Saturday, July 17, 2010

Still keeping us up at night

"I couldn't sleep at all last night... "

When Bobby Lewis sat down at the piano and sang the intro to "Tossin' and Turnin' " the owners of Beltone Records in Manhattan knew they had their man.

Lewis would take their song to No. 1 on the Billboard chart for seven weeks at this time in 1961, and it remains one of rock 'n' roll's enduring classics.  Seven weeks was an incredible accomplishment back in the day.  Only a handful of male performers, led by Elvis Presley (11 weeks for "Hound Dog/Don't Be Cruel" in 1956) managed longer stays atop the chart.

Lewis' impressive run actually began on July 10 when "Tossin' and Turnin' " replaced "Quarter to Three" by Gary U.S Bonds at the summit. Here was the Billboard Top 5:

1. Tossin' and Turnin', Bobby Lewis
2. Boll Weevil Song, Brook Benton
3. Quarter to Three, Gary U.S. Bonds
4. Raindrops, Dee Clark
5. The Writing on the Wall, Adam Wade

Fame was fleeting for Lewis, who notched only one other Top 10 ("One Track Mind" made it to No. 9 later that year).  Which matters not so much to Classic Oldies stations that continue to spin the popular song written by Ritchie Adams and Malou Rene.

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