Sunday, January 25, 2015

The Forgotten Hits "Pledge Of Allegiance" to Paul Evans / And Music Appreciation Society Continues:

I've gotta tell you ... even after fifteen years of doing Forgotten Hits, I'm STILL surprised by which topics trigger our readers' hot button ... I would have NEVER expected this to be one of them ... but I'm happy to see the folks on the list expressing their opinion ... 'cause that's what we're here for!  

Chet Coppock's comments about Paul Evans' 1959 Top 10 Hit "Seven Little Girls Sitting In The Back Seat" is still sparking responses from some of our readers ... and this time, from Paul himself!!!   

(While I appreciate all your passion, please keep in mind that Chet wasn't necessarily attacking Paul Evans in particular ... he didn't even WRITE this song ... he was simply verbalizing his views on songs in general that stick in our craw ... and let's face, we've all got our own lists.) 

Apparently, Paul Evans still has a lot of loyal, appreciative fans out there ... as mentioned previously, he's been a Forgotten Hits Member for YEARS now ... and we're the first to qualify that EVERYBODY has (and is entitled to) their own opinion ... and we've always encouraged our readers to voice their's right here in our forum.  (What's that old saying???  One man's steak is another man's spam???  No??? Hey, I think I just invented a brand new catch-phrase!!!) 

Anyway, read on ... and enjoy ...    

It should be noted that Paul Evans, a gifted songwriter, did not write "Seven Little Girls (Sitting In The Back Seat)."  The writers of that hit were Bob Hilliard and Lee Pockriss.
Ronnie Allen   
And a pretty formidable team of songwriters they were, too.  These guys (both together and apart) had a hand in writing "Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka-Dot Bikini", my first 45 and a #1 Hit for Brian Hyland, "Johnny Angel", a #1 Hit for Shelley Fabares, "Catch A Falling Star", a MAJOR Hit for Perry Como, "Any Day Now" by Chuck Jackson (written by Bob Hilliard and Burt Bacharach!) and "Our Day Will Come", a #1 Hit for Ruby and the Romantics.  These are some BIG TIME hits and '60's classics ... I guess they were just having a little fun when they sat down and wrote "Seven Little Girls Sitting In The Back Seat" for Paul Evans!!! And Paul Evans is no slouch when it comes to writing hits either!  Elvis recorded FIVE of Paul's songs (including one of MY favorites, "I Gotta Know" as well as "The Next Step Is Love", one of Elvis' early '70's "comeback" hits), "When" for The Kalin Twins and "Roses Are Red" for Bobby Vinton.  (kk)


Recapping a few from yesterday ...     

I don't know Chet Coppock, and he's certainly entitled to his opinions, but Paul Evans is an incredibly successful songwriter.  
When "Seven Little Girls Sitting In The Back Seat" was a hit, it was 1959, an  era for novelty records.  "The Chipmunk Song" was the # 1 hit for the first two weeks on Billboards' Hot 100 chart.  Then in March "Charlie Brown" by The Coasters hit # 2 and The Chipmunks were back with "Alvin's Harmonica" at # 3.  That May, TV actors Edd Byrnes and Connie Stevens saw their novelty hit with "Kookie, Kookie, Lend Me Your Comb" climb to # 4.  The Coasters' "Along Came Jones" came and went during the summer of '59, but not before it made it to # 9.  Writer / producers Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller wrote and produced The Coasters to a third Top Ten chart hit in October with "Poison Ivy".  And in November of '59, when Paul Evans "Seven Little Girls" climbed to # 9, radio and TV DJ Wink Martindale's spoken word novelty hit (although it wasn't supposed to be funny) "Deck of Cards" was at # 7.Paul Evans certainly doesn't need me to defend him.  I'd be more than happy with the royalties Paul has received over the years for writing "Roses Are Red". The fact is, Paul's written a half dozen songs that Elvis Presley recorded, a # 5 hit for The Kalin Twins in 1958, "When", and songs that have recorded by Johnny Tillotson, LaVerne Baker, Frankie Lymon, Jackie Wilson, The Coasters (there they are again), Jim Reeves, Jimmy Dean and Reba McEntire. 
He wrote the song "Happiness Is", which became a hugely successful jingle for Kent cigarettes in the '60's.Novelty records are fun.  They're not meant to be serious.  And they're pretty much a dead genre these days. 
My personal favourite Paul Evans song (that he recorded himself) is "Happy Go Lucky Me".  It's infectious.   
Doug Thompson in Toronto  

Hi Kent -    
THANK YOU for "defending" Paul Evans' tune "Seven Little Girls".  It was a favorite of my late Mother!!!!! 
Keep up the G R O O V Y** work ...
**What would Chet Coppock think of "Treat Her Groovy, Take Her To A Movie" by Ronnie Rice / New Colony Six??? LOL     
Actually Chet was probably right there in the studio with them when The New Colony Six recorded that track ... he was their roadie at the time!  (lol)  kk

When you mentioned Paul Evans, I immediately thought of a record he came out with in 1961 on Carlton Records, said record being AFTER THE HURRICANE. I had to get it out and play it. Don't know if that record by him has ever been discussed or mentioned in FH.  
Larry Neal  
Scroll down ... you'll find it below!  (kk)  

Paul Evans is an under-appreciated singer / songwriter who espoused the joy and innocence of the fifties. I can't speak to the others ... and certainly Chet is allowed his preferences ... but I disagree with his choices.  
Charlie OFD   

And a couple more new ones ... including something from Paul Evans himself!   

Chet Coppock is certainly entitled to his opinions, as is everyone else.  Each of us could come up with our own list of hits we can't stand and a few of mine are among Chet's.  I'll bet, though, that some that send me lunging for the mute button are among Mr. Coppock's favorites -- and vice versa.  That's just the way it is with all of us.   
While most of my favorites are good-time rock, I'm also attracted to records in other genres.  Hopefully everybody is.  One sign of musical maturity, I believe, is when you no longer like or dislike something simply because you've been told it's "in" to hold that opinion.  Instead, you prefer make up your OWN mind as to if a particular record speaks to and for your heart or not.    
Paul Evans recorded "Seven Little Girls" as a demo which turned out so well that it was released as a single.  Was it a good record?   Ask all the people who'd never heard of Paul Evans before but loved his performance so much that they bought enough copies to propel that particular 45 into the Top 10 in the fall of 1959.  "Seven Little Girls" was not only a major good-time hit then -- landing Paul on "The Ed Sullivan Show" and elsewhere -- but became a much-requested staple on oldies radio for decades afterward.   
As others have noted, Paul Evans' career has incorporated other hits through the decades ("The Midnight Special," "Happy-Go-Lucky Me," "Hello, This Is Joanie," etc.), most of which he recorded himself.  Others were made famous by stars like Elvis and Bobby Vinton.  Paul's written for Broadway and motion pictures and has successfully recorded in a wide variety of styles, from folk and country to gospel and Manhattan Transfer-styled jazz harmony.  Perhaps the best (albeit far from complete) digest of Paul Evans material is his CD "I Was A Part of the '50s."  That title is a bit misleading as while "Seven Little Girls" and the hit he wrote for The Kalin Twins ("When") were, in fact, released in the very late '50s, the bulk of Paul's success has come in the decades since then.  Evans today is very much active and sounds great -- as unlike a lot of stars, Paul has taken very good care of himself and his versatile voice.   
As proof, check out the video of the 2009 Paul Evans Christmas classic "Santa's Stuck Up In The Chimney," which has now been viewed on You Tube more than 1,773.600 times!   
Gary Theroux  
(Attached:  Paul Evan's Christmas card; "I Was A Part of the '50s" CD cover)

As mentioned before, Paul Evans has been a long-time Forgotten Hits member and supporter ... in fact, we were amongst the very first to break his great Christmas "Santa's Stuck Up In the Chimney" track and video ... as you said, closing in on two million views.  And he's just an all-around good guy!   

Lists like Chet's spur others to develop their OWN lists ... and they should all be taken in good spirit ... there is no right or wrong.  As you'll see below, Paul liked this whole discussion well enough to post it on his Facebook page!!!  (kk)   

Hi Kent -  
First of all, I'd like to thank all the Forgotten Hits members who wrote in to  speak about the virtues of my music career.  I do receive lots of emails letting me know how happy my music has made so many people.  Those emails are flattering, humbling, and they cheer me on an "off" day. I believe that neither "Seven Little Girls" nor I need any defense.  But I will say this: 
"Seven Little Girls" was written by two songwriters, Lee Pockriss and Bob Hilliard, with many years of hit songs to their credits.  It was a hit despite - or perhaps  because - it was banned in Boston, and it was a part of the 60's, when it was fun to be a writer, fun to be a singer, and fun to be a listener. 
Lighten up, Chet.  (Got to make Mr. Coppock feel the Oldies' wrath!)  
I'd also like to thank Larry Neal for mentioning "After The Hurricane".  It was originally meant to be a demo for Elvis and was accepted by Freddy Bienstock.  But my then manager had rights to the publishing and he decided that it should be a Paul Evans Carlton record in 1961.  As you might imagine, my co-writer, Al Byron ("Roses Are Red", "Happy Go Lucky Me") and I were not too happy with him. 
Anyway, here it is:

PS  That crash at the end is a real jawbone of an ass (60's technology) played by the creative drummer, Buddy Salzman, in my home-away-from-home, Associated Recording Studios.  
Meanwhile, with your permission I'd like to pass the "Seven Little Girls" debate on via Facebook and my Oldies DJ list. Thanks. 
Paul Evans

P.S.  Here are some links to my site and my videos that might interest your members:

MY SITE:   Order CDs, read stories from the 50's, biography, discography, an Email link and more.

"SEVEN LITTLE GIRLS SITTING IN THE BACK SEAT" (The Dick Clark Saturday show from New York's Little Theater in 1959), given the current discussion.

"PAUL EVANS' CAREER" (My career in 7 minutes)

ALL MY VIDEOS:   Including a live version of "Happy Go Lucky Me" (My friend was caught and thrown out of the Westbury theater for taking this short tape), "Hello This Is Joannie", and "Santa's Stuck Up In The Chimney" (fast approaching 2,000,000 You Tube views)
I'm REALLY psyched.  Thanks so much Kent!

re:  More On Coppock's Topics:  
Thanx so much for the publicity. May the world be rid of My-Ding-a-Ling.  An expression of sexual angst? How about brain damage? It still hurts me that the rock 'n roll Godfather, Chuck Berry got roped into recording that sucker ... Thank the good lord, Chuck never had to sing "Disco Duck" or any song by Steve Miller.  
Chet Coppock   

Hey Kent,  
Even though I'm friends with a few musicians who played or sang on the C.W. McCall hit, "Convoy", I do think it belongs near the top of Chet Coppock's hit list. We all know the song really was a way to cash in on the CB radio craze and, to make things worse, they made a movie out of it! I could never understand why C. W. (Bill Fries) did the voices of all of the truckers. It sounded like he was talking to himself, or maybe it was his daydream! :-) I remember listening to "American Top 40" when the record hit the top. Casey Kasem said, "The new number one is, and wouldn't you know it? - Convoy!" A follow up record, "There Won't Be No Country Music (There Won't Be No Rock and Roll)", was far better, but didn't make it up the charts like "Convoy". The song had the same theme as "In the Year 2525". I actually was invited to watch them lay down some of the tracks on that one. Bill Fries is a soft-spoken, nice guy, who was an advertising exec. He developed a series of very clever commercials for a baking company, featuring a truck driver, who delivers bread to a truck stop and has an interest in the head waitress. The driver's name was C.W. McCall, and Fries did the narration from the driver's point of view. This led to the C.W. McCall recordings. If you like to listen to music with narration, I suggest you check out some of his albums.  
- John LaPuzza  

For the most part your observations are correct. However I must offer my two cents worth here, as I've often wondered, who signed off on releasing various songs as singles. 
First off, I would think that Rick Dees was as surprised as anyone when Disco Duck took off. Remember at that point, you were in your mid 20's and not your average 45 rpm buyer. Had you been 12 years old then, you might have thought it was a pretty cool song. Rick was able to parlay the song for a ticket out of Memphis to LA. He even later scored a late night talk show, too.  
Both you and Kent missed the obvious piece of Steve Miller nonsense. Gimme Space Cowboy any day over Abracadabra. Who signed off on that one? 
Miss You by the Rolling Stones? Not one of my faves, but what about Do Ya Think I'm Sexy by Rod Stewart? 
And let's not forget classics like Honey, or The Night The Lights Went Out In Georgia, both written by the late Bobby Russell. 
Lastly there's Silly Love Songs. Paul got the silly part right. But again it was your kid sister who bought many of these singles. You (& I) had already aged out. 
For further reference may I suggest looking for a copy of Dave Barry's Book Of Bad Songs. 
Jack Levin  

Loved your controversial comments on some of the songs we all have to know if we ever listened to radio at all.  
1.  Could we please hate someone else other than Pat Boone? And thanx for 'Speedy,' altho that's arguably the most biased song he ever sang. 
2.  I loved 'Convoy' ... it raises a picture of the 70s.  CBs were a big rage in Virginia.  The thought of the possibility of that convoy still sorta excites me, so you couldn't say I hate it, overworked tho it has been. 
3.  'My Ding-A-Ling' was Chuck Berry's (like you said) only #1 song, and his embarrassing worst IMHO.  I already knew and loved 'Memphis' by Lonnie Mack by the time I heard Chuck Berry's version and since I was still not very old at the time and had lost my grandfather, loved the story about the father trying to get in touch with his little Marie, so that's still the favorite of my heart. 
4, 5 & 6.  Didn't mind 'Disco Duck' OR leisure suits, but I also didn't buy either one.  I don't mind Steve Miller or 'Space Cowboy,' or any of his other songs.  They can play 'em all they want.  Always felt sorry for the driver in 'Seven Little Girls.'  And I still like Paul Evans' songs, especially 'Happy Go Lucky Me.' 
7.  I like your Rolling Stones' song mentions.  OK ... always feel sort of guilty that I don't LOVE the RS ... my favorite was the video with Bette Midler and Mick Jagger on 'Beast of Burden,' and I like 'Under My Thumb,'  too. 
The #1 embarrassingly terrible song of all time is 'the stupid cake song' ... 'MacArthur Park.'  I just cringe and I don't care who's singing it ... Richard Harris, Donna Summer, you, me or somebody I pass on the street ... ewwww ptooie!  Not even if they know ALL the words.  I think 'Cara Mia Mine' is icky, too, and Paul Anka's 'Havin' My Baby.'  Oh, phewwwwwwww. 
Thanx for providing a forum for us aging baby boomers determined to stay as shallow as possible in the face of increasingly daunting challenges as people are beginning to notice that we really are (OMG!) seniors in our golden years.