Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Letting Our Hair Down With Another Forgotten Hits List Favorite

Although this song was never really much of a hit ... despite NUMEROUS recordings by artists who firmly believed that it SHOULD have been ... it CERTAINLY has proven to be popular with our Forgotten Hits Readers.

Over the past three or four years, we've featured at least ONE version of "She Lets Her Hair Down" (aka "Early In The Morning") at least three or four times, due to popular demand from our readers. And, just recently, it has come up again ...

So THIS time we scoured through the archives to put together the DEFINITIVE piece on this long-forgotten classic. Along the way, we'll revisit some of your comments ... and feature a few versions of the song that seem to be amongst your favorites.

Here's what prompted the resurgence THIS time around!!! (kk)

No need to publish this in your blog ... I was just looking for a little song help.
I wondered if you could tell me what issue of Forgotten Hits has the song either titled “She Let’s Her Hair Down When the Sun Comes Up” or “She Goes Walking…” I have been looking for it in old issues and cannot find it. Or, if it is easier just to send the DivShare that would be cool. I think it was within the last month?
Seriously – here’s a little song whose claim to fame was helped as the background for a hair color commercial, but I still liked it a lot. I am not even sure if I have it downstairs somewhere in a box!
Thank you!
Sue Patterson

Actually, Sue, these are EXACTLY the types of letters we like to publish in our HELPING OUT OUR READERS Segments!!! And, as stated above, this track has LONG been a Forgotten Hits Favorite. Here again, for ALL of your enjoyment, is the best of the recaps from years gone by:

Back in the earliest days of rock and roll, it was not at all unusual to see several artists record the same song and then share chart and airplay positions ... in fact, it was a pretty common practice. We've addressed this issue before in Forgotten Hits and, at the time when professional songwriters and recording artists were most often two different things, this is simply the way things were done. In fact, back then, the SONG was most often considered more important than the artist who recorded it. (As such, you had TV Shows like "Your Hit Parade" with a bunch of old fogies trying to sing the latest Elvis, Buddy Holly and Jerry Lee Lewis hits of the day!!! And, worse yet, they were SERIOUS about it!!!)As the '60's developed, however, and more and more artists began recording their OWN songs ... songs that THEY had written ... and the Tin Pan Alley / Brill Building days began to pass. But every once in a while, you'd still get an instance where two artists would record the same song and then fight for chart position. (Two titles from the mid-'60's that immediately come to mind are the Bobby Vee / Kenny O'Dell versions of "Beautiful People" ... and the Glen Campbell / Wayne Newton versions of "Dreams Of The Everyday Housewife".) However, it could ALSO be argued that competing versions of the same song could, in fact, hamper the success of ALL of the versions ... and I believe this to be the case with today's featured tune, "She Lets Her Hair Down". This song was recorded by big name artists like The Tokens and Gene Pitney, who both scored minor chart hits with their respective versions. (The Tokens' version peaked at #59 in Cash Box and Gene Pitney's take stopped at #89 in Billboard.) NEITHER of these versions charted here in Chicago, however, where a guy named Don Young, a New York pop singer, took his version all the way to #17 on the WCFL Survey. (Locally, WLS ignored the record and, nationally, it "bubbled under" in Billboard at #104.) Versions of "She Lets Her Hair Down" were also recorded by The Cuff Links (featuring FH Member Ron Dante on lead vocals), Rupert Holmes, the guy who would ultimately take Dante's place in The Cuff Links ... and then score a #1 Hit of his own with "Escape (The Pina Colada Song)" ... and '70's teen heart-throb Bobby Sherman (who ALSO "bubbled under" on the Billboard charts with his version.)

"She Lets Her Hair Down" first saw life as a Breck Shampoo television commercial. Like "We've Only Just Begun" and "I'd Like To Teach The World To Sing" a few years later, it was expanded to "song length" to be released as a single. Unlike these other two examples, however, it pretty much tanked.

Why the Don Young version clicked here in Chicago is beyond me ... there doesn't seem to be any "Chicago Connection" regarding this artist. According to Forgotten Hits List Member Jeff Duntemann (who supplied today's copy of the Don Young version of "She Lets Her Hair Down"), his original single shows the title as "Early In The Morning", (obviously, a key lyric in the song) ... yet all the chart information I have shows the more common and familiar title "She Lets Her Hair Down" as being the correct name of this tune. Thanks again, Jeff, for sending us this rare track ... we looked EVERYWHERE for it!!! (kk)

Jeff says: The "official" name is "Early in the Morning." It was originally a shampoo commercial, (I found listings for both Breck and Clairol as the originators of this advertising campaign-kk) and many people have done covers, including Gene Pitney. Don's is my favorite.

Forgotten Hits List Member Sev / SNOREFEST picks up the story: "Early In The Morning" was the victim of a low-impact cover battle in the last few months of 1969 between the two 60's chart stalwarts: both The Tokens and Gene Pitney had recorded versions, which battled the half bottom of the Billboard Hot 100. In order to avoid confusion with the Vanity Fare hit of the same name and firmly identify the song with it's roots as a shampoo commercial jingle, the song was retitled "She Let's Her Hair Down (Early In The Morning)" for a single release. FYI ..... Speaking of "She Let's Her Hair Down" ..... another forgotten artist that recorded this tune was Rupert Holmes. (Could this be The Cuff Links version)? I know Rupert was involved with them. Sev

Besides The Tokens' version and the Gene Pitney version, we also featured the Don Young version of "She Lets Her Hair Down" (which made Chicago's Top 20 in 1970) during our original series spotlighting this song. At the time, I wasn't aware of the Rupert Holmes version, but The Cuff Links DID record a song called "Early In The Morning" on their debut LP, which featured Forgotten Hits Member Ron Dante on lead vocals ... odds are that THIS was the same song, too!!! (I later emailed Ron Dante to see if he could confirm this for us ... which he later did, thus enabling us to feature ALL of these versions in subsequent issues of Forgotten Hits!) We then found another "Bubbling Under" single version recorded by '70's teen heart-throb Bobby Sherman, making "She Lets Her Hair Down" one of the most covered failures of modern pop music!!! (lol) kk

Thanks for The Cuff Links' version of Early in the Morning. I had the album on an 8 track and that was one of my favorite tracks from it. I, of course, can't play the album any more, so I may have to go to the website you mentioned to find it again. I had not realized Gene Pitney had done this song, or if I knew it, I had forgotten. I knew Gene's music all my life, of course, and after his passing, I heard a wonderful tribute and special on Xm radio about him and his music and have such a great respect for him ... he had a fantastic vocal range.
Thanks again,
I was able to catch the XM Gene Pitney Anthology Tribute, too ... VERY well done ... and afterwards I had even more respect for Gene as an artist. Finding The Cuff Links' version of "Early In The Morning" was a REAL bonus ... I didn't even know it existed! (This is what I mean about the power of our musical connection ... and then to have Ron Dante himself comment on the track ... WOW!!!) I will ALWAYS be a music fan FIRST ... and a "spreader of memories and information" second ... so believe me when I tell you that I was every bit as excited as every OTHER Forgotten Hits Reader when this revelation came to pass!!! (kk)

I do have the Cuff Links album. And I find that that song was a hit for The Tokens in 1970 who called it "She Lets Her Hair Down (Early In The Morning)". I vaguely remember it being played on an old Clairol commercial. I think it was also done by several easy listening artists during the 70s. A same title song that came out about the same time the Cuff Links LP was released is "Early in the Morning" by Vanity Fare, a totally different and more popular song ... I'm sure you know that one. Another totally different song called "Early in the Morning" is on Harry Nilsson's' "Nilsson Schmillson" LP. Not a hit. But a land mark LP for Harry. Steve C

More and more information continued to come in on this song ...

Hey Kent - I have more on "She Lets Her Hair Down" ... I got this off of the Rupert Holmes web site:

Having arranged much of the Cuff Links first album, Rupert replaced vocalist Ron Dante as the "group's" lead voice while continuing to arrange most of the material, primarily written by Paul Vance and Lee Pockriss.

I have BOTH Cuff Links LPs on Vinyl. Looks like The Cuff Links' and Rupert Holmes' version of "She Let's Her Hair Down" were released at very much the same time, The Cuff Links' in September of 1969. Oddly enough The Cuff Links' version lists the composers as P. Vance / L. Pockriss & arranged by Rupert Holmes ... and Rupert's version (originally released by The Street People, featuring Rupert, in November of '69, and released on the same label as Gene Pitney, Musicor), lists the composers as P. Vance / R. Holmes & D Jordan. (Produced by Paul Vance). Meanwhile, on the Lyric Website, featuring the Gene Pitney version, it lists the composers as Vance / Carr ... which is correct? In the almighty words of Vinnie Barbarino, "I'M SO CONFUSED"
Hmmm ... did RUPERT maybe write some additional lyrics for The Street People version (and then take a co-writers credit???) I dunno ... but as we continue to let our hair down here in Forgotten Hits (we have now featured an incredible SIX different versions of "She Lets Her Hair Down"!!!) ... it sure would be nice to track this information down once and for all as to who first recorded it ... and who REALLY wrote it!!!

It's interesting, too, that Rupert used the "She Lets Her Hair Down" title on HIS recording but Ron Dante's Cuff Links' version (which Holmes produced) was released as "Early In The Morning"!!! If your release dates are correct, that throws ANOTHER interesting wrinkle into the mix ... the song title change was allegedly inspired by the hit single "Early In The Morning" by Vanity Fare ... but THAT single didn't even debut on the charts until the very end of November, by which time both The Cuff Links' version and The Street People's version would have already been recorded and released ... with different song titles!!! (Weird!!!) kk

I have no doubt that the song was written by just Vance and Pockriss. They are the real deal since their partnership produced many hits including "Itsy Bitsy Yellow Polka Dot Bikini", "Catch a Falling Star" and "Tracy", I think. This song sure got around and used quite a bit I see! Danny Jordan was Paul's nephew and was in my group, The Detergents, which Vance and Pockiss produced.

- Ron Dante

It'd be cool to talk to either Paul Vance or Lee Pockiss about this someday (if that could be arranged.) I'd also be curious to know if Ron Dante had the "inside track" on this one due to his jingle-singing connection. (kk)

Of the three versions of "She Lets Her Hair Down", I think Don Young's is the best. However with 35 years of retrospect behind us, I can easily see (hear) some of the aspects of the song that prevented it from going further up the charts. Actually, had the Tokens dumped the falsetto, it would have made for a better version and had Gene Pitney sung it without supporting vocals and the extraneous instrumentation, it, too, might have fared better. His voice never needed any help. So Don Young kinda wins by default.
and then ...
Actually, now that I've heard ALL of the versions presented so far of She Let's Her Hair Down, I think Rupert Holmes' version was the best.

>>>I have no doubt that the song was written just by Vance and Pockriss. (Ron Dante)

This is what I pulled from the ASCAP website:

SHE LETS HER HAIR DOWN - (Title Code: 490272881)






Publishers / Administrators: MUSIC SALES CORP; 257 PARK AVENUE SOUTH - 20TH FL; NEW YORK , NY, 10010; Tel. (212) 254-2100

I'd personally love to get in touch with Paul Vance or Danny Jordan, myself ... both of them were involved with Diamond Records early on (especially Paul ... I'm sure he could tell me loads of stories!) I don't even know if either of them is still around anymore ... but I'm hoping. Tom Diehl

Maybe after Ron Dante reads this, he'll send us some info that I can pass along to you. (kk)

I know a lot of people consider this a "lost" hit, and feel that it did not become a major hit due to several competing versions. In my opinion, it is a mediocre song, and not even that memorable as a commercial jingle. To me, the fact that several very talented artists were unable to get the song off the ground says something about the quality (or lack thereof) of the song itself. Compare the lack of chart success of "She Lets Her Hair Down" to the success of the Coca-Cola jingle "I'd Like To Teach The World To Sing" a couple of years later, where two artists, The Hillside Singers and The New Seekers, both had sizable hits with the same song. Not that I personally feel that "I'd Like To Teach The World To Sing" ever deserved to be more than a thirty second radio spot, the record buying public apparently felt otherwise. I guess more people enjoyed a song that reminded them of drinking a Coke than a song that reminded them of shampooing their hair. DJF0321

I still have 'She Lets Her Hair Down' in my regular personal rotation. This one should have been a much bigger hit for the group. It's the only record I know of that uses a Slinky as a musical instrument. Listen and hear for yourself. (Careful -- converting and compressing this one may make the slinky's sound too muddy) And we even played Cross Country's 'In The Midnight Hour' in late '73.
David Lewis
I think the Cross Country version of "In The Midnight Hour" is a GREAT version ... and, in fact, it was a Top 20 Hit here in Chicago! (We've featured it as a Forgotten Hits a couple of time before ... and I recently sent a copy to Bob Stroud for consideration on the next Rock And Roll Roots CD!!!) kk

Hey Kent --

Loved today's issue. I scanned the 45 of Don Young's "Early In The Morning" cover for your collection. I recorded the song off WCFL onto 8" reel-reel tape when I was a senior in high school in Chicago in 1969. I looked for the 45 for 35 years, and finally found it in a grubby used record shop in Phoenix. It was not in good shape, and then I broke it -- but managed to get a rip done and suppress most of the pops from the fracture line using GoldWave.
Another case that might be worth mentioning of the same song charting by two artists at the same time is "Concrete And Clay". According to Whitburn's books, two artists entered the charts with that song on the same day: 5/1/65. Both, furthermore, charted for 9 weeks. Unit Four Plus Two took it to Billboard #28, and Eddie Rambeau took it to #35. (I don't have the Chicago chart stats but would be interested to see how they did back home.) I love that song, especially the Rambeau cover. (The other guys were "rougher" and more rock'n'roll.) That would be something to talk about in a future issue. I have an MP3 of the Rambeau version but not Unit Four Plus Two. I'll ask around and see if I can find it anywhere. Eddie's still around and has a Web site:

He implies that Unit Four Plus Two wrote the song, tho I haven't confirmed that. Here's a Web site: another:

Thanks for all the hard work on this thing. I can't imagine that you've been doing this for YEARS!!!

-- Jeff Duntemann

Colorado Springs, Colorado

Thanks for the photo, Jeff! (See the Comment below regarding the title of the song.) I covered "Concrete And Clay" a couple of years ago and sent out BOTH versions. (For the record, the Unit 4+2 hit went to #12 in Cash Box, #28 in Billboard and #16 here in Chicago. The Eddie Rambeau version tied for the #12 Cash Box and #16 Chicagoland spots because, as I just mentioned earlier in this article, back then the song title determined the chart position, not the artist, and went to #35 in Billboard.) kk

ISN'T IT IRONIC #1: Ironically, these original comments surrounding "She Lets Her Hair Down" went out the Thanksgiving Weekend that Forgotten Hits turned Six Years Old!!! Incredibly, this past weekend we just celebrated our TENTH Anniversary!!!) kk

The name change for Early in the Morning was also due to a song that was currently a hit for Vanity Fare at that time. Don Young, the Cubs Outfielder, should be in the Cubs Hall of Shame for his outfield play, as his poor play in the field led to the collapse of the 1969 Cubs. Clay Pasternack

Ah ... "Early In The Morning" ... another one of our earliest Forgotten Hits features (and another one of my personal favorites!) We'll include THAT one again today, too ('cause you SURE ain't likely to hear this one on the radio!!!)

NOPE ... NOT HIM!!!!!

Don Young!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Yes, being a Cub fan, I remember him well!!!!!! His claim to fame was in a game where he made a bobbling catch of a fly ball to center field ... As a matter of fact ... I still have that same card in my collection!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! He played with the Cubs in "69-70" and hit about .210! Mike

"Early In The Morning" was most memorably recorded by Buddy Holly / Bobby Darin & The Rinkydinks & Ding Dongs. I remember using it when I hosted Mystery Lyrics 08/15/99. Diana

Don't know if I can agree with that ... although we covered BOTH the Bobby Darin / Rinky-Dinks version AND the Buddy Holly cover in our month-long Bobby Darin series, these singles only went to #24 and #25 respectively. The Vanity Fare single actually hit #10 in Cash Box in early 1970. (I also remember a Nilsson album cut by that name and see that both The Gap Band and Robert Palmer charted higher with yet ANOTHER song of the same name in the '80's.) kk

I sent you an ebay link for this one some time ago which showed the title on the Don Young 45 as "She Lets Her Hair Down" ... I'm pretty sure of it ...

Tom Diehl

Yes, you did ... and yes, IT did ... which means this single (despite selling next to nothing) was pressed at least a couple of times ... showing, at one time or another, BOTH titles: "She Lets Her Hair Down" AND "Early In The Morning"!!! (kk)


I really liked the song "She Lets Her Hair Down" and have both the Pitney and Tokens versions. I had forgotten all about the version by Don Young but thanks for bringing it up. I don't recall if I ever heard the version back then but I was aware of it when it came out, as I was a subscriber of Billboard for nearly 10 years beginning in the mid-late sixties. It was expensive but I loved the charts, new releases and reviews, industry news and special industry / promo inserts. Anyhow, back to Don Young (I'm also a lifetime Cubs' fan) ... He was the center fielder for the disastrous 1969 Cubs. He missed a flyball in a key situation / key game toward the end of the season and was nearly crucified by Cub fans (think Bartman-like flak). Ron Santo, Cub third baseman at the time, was all over the poor guy and in some circles was credited / blamed for Young's abbreviated career. To this day Don Young cannot be located by Cub staff re: team reunions. As avid as Cub fans are, I gotta believe a combination of "fan" support and local radio execs (perhaps thinking the artist really WAS the Cubs' Don Young) helped get this version played. Bob Conway

After listening to all three versions of this tune, I guess it IS the Don Young version that I remember best. (The other two never charted here in Chicago ... and even Young's version was only played on WCFL.) I think I'm probably MORE familiar with it as the hair commercial, however! After all the flack that the OTHER Don Young took from Cubs fans and the local press, I doubt that ANYONE would have played ANYTHING that might have had something to do with this guy after The Great Fall of '69 and the Ron Santo tirade!!! (I wonder if Santo ever apologized?!?!?) kk

ISN'T IT IRONIC #2: Incredibly, we ALSO just covered the Cubs / Don Young debacle as part of our Tribute to 1969 earlier this year in Forgotten Hits!!! (kk)


I have to weigh in on the Tokens' "She Lets Her hair Down". I thought their version was a classic! I was so thinking that THIS would be the song to bring them back to the top of the Billboard charts. Instead it brought them back to the top of the Lincoln, Ne. (?) charts. It reached #5 on KLMS here and followup covers 45s "Don't Worry Baby" and "Both Sides Now" each reached the top 11 here also. I loved their "Don't Worry Baby" then,too. All 1970 charters here.


The Tokens did a nice version of "Don't Worry Baby". (It's a GREAT song ... honestly, I don't know if I've ever really heard a BAD version of this one!) It peaked at #71 in Cash Box in 1970. (These would be some good songs to feature in our next Local Hits / Show Me Your Hits Series ... why don't you write me up a little some on both of these!!! If you've got more gems like this to share regarding the Lincoln, Nebraska charts, drop me a line ... I don't know if you were on the list yet the first two times we went cross country and featured regional hits. In the meantime, I've included The Tokens' version of The Beach Boys' classic "Don't Worry Baby" for the rest of the list to enjoy, too. (kk)

My fave version is the Tokens ... always has been always will be :-) Cheryl


The only song that I recall having two versions appear on the charts at the same time was "Young Love." The battle was between Sonny James and Tab Hunter. This was in the late 50s. I don't know which version charted higher, but I always favored James' version.


There were TONS of them ... especially in the latter half of the '50's. (We could probably fill an entire month-long Forgotten Hits series on this topic one of these days!!!) For the record, BOTH versions of "Young Love" hit the #1 spot ... a rarity in itself. Tab Hunter's version spent six weeks on top of Billboard's Top 100 Chart. It SHARED the #1 position in Cash Box with the Sonny James version (again ... ranked by SONG TITLE rather than artist at the time.) Officially, Sonny James peaked at #2 on the Billboard Top 100 (making "Young Love" the #1 AND the #2 song in the country at the time!) And, speaking of "country," it also topped Billboard's COUNTRY chart for nine weeks!!! A version by The Crew Cuts ALSO shared chart-space with these #1 hits ... THEIR version peaked at #24. Sixteen years later, it was a hit all over again for teen idol (and recent Dancing With The Stars Champion) Donny Osmond, whose remake went to #25 in 1973. (kk)

Hi Kent,

Hope you, and yours, are well. "Early In The Morning", from last send, tweaked my unconscious. (I recall that tune from radio, or perhaps even the shampoo commercial that was mentioned. Was GREAT to flash-back to.) Here's a loooong-shot. There was as a "fragrance", I assume aimed at the 12-18 female demographic, named "Heaven Sent" - possibly "Heaven Scent". This was circa 1966-1970?, Chicago market, heavy saturation. There was a rather catchy song they labeled that product with, and played it again, and again, and yet ... again. On those late night drives one takes with that new girl ... who makes one's heart beat faster than the rest, the ambient melodies create the sountrack ... smile. The lyrics go something like: "Suddenly, there's a heavenly fragrance that clings ... it's heaven scent. Suddenly you're an "imp" (imp?) wearing angel's wings ... in heaven scent ... Suddenly you are all of the things that you want to be, a little bit naughty but heavenly ... in heaven sent ... etc." Can you imagine the angst those lyrics would create in the 16 year-old female heart? Angel / naughty? I digress ... I have so many memories tied to that commercial, and people I've kept connected to. Years ago I tried calling radio stations, and even searched the net. I'd do anything to get my hands on that. Might anyone out there in FH-land has ANY clue If, and HOW, I might be able to get my hands on that commercial? Thought fishing in "FH" pool might get a lead? Thanks ever-so ... Ron

Hey, it's worth a shot ... we've come up with STRANGER requests! (LOL) I used to love the "Wear Your Love Like Heaven" / Donovan song / commercial, too ... don't know if ANY of this helped sell perfume or hair products but these were GREAT little songs! (kk)

DANG!!! We are just CHOCK Full of Musical Memories today in Forgotten Hits!!! ENJOY!!!!!