1. LaVern Baker, "I Cried a Tear." She had 12 Top Ten hits on the Black charts, but this was the only time she made Top Ten on the pop charts. (A lot of the video links are just slideshows w/music ... hey, 1959 was a long time ago.)
2. Frankie Ford, "Sea Cruise." Dave Marsh tells the story of how Ford's vocals were placed over a musical track by Huey Smith and the Clowns ... this was done without telling Smith or original singer Bobby Marchan. The song was a hit, and Ford went on tour, backed up by Smith and the Clowns. Marsh called this "a landmark in studio sleight of hand." And indeed, sticking a white guy on top of black artists is a story worth telling, and telling again. But Marsh misses the truly important sleight of hand here, because what pushes the track over the top and into history is that damn foghorn. The video on this one is "real."
3. Bobby Darin, "Mack the Knife." People of a certain age think of Steve Martin when they hear this.
4. Preston Epps, "Bongo Rock." If happiness comes when you find something you are good at, and then you do it, then I guess Preston Epps was a very happy man. After "Bongo Rock" hit #14 on the charts, Epps locked in with the following songs, in alphabetical order: "Baja Bongos," "Blue Bongo," "Bongo Bongo Bongo," "Bongo Hop," "Bongo in the Congo," "Bongo Party," "Bongo Shuffle," "Bongo, Bong, Bongo," "Bongola," "Bongos in Paradise," "Bongos in Pastel," "Gully Bongo," "Hully Gully Bongo," "Prest Bongos Under Glass," "Stormy Bongo," and "Surfin' Bongos." None of them made the charts, with the exception of "Bongo Bongo Bongo," which made it to #78.
5. The Coasters, "That Is Rock and Roll." "You say that music's for the birds, and you can't understand the words? Well, honey, if you did, you'd really blow your lid, 'cause, baby, that is rock and roll!"
6. Bobby Vee, "Suzie Baby." Around about this time, Bob Dylan played piano in Vee's band.
7. Sarah Vaughan, "Broken-Hearted Melody." I have something to say about this record, I really do, but I can't get it to sound right, and it's not that profound, anyway. But it has something to do with a time when Sarah Vaughan and the Coasters and Frankie Ford could share time on the pop charts.
8. The Isley Brothers, "Shout (Parts 1 & 2)." A great example of why rock and roll was the devil's music ... putting the sounds of the church onto pop records just wasn't right. There are countless versions of this song, but the Isleys' remains the best. The video link, though, takes you to the song's most iconic moment in film history.
9. Chuck Berry, "Back in the U.S.A." Another video worth checking out, as Chuck performs on Shindig! "Anything you want, we got right here in the U.S.A."
10. Sonny Boy Williamson, "Your Funeral and My Trial." Now that is a great title!