Blue Moon by The Marcels

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oldbillclarke
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Blue Moon by The Marcels

Post by oldbillclarke » Fri Apr 20, 2012 9:33 pm

"Blue Moon" by The Marcels was a number one record in Canada early in 1961. As a sidebar, the group's name was misspelled "Marcelles" on original Canadian issues. The song was slightly retro for that time because it was performed in that doo-wop vocal style so prevalent in the mid to latter 1950's. It would be no stretch to say that today this is the best known rendition of this tune. But it was written in 1934 by Richard Rogers and Lorenz Hart who were an extremely successful songwriting team at that time and the song was already a standard long before the early 1960's. Lyricist Hart never had the pleasaure of hearing the Marcels version of his song because he passed on to the other side on November 22, 1943. Tunesmith Richard Rodgers picked up the slack by forming a new partnership with Oscar Hammerstein II. It was with Hammerstein that he composed the music for classic musicals, later motion pictures, such as "Carousel" (1945), "South Pacific" (1949), "The King And I" (1951) and "The Sound Of Music" (1965). Genius that he was, Rodgers was very finicky about people performing his songs. For instance, he was miffed at Peggy Lee's version of his song "Lover" and Rosemary Clooney's swing style take on "Falling In Love With Love". He actually admonished her by telling her the song was written as a waltz. I mention all this because when Richard Rodgers, composer, first heard the Marcels doing his song "Blue Moon" he went ballistic and wanted to litigate. According to the Internet he was talked out of it by Oscar Hammerstein who argued the record would bring him many royalties, which it did. The only problem with that story is that it is very unlikely Hammerstein ever heard the record because he left this mortal coil on August 23, 1960, roughly three months before the Marcels recorded it. Richard Rodgers passed away on December 30, 1979 at the age of 77.

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Blue Moon by The Marcels

Post by Heidler » Fri Apr 20, 2012 10:32 pm

oldbillclarke..

Good information on this classic track..

Also from 1961, I have a copy of " Those Oldies But Goodies " ( " Remind Me Of You " ) on APEX* out of Lachine, Quebec, and part of Decca ( manufactured by " Compo Company Canada " )

Originally released here on Del Fi ( 4158 ) this last-gasp of the " Los Angeles Doo-Wop Group Sound " actually got into the American national Top -10 as by Little Caesar & The Romans ( on Bandstand, appearing in their togas )

The reason I'm writing to you is because on my APEX label, the act is listed as " Caesar & The Romans " ( without the " Little " ) on 76750 ( Canada )

These items were given to me years ago in a box from a collector and included other labels including Dot ( Canada ) Jubilee ( Canada ) and Quality ( Canada ) and other APEX singles, I'd say about 50 or so in all.
( The Dot labels look exactly as they did in the USA, just small yellow printing on the bottom indicates Canada..Same for Jubilee, the blue-silver imprint, with Canada on the rim of the label )
This label also released some records from the sister-label Josie ( Jozie' )

I was told by Central Record Sales that many, many Los Angeles-based ( and other ) labels leased many of their records to APEX Canada.

I find the nice thing about Canadian releases of American product, is that generally, they were released and on air in Canada within days of release here ( unlike Europe, where some American-issued recordings didn't become " hits " until later ( sometimes YEARS later )

Thanks for the very good information.

* This label should not be confused with the Chicago-based Apex label, one of the imprints owned by Bill " Bunky" Sheppard, which he launched in 1959.
Their biggest hit? ..." Island Of Love " as by The Sheppards ( Apex 7750 ) so-named for " Bunky " though he was not a group-member.
He worked for Vee Jay and with Carl Davis, brought fame to The Dukays ( ah, but Gene Chandler took the biscuit on " Duke Of Earl " )
He was also a partner in Consellation Records ( with Ewart Abner and Art Sheridan )
Sheppard would go on to greater fortune with The Esquires' " Get On Up" for his Bunky label ( also label number 7750 )
He ran several other lesser-known imprints as well.
He may not have known about APEX in Canada, but then again...

H
The best part of the day...is the night...

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RE: Blue Moon by The Marcels

Post by wurlitzer1450 » Sat Apr 21, 2012 12:16 am

i have the marcels lp and a couple 45s including "twisting christmas". i saw them on the R&B show on public tv a couple years back, they sounded very good, almost like the record.
near the little town of nervous, new mexico

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StephenMacLeod
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RE: Blue Moon by The Marcels

Post by StephenMacLeod » Sat Apr 21, 2012 12:44 am

I have that 45 plus I found a picture sleeve to go with it,pretty basic sleeve Marcels-Blue Moon,on a white background.

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Post by oldbillclarke » Sat Apr 21, 2012 1:07 pm

Heidler:

Yes the Little Ceasar & The Romans I think must have been an error on the part of Compo. Every copy I've seen on Apex doesn't have "Little" listed in the group's name. Great record incidently. It didn't chart here but it did get some airplay.

Apex leased recordings of many, many medium to small US companies over the years 1953 to 1970. Roulette, Four Star, Challenge, Cadence and Diamond just to name a few. Challenge was an LA label as I recall. Never could figure out how Jerry Fuller got to release sixteen on Apex (Challenge) with only "Tennesse Waltz" charting. He must have had friends in high places. Anyway, I quite like Fuller. He wrote a song Glen Campbell recorded around '63 but didn't chart called "Prima Donna". I looked for that one for years before I found it. I'm sure you know all about that and more being an LA guy.

I'm a little off topic. Thanks to everyone for the replies and have a great day.

OBC

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Blue Moon by The Marcels

Post by Heidler » Sat Apr 21, 2012 11:45 pm

oldbillclarke

Thanks for the information on the Little Caesar ( without the " Little " ) record on APEX.
I've often wondered about the label error.

I've been in contact with only one other Canadian record collector ( I'm sure there are plenty more ) and he didn't own a copy at the time, so he didn't have the information you have..

Yes, Challenge was a Los Angeles-based label ( also subsidiary label Jackpot )
This is in no-way a " history " of the label(s) or complete roster(s) nor is it to bore anybody.

In 1957, they were located at 6920 Sunset, right in the heart of Hollywood ( this address was later home to Liberty Records, then later, U.A. )
In 1959, Challenge moved to 1556 North La Brea.

Initially founded by Gene Autry* ( thus the " G.A. " on the label logo ) however, it was former Columbia Records man Joe Jonhson that ran the day-to-day operations, and took over when Autry sold-up.
Other partners were Bernie Solomon and Johnny Thompson.
Dave Burgess later worked as A&R for the label ( and also recorded as Dave Dupree )
The smash 1958 instrumental " Tequila! " was the biggest-ever seller for Challenge.
(* It's always been said that The Champs took their name from Gene's horse " Champion " and Joe Johnson went along with this )

Jerry Fuller was not only considered a recording artist for the label, but also a " staff member " ( the label would buy 4-Star Music ) and Jerry continued to write hits for Rick Nelson ( Imperial Records )
Jerry was also the man who brought The Knickerbockers to Challenge, giving the label it's last big hit in 1965-1966: " Lies " ( Challenge 59321 )
Of course others like The Kuff-Linx, and Jerry Wallace all had charters for the label, and Jan & Dean made a stop here ( after Dore and before Liberty )
Some people may not know that future Monkee Mickey Dolenz and Jefferson Airplane / Starship / solo artist Marty Balin also recorded for Challenge, as well as local legends Cornel Gunther and Johnny Wyatt.

In the late 1960s, I found them again, way down on Vine ( 817 ) with an office in the building that also housed the Musicians Union*
( * this is where I met Johnny Otis for the second time as he was walking down the hall )
I was told they were " winding down " and most of the photos and bios had been thrown away ( I was lucky from past visits with a few 8 x 10s and bios )

After a " string bad deals " and a" financial disaster " ( according to Dore's Lou Bedell ) Challenge folded... and that was it..
" That shoudn't have happened at all, that was a strong ( record ) company "

Joe Johnson moved to Nashville, and died there.

Thanks oldbillclarke for your input on all those labels connected with APEX of Canada.
Many of the indie label owners I spoke with, rarely mentioned any outside distribution dealings, so your information is fresh and informative.

Thanks again and Keep Posting....

H
The best part of the day...is the night...

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Blue Moon by The Marcels

Post by WOF » Thu Oct 25, 2012 1:36 am

Heidler,

In your last post you said that Dave Burgess was the A&R for Challenge Records. Is this the same Dave Burgess that did a lot of tracks on the Tops label? Thanks!

WOF

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Post by sun-rocker » Thu Oct 25, 2012 1:55 pm

The Dave Burgess on TOPS recorded an Calypso album for that budget label - could this really be the Champs "own" Dave Burgess? A really good question, that I ask myself a few times back - without finding an answer until now. So if someone has informations about this - let's hear about it.

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Blue Moon by The Marcels

Post by Heidler » Thu Oct 25, 2012 5:33 pm

Gentlemen;

Well spotted and pointed out!

YES, indeed... this is the SAME Dave Burgess that was a member of The Champs and worked as an A&R man for G/A Challenge under ( then ) Gene Autry and Joe Johnson.
He also recorded as Dave Dupre' ( Dupree on my singles ) and Dave Burgess and The Chimes ( NOT the " Once In A While " group on the Tag label ) for Challenge as well as Dave Burgess and The Champs with various line-ups .

( This Dave is NOT the " Latin Guitarist " of the same name )

Ironically, another ' Champ ', the late great Chuck Rio ( real name Danny Flores ) also recorded for several labels, including the Biharis RPM imprint ( under the name Danny Flores )

ALL very good inputs.


Thank you.

H
The best part of the day...is the night...

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