Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Taking You To Smokey Places Today!

With several choice "smokey" cuts!

Listener's key:

First up ... Smoky Places by The Corsairs, a #11 Hit from 1962 (that probably hasn't been played since!) Ironically, much like The Beach Boys (whose career was taking off at virtually the same time) The Corsairs consisted of three brothers (Jay, James and Moe Uzzell) and a cousin!  (George Wooten)

Next ... Smokey Joe's Cafe by The Robins.  
This one charted for all of one week in Billboard (at #79) ... a year later, a few members would spring off to form The Coasters.  (Obviously they already had a history with the hit song-writing team of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller at this point!)

When bassist Bill Black felt he wasn't being paid his due, he quit Elvis' back-up band and formed The Bill Black Combo.  Between 1960 and 1962, they had nine straight Top 40 Hits.  "Smokie, Part 2" was the first of them ... it peaked at #13 in early 1960.

Is there a more famous "Smokey" than Smokey Robinson???  One of their over-looked Top 20 Hits seems to be "I Don't Blame You At All", a #15 Hit in 1971 (and the follow-up to their #1 chart-topper "The Tears Of A Clown".)

And finally, how about a group CALLED Smokie?  Their One Hit Wonder went to #18 in 1977.  "Living Next Door To Alice" always reminded me of the Dr. Hook Hit "Sylvia's Mother" ... and even if you've never heard this song before, I'll bet you're singing along before the last chorus.  Lead singer Chris Norman later reached The Top Ten with his duet with Suzi Quatro, "Stumblin' In".