Airdate – Feb 19, 2023
In the late 50s and early 60s a number of male artists incorporated a falsetto sound on their recordings. Some of the more successful falsetto voices were those of Frankie Valli, Lou Christie, Robert John, and Del Shannon.
But who influenced these artists? According to Del Shannon, he was influenced by a singer/songwriter who moved from Birmingham, Alabama to New York City in the late 40s while still a teenager …
Our featured singer/songwriter actually started out as a tap dancer but soon found his calling by signing on with a doo wop group in 1954 called the Berliners.
The Berliners soon changed their name to the Sparks Of Rhythm and recorded one of the singer/songwriter’s songs in 1956 after he had left the group for a solo career.
Teaming up with Otis Blackwell at MGM’s subsidiary, Cub Records, they reworked his original composition, ending up with a hit record that went to #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1960.
A few months later, he had another hit record on his hands, a record that went to #3 on Billboard and #1 in the UK, respectively.
Both records became million sellers thanks to this singer/songwriter’s smooth yet soulful falsetto modeled ala Clyde McPhatter and Sam Cooke.
Those two back to back hit records were “Handy Man” and “Good Timin’,” two songs which epitomize the falsetto technique, one best described as a method of voice production used by male singers, especially tenors, to sing notes higher than their normal range.
Our featured singer/songwriter was of course the late Jimmy Jones whose last release to make it onto the pop charts came out in 1961. Rarely heard today, this song also incorporates his falsetto style but does make one wonder if he had “Good Timin’,” as it only went to #85 on the Billboard Hot 100. Its title is somewhat defiant with Jones remarking, “I Told You So,” 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.