Airdate – June 2003
Summer and the things associated with it, such as the beach, drive-ins, and parties, proved to be the perfect backdrop to many successful tunes penned in the late 50s and early 60s.
In 1959, a chance meeting with Pat Boone on the steps of a church one Sunday paved the way for a one hit wonder that has become a perennial favorite in welcoming the summer season …
In 1956 a young nineteen-year-old boy moved from the Midwest to New York City and began studying singing, cutting demos, and appearing on local TV shows whenever possible. One Sunday afternoon on the steps of a church he met Pat Boone, then at the height of stardom.
Boone befriended the eager and talented teenager and gave him a list of people in the business who could help him. This led to the teenager hooking up with Marty Mills who became his manager. A contract with Kapp Records followed.
On June 29, 1959, the teenager’s self-penned summer song debuted in North America and remained on the Billboard pop charts throughout the summer for 13 straight weeks.
Despite a massive tour of the UK – replacing the recently deceased Rock & Roll headliner Eddie Cochran – the young man’s subsequent releases never received much airplay and his career soon faded, putting him in the one-hit wonder category.
However, he continued to write with his “Turn Down Day” becoming a sizable hit for the Cyrkle in 1966, and his “Almost There” appeared in the 1964 movie “I’d Rather Be Rich.” A version of “Almost There” by Andy Williams also hit the charts in the same year.
What is unique about his 1959 one-hit wonder, amongst all the other one-hit wonders, is the fact that it is not a lost treasure. Each year, as summer approaches; this joyous tune rides the turntables.
Maybe best described as the man who puts full value in going to church, Jerry Keller continues to be recognized for his seasonal anthem, “Here Comes Summer.”
YouTube video of this song: