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Music History Monday: February 18

Posted by Jeff Harris, February 18, 2013 10:45am | Post a Comment

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On this day in music history: February 18, 1956 - "Rock and Roll Waltz" by Kay Starr hits #1 on the Billboard Best Sellers chart for one week. Written by Dick Ware and Shorty Allen, it is recorded at RCA Victor Studios in New York City. The song will be the biggest hit for the Oklahoma pop vocalist born Katherine La Verne Starks. Starr will get her big break singing with the Glenn Miller Orchestra in 1939 when she is only 17 years old. Recently signed to RCA Victor after several years with Capitol Records, the head of A&R at RCA will present the song to the singer. At first she does not like it, feeling that it is more like a novelty record than the type of material she was used to performing. But she will consent to record it, completing it during a round of sessions at the label's New York recording studio. To her surprise, the record will be an immediate hit. Entering the Best Sellers chart at #21 on January 7, 1956, it will leap to the top six weeks later. "Rock and Roll Waltz" will sell over a million copies earning a Gold disc for Kay Starr. Starr will also become the first female vocalist of the rock era to have a number one single (also RCA Victor's first chart topper of the rock era), and is the first song to have the term "rock and roll" mentioned in it.
 


On this day in music history: February 18, 1967 - "Kind of a Drag" by The Buckinghams hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for two weeks. Written Jim Holvay and Gary Beisber, it is the biggest single for the Chicago based pop band. Formed in 1965, they are originally known as The Pulsations, becoming regulars on a local Chicago music show called the All Time Hits Show. When someone on the program suggests that they change their name, they will change it to The Buckinghams. Signed by local label USA Records, the track is recorded at Chess Studios. Released in late 1966, the record will take off quickly. Entering the Hot 100 at #90 on December 31, 1966, it will shoot to the top of the chart seven weeks later. Shortly after the single tops the chart, the band will be quickly snatched up by Columbia Records and paired with producer James William Guercio (Chicago, Blood, Sweat & Tears). The Buckinghams will score four more top 20 hits while on Columbia including "Don't You Care" (#6 Pop), "Mercy, Mercy, Mercy" (#5 Pop), and "Susan" (#11 Pop), though "Kind of a Drag" will remain their most successful single.
 

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