Gary: This will be the last Anatomy of A Song for a while. I have other projects to complete. I was in the Great State of Texas for sometime and while there thought of these songs. The first one is of course from a Texas born singer Roy Kelton Orbison, otherwise known as the Big ‘O’.
I was surprised to learn that his first hit was ‘not’ his composition. He grew up being poor and after seeing his classmate ‘Pat Boone’ signed to Dot Records, Roy decided to take a trip to Memphis and see Sam Phillips. His group the Teen Kings, which started as the Wink Westerners (Wink Texas), consisted of two musicians, Dick Penner and Wade Moore, who had written ‘Ooby Dooby’ a year before the meeting at Sun.
Where did the name come from? It was the name over their Frat House ‘Ooby Dooby’, that’s it and it was composed in less than 1/2 hour.
They would also pen my favourite ‘Go Go Go’ or ‘Down the Line’ and ‘Rockhouse’ which I first heard on a Buddy Know album.
The song was written in 1955. It was first recorded by the Teen Kings on a label in Odessa TX called Je-Wel but was re-recorded in 1956 by Sam Phillips at Sun records and sold over 200,000 copies, which made it a hit.
The band which was very good did not exist past 1959, but Roy would become a World Wide Star as the Big ‘O’. I have found the original Je-Wel recording from 1955 and also ‘Rockhouse’ and ‘Go Go Go’ – Enjoy!
This next song was the theme song of a Disk Jockey that I listened to on WKBW in Buffalo NY. The predominant radio station was CHUM Radio in Toronto, but I could also get KB Radio from Buffalo, not always, but most days; it was AM Radio and Buffalo NY was 90 miles away, but only 50 miles straight across Lake Ontario.
The Disk Jockey was Tommy Shannon and he had a Theme Song, which would be re-worked and recorded as an instrumental in 1959, but was only a hit locally. The song was re-released in 1963 on Swan and became a top ten hit.
The name of the group originally was The Rebels, but did not conflict with Duane Eddy and the Rebels they changed it to the Rockin’ Rebels. They were a Buffalo based band and started playing around with Shannon’s new theme song which was written by the Russ Hallett Trio. They presented it to Shannon, he liked it and they recorded it and released it late in 59, it was a hit in the East only. It was then re-released in December 1962 and the song became a World Wide Hit. The group and Shannon parted ways in 1961.
The next song is in the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2004. The song (Love is Strange) was written by Bo Diddley but published under his wife’s name Ethel Smith due to contract problems.
The Jody Williams Guitar Riff (the hook to the song) was heard by Mickey “Guitar” Baker at a concert in Washington. Now, to my surprise, the first released version is not by Mickey and Sylvia, but by Bo Diddley!
Bo released his song in May of 56 but the Mickey and Sylvia version (the one I remember) was not released until October 56, but it went to #1. The spoken words are classic, “Sylvia, how do you call your lover boy…” and so on.
The song was sexual and racy and it was 1956 so you know it would cause a stir and it did.