The 50s and 60s were one of the best times for up and coming artists to really express themselves. It was the time for pop and country music as well as vocal jazz, soul, and doo-wop. If you’re a fan of any of these styles then you might appreciate the lineup below.
Pat Boone is one of the most famous artists of the 50s and 60s. His music has inspired countless lives and his acting has touched even more. Boone is most famous for his covers but has also gained popularity because of his Gospel music.
Notable Hits: “Ain’t that a Shame”, “I Almost Lost My Mind”, “Tutti Fruitti”, “Long Tall Sally”, “At My Front Door (Crazy Little Mama)”, “I’ll Be Home”, and “Don’t Forbid Me”.
Honors: Member of Gospel Music Hall of Fame.
Former lead singer of The Platters (1959-1970)
Sonny Turner is best known as the replacement for Tony Williams as the lead vocalist of the Platters. Turner’s voice brought the Platters back to the top of the charts in the 60s. His voice has also been involved in various movie hits such as “The Nutty Professor II”, “Hearts in Atlantis”, and “Prince of the City”.
Notable Hits: “I Love You 1000 Times”, “With This Ring”, “Washed Ashore”, “Only You”, “The Great Pretender”, and “The Magic Touch”.
Honors: An inductee in the Pacific Avenue of Stars, Beach Music Hall of Fame, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and the Black Vocal Group Hall of Fame. Recipient of the Gateway Classic Lifetime Achievement Award, and the prestigious Black Music Award.
Leon Hughes and his Coasters
Leon Hughes and his Coasters found fame as a Rock and Roll band. As of 2011, Hughes is the last surviving original member of the Coasters. Their songs have been featured in many motion pictures including Home Alone, and Death Proof.
Notable Hits: “Down in Mexico”, “Young Blood”, “Searchin”, “My Best Friend”, and “I Love You”.
Honors: Rhythm and Blues Pioneer Award, Certificate of Recognition for his service to the entertainment industry by the US Congress, and he was inducted into the Doo Wop Music Hall of Fame in California.
Johnny Tillotson had decided at the young age of 9 to be a singer and in the 50’s he got his big break. He got signed by Cadence Records and through them introduced a string of chart hits. If you’re a fan of the 50s and 60s music then this is one artist that you do not want to miss out on.
Notable Hits: Tillotson has been nominated for the Grammys two times and his list of hits include “Poetry in Motion”, “Without You”, “It Keeps on Hurtin’”, “Talk Back Trembling Lips”, and “Heartaches by the Number”.
Honors: Hit Parade Hall of Fame.
Born in Salem, Michigan Barbara Lewis found popularity as a singer in her teens. Her song “My Heart Went Do Dat Da” was a hit in the local Detroit area. From there, her career in the music industry skyrocketed. Her debut album in the ’60s was completely written and performed by her receiving significant praise and adoration. Known as a 60s music pioneer, her songs have often been covered by other artists including Queen Latifah.
Notable Hits: “Hello Stranger”, “Straighten Up Your Heart”, “Puppy Love”, “Baby I’m Yours”, “Make Me Your Baby”, and “Make Me Belong To You”.
Honors: Pioneer Award from the Rhythm and Blues Foundation in 1999
Little Peggy March
Called Little Peggy March because of her height and the fact that her birthday lies in March. Discovered at 13, Little Peggy released “I Will Follow Him” at 14, a song that reached the number one spot on the US charts. She is still the youngest female with a number one hit in the US. She may be remembered by some as a one-hit wonder in the USA. Little Peggy also found immense success in Europe and especially in Germany where she lived for quite a while.
Notable Hits: “I Will Follow Him”, “I Wish I Were a Princess”, and “Hello Heartache, Goodbye Love”
Hosted By LA Radio DJ Legend “The HullaBalooer”
Dave Hull is an LA radio personality that has been around for years. He has found fame in radio and has hosted various shows including American Top 40, Dial-a-Wierdo, and Matchmaker. Voted top 10 radio personalities in LA and influential in helping various artists build their music empires. He has worked closely with The Beatles, The Beach Boys, The Dave Clark Five, and The Rolling Stones.
Acts and Performers
Charles Eugene “Pat” Boone, born June 1, 1934, is a singer, composer, actor, writer, TV personality, motivational speaker, and spokesman. He was a successful pop singer in the US during the 50’s and 60’s. He sold over 45 million albums, had 38 Top 40 hits and appeared in more than 12 Hollywood films.
According to Billboard, Boone was the 2nd biggest charting artist of the late 50’s, behind only Elvis Presley and was ranked 9th behind the Rolling Stones and Paul McCartney but ahead of artists such as Aretha Franklin and the Beach Boys in its listing of the Top 100 (Top 40 Artists 1955–1995). Boone still holds the Billboard record for 220 consecutive weeks on the charts with one or more songs each week.
At 23, he began hosting a half-hour ABC variety TV series, The Pat Boone Chevy Showroom, which aired from 1957–1960. Many musical performers including Edie Adams, Andy Williams, Pearl Bailey and Johnny Mathis made appearances on the show. His cover versions of rhythm and blues hits had a noticeable effect on the development of the broad popularity of rock and roll. In 1955 Elvis Presley was the opening act for a show in Cleveland starring Pat Boone.
As an author, Boone had a #1 bestseller in the 50’s (Twixt Twelve and Twenty, Prentice-Hall). In the 60’s, he focused on gospel music and is a member of the Gospel Music Hall of Fame. He continues to perform and speak as a motivational speaker, a TV personality, and a conservative political commentator.
Sonny Turner- Former lead singer of The Platters (1959-1970)
In 1959, Sonny Turner replaced Tony Williams as the lead singer of the original Platters. At 19, Sonny was chosen from 100 singers & started touring the world with The Platters. Sonny brought The Platters back to the pop charts in the 60’s with such hits as “I Love You 1000 Times”, “With This Ring”, “Washed Ashore” as well as re-recording major Platters hits like “Only You”, “The Great Pretender” and “The Magic Touch.” You can hear Sonny’s voice in various movies such as “The Nutty Professor II” (Eddie Murphy), “Hearts in Atlantis”(Anthony Hopkins), and “Prince of the City” (Robert DeNiro).
Sonny is the only surviving member of The Platters that can be heard on the hundreds of recordings and hit records that made The Platters one of the most successful vocal groups of all time. Sonny remained with The Platters from 1959- 1970 when he left to pursue a solo career.
In 2005, Mr. Turner received The Lifetime Excellence in Entertainment presented to him by consumer’s entertainment exchange and Doo Wop Hall of Fame.
In 2009 at Wildwood New Jersey, Sonny Turner was inducted to the Pacific Avenue of the Stars & in 2008 received The Gateway Classic Lifetime Achievement Award. He received the Black Music Award in 2007 & was inducted into the Beach Music Hall of Fame and Vocal Group Hall of Fame. He is recognized by the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame in his home town Cleveland, Ohio. In 2013, Sonny was honored with a plaque, and inducted into the Hall of Fame. Today Sonny continues to perform all over the world.
Leon Hughes and his COASTERS
Leon Hughes was born May 6, 1930 in Los Angeles County, CA. and started acting with his parents as a child and toured with early lineups of the Hollywood Flames (with which he also recently acted in a 1998 revival show). He was an original member of the Lamplighters during 1952-53 (together with Mathew Nelson and Willie Ray Rockwell). Hughes left the Lamplighters before they recorded with new lead Al Frazier. Leon was recommended by Bobby Nunn (who knew him from Watts, L.A.) for The Coasters´ original line-up. Around this time (or possibly in early 1957) Leon recorded with The Celibritys (which included his brother Elder O’Neal) on Caroline and also recorded on his own label Leoneal Records with The Signeals (a group including both his brother and his sister Shirley Hughes). Leon stayed in California when the Coasters moved to New York (recorded the two Flip singles as The Dukes with Bobby Nunn in 1959) and later launched a non-original, occasionally acting, Coasters group originally featuring Young Jessie (one record on Chelan was issued as The Coasters Two Plus Two featuring him and Nunn in 1975 – and two other singles were issued as The World Famous Coasters). Hughes’ group didn´t reach the same status as Nunn´s and other Coasters´ off-shoot groups and was later called “Leon Hughes Sr and the Fabulous Coasters” often also named “Leon Hughes and his Original Coasters” or “Leon Hughes – the Original & His Coasters” and nowadays “Leon Hughes – one of the first original Coasters”.
Born in Jacksonville, Florida, Johnny Tillotson decided at age 9 to be a singer and by high school became a singing sensation known throughout Florida. His first TV appearance on the ”Toby Dowdy Show” had so much fan mail they decided to make him a regular on the show. Johnny then starred in his own show ”The Velda Show” which he did while attending the University of Florida. Johnny also wrote songs and in 1957 got his big break. A local D.J. submitted a tape of him singing to a national contest which lead to a music publisher taking his tape to Archie Bleyer, owner of Cadence Records (Everly Brothers, Andy Williams, The Chordettes & more). Archie was so impressed he signed Johnny to Cadence Records.
Johnny moved to New York City straight out of college & started a string of chart records like “Poetry In Motion”, “Without You”& more. “It Keeps Right On Hurtin’” brought Johnny his first Grammy nomination & the distinction of becoming one of the first country/pop cross-over artists. The song went on to be recorded by over 110 artists including Elvis and it became a #1 country hit by Billy Joe Royal in the ‘80’s. “Heartaches by The Number” gave Johnny his second Grammy nomination.
With 18 chart records in the USA, Johnny moved on to MGM Records, where his first release “Talk Back Trembling Lips” was a huge success followed over the years by another 16 chart records in the U.S. His recordings charted 48 times on the Billboard, Pop, Country, Adult Contemporary and Album charts, making Johnny one of the top 100 recording artists of the era.
He also recorded the popular hit theme song for the TV show Gidget (Sally Fields) and has had many recordings in motion pictures TV and commercials. In addition to his US hits he has over 100 international chart entries. Johnny is a 2008 inductee into the Hit Parade Hall of Fame.
Barbara Lewis was born in Salem, Michigan where she was writing and recording by her teens. Her first single was release in 1962. “My Heart Went Do Dat Da” was a local hit in the Detroit area. She wrote all the songs on her debut LP, including “Hello Stranger” which reached #3 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100. Lewis had follow-up hits with “Straighten Up Your Heart” and her original “Puppy Love” before Bert Berns produced her million-seller “Baby I’m Yours”, written by Van McCoy. Berns also produced the follow-up “Make Me Your Baby” which had originally been recorded by the Pixies Three, and Lewis’ final Top 40 hit “Make Me Belong to You” in 1966, written by Chip Taylor and Billy Vera. At the end of the decade, she released a grittier-sounding album on Stax Records.
Over the next decade, a number of other artists had success with Lewis’ songs. “Hello Stranger” had been remade in 1966 by the Capitols. in 1973 by Fire & Rain, in 1977 by Yvonne Elliman, in 1985 by Carrie Lucas and in 2004 by Queen Latifah.
“Baby I’m Yours” charted in versions by country singer Jody Miller and Debby Boone. In Canada, Suzanne Stevens had a hit in 1975 with a disco version of “Make Me Your Baby”. Cover versions of her songs continue into the new millennium with the Arctic Monkeys including a version of “Baby I’m yours” as a B-side to their 2006 single “Leave Before the Lights Come On”.
In 1995, Lewis’ “Baby I’m Yours” was featured on the soundtrack for the film The Bridges of Madison County. She received the Pioneer Award from the Rhythm and Blues Foundation in 1999.
Little Peggy March
Discovered at 13 singing at her cousin’s wedding and introduced to record producers Hugo & Luigi. They gave her the nickname Little Peggy March because she was only 4’ 9” tall and her birthday was in March. In 1963 at age 14, her single “I Will Follow Him” soared to number one on the U.S. charts. March became the youngest female artist with a number one hit, a record that still stands for the Billboard Hot 100.
Although she is remembered by some as a one-hit wonder, her singles “I Wish I Were a Princess” and “Hello Heartache, Goodbye Love” made the Top 30 in the US. Recording for RCA Victor, March made 18 singles from 1964 to 1971 & cut several albums. She began having a strong presence in the European and Asian markets, moved to Germany in 1969 & her commercial success in Germany continued through the 70’s.
In 1979, she experimented with disco on the album Electrifying and in 1981 she moved back to the United States. In 1984, Jermaine Jackson and Pia Zadora achieved a major European hit single with “When the Rain Begins to Fall”, co-written by March going #1 in Germany, France, the Netherlands and Switzerland. In 1998, the song entered the German Top 10 again when covered by rapper Pappa Bear. The film Hairspray featured “I Wish I Were a Princess” in 1988, & a retro fad in Germany brought her continuing success starting in the mid 90’s with the album Die Freiheit Frau zu sein (1995). Her song “I Will Follow Him” was featured in the 1992 movie Sister Act. Currently she works largely in the Las Vegas music scene & has also performed at Dick Clark’s American Bandstand Theater in Branson, Missouri.
Hosted by LA Radio DJ Legend “The Hullabalooer”
The Hullabalooer, aka Dave Hull, is a Los Angeles radio personality voted one of the top ten LA radio personalities of all time. Dave Hull began his radio career in 1955 at KGFL in Roswell, New Mexico then reached LA in 1963. Hull became close with The Beatles in 1965 & helped plan their 1966 concert at Chavez Ravine (Dodger Stadium). Hull worked closely with The Beach Boys, The Dave Clark Five, The Rolling Stones, appeared in an episode of The Monkees, hosted American Top 40, Dial-a-Weirdo call-in show in the 70’s and Matchmaker(Tv show) in the 80’s.