12/8 time songs: part 1, 1954-1959 – “Earth Angel” to “Put Your Head on My Shoulder”

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Selected 12/8 time* popular songs and recordings, part 1, 1954-1959:

page 1 (this page)

page 2

  • 1958 – 16 Candles, Donna, Ebb Tide (Avalons version), I’m So Young, It’s All in the Game (Tommy Edwards version), It’s Only Make Believe, Since I Don’t Have You, Tears on My Pillow, To Know Him Is to Love Him
  • 1959 – I Only Have Eyes for You (Flamingos version), Put Your Head on My Shoulder
  • links: selected articles, forum threads, and videos on 12/8 time (bottom of page 2)

For items in the list in which a specific recording of a song is indicated, in each case this marks the first recording of the song in 12/8 time that I’ve identified. 12/8 time (or meter) consists of four eighth note triplets. For all other songs in the list, the original recording is in 12/8 time.

See also the parent page “Earth Angel” to “Good Timin'”: doc’s pick of 12/8 time songs, 1954-1978 (link fixed 12/22/19).

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1954

Earth Angel – words and music by Curtis Williams; recorded by The Penguins, 1954

The Penguins – issued in October 1954 on Dootone 348 (also Doo-348), as the B-side of “Hey Señorita”

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Sincerely (Harvey Fuqua and Alan Freed)

The Moonglows

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1955

Only You (And You Alone) – w.m. Buck Ram

The Platters — recorded on 26 April 1955; issued in June 1955 on the single Mercury 70633X45, b/w “Bark, Battle and Ball”

From Wikipedia:

The Platters first recorded the song for Federal Records on May 20, 1954, but the recording was not released. In 1955, after moving to Mercury Records, the band re-recorded the song (on April 26) and it scored a major hit when it was released in May. In November that year, Federal Records released the original recording as a single (B-side – “You Made Me Cry”) which sold poorly.[3]

The Platters appeared in the 1956 film Rock Around the Clock, the first major motion picture focused on rock and roll, in which they performed both Only You and The Great Pretender.

“Only You” in Rock Around the Clock

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The Great Pretender (Buck Ram)

The Platters – issued 3 November 1955 on the single Mercury 70753X45, b/w “I’m Just a Dancing Partner” — The Platters recording of “The Great Pretender” topped three of the four Billboard pop singles charts in February 1956, becoming the first #1 hit for the group. It was also a #1 R&B hit for eleven weeks in 1956.

“The Great Pretender” in Rock Around the Clock

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1956

Blueberry Hill (Vincent Rose)

Fats Domino — issued in September 1956 on the single Imperial X5407, b/w “Honey Chile”

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In the Still of the Night (Fred Parris) – originally titled “In the Still of the Nite”

From Wikipedia:

The song was recorded in the Saint Bernadette Catholic School basement in New Haven, Connecticut in February 1956. Marty Kugell produced the song. The saxophone solo was played by Vinny Mazzetta of New Haven.The rhythm section was Doug Murray (bass), Bobby Mapp (drums) and Curlee Glover (piano). It was originally released on Kugell’s Standord label with the B-side “The Jones Girl”, a play on the Mills Brothers‘ 1954 hit, “The Jones Boy”. Although the single was only a moderate hit after it was reissued on the Ember label, peaking at No. 24 on the national pop charts and No. 3 on the R&B “race” charts (Billboard’s chart designation for R&B at the time), its reputation came to surpass its original chart placement.

The Five Satins – originally issued in April 1956 on the single Standord XEP-200, b/w “The Jones Girl”; reissued in June 1956 on the single Ember E-1005, with the same B-side as the original release

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My Prayer (m. Georges Boulanger, w. Jimmy Kennedy)

The song was originally written as an instrumental piece with the title “Avant de mourir” by Boulanger and first recorded by Orchester Georges Boulanger in 1924. English lyrics were added by Irish songwriter and lyricist Jimmy Kennedy in 1939, and popular recordings of the song by Glenn Miller and the Ink Spots were made that year, but the most commercially successful cover was that by The Platters, recorded in 1956.

The Platters – issued 6 June 1956 on the single Mercury 70893X45, b/w “Heaven On Earth” (Buck Ram)

audio file, VBR MP3 (3.1 MB), from a My Prayer collection at archive.org:

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One Night (Dave Bartholomew, Pearl King) – For the Elvis Presley version, Anita Steinman modified the original lyric by Bartholomew and King.

Smiley Lewis – issued February 1956 on the single Imperial X5380, b/w “Ain’t Gonna Do It”

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A Thousand Miles Away (James Sheppard and William H. Miller)

The Heartbeats — issued in September 1956 on 45rpm single Hull 45-H-720, b/w “Oh Baby Don’t,” and in November 1956 on 45 rpm single Rama RR-216, b/w “Oh Baby Don’t” (Discogs shows that 10″ 78 rpm singles were also released in 1956 on both the Hull and Rama labels.)

According to Wikipedia, the single reached #5 on the (US Billboard) R&B singles chart and #52 on the Hot 100. Wikipedia also notes that the song was featured in the soundtrack of the 1973 film American Graffiti.

audio file, VBR MP3 (1.7 MB), from the collection The Heartbeats on Hull Records at archive.org (player fixed, 12/22/19):

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The Way You Look Tonight (m. Jerome Kern, w. Dorothy Fields)

The Jaguars — issued in November 1956 on the single R-Dell 11, b/w “Moonlight and You”

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1957

Dedicated to the One I Love (Lowman Pauling, Ralph Bass)

The 5 Royales (credited as as The “5” Royales) – issued in Dec 1957 on the single King 45-5098, c/w “Don’t Be Ashamed”; the side was reissued in January 1961 on the single King 45-5453, b/w “Miracle of Love”

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Maybe (Arlene Smith, Richard Barrett)

The Chantels — recorded on 16 October 1957; issued in November 1957 on the 45 rpm single End Records E-1005, b/w “Come My Little Baby” —  Charting for 18 weeks, it peaked in early 1958 at #15 in the Billboard pop singles chart, and #2 R&B.

From my page girl group: selected recordings, 1955-1959:

Two recordings:
I’m guessing that the recording in the first of the following two videos is the original single, because it’s length corresponds closely to that given on the End Records E-1005 label directly above, from 45cat.com. Of eight collected E-1005 “Maybe” labels representing multiple pressings, and multiple variants of some pressings, displayed at 45cat as of 21 October 2014, only this one (“2nd Pressing, variation A”) includes the time, given as 2:32. Despite a longer choral introduction, the recording in the first video is at least 12 seconds shorter than that in the second, with a briefer fade out.

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Over the Rainbow (m. Harold Arlen, w. E. Y. “Yip” Harburg)

The Echoes – issued in April 1957 on the single Specialty 601, b/w “Someone” (DeVoid, Jones)

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Silhouettes (Bob Crewe, Frank Slay)

from Wikipedia:

In May 1957, songwriter Bob Crewe saw a couple embracing through a windowshade as he passed on a train. He quickly set about turning the image into a song. Frank Slay, who owned the small Philadelphia record label XYZ with Crewe, added lyrics, and they soon had a complete song ready to record.[1]

The Rays — originally issued in August 1957 on the single XYZ X-102, b/w “Daddy Cool”; also issued in September 1957 on the single Cameo 117, with the same B-side as the XYZ release

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