One Hits! – Charles / George / Wray

Gary: I do not know how to categorize these items… “The One and Two-record People”?   “Music No One Plays” or “Forgotten Hits of the Past” or something like that?  I will leave it up to you.


Jimmy Charles

A Million to One / Promo 1002 / September 1960 / #5 Billboard

Charles was born in Paterson, New Jersey, in 1942. Before he sang professionally, he had built up quite a local reputation wailing at churches and community functions.

When Charles was 16, his uncle accompanied him to New York City to try his luck at the amateur talent shows held at the Apollo Theater. Surprisingly, Charles won the renowned contest for four consecutive weeks.

Charles’ uncle then hooked up Jimmy up with Phil Medley, a jack-of-all-trades who was an accomplished singer, songwriter, producer, and arranger. Impressed by the lad’s delivery, Medley cut a demo with Charles singing a song Medley had been trying to place entitled “A Million to One”. He got the ear of Bill Lashley, an executive at Promo Records, and played it for him. Promo liked the demo and signed the youngster to a recording contract.

They redid Medley’s song, with vocal backing by The Revellettes, who were a trio from Paterson New Jersey, and were friends of Jimmy’s and included sisters Jackie and Evelyn Kline, and Dottie Hailstock.

When the song was recorded, they did 16 takes to get the one they wanted. It was a very hot day in Paterson, and the flip they nailed in just one try. The dreamy ballad ascended to #5 on Billboard’s Top 100 in September of 1960. It was also released on the London label for both the UK and Australia, and it was pressed on Reo for Canada. The record received worldwide acclaim.

His career ended as quickly as it started. “The Age of Love”, Charles’ next release, stalled at the 47th position, 42 slots lower than “A Million to One”.

Jimmy Charles also released two Christmas records in 1960: Santa Won’t Be Blue This Christmas backed with I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus was the first. The second was Christmasville USA and A Little White Mouse Called Steve. The latter was a record that did receive airplay and is remembered by many , but sadly did not become a national chart hit.

A subsequent release called Just Whistle For Me failed to attract much attention or airplay either, and his career was quickly over. Jimmy did continue to tour on the strength of A Million To One, well into the 60’s.

Today, he resides in Texas, and has started singing again when time permits.

Barbara George


I Know (You don’t love me no More) / A.F.O. 302 /
December 1961 / #3 Billboard  # 1 R&B (4 weeks)

Barbara George (August 16, 1942, Smithridge, Louisiana – August 10, 2006, Chauvin, Louisiana) was an American R&B singer and songwriter.

Born, Barbara Ann Smith, she was raised in New Orleans and began singing in a church choir. She was discovered by singer Jessie Hill, who recommended her to producer Harold Battiste.

Her first record on Battiste’s AFO (All For One) record label, I Know (You Don’t Love Me No More), which she wrote, was issued in late 1961, and both topped the R&B chart and made #3 in the pop charts.

It was later recorded by many other artistes, including The Merseybeats, Ike & Tina Turner, and Bonnie Raitt.

Two subsequent releases, You Talk About Love and Send For Me (If You Need Some Lovin’) on AFO and Sue reached the Hot 100 later in 1962 but failed to match the overwhelming success of her first hit.

Later recordings met with more limited success, and she largely retired from the music business by the late 1960s, with a few subsequent attempts at a comeback being unsuccessful.


Link Wray & his Wray Men
(Invented the Power Chord)

Live Video in 1978:

1.  Rumble/ Cadence 1347/ May 1958/ # 16 Billboard

2.  Rawhide/ Epic 9300/ March 1959/ under Link Wray & the Wray Men/ # 23 Billboard

3.  Weekend/  Link Wray & the Wray Men

Fred Lincoln ‘Link’ Wray Jr (May 2, 1929 – November 5, 2005) was a rock and roll guitar player most noted for introducing a whole new sound for electric guitars in his major hit, the 1958 instrumental “Rumble”, by “Link Wray and his Ray Men”.

Before Rumble, electric guitars were used to produce clean sounds and jazz chords. Wray made a new sound by inventing fuzz-tone, adding feedback, distortion and noise. He also pioneered the Power Chord *.

The menacing sound of “Rumble” (and its title) led to a ban on several radio stations, a rare feat for a song with no lyrics, on the grounds that it glorified ‘juvenile delinquency’. Nevertheless it became a huge hit, not only in the United States, but also Great Britain, where it has been cited as an influence on the The Who, among others.

Pete Townshend, of The Who, stated in liner notes for a 1974 Wray album, “He is the king; if it hadn’t been for Link Wray and ‘Rumble,’ I would have never picked up a guitar.” Jeff Beck, Jimi Hendrix, Marc Bolan, Neil Young and Bob Dylan have all cited Wray as an influence.

He was named as one of the hundred greatest guitarists of all time by Rolling Stone magazine, but still has not yet been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He is, however, a member of the Rockabilly Hall of Fame. (lastfm)

_____________

* The Power Chord

In music, a power chord (also a fifth chord)  is a chord consisting of only the root note of the chord and the fifth, usually played on electric guitar, and typically through an amplification process that imparts distortion.

Power chords are a key element of many styles of Rock music.

–o–


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2 responses to “One Hits! – Charles / George / Wray

  1. came on your website after putting on a search for Bobby Goldsboro. I’m currently reading Keith Richards’ memoir, Life, and he mentions how Bobby taught him the secret to Jimmy Reed’s haunting success through the use of a broken chord, a kind of slur Reed invented that Richards’ feels gave Jimmy his unique style. Richards on Reed is quite remarkable; the book so far is a revelation–other great stuff on Scottie Moore, for example. But connecting Bobby Goldsboro to Jimmy Reed…that was really an eye-opener. You’ve got a great site. Rick Z.

  2. Hey Rick – Thanks for enjoying our blog.
    Here’s a link to a photo I took of Jimmy Reed doing his magic on the guitar ‘ way back when…
    Jimmy Reed at Ascot Hall, Toronto c 1964
    Enjoy.
    – Russ

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