Aired on Treasure Island Oldies – Jan 07, 2024
From 1959 into the early 60s, Billboard Magazine ran mini biographies that sometimes provided us with interesting tidbits. Each biography was generally tied to a current release on behalf of an artist.
One of the magazine’s early offerings featured a story on a recording about an east coast dance that was picking up steam nationwide. It made it onto the Billboard Hot 100 in late January 1959. Some say it was the precursor to the dance craze that soon followed and consumed the early 60s …
Born in 1933, the recording artist for this song hailed from Frankford, Delaware. Upon his discharge from the US Army, he won a local talent contest singing country duets with his friend, singer/songwriter Dick Flood.
This led to a 1956 appearance as “The Country Lads” on the Jimmy Dean Show. Dean liked the pair so much that they became regulars and eventually signed a contract with Columbia Records. The boys stayed on with Jimmy Dean for three years right up to the end of the show in 1958.
When the Jimmy Dean Show ended “The Country Lads” ended as well – Flood headed for Nashville to sell his songs. Our featured artist signed on with Monument Records where he would find success in 1959 with an appearance on Billboard with a song co-written by Dick Flood.
The popularity of this record paved the way for the artist to join one of Dick Clark’s Caravan of Stars tours.
As to the song, it was about a dance that was quite popular in the Carolinas; a partner dance that has been described as an offshoot of the Carolina Jitterbug and its predecessor the Little Apple (the white version of the Big Apple that surfaced in Columbia, South Carolina in 1937). The dance lives on today and is recognized as state dances in both North and South Carolina.
Chubby Checker, Dee Dee Sharp and the Olympics played integral roles in the dance craze movement of the early 60s. Their songs introduced us to The Twist, The Hucklebuck, The Mashed Potato, The Pony, The Popeye, The Hully Gully, and The Limbo.
The nation wanted to dance and we can thank Monument Records’ Billy Graves for getting us up on our feet and onto the dance because “The Shag (Is Totally Cool),” this week’s Tom Locke moment in time.
YouTube video of this song:
This “Moments In Time” story is yet another example of a “golden oldie” or forgotten favorite that earned its place in the evolution of Rock & Roll.