number 1 record in Baltimore and just 
piddled around with the rest of the 
country.  So thank you Baltimore." 

Thank you for your comment, Eddie! 

From the lost and found department, here are Marcy Jo
and Eddie Rambeau with their seldom heard Swan song,
“Lover’s Medley.”

"Lover's Medley" - Marcy Jo and 
Eddie Rambeau
(August 1963, 
highest chart position #132)

At the start of 1963 funsters Jan and Dean released an album entitled Jan and Dean Take Linda Surfin' and their single "Linda" broke just as warmer weather arrived across most of the country.

"Linda" - Jan and Dean
(April 1963, highest chart position #28)

Another song that comes to mind whenever I think back to 1963 is "Easier Said Than Done" by the Essex, a quintet of U.S. marines based at Camp LeJeune, North Carolina.

The Essex consisted of four guys and a girl (Anita Humes), yet their signature song "Easier Said Than Done" is classified as a girl group sound. As I mentioned in a previous post, solo female artist Diane Renay falls into the girl group category, as does Lesley Gore. The confusion doesn't end there. In the wacky world of pop music classification, certain recordings by all male groups or solo male artists are categorized by some music authorities as girl group sounds!

"Easier Said Than Done" was a smash hit for the Essex.
The record started playing on WSBA in early June and spent three months on the Billboard chart, including two weeks at number one.

"Easier Said Than Done" - Essex
(July 1963, highest chart position #1)

"Easier Said Than Done" was still going strong in August when the Essex released their follow-up single, "A Walkin' Miracle." The record took a 10 week ride on the chart and just missed the top 10.

"A Walkin' Miracle" - Essex (Sept. 1963, 
highest chart position #12) 

In the spring of 1963 Ruby and the Romantics topped the domestic record chart with "Our Day Will Come." A couple
of months later the Akron, Ohio based R&B vocal group followed-up with "My Summer Love" which went top 20.
With an easy, laid back style and buttery smooth voice,
Ruby Nash along with her trio of male backup singers produced a sound as warm and inviting as an island breeze.

"My Summer Love" - Ruby & the Romantics 
(July 1963, highest chart position #16) 

It was great to be alive 

in the summer of 1963, 

the last year of 

innocence in America. 

As Terry Jacks expressed it a decade later,

We had joy, we had fun,
we had seasons in the sun.

We were having so much fun in the summer of 1963 that we didn’t even notice a chill in the air coming from the direction of Dallas. The end of innocence would come later that year on November 22nd. Ironically, one of the most popular songs on the radio the day that President John F. Kennedy was assassinated was a ballad of pure innocence sung by a young woman named Jacqueline "Jackie" McDonnell who recorded as Robin Ward. The juxtaposition was chilling, like something out of a David Lynch movie, as the sweet voiced Jackie reflected on the most wonderful summer of her life.

"Wonderful Summer" - Robin Ward 
(November/December 1963, 
highest chart position #14) 

But the wine and the song
like the seasons have all gone.

Summer's heating up! In parts 3 and 4 of Summer Means Fun I'll take you where the boys are. Ronnie Dove and Eddie Rambeau are back along with other male recording artists and songs that made our Central PA summers so memorable.

Please join me for my tribute to
the boys of summer 
coming soon!

Have a Shady day!


  1. "Wonderful Summer" was a song of innocence. So beautiful and romantic. President Kennedy's death and the Viet Nam War did take our innocence away.
    "Easier Said Than Done," is a great song. Anita Humes' voice is very nice. I didn't know that about some of the men and women were called "girl groups".
    It is fun to hear these summer songs, Shady.

  2. Ah, "We had boys we had fun... " Love that song and "Wonderful summer" ..... summer is on my doorstep and these songs just remind one of glorious days to come. Hope you are well. xx

  3. Belle - There are many interesting facts about one-hit-wonder Jackie Ward. She chose to record as Robin Ward because Robin was her young daughter's name. In the making of the record the producer sped up her vocal track to make Jackie sound like a teenage girl. She was an ancient, over-the-hill 21 years old at the time! Jackie never had another hit, although "Dream Boy," the flip side of this Dot 45, is another fine girl group song. Jackie found plenty of work as a session singer and her familiar voice was used for years in the commercial jingle for Rice-a-Roni ("The San Francisco treat"). Remember? Thank you very much for your comment, dear Belle!

    F, A & O - Hello again, my French Friend! I'm very happy to know that you're still reading me and enjoying my songs. I know that it took forever for your weather to warm up over there but now that it has I hope you will stay tuned and continue to enjoy my summery sounds. Have a delightful day and please visit again soon. I enjoy your visits very much!!

  4. Good buddy I may have been rusty on some of the titles but when the music started I was transported back in time, closed my eyes and OMG how wonderful it was. I will have to make sure Linda hears "Linda". Like I said, the titles and even some of the artists weren't familiar but their sounds were and always will be. Thanks.

  5. Odie - I thought about your Linda when I posted "Linda." I hope listening to the song helps to speed her recovery! Thanks for stopping by, good buddy!

  6. (a quick note for now, you'll want to check out a comment about you on my 'pay it forward blog' :-))

  7. Cindy - These are the moments that make blogging so special. Thank you for the heads up. Please let Crown of Beauty know that I posted a reply under her comment! Thank you, dear friend Cindy!

  8. Wow. I really really dig your blog! This vibe of music makes my heart all drippy and lovey. There is nothing like great music to lift the soul.

  9. Crystal Pistol - Hello and welcome to SDM&M... your home away from home! Thank you very much for the positive feedback. I hope that you will come again soon. I promise to make your heart all drippy and lovey with every visit or DOUBLE your money back! Know any other bloggers who can make that guarantee? You are a talented writer with a sense of humor, Crystal, and that makes you friend material. There's no waiting. Your membership as an honorary Dell Rat is approved... approved... APPROVED!

  10. The tune Linda by Jan and Dean is awesome. My boss is named Linda so I am going to tell her about this song today at work. Hopefully she will have never heard of the song before and be so impressed with my musical knowledge that she will promote me and give me a raise! Fingers crossed :)

  11. Amber Blue Bird - If the knowledge that you gain from reading my blog leads to a raise in salary I will be delighted! Rest assured that I will be more than happy to split the windfall with you 50-50! Thank you very much for coming by to read, sing and dance, dear friend. Have a fabulous weekend!

  12. Hi Shady. I thought Odie would appreciate the song "Linda!" You are so right about it being a time of innocence back then. I often wonder what we (as we are now) would feel if we could be temporarily transported back to that special time in our lives. It would be interesting I think. ThaT Terry Jacks record was beautiful, although I know it was much later than the period we are talking about here. I lot of the songs you listed didn't make it across to England, I'm afraid, but it was so good to hear the summery feel of the songs. Have a lovely weekend dear friend over there in Florida.

  13. Oh Thisisme, how sweet you are! Through you I am realizing for the first time how many songs there are that Americans take for granted but which never reached your ears in England. I also know there are many that I never heard of that were big hits in the UK and a major part of your youth. I'm glad that you are being exposed to some my favorite songs now and enjoying them. Thank you very much for your kind comment, dear friend, and have a fine weekend!

  14. Ronnie Dove's song, "A Little Bit of Heaven", was a sweet tune to begin with, Shady. Not sure what I was expecting but I thought Marcy Jo and Eddie sounded good together on "Lover's Medley". It was fun to read Eddie's comment to you. Liked Jan and Dean's "Linda". (♫ Linda doesn't know I exist ♪♪ lyric sure brings back old youthful memories, doesn't it?) :~) One of my recent memories of JFK has been the story of Mrs. Connolly learning over that day in Dallas and saying, "You can't say Dallas doesn't love you, Mr. President" right before he was hit.

    LOVE those Essex songs "Easier Said Than Done" and "A Walkin' Miracle" Beautiful ocean/water scenes in the "My Summer Love" video. Keep 'em comin', Shady! Looking forward to the 'Boys of Summer' blog. Thanks so much!

  15. Cindy - Virginian Ronnie Dove honed his chops in venues around Baltimore and became quite popular just to the north in York County, PA. Marcy and Eddie were also popular in the Mid Atlantic as a duo and as solo artists but enjoyed limited success in other parts of the country. Jan and Dean are my favorite surf rockers and will be back many times throughout my summer series. I also remember those fateful, chilling words uttered by Texas Gov. John Connally's wife just before the gunfire started on the day that came to be known as Black Friday. Of course, Black Friday now refers to the day after Thanksgiving, the busiest retail shopping day of the year. Thank you ever so much for reading and listening, dear Cindy, and have a delightful weekend!

  16. Great summer in the sun selections! Hugs and happy Friday

  17. Dear Mr. Knight,
    I had just come from Cindy Ellison's blog where I read your reply to a comment I left at her Pay It Forward post...

    Decided to come back to your blog for a closer read. Saw the sidebar had a lot of interesting details and read what you had written -about the Shady Dell, about John and Helen, about your last visit, about John's death in 1993.

    Some blog readers like to coast along, skimming the surface... then leave a brief comment like "Wow!" or "Great post!" and then move on.

    Well that's okay for them.

    I just could never really do that.
    I don't follow a great many blogs for that reason. Better be true to a few, than be superficial to many...

    The stories you wrote on your sidebar were touching. And you recall so many things about your days at the Shady Dell, and about the owners, who I must say were really a remarkable couple. How kind and gracious of them to have given many lost and confused teenagers of that era the sense of direction, affirmation, and acceptance that they would otherwise not have received. I was really touched by what they did.

    So sad that the Shady Dell eventually closed, but I know the memories live on in the hearts of those who were a part of it.

    I have a similar experience, at the exclusive school for girls I attended in Manila from 1959 - 1971, a total of 12 years. In my pre-teen to teen years at that school lunch time would find us congregating around a little restaurant next to the school - and the most popular thing in that place, in addition to the fantastic cheap lunches they sold, was the jukebox right in the middle of it. Music of the late 60s and 70's were played on that box - Gary Lewis and the Playboys, Dave Clark Five, The Monkees, James Taylor, Carole King, The Fifth Dimension, Jose Feliciano, Sergio Mendez, The Sandpipers, Simon and Garfunkel, Peter Paul and Mary, Joan Baez, Petula Clark, the Motown gang, Tavares, Engelbert Humperdinck, Procol Harum... so many more.

    You see, music does play a huge role in the shaping of the young teener's soul.

    Thank you for the wonderful time I had over here at your blog place. It stirred up a lot of memories.

    My husband graduated from high school in New York in 1963, I am sure he would recognize most of the songs you mention on your blog.

    There are many more thoughts... but this should be enough for now.

    Again, many thanks.


  18. Katie - Hugs to you, dear friend, and once again please allow me to wish you and your lucky man a happy anniversary celebration. I trust that it will extend through the weekend. Please visit again soon!

    Lidj (Crown of Beauty) - I agree with you 100%. Anybody can cut and paste the words "nice post" on a hundred different blogs in an effort to drum up business. That's not my m.o. and I can tell that it's not yours either. I believe that the comments section of a blog is every bit as important as the post because this is where people can interact, create and follow threads, and learn a great deal from each other. Thank you very much for reading my sidebar and taking such an interest in the Dell and the Ettlines. Although John and Helen are no longer with us the Dell is still standing. Best of all it is in the caring hands of the current owners, the Deroches, who are performing extensive renovation inside and out in preparation for its potential sale as a private residence. I hope that you and your husband will join me regularly, Lidj. Everybody is welcome here, particularly conscientious, caring and articulate bloggers like you! Thank you very much for your thoughtful comments!

  19. Hi, Shady! I had forgotten how beautiful Ruby & the Romantics had sounded on that long-forgotten song. I always had considered the group "Gladys Knight and the Pips Light", only meaning that they had lighter-sounding harmonies and songs than Gladys and the family. Thank you for that memory and the beautiful video. I'm ready to go there. Marcy Jo and Eddie Rambeau still sounded good the second time around. That's right, you introduced me to it. She has such a beautiful voice. You know, of all the credit you gave to Pennsylvanians, you left out one thing the WSBA DJ's said not once, but a thousand times, whenever playing either of the Essex's songs. That was that Anita Humes was Harrisburg's own (Pa.), who met the guys and formed the group while in the military. Another great female voice. Are you sure Robin Ward isn't Lesley Gore's baby sister? Still a nice song.

  20. Hi, Ron! Honestly I didn't remember that Anita Humes was from Harrisburg. Thanks for adding that tidbit to the conversation! I checked her bio and sadly, she passed away in Harrisburg one year ago on May 30th. I'm glad you enjoyed that seldom heard song by Ruby Nash, another great voice of the early 60s. Ruby and the Romantics also recorded "Hey There Lonely Boy" which is the 1963 original of "Hey There Lonely Girl," the big hit in 1969/70 by Eddie Holman. Thanks for reporting in, Ron, and have a great weekend!

  21. unfortunatly, people in Poland lived behind the iron curtain and didn't have an opportunity to get to know most of the artist you wrote about (in the 60's). Good for us, those times ended 20 years ago:-)

  22. Wanilianna - Hello, dear friend! I am pleased to find you back for a visit. Friends like you and Thisisme are helping the rest of us to understand that many of the songs that played a major role in shaping our youth here in America were unknown to people in Europe, including those living behind the Iron Curtain. Today, we have an opportunity to share our songs with each other as you did here on my blog at the beginning of the year. Thank you very much for thinking of me, Wanilianna, and please come again soon, dear friend!

  23. So many new songs for me to listen to Shady! I have been chuckling about Alfred moving his groove to Hound Dog! Have a wonderful weekend :)

  24. G-T - One more week! I'm glad that I was able to give you a chuckle about sir Alfred. Thank you very much for your visit, dear friend, and enjoy your sunny weekend in Paris!


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