Ask "Mr. Music"
Jerry Osborne

In syndication since 1986, and now in our 31st year — Over 3,100 questions answered
Most recent column here — 19 years of archived ones are linked below


FOR THE WEEK OF MAY 22, 2017

DEAR JERRY: Years ago you wrote about Joni James being the performer on the first stereo 45 rpm from a major label (M-G-M), singing "There Goes My Heart."

Knowing Joni was not a Rock 'n Roll artist, I am curious who was the first rocker with a stereo single.

One source indicates it might be "Plain Jane" by Bobby Darin, but what do you think?
—Archie Morchoe, Providence, R.I.

DEAR ARCHIE: As I may have mentioned in the earlier piece, the stereo 45 fiasco was short-lived. Only a few labels took the stereo single plunge in 1958, specifically in the third quarter.

1959 and 1960 were the peak years for stereo singles, but by 1961 the companies were throwing in the towel and aborting the format. Several labels switched to Compact 33 stereo singles, and stereo EPs.

As for "Plain Jane," it came out in early 1959, and was not a part of that first wave in late '58.

Compared to the production and sales of traditional monaural 45 rpms, stereo singles accounted for only a fraction of the market.

Of that minuscule piece of the pie, most were by non-rock artists.

The first R&R, teen-oriented, commercially issued stereo single came out in November 1958, and is "It's Only Make Believe" by Conway Twitty (M-G-M SK-50,107).

Coincidentally, the first true stereo LP by an R&R artist is "Conway Twitty Sings" (M-G-M SE-3744), issued in January 1959.

Without regard to music style, here are the five remaining Top 40 hits of 1958 that were available on stereo singles. Each was also issued as a standard mono 45, sometimes with a different selection number:

Paul Anka - "(All of a Sudden) My Heart Sings" (ABC-Paramount 45-S-9987)
Perry Como - "Love Makes the World Go 'Round" (RCA Victor 61-7353)
Sam Cooke - "Win Your Love for Me" (Keen 5-2006)
Tommy Edwards - "It's All in the Game"/"Love Is All We Need" (M-G-M SK-50104)
  (Flip side of the 1958 version of "It's All in the Game" is "Please Love Me Forever." "Love Is All We Need" was Tommy's next single, and is backed with "Mr. Music Man.")
Joni James - "There Goes My Heart" (M-G-M SK-50,109)
  (This is the commercial release of "There Goes My Heart." The "Special Stereo Record" was a promotional item for radio stations. It was issued in September 1958 (M-G-M K12706), and packaged as the "first stereo single")

In 1959, most of the labels jumped on the bandwagon, Columbia being the most significant holdout. They were never fond of the 45 rpm format, introduced in 1949 by RCA Victor.

Most stereo singles are true stereo, though some are rechanneled (i.e., fake stereo). Also, a few tracks were newly recorded in stereo because the original hit existed only in mono.

Alphabetical by artist, here are all the Top 40 tunes, including a few double-sided hits, that came out on stereo 45s in 1959:

Ames Brothers - "China Doll" (RCA Victor 61-7655)
Paul Anka - "I Miss You So" (ABC-Paramount 45-S-10,011)
Paul Anka - "Lonely Boy" (ABC-Paramount 45-S-10,022)
Paul Anka - "Put Your Head on My Shoulder" (ABC-Paramount 45-S-10,040)
Paul Anka - "It's Time to Cry" (ABC-Paramount 45-S-10,064)
Frankie Avalon - "Venus" (Chancellor S-C 1031)
Frankie Avalon - "Bobby Sox to Stockings"/"A Boy Without a Girl" (Chancellor S-C 1036)
Frankie Avalon - "Just Ask Your Heart" (Chancellor 45-S-C1040)
Frankie Avalon - "Why"/"Swingin' on a Rainbow" (Chancellor C1045)
Jesse Belvin - "Guess Who" (RCA Victor 61-7469)
Brook Benton - "Endlessly"/"So Close" (Mercury SS-10005X45)
Brook Benton - "Thank You Pretty Baby" (Mercury SS-10012X45)
Brook Benton - "So Many Ways" (Mercury SS-10019X45)
Pat Boone - "With the Wind and the Rain in Your Hair" (Dot 45-200)
Pat Boone - "For a Penny" (Dot 45-203)
Pat Boone - "Twixt Twelve and Twenty" (Dot 45-207)
Pat Boone - "Fools Hall of Fame" (Dot 45-211)
Browns - "The Three Bells" (RCA Victor 61-7555)
Browns - "Scarlet Ribbons (For Her Hair)" (RCA Victor 61-7614)
Edward Byrnes & Connie Stevens - "Kookie, Kookie (Lend Me Your Comb)" (Warner Bros. S5047)
Chipmunks (David Seville) - "Ragtime Cowboy Joe" (Liberty S-77200)
Chipmunks (David Seville) - "The Chipmunk Song"/"Alvin's Harmonica" (Liberty S-77250)
  (Flip side of the "The Chipmunk Song" is "Almost Good." "Alvin's Harmonica" was their second single, and was backed with "Mediocre.")
Dee Clark - "Just Keep It Up" (Abner S1026)
Dee Clark - "Hey Little Girl" (Abner SR 1029)
Coasters - "Charlie Brown" (Atco SD-45-6132)
Cozy Cole - "Turvy II" (Love ST 5014)
Perry Como - "Tomboy" (RCA Victor 61-7464)
Sam Cooke - "Everybody Likes to Cha Cha Cha" (Keen 5-2018)
Sam Cooke - "Only Sixteen" (Keen 5-2022)
Bobby Darin - "Plain Jane" (Atco SD-45-6133)
Jimmy Darren - "Angel Face" (Colpix SCP 119)
Diamonds - "She Say (Oom Dooby Doom)" (Mercury SS-10003)
Dion and the Belmonts - "A Teenager in Love" (Laurie 3027S)
Duane Eddy His 'Twangy' Guitar and the Rebels - "The Lonely One" (Jamie 1117)
Duane Eddy His 'Twangy' Guitar and the Rebels - "Forty Miles of Bad Road" (Jamie 1126)
Duane Eddy His 'Twangy' Guitar and the Rebels - "Some Kind-A Earthquake" (Jamie 1130)
Duane Eddy His 'Twangy' Guitar and the Rebels - "Bonnie Come Back" (Jamie 1144)
Tommy Edwards - "Please Mr. Sun"/"The Morning Side of the Mountain" (M-G-M SK-50112)
Tommy Edwards - "My Melancholy Baby" (M-G-M SK-50122)
Exotic Sounds of Martin Denny - "Quiet Village" (Liberty S-77162)
Exotic Sounds of Martin Denny - "The Enchanted Sea" (Liberty S-77212)
Fabian - "Turn Me Loose" (Chancellor S-C 1033)
Fabian - "Tiger" (Chancellor 45-C1037)
Fabian - "Come on and Get Me" (Chancellor 45-S-C1041)
Fabian - "Hound Dog Man"/"This Friendly World" (Chancellor 45-S-C1044)
Falcons - "You're So Fine" (Unart UR 2013-S)
Fireballs - "Bulldog" (Top Rank International RA-2026-ST)
Flamingos - "I Only Have Eyes For You" (End E-1046)
Fleetwoods - "Graduation's Here" (Dolton S-22-3)
Fleetwoods - "Come Softly to Me" (Liberty S-77188)
Connie Francis - "My Happiness" (M-G-M SK-50,117)
Connie Francis - "Lipstick on Your Collar"/"Frankie" (M-G-M SK-50121)
Connie Francis - "You're Gonna Miss Me" (M-G-M SK-50129)
Connie Francis - "Among My Souvenirs"/"God Bless America" (M-G-M SK-50133)
Ronnie Hawkins and the Hawks - "Mary Lou" (Roulette SSR-4177)
Eddie Heywood - "Soft Summer Breeze" (Mercury SS-10010)
Homer & Jethro - "The Battle of Kookamonga" (RCA Victor 61-7585)
Hugo & Luigi - "Just Come Home" (RCA Victor 61-7639)
Tab Hunter - "(I'll Be With You in) Apple Blossom Time" (Warner Bros. S 5032)
Isley Brothers - "Shout - Part 1" (RCA Victor 61-7588)
Joni James - "Little Things Mean a Lot" (M-G-M SK-50135)
Johnny and the Hurricanes - "Red River Rock" (Warwick M 509 ST)
Johnny and the Hurricanes - "Reveille Rock" (Warwick M 513 ST)
Jerry Keller - "Here Comes Summer" (Kapp KS-277X)
Rod Lauren - "If I Had a Girl" (RCA Victor 61-7645)
Steve Lawrence - "Pretty Blue Eyes" (ABC-Paramount 45-S-10,058)
Mystics - "Hushabye" (Laurie 3028S)
Platters - "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes" (Mercury SS-10001)
Playmates - "What Is Love?" (Roulette SSR-4160)
Lloyd Price - "Stagger Lee" (ABC-Paramount 45-S-9972)
Lloyd Price - "Where Were You (On Our Wedding Day?)" (ABC-Paramount 45-S-9997)
Lloyd Price - "(You've Got) Personality" (ABC-Paramount 45-S-10,018)
Lloyd Price - "I'm Gonna Get Married" (ABC-Paramount 45-S-10,032)
Lloyd Price - "Come Into My Heart" (ABC-Paramount 45-S-10,062)
Della Reese - "Don't You Know" (RCA Victor 61-7591)
Della Reese - "Not One Minute More" (RCA Victor 61-7644)
Jim Reeves - "He'll Have to Go" (RCA Victor 61-7643)
Jimmie Rodgers - "Ring-A-Ling-A-Lario"/"Wonderful You" (Roulette SSR-4158)
Jimmie Rodgers - "Tucumcari" (Roulette SSR-4191)
Jack Scott With the Chantones Vocal Group - "The Way I Walk" (Carlton 514)
Jack Scott - "What in the World's Come Over You" (Top Rank RA-2028-ST)
Neil Sedaka - "Oh! Carol" (RCA Victor 61-7595)
Harry Simeone Chorale - "The Little Drummer Boy" (20th Fox 45-121)
Nina Simone - "Porgy" (Bethlehem 45-11021)
Cyril Stapleton and His Orchestra Featuring the Children From the Film "The Inn of the Sixth Happiness" - "The Children's Marching Song (Nick Nack Paddy Whack)" (London 45-1851)
  (Some mono singles show this title as "The Children's Marching Song [Nick Nack Taddy Whack]")
Gary Stites - "Lonely for You" (Carlton 508)
Sammy Turner - "Lavender Blue" (Big Top 45-3016)
Sammy Turner - "Always" (Big Top 45-3029)
Conway Twitty - "The Story of My Love" (M-G-M SK-50115)
Conway Twitty - "Danny Boy" (M-G-M SK50130)
Sarah Vaughan - "Broken-Hearted Melody" (Mercury SS-10013)
Virtues - "Guitar Boogie Shuffle" (Sure S-H-324)
Dinah Washington - "What a Diff'rence a Day Made" (Mercury SS-10008)
  (Monaural singles and LPs show title as "What a Diff'rence a Day Makes")
Dinah Washington - "Unforgettable" (Mercury SS-10015)
Jackie Wilson - "You Better Know It" (Brunswick 7-98063)

IZ ZAT SO? Whether an artist had 45 rpm stereo singles from 1958 to 1961 depended entirely on their label affiliation. Of the top pop stars at the time, singles by these folks were mono only:

Ricky Nelson (Imperial)
Fats Domino (Imperial)
Frank Sinatra (Capitol)
Dean Martin (Capitol)
Chubby Checker (Cameo-Parkway)
Bobby Rydell (Cameo-Parkway)
Brenda Lee (Decca)
Chuck Berry (Chess)
Little Richard (Specialty)
Buddy Holly (Coral/Brunswick)
Del Shannon (Big Top)
Bobby Vee (Liberty)
Annette (Buena Vista)
Drifters (Atlantic)
Shirelles (Scepter)
Johnny Tillotson (Cadence)
. . . and anyone on Columbia

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