One of the LEAST likely records to make it all the way to #1 in 1964 has got to be "Ringo" by Lorne Greene. Amongst all the latest hits from The British Invasion Artists, huge Motown acts and the piercing falsettos of The Beach Boys and The Four Seasons, this record just seemed to come out of nowhere and mosey its way on up to the top of the charts.
In fact, I heard Scott Shannon play "Ringo" as the "Cheezy-Easy Listening Song Of The Day" yesterday ... a hot new feature on The True Oldies Channel. (From what I've heard, the oldies fans are loving it ... nominating their own favorite candidates for the unlikeliest of hits during the rock era. It's actually a lot of fun ... but don't be fooled ... Scott's also taking on a little bit of grief over this feature, much as WE did when we promoted our "Guaranteed Gaggers" segment a while back ... from music fans who state that ALL music is GOOD music ... and we should appreciate it for what it is rather than belittle it and show any disrespect to these artists.)
In this respect, we have both made our positions perfectly clear: in NO way are we making fun of this music ... pretty much EVERY track featured in this segment was a HUGE hit, meaning that an AWFUL lot of people bought it and loved it at the time. And the very fact that he's playing it at ALL ... at a time when more and more of these songs have disappeared from the airwaves completely ... is actually a TRIBUTE to these otherwise ignored songs and artists. (Although personally, I really do believe that I could live a full life from this point forward without EVER hearing "Dominique" by The Singing Nun again!!! lol)
Now I will admit that when "Ringo" first came out in the Fall of 1964, I am one of the ones who bought it ... and I played the heck out of that 45. (I bought the "Bonanza" album, too, featuring ALL of the "Singing Cartwrights"!!! I was eleven years old at the time and we were still in the era of only three television channels ... so I watched "Bonanza" just like everybody else in the country did!!! And if this music choice sounds odd to you, then let's not forget that MY first two 45's were "Itsy Bitsy Teenie-Weenie Yellow Polka-Dot Bikini" and "Speedy Gonzales"!!!)
For the record, we have already established a number of times in this column that I wasn't the BRIGHTEST eleven year old kid in the world ... but despite this fact, I have spent most of my life believing that I was, in some fashion, one step ahead of the rest of the world ... and, as such, when "Ringo" was first released, I was convinced that I was "in on the joke" ... I mean, let's face it ... releasing a song called "Ringo" at the absolute height of Beatlemania was pure genius, right??? ... so there just HAD to be some sort of a subliminal tie-in!
So when Lorne Greene spoke the final line ... about "the tiniest star above the name of 'Ringo'" ... I just KNEW that THAT was it ... Star ... Ringo ... Ringo Starr!!! Of Course!!!
Wink-Wink ... nudge-nudge ... I GOT it!!!
Of course what he REALLY said was "the TARNISHED star above the name" ... and it had absolutely NOTHING at all whatsoever to do with The Beatles ... and, quite honestly, what the heck would Pa Cartwright know about these things anyway?!?!
But then, a few weeks later, a guy named Larry Finnegan ... who had already scored a pretty big hit with the song "Dear One" a few years earlier ... released a song called "The OTHER Ringo" ... and I felt immediately vindicated ... somebody ELSE got the joke, too!!!
Larry's song died a quick death (although it DID chart here in Chicago for one whole week at #28 on The WLS Silver Dollar Survey) ... and has most likely been forgotten by nearly EVERYBODY who ever even heard it ... but not me!
Which means that we've just GOTTA feature it here today as yet another incredible, long Forgotten Hit!!!