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The Number Ones: The Hollywood Argyles’ “Alley Oop”
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Bob Roman
2018-11-29 21:14:21 UTC
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A writer named Tom Breihan has been reviewing, in order, every song to hit #1 in the Billboard Hot 100.

The Hollywood Argyles – “Alley Oop”
HIT #1: July 11, 1960
STAYED AT #1: 1 week

See, this is how you make a novelty song. “Alley Oop” is a song that did not even remotely need to exist. It’s a song about a caveman. More specifically, it’s a song about a time-traveling caveman who was the subject of a newspaper comic strip. In the song, singer Gary S. Paxton crows madly about how cool this caveman is: “He’s the toughest man there is alive / Wears clothes from a wildcat’s hive / He’s the king of the jungle jive / Look at that caveman goooooo!”

It’s a defiantly, overwhelmingly silly song, and that’s one of the key reasons why it works. Another key reason: Unlike something like “The Chipmunk Song,” it’s a perfectly functional piece of music, one that’s actually fun to hear even if you’re over five years old. Musically, it’s a simple, almost bloodthirsty piano boogie. And Paxton stretches his degenerate drawl to cartoonish extremes: “He got a chauffeur that’s a gen-you-wine dino-sowwwah / And he can knuckle your head before you count to fowwwah!” (I have questions. Why did Alley Oop make the dinosaur a chauffeur? Why didn’t he just ride the dinosaur? And assuming it’s a large dinosaur, isn’t it cruel to force the dinosaur into a driver’s seat? Maybe the comic strip answers all these.)

“Alley Oop” songwriter Dallas Frazier originally recorded “Alley Oop” as a no-less-schticky country song, and his version is plenty fun. But the version that hit #1, full of Paxton’s fake-beatnik ad-libs, is one of those classic happy-accident pop music stories. Paxton, then a member of a group called Skip & Flip, wasn’t contractually allowed to record anything under his own name, since he made “Alley Oop” for another label. So he named his new “band” after the intersection of Hollywood and Argyle Boulevards, near where he was recording. Everyone in the session was apparently drunk, and Paxton (who would go on to produce “Monster Mash,” another novelty-song #1) co-produced it with Kim Fowley, who would later become a punk scenester, Runaways manager, and accused rapist.

It’s hard to imagine that anyone involved thought anything much would happen with this song, so maybe that’s why they played with such nasty force. Musically, “Alley Oop” is punk-level rudimentary, and Paxton’s stretched-out, exaggerated voice was doing Mick Jagger things two years before the Rolling Stones even formed. Maybe “Alley Oop” wasn’t a serious exercise, but it holds up a lot better today than most of the era’s #1s that actively seemed to be trying to hit #1.

GRADE: 8/10
SavoyBG
2018-11-29 21:36:51 UTC
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Post by Bob Roman
“Alley Oop” songwriter Dallas Frazier originally recorded “Alley Oop” as a no-less-schticky country song, and his version is plenty fun.
The Dallas Frazier version was recorded after the Hollywood Argyles record was a hit.
Roger Ford
2018-11-29 22:23:21 UTC
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=E2=80=9CAlley Oop=E2=80=9D songwriter Dallas Frazier originally recorded=
=E2=80=9CAlley Oop=E2=80=9D as a no-less-schticky country song, and his ve=
rsion is plenty fun.
The Dallas Frazier version was recorded after the Hollywood Argyles record =
was a hit.
Yes this guy don't know his ass from his elbow.

Dallas Frazier didn't record his version until May 1966

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Dennis C
2018-11-29 22:35:35 UTC
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Dallas would have recorded his version first but he lacked the giddy up oom boppa oom boppa moww moww,baby!!

Not hard to belive he wrote "Elvira" what with the exact same musical template!!
Jim Colegrove
2018-11-30 15:01:07 UTC
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Post by Dennis C
Dallas would have recorded his version first but he lacked the giddy up oom boppa oom boppa moww moww,baby!!
Not hard to belive he wrote "Elvira" what with the exact same musical template!!
And they both owe a debt to the Coasters' "Searchin'."
Roger Ford
2018-11-29 22:21:15 UTC
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On Thu, 29 Nov 2018 13:14:21 -0800 (PST), Bob Roman
A writer named Tom Breihan has been reviewing, in order, every song to hit =
#1 in the Billboard Hot 100.
The Hollywood Argyles =E2=80=93 =E2=80=9CAlley Oop=E2=80=9D
HIT #1: July 11, 1960
STAYED AT #1: 1 week
There were no less than THREE versions of "Alley Oop" that made the
Billboard chart.

The Hollywood Argyles did best with their #1 hit

Dante & The Evergreens version was vrery popular too especially on the
East Coast and peaked at #15



My favorite version is by black group The Dyna-Sores whose membership
consisted of Rene Hall, H. B. Barnum, Jimmy Norman Scott and "Ty"
Terrell Leonard with Ernie Freeman on piano



There was another pretty good black group version--this time from the
Pre-Historics as "Alley Oop Cha-Cha-Cha" but this failed to chart



Here's how The Hollywood Argyles did uin the 1960 Singles Battle

R1
19 The Hollywood Argyles - Alley-Oop - Lute 5905
10 Fats Domino - Natural Born Lover - Imperial 5704
R2
13 Dean Martin - Ain't That A Kick In The Head - Capitol 4420
22 The Hollywood Argyles - Alley-Oop - Lute 5905
R3
14 The Hollywood Argyles - Alley-Oop - Lute 5905
21 The Platters - Harbor Lights - Mercury 71563
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DianeE
2018-11-29 23:32:53 UTC
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Post by Roger Ford
On Thu, 29 Nov 2018 13:14:21 -0800 (PST), Bob Roman
A writer named Tom Breihan has been reviewing, in order, every song to hit =
#1 in the Billboard Hot 100.
The Hollywood Argyles =E2=80=93 =E2=80=9CAlley Oop=E2=80=9D
HIT #1: July 11, 1960
STAYED AT #1: 1 week
There were no less than THREE versions of "Alley Oop" that made the
Billboard chart.
The Hollywood Argyles did best with their #1 hit
Dante & The Evergreens version was vrery popular too especially on the
East Coast and peaked at #15
-----------------
In fact, it was the only version that was played in NYC, just as Bill
Justis' "Raunchy" was the only version played in NYC whereas the West
Coast knew that song by Ernie Freeman. In today's world of youtube and
Spotify this is unimaginable, but I can tell you I never heard the name
"Hollywood Argyles" until the 1970s or more likely the 80s when the
original version of "Alley Oop" was the one played on oldies radio.
Roger Ford
2018-11-30 07:47:19 UTC
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Post by Roger Ford
On Thu, 29 Nov 2018 13:14:21 -0800 (PST), Bob Roman
A writer named Tom Breihan has been reviewing, in order, every song to hit =
#1 in the Billboard Hot 100.
The Hollywood Argyles =E2=80=93 =E2=80=9CAlley Oop=E2=80=9D
HIT #1: July 11, 1960
STAYED AT #1: 1 week
There were no less than THREE versions of "Alley Oop" that made the
Billboard chart.
The Hollywood Argyles did best with their #1 hit
Dante & The Evergreens version was vrery popular too especially on the
East Coast and peaked at #15
http://youtu.be/suoZlJmF0p4
My favorite version is by black group The Dyna-Sores whose membership
consisted of Rene Hall, H. B. Barnum, Jimmy Norman Scott and "Ty"
Terrell Leonard with Ernie Freeman on piano
Reached #59 on the Billboard chart
Post by Roger Ford
http://youtu.be/1YHsagUDU3I
ROGER FORD
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Mark Dintenfass
2018-11-29 22:35:32 UTC
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Post by Bob Roman
A writer named Tom Breihan has been reviewing, in order, every song to hit #1
in the Billboard Hot 100.
The Hollywood Argyles ­ ³Alley Oop²
HIT #1: July 11, 1960
STAYED AT #1: 1 week
See, this is how you make a novelty song. ³Alley Oop² is a song that did not
even remotely need to exist. It¹s a song about a caveman. More specifically,
it¹s a song about a time-traveling caveman who was the subject of a newspaper
comic strip. In the song, singer Gary S. Paxton crows madly about how cool
this caveman is: ³He¹s the toughest man there is alive / Wears clothes from a
wildcat¹s hive / He¹s the king of the jungle jive / Look at that caveman
goooooo!²
It¹s a defiantly, overwhelmingly silly song, and that¹s one of the key
reasons why it works. Another key reason: Unlike something like ³The Chipmunk
Song,² it¹s a perfectly functional piece of music, one that¹s actually fun to
hear even if you¹re over five years old. Musically, it¹s a simple, almost
bloodthirsty piano boogie. And Paxton stretches his degenerate drawl to
cartoonish extremes: ³He got a chauffeur that¹s a gen-you-wine dino-sowwwah /
And he can knuckle your head before you count to fowwwah!² (I have questions.
Why did Alley Oop make the dinosaur a chauffeur? Why didn¹t he just ride the
dinosaur? And assuming it¹s a large dinosaur, isn¹t it cruel to force the
dinosaur into a driver¹s seat? Maybe the comic strip answers all these.)
³Alley Oop² songwriter Dallas Frazier originally recorded ³Alley Oop² as a
no-less-schticky country song, and his version is plenty fun. But the version
that hit #1, full of Paxton¹s fake-beatnik ad-libs, is one of those classic
happy-accident pop music stories. Paxton, then a member of a group called
Skip & Flip, wasn¹t contractually allowed to record anything under his own
name, since he made ³Alley Oop² for another label. So he named his new ³band²
after the intersection of Hollywood and Argyle Boulevards, near where he was
recording. Everyone in the session was apparently drunk, and Paxton (who
would go on to produce ³Monster Mash,² another novelty-song #1) co-produced
it with Kim Fowley, who would later become a punk scenester, Runaways
manager, and accused rapist.
It¹s hard to imagine that anyone involved thought anything much would happen
with this song, so maybe that¹s why they played with such nasty force.
Musically, ³Alley Oop² is punk-level rudimentary, and Paxton¹s stretched-out,
exaggerated voice was doing Mick Jagger things two years before the Rolling
Stones even formed. Maybe ³Alley Oop² wasn¹t a serious exercise, but it holds
up a lot better today than most of the era¹s #1s that actively seemed to be
trying to hit #1.
GRADE: 8/10
Breihan never heard of Dante and the Evergreens, I suppose. And how
are we to understand the enthusiasm. A rating of 8 only makes sense if
he's awarding extra points for Kim Fowley being a "punk scenester,"
whatever that means, not to mention "accused rapist." Or does he give
the song credit for being a major influence on Mick Jagger and punk? I
can't imagine how excited he'll be when he works his way to "Louie,
Louie."
--
--md
_________
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SavoyBG
2018-11-29 23:28:13 UTC
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I can't imagine how excited he'll be when he works his way to "Louie,
Louie."
He won't be doing that. "Louie Louie" did not get to number one on Billboard.
Roger Ford
2018-11-30 07:51:35 UTC
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On Thu, 29 Nov 2018 16:35:32 -0600, Mark Dintenfass
Post by Mark Dintenfass
Post by Bob Roman
A writer named Tom Breihan has been reviewing, in order, every song to hit #1
in the Billboard Hot 100.
The Hollywood Argyles ­ ³Alley Oop²
HIT #1: July 11, 1960
STAYED AT #1: 1 week
Breihan never heard of Dante and the Evergreens, I suppose. And how
are we to understand the enthusiasm. A rating of 8 only makes sense if
he's awarding extra points for Kim Fowley being a "punk scenester,"
whatever that means, not to mention "accused rapist." Or does he give
the song credit for being a major influence on Mick Jagger and punk? I
can't imagine how excited he'll be when he works his way to "Louie,
Louie."
"Louie Louie" didn't reach #1 in Billboard---peaked at #2 kept from
the top spot by The Singing Nun

ROGER FORD
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RWC
2018-12-02 03:19:37 UTC
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Post by Roger Ford
"Louie Louie" didn't reach #1 in Billboard---peaked at #2 kept from
the top spot by The Singing Nun
a Dada anarchic juxtaposition that derides conservative cultural values in 1963?

or

a Surreal juxtaposition within a music sales chart that evokes mystery and sheds
light on the subconscious thoughts of the record buying public who purchased
both records.

"Louie Louie" could be described as Impressionist with its lack of clarity of
form, its perceived escape from idealized notions of romance, and its seemingly
amateurish quality. It concentrates on the real and imperfect world as seen by
its composer, Richard Berry.

:-)
Dean F.
2018-12-02 05:18:57 UTC
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Post by Roger Ford
"Louie Louie" didn't reach #1 in Billboard---peaked at #2 kept from
the top spot by The Singing Nun
It did, however, reach #1 in both Cash Box and Record World.

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