Monday, November 19, 2012

Unbelievable Duet History

Duets have always been popular in music. Love songs just naturally sound better when they are sung one partner to another, right? However, in the 50 plus years of US Popular Music, only twice did one Number One song by a male-female duo follow another song by another duo in the Number One spot! This week on Music Monday I'm gonna tell ya the story of the first time.... 

It starts with the near one-hit wonder brother-sister team of Nino Tempo and April Stevens. Although they were often mistaken for husband-wife, they were in fact siblings. (He's a year older). They had individual success as singers until they were teamed at Atco in 1963. Duos were popular in 1963; "Hey Paula!" by Paul & Paula was a smash hit in February and "Surf City" by Jan & Dean was a smash hit in July. Initially, they were not going to release "Deep Purple" because 1. the producer hated it and 2. Nino didn't like singing while his sister was talking
Since it hit Number One the week ending Nov 16, 1963 it has been covered by Donny & Marie (the version I have, actually) and several others. It has also led its name to the rock and roll group, Deep Purple (because one of the member's grandmother loved the song!)
 Deep Purple
 written by Mitchell Parish & Peter de Rose
Nino Tempo & April Stevens
The very next week,  Dale Houston and Grace Broussard, recording as Dale & Grace, knocked Nino & April out of the Number One spot. Their history couldn't be more different, however: Dale Houston was already a locally known singer in and around Ferriday, Louisiana when his producer thought of the idea to record a duet. They found Grace, who was singing with her brother's band at the time, and talked her into recording the song. It was no one's idea of a hit until it broke out of Louisiana and into Texas; then it went national. 

The song was Number One for two weeks starting on Nov 17, 1963. At that time Dale & Grace were on tour with Dick Clark's Caravan of Stars to help promote the song. On that Thursday night they arrived in Dallas for a Friday evening performance. In the morning of Nov 22, 1963 they came out and stood on the steps of their Dallas hotel and waved as the President and his wife drove by. They went back into their hotel and didn't find out about the assassination that occurred just three blocks away until several hours later  

I'm Leaving It Up To You
written by Don Harris & Dewey Terry, Jr 
Dale & Grace

1 comment:

  1. Both covered by Donny & Marie! Hmmm... I wonder what cosmic significance that might have?!