Discussion:
The Number Ones: Dave “Baby” Cortez’s “The Happy Organ
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Bob Roman
2018-11-11 22:33:06 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.

Dave “Baby” Cortez – “The Happy Organ”
HIT #1: May 11, 1959
STAYED AT #1: 1 week

Pop music is an art form driven by happy accidents, and one of those happy accidents is what brought “The Happy Organ” into the world. Dave “Baby” Cortez, a Detroit musician and doo-wop singer, was supposed to record a solo single, but he didn’t like his vocal. Instead, then, he decided to knock out a quick instrumental, playing a deliberately goofy organ riff, one built out of the traditional song “Shortenin’ Bread,” over a fired-up R&B groove. He gave it a title that sounded like a boner joke. And with that, he got his only #1 hit.

Instrumental songs didn’t often hit #1 in the rock ‘n’ roll era, but it did happen from time to time. Those songs sometimes soothed, as with Santo and Johnny’s “Sleep Walk,” and they sometimes introduced strange new sounds, as with the Tornados’ “Telstar.” Neither one was the case with “The Happy Organ,” though it was pretty rare to hear anyone playing an organ in a rock ‘n’ roll context at the time. Instead, I’m pretty sure “The Happy Organ” functioned almost entirely as dance music, as something that kids could bug out to at parties. So it served a utilitarian function, and a noble one. Heard on its own, outside the context of a sock hop or whatever, it’s a perfectly fun tune, but it doesn’t leave much of an impression.

GRADE: 6/10
Bill B
2018-11-11 23:15:38 UTC
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Always liked this, but I listen to the flip on my jukebox more often:

Rinky Dink:



Dave Baby Cortez has a special place in my affection because he was a member of one of my favorite all-time groups- the Pearls. He was also a member of the Valentines, another favorite.
SavoyBG
2018-11-11 23:34:56 UTC
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That's a back to back hits series of course. The original flip side of "Organ" in 1959 is a good ballad with Dave singing:


Roger Ford
2018-11-12 05:31:57 UTC
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Post by SavoyBG
http://youtu.be/mLswFPhQxsc
Great minds DO think alike here as I just posted my response to Bob's
"Happy Organ" post before I saw this one :)

"Rinky Dink" is certainly better than "The Happy Organ" IMO but if
Bill had invested in the proper original 45RPM instead of a cheap
back-to-back reissue he'd have a MUCH better flipside still to play.



ROGER FORD
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Ken Whiton
2018-11-12 09:46:52 UTC
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*-* On Sun, 11 Nov 2018, at 15:34:56 -0800 (PST),
*-* In Article <74f76122-24a7-4ae0-9326-***@googlegroups.com>,
*-* SavoyBG wrote
*-* About Re: The Number Ones: Dave "Baby" Cortez's "The Happy Organ
Post by SavoyBG
That's a back to back hits series of course. The original flip side of
http://youtu.be/mLswFPhQxsc
Interestingly, on the original Clock label, and using punctuation
variations of the original "C. 1009" catalog number, "The Happy Organ"
had at least four different flip sides.

Love Me As I Love You <http://www.45cat.com/record/c1009>
The Whistling Organ <http://www.45cat.com/record/nc671536us>
Piano Shuffle <http://www.45cat.com/record/nc305480us>
Tootsie <http://www.45cat.com/record/nc273423us>

Ken Whiton
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Jim Colegrove
2018-11-12 14:03:12 UTC
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Post by SavoyBG
http://youtu.be/mLswFPhQxsc
I always liked both sides. "Happy Organ" really snaps my memory to a
specific time and place in a way that just a select few others do.

I liked "Cat Nip," too.


SavoyBG
2018-11-12 14:09:35 UTC
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It makes me think of being at the roller rink. I think that was still being played at the Paramus Roller Rink when I was a teenager. That was the kind of music they played there during skating.
Roger Ford
2018-11-12 16:14:17 UTC
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On Mon, 12 Nov 2018 08:03:12 -0600, Jim Colegrove
Post by Jim Colegrove
Post by SavoyBG
http://youtu.be/mLswFPhQxsc
I always liked both sides. "Happy Organ" really snaps my memory to a
specific time and place in a way that just a select few others do.
Sorry it does very little for me. And tho 1959 wasn't a great year for
instrumentals "The Happy Organ" for me can't compare with things like
"Peter Gunn" or "40 Miles OF Bad Road" from Duane Eddy or "Red River
Rock" Johnny & The Hurricanes

ROGER FORD
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Roger Ford
2018-11-12 05:23:00 UTC
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On Sun, 11 Nov 2018 14:33:06 -0800 (PST), Bob Roman
A writer named Tom Breihan has been reviewing, in order, every song to hit =
#1 in the Billboard Hot 100.
Dave =E2=80=9CBaby=E2=80=9D Cortez =E2=80=93 =E2=80=9CThe Happy Organ=E2=80=
=9D
HIT #1: May 11, 1959
STAYED AT #1: 1 week
Pop music is an art form driven by happy accidents, and one of those happy =
accidents is what brought =E2=80=9CThe Happy Organ=E2=80=9D into the world.=
Dave =E2=80=9CBaby=E2=80=9D Cortez, a Detroit musician and doo-wop singer,=
was supposed to record a solo single, but he didn=E2=80=99t like his vocal=
=2E Instead, then, he decided to knock out a quick instrumental, playing a =
deliberately goofy organ riff, one built out of the traditional song =E2=80=
=9CShortenin=E2=80=99 Bread,=E2=80=9D over a fired-up R&B groove. He gave i=
t a title that sounded like a boner joke. And with that, he got his only #1=
hit.
Instrumental songs didn=E2=80=99t often hit #1 in the rock =E2=80=98n=E2=80=
=99 roll era, but it did happen from time to time. Those songs sometimes so=
othed, as with Santo and Johnny=E2=80=99s =E2=80=9CSleep Walk,=E2=80=9D and=
they sometimes introduced strange new sounds, as with the Tornados=E2=80=
=99 =E2=80=9CTelstar.=E2=80=9D Neither one was the case with =E2=80=9CThe H=
appy Organ,=E2=80=9D though it was pretty rare to hear anyone playing an or=
gan in a rock =E2=80=98n=E2=80=99 roll context at the time. Instead, I=E2=
=80=99m pretty sure =E2=80=9CThe Happy Organ=E2=80=9D functioned almost ent=
irely as dance music, as something that kids could bug out to at parties. S=
o it served a utilitarian function, and a noble one. Heard on its own, outs=
ide the context of a sock hop or whatever, it=E2=80=99s a perfectly fun tun=
e, but it doesn=E2=80=99t leave much of an impression.
GRADE: 6/10
"The Happy Organ" got a fair bit of airplay over here in UK but never
made the charts. I never cared for the track myself which I always
considered a throwaway novelty instrumental but on a friend's advice I
later picked up a cheap copy on some market stall and flipped the
thing over---to find a VERY decent r&b vocal slowie complete with some
notable saxophone work (anybody know who's playing on this?)

If you not familiar with it take a listen to "Love Me As I Love You"

http://youtu.be/mLswFPhQxsc



ROGER FORD
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Dean F.
2018-11-12 10:44:57 UTC
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I must be in the minority around these parts. I've always dug "The Happy Organ" and considered "Rinky Dink" nothing but an instrumental version of Bobby Rydell's "The Cha-Cha-Cha."
Roger Ford
2018-11-12 12:16:03 UTC
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On Mon, 12 Nov 2018 02:44:57 -0800 (PST), "Dean F."
Post by Dean F.
I must be in the minority around these parts. I've always dug "The Happy Organ" and considered "Rinky Dink" nothing but an instrumental version of Bobby Rydell's "The Cha-Cha-Cha."
---
"Rinky Dink" came out two months before the Rydell record

ROGER FORD
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"Spam Free Zone" - to combat unwanted automatic spamming I have added
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Bill B
2018-11-12 12:31:59 UTC
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Post by Roger Ford
On Mon, 12 Nov 2018 02:44:57 -0800 (PST), "Dean F."
Post by Dean F.
I must be in the minority around these parts. I've always dug "The Happy Organ" and considered "Rinky Dink" nothing but an instrumental version of Bobby Rydell's "The Cha-Cha-Cha."
---
"Rinky Dink" came out two months before the Rydell record
I was just getting ready to post that it made the charts 2 1/2 months earlier. But it does borrow the guitar riff from "Love Is Strange."
Roger Ford
2018-11-24 17:06:15 UTC
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On Sun, 11 Nov 2018 14:33:06 -0800 (PST), Bob Roman
A writer named Tom Breihan has been reviewing, in order, every song to hit =
#1 in the Billboard Hot 100.
Dave =E2=80=9CBaby=E2=80=9D Cortez =E2=80=93 =E2=80=9CThe Happy Organ=E2=80=
=9D
HIT #1: May 11, 1959
STAYED AT #1: 1 week
Here's how it did in the 1959 Singles Battle

R1 Dinah Washington - Unforgettable 11
Cortez 18

2 Cortez 12
Ray Charles - I Believe To My Soul 14

ROGER FORD
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"Spam Free Zone" - to combat unwanted automatic spamming I have added
an extra "m" in my e-mail address (***@mmail.com).
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