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, July 4, 2012

Ron & Shady Present: Born in the USA

 Negatory, this post isn't a salute 

 to The Boss, Bruce Springsteen. 

 Instead, Dell Rat Ron and I are 

 all set to spin a bunch of boss 

 records all of which were 

 waxed by American bands, 

 groups and solo artists. 

 Ron, if you don't mind 

 I'd like to get this 

 party started. 


Currently making waves around the world with their 50th Anniversary Reunion Tour, the Beach Boys are, as their nickname suggests, America's band. In 1986 I picked the Beach Boys' 1968 hit "Do it Again" as the music bed for a television commercial I produced for a sportswear retailer. Targeting the teen market, the 30 second spot advertised swim suits, T-shirts, shorts, sandals, hats and other articles of casual summer apparel. I chose "Do it Again" because it captures the joy and excitement young people experience
at the start of summer vacation.

 Well I've been thinking 'bout
 All the places we've surfed and danced and
 All the faces we've missed so let's get
 Back together and do it again 

To produce the commercial I hired a dozen teenage models, dressed them in the store's casual wear, drove them to a beach and spent the afternoon videotaping them as they tossed Frisbees on the sand, played in the water and danced on a pier. It was a tough job but somebody had to do it..... and, by golly, if I had it to do all over I'd do it again!

 "Do it Again" - Beach Boys (September 1968, highest 
 chart position #20) 

 Ronny, over to you, pal! 


 Shady, a while back you 
 posted the Shangri-las 
 song "He Cried," a 
 cover of "She Cried," 
 the first hit for Jay and 
 the Americans with the 
 original "Jay" (John) 
 Traynor on lead vocals. 
 Jerre commented that he 
 recently saw Jay Traynor 
 perform at Hershey Park. 
 I'm posting this one for 
 Jerre because it's also 
 my favorite Jay and the 
 Americans song and, in my opinion, still the best. 

 "She Cried" - Jay and the Americans (May 1962, highest 
 chart position #5) 

 "She Cried" might have been the first hit for Jay and the 
 Americans but it wasn't their first single. In November of 
 1961 their version of "Tonight," a song from the musical 
 West Side Story (a top 10 hit for Ferrante & Teicher), 
 bubbled under for only one week at #120. The follow-up 
 to "She Cried" suffered a similar fate. Although it's a great 
 recording, "This Is It" never rose above Bubbling Under 

 "This Is It" - Jay and the Americans (August 1962, 
 highest chart position #109) 

 The killer-bee side of "This Is It" is a wonderful mid tempo 
 ballad entitled "It's My Turn To Cry." 

 "It's My Turn to Cry" - Jay and the Americans (Aug. 1962, 
 uncharted B side of "This Is It") 

 That's a big 10-4, Ron! 

 Mercy sakes alive, 
 good buddy, looks like 
   we got us a convoy and 
 I'm about to put the 




I can't get enough of Diane Renay, an all American girl
if ever there was one. Diane was discovered while still a teenager working in her family owned jewelry store.

We last heard from this Philly filly a year ago in my Summer Means Fun series. Diane Renay is best known for the two songs I presented in that post, her two biggest hits "Navy Blue" and "Kiss Me Sailor." Those willing to dig deeper into this young lady's catalog will find treasure. "The Company You Keep," "Words" and "Happy Birthday Broken Heart" were all written and produced for Diane by Bob Crewe and all three are excellent. Two other little known Diane Renay recordings are also considered by many music historians to be among the best girl group sounds of the decade. The first is the title song from Growin' Up Too Fast; the Girl Group Anthology.

 "Growin' Up Too Fast" - Diane Renay (July 1964, 
 highest chart position #124) 

The second song is "Watch Out Sally," a bitchin' bad girl anthem, arguably the finest and the most exciting recording of Diane Renay's career.

 "Watch Out Sally" - Diane Renay (December 1964, 
 highest chart position #101) 

Those two Diane Renay gems deserved to become hits but both remained locked in the Bubbling Under basement.

 Ron, who else made your  

 All American roster? 


 Shady, the Manhattans, who later became famous for 
 (Let's Just) "Kiss and Say Goodbye" had been around 
 many years before they hit the big time. As it is with so 
 many of those groups, I believe their earlier songs were 
 the better ones. This was their second record, "Searchin' 
 For My Baby". 

 "Searchin' for My Baby" - Manhattans (May 1965, 
 highest chart position #135) 

 The B-side of "Searchin' For My Baby" entitled "I'm the One 
 that Love Forgot" bubbled under at #135 and was equally if 
 not more popular among R&B fans.  I saw the Manhattans 
 perform about this time at the Howard in D.C, and got to 
 hear the Delchords sing both these songs as well. I wish 
 I could say who sang lead on "I'm the One that Love 
 Forgot" when the Delchords did it. Was it Buddy? Ike? 
 Regardless, the memories are in my heart. 

 "I'm the One that Love Forgot" - Manhattans (July 1965, 
 highest chart position #135) 


 Shady, last fall you posted the 1968 Dells' Chicago soul 
 classic "Stay In My Corner" in your post remembering 
 Hy Lit. Some of your readers might not know that "Stay 
 In My Corner" on Chess Records, released off the album 
 There Is, was actually the second time around for that 
 song. It was originally released by the Dells in 1965 on 
 VeeJay 674, but had a running time of less than three 
 minutes. A beautiful song at the time, but not nearly as 
 successful as the later 6 minute plus recording. 

 "Stay in My Corner" - Dells (June 1965, highest chart 
 position #122/#23 R&B) 

 The "killer bee" flip side of that original "Stay In My Corner" 
 became the first big hit for Tom Jones in May of 1965. The 
 Dells did a nice job with a cover version and it became the 
 title track for one of their albums. 

 "It's Not Unusual" - Dells (June 1965, uncharted B side 
 of "Stay in My Corner") 

 An interesting note about The Dells' first big hit on Chess 
 Records is that "O-O, I Love You" was the side that was 
 first played and enjoyed some very good airplay. It's one 
 of their many beautiful ballads.  However, deejays starting 
 flipping it over (yes, they find "killer bees" also) and started 
 playing "There Is" and it's popularity walked all over the 
 A-side, resulting in the album carrying that name also. 
 Here is the side that bore "There Is" on the flip. 

 "O-O, I Love You" - Dells (December 1967, highest 
 chart position #61/#22 R&B) 

 Ron, that "O-O" ballad 

 always gives me chills 

 and fever.  Let me take 

 us home with two more 

 all American groups! 


From the nation's heartland they came...Five Americans their name...catchy pop recordings their game. We heard from this Oklahoma group a while back when they sang their top 5 hit "Western Union." The guys must have thought they found a winning formula with songs about long distance love affairs facilitated by message delivery systems. "Zip Code" was a nifty number and cracked the top 40 but that's all she wrote.

 "Zip Code" - Five Americans (September 1967, 
 highest chart position #36) 


I'm wrapping up this 4th of July all American salute with the American Breed, a band that hailed from the greater Chicago area. The American Breed scored its biggest hit at the start of 1968 with the top 5 million seller "Bend Me Shape Me," a remake of a song released the previous year on an album by the Cleveland group the Outsiders. In mid December 1967 the American Breed appeared on American Bandstand performing their rapidly rising hit single. I never tire of hearing "Bend Me, Shape Me," one of most optimistic and downright listenable recordings of the late 60s.

 "Bend Me, Shape Me" - American Breed (Jan. 1968, 
 highest chart position #5 Billboard, #3 Cash Box) 

 Thank you, Dell Rat Ron, 

 for joining me in a salute to 

 some of America's best on record. 

 See you soon, good buddy! 

Have a Shady day!


  1. Wow Tom you had my AM rocking and brought a strong meaning to made in the USA. Sadly I never heard of a lot of them but feel so blessed to have the chance to finally hear them. You and Ron did an amazing job as usual and I appreciate all the hard work. Some of the best tunes yet good buddy. Happy 4th of July and stay cool.

  2. Happy 4th to you, Odie! Can't miss with the Beach Boys, right? I'm glad these tunes got your holiday started with a smile. Have a safe and happy celebration with your family and your dogs, good buddy!

  3. Hi Shady and Ron, great music to start off Independence day! I enjoy the Beach Boys and was shocked to see them recently on their Good Morning America Appearance last month. That they are touring is unbelievable and inspiring. I'm going to have to return later to listen to more of this collection, which looks great. Thank you for sharing the gift of America's music with us today.

    1. Hi, Jenny! I missed the Beach Boys on GMA. I looked at their 50th Anniversary tour schedule and it's grueling with shows every few days all around the globe. I saw the Beach Boys in concert in 1966 and met Mike Love when he came to my television station to tape promos in 1984. Thank you very much for coming by today, dear friend Jenny. I wish you and your family a safe and happy holiday!

  4. Now these were terrific songs to start this great holiday! I so enjoyed listening to them this morning. You guys certainly know how to pick out the gems that those of us like me maybe hadn't heard before.

    It's a great celebration of America to listen to music written, performed, and recorded right here on our own shores.

    Bend Me Shape Me is going to be in my head all day!

    1. Hi, Shelly! You could do a lot worse than to have "Bend Me, Shape Me" stuck in your head all day. As I mentioned in the text it's one of the great feel good songs of the late 60s and I never seem to get tired of it. Thank you very much for visiting, listening and commenting, dear friend Shelly, and happy 4th to you and your family!

  5. You and Ron are quite the pair. Are you sure you two arent long lost brothers? :) Once again you've complied a stellar playlist and have introduced me to another new to me artist that I am loving to pieces, namely Diane Renay. Off to check out more tunes by this lady so I can sing along and basically pretend to be her. Have a great 4th!

    1. Hello, Amber Girly Bird!

      Diane Renay:
      Every boy wanted to date her.
      Every girl wanted to BE her!

      Your memory isn't quite as good as mine, dearie, because I distinctly remember you loving Diane Renay last year when I posted her two big hits. I'm sure you'll recognize those songs when you find them. Be sure to get on YouTube and check out the rare film clip of Diane singing "Kiss Me Sailor." It's a rare opportunity for you to see her performing back in the day. (You also might like her hunky sailor boy.) Thanks so much for coming over for a visit, dear friend, and have a safe and happy 4th!

    2. Clearly my memory is terrible cause I dont remember her at all. I must have listened to her tunes & not purchased them on itunes. Shame on me. I'll go hide in a corner now ;)

    3. You're a first class friend for coming by to follow-up, dear Amber. "Kiss Me Sailor" was the song you raved about when I posted it in the spring of 2011. I recently found a video of Diane lip syncing her hit on a 1964 TV program. Check it out:

      Thank you again, dear Amber, for being such a true blue friend (and bird).

  6. Hi Shady and Ron, Very good call from Ron as "She Cried" remains one of my favorites. Semper Fi and happy 4th. Jerre

    1. Hi, Jerre! I was hoping you'd see and hear the tunes that Ron picked with you in mind. I also hope that you and yours are having a great holiday, good buddy. Thanks for stopping by!

  7. The only one I know is the Beach Boys and to me it doesn't get more American than them!

    Happy July 4th Tom! I hope you're doing something fun to celebrate! You've certainly lent us some Florida sunshine today! :)

    Emma x

    1. Hi, Emma! Are you saying that the sun came out over Dublin today? Did people know what that big yellow ball was or did it create mass hysteria and panic in the streets? :) I'm very happy to see you today, dear friend, and I thank you for helping me and other American friends celebrate Independence Day. Have a wonderful evening, Emma!

  8. Hi dear Shady. What a great idea to post all these real American groups and artistes on the 4th July! Like Odie and Shelly, there were quite a few that I hadn't heard of, but I certainly enjoyed your choices for us today. Obviously, I know of the Beach Boys. In fact I downloaded their greatest hits CD last week - and there were a lot of them!! Their hits really bring a touch of summer when I'm listening to them. Thank you, and also Ron, for picking the hits for us today. I hope that you and Mrs Shady are having a happy 4th July over there. Smooches!

    1. Smooches to you, dear Thisisme! The Beach Boys certainly are a band of longevity, aren't they? I remember thinking "how long can they keep this up?" when their new record "Kokomo" was released in 1988. Here we are a quarter of a century later and they're touring the world. If you never saw it you should try to watch the TV movie about the band's beginnings entitled The Beach Boys: An American Family (2000). It is excellent. Thank you very much for coming to call, dear friend Thisisme. I hope you're feeling tip top by now and looking forward to many more outings with friends and family. Bless!

  9. Me again! I will certain try to get hold of the tv movie you mentioned. Perhaps they might have it on DVD at Amazon. Take care my friend.

    1. Hi, Thisisme! The TV movie is not just a fluff piece. Along with the music it explores the complex relationships and power struggles within the family and the band. I highly recommend it. Good night to you, dear friend!

  10. This is a great post. I appreciate you sharing all of these American artists with your followers. Can't wait for your next post!

    1. Hello, Gina, and welcome to Shady Dell Music & Memories! I don't know how you found me but I'm very glad you did. I would be delighted to have you drop by whenever you're in the mood for good music, smiles and laughs. This is also the place to hang out if you're in the market to meet some wonderful people and make new friends. Thank you very much for your kind comment, dear Gina, and have a splendid evening in Southern California!

  11. So much talent! The Beach Boys Concert was the very first concert I ever attended. xo P.S. hoping your 4th was a happy celebration.

    1. Hi, Katie! Come to think of it, the Beach Boys concert in 1966 was possibly the first major rock show I ever attended. I hope your pup Izzy is doing better now and that you and your family enjoyed your holiday. Thank you very much for coming over, dear Katie!

  12. Happy Belated Fourth of July dear friend! We were traveling the highways on the fourth so wasn't able to visit any blogs! You served up a delightful all American sparkler for your readers! So happy you started off with the Beach Boys as they are one of my favorite groups. Loved listening to some new American Sweethearts (to me) and finding some long lost favorites!
    Hope you are enjoying your summer, Tom!

    1. Hugs and smooches, Sush! It's great to hear from you, dear friend. It's always a pleasure to offer a blend of familiar old favorites and new delights. I hope you got another chance to visit a son or two and check out the baby boom situation. Thank you very much for remembering me, Sush. I wish you continued health and happiness until we meet again!

  13. Well, Sir Shady, and Dell Rat Ron, I managed to make it over here tonite. My computer was acting up so I didn't get to listen to some of the songs you presented. But, I did listen to Diane Renay's 'Navy Blue'...that was a popular song. I remember some of the guys from school joining the Navy, and all of us girls would croon that song, lol! And, the Beach Boys' 'Do It Again'-I always liked the song, it was kind of a smoother sound for them during that time. The video was great-you produced commercials? How cool! Jay and the Americans is one of my favorites, and, 'She Cried' was superb-that guy has a voice! I didn't recognize the Manhattans, but I know I've heard some of the Dells' stuff (probably on your blog, lol). No, I think they were on an infommercial (sp) tonite in a collection of soulful songs! For sure, this was an all American great post with the Five Americans and 'Bend Me Shape Me' American Breed. Hope you had a good 4th...sorry, I'm so late. But, I knew you were here! See you soon-stay cool! You too, Ron!♫

    1. Hey, Susan! How are you holding up in that triple digit heat over there? It felt like 100 here today, that's for sure. The Beach Boys certainly gave us variety during the span of their career from simple surfing songs to the esoteric "Pet Sounds" album and from Mike Love's relatively smooth vocals on "Do It Again" to Carl Wilson's raspy vocal styling on "Darlin'" and "Wild Honey." The Five Americans and The American Breed have a fresh, enthusiastic sound that I never get tired of hearing. Thank you very much, dear friend Susan, for coming to my week long 4th of July party. Have a wonderful weekend, kiddo!

  14. Just stopped by to give a big Shady Dell Birthday wish to a great Dell Rat , July 9th. Is Toni's big day and I am sure Dell Rats every where join me in wishing her a very Shady Birthday. Thanks Toni for all you have done .----------- A Dell Rat All Ways Greg

    1. I second that emotion, Greg! Happy birthday to Shady Dell owner Toni Deroche and thank you, Toni, for everything you have done for the Dell and for those who loved it! Greg, I'm also very happy to know that your pooch Harley bounced back to better health. Thanks for reporting in, good buddy!

  15. Happy belated 4th of July and Happy Birthday, Toni! The Beach Boys are about as American as you can get, and always sound great. I never get tired of "Bend Me, Shape Me", however "Western Union" was my theme song for eight years while I performed customer service at Western Union's Customer Service Center until it was closed due to downsizing, the jobs subcontracted as significantly lower pay with little training. My co-workers and I even got to help train our replacements over the phone until we were closed. A great bunch of people, especially all the ladies I worked with there. And they were sharp, too! It blows me away, Tom, how you come across all these songs by artists that I didn't get into heavily, like Diane Renay. I guess our interests do complement each other.

    Later, Buddy!
    Dell Rat Ron

    1. Hello stranger! Seems like a mighty long time. (LOL) How'r ya doing, Ron? You made it just under the wire, good buddy, because another bombastic batch will be posted tomorrow morning. Tomorrow's a significant date in history. Care to take a guess? You'll find out along with everybody else tomorrow morning. I hope you read my reply to Amber Blue Bird and will take time to cut and paste that link to Diane Renay's lip sync performance. It's a rare peek at the perky princess at the height of her popularity in 1964. Thanks so much for being here, Ron, and I'll see you again soon, I hope. (More Dueling Doo-wops are on the way.)


You talkin' to me?