1950 and 1960s MUSIC GROUPS
This post completes the artists and groups that have last names ending in R. These eight groups of artists continue to build upon the fact that the 1950s and 1960s was the all-time greatest era for music. Included here are: Smokey Robinson. Tommy Roe, The Rolling Stones, The Ronettes, Jimmy and David Ruffin, Rush, Bobby Rydell, Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels.
Robinson, Smokey (& The Miracles). 1955-
From Detroit Michigan. He grew up in a poor neighborhood on the northside. Name at birth: William Robinson Jr. His uncle Claude gave him the nickname “Smokey Joe” when he was a child. Smokey lived on the same block as Aretha Franklin (who he knew since he was five). He was a singer, songwriter and record producer and executive. He has been the leader of both the original band called The Five Chimes which later became the Matadors, and then the Miracles. The Chimes were a doo-wop group that Smokey formed when he was in high school.
In August of 1957 he met songwriter Barry Gordy. Smokey had brought along a notebook with about 100 songs he had written in high school. Gordy was impressed with his vocals, but even more impressed with his ambitious songwriting. With Gordy’s help the Miracles released their first single: “Got a Job” (https://youtu.be/VJ7GltNmDbg) (RQ 6). Then, in late 1960, they released their first hit single: “Shop Around (https://youtu.be/AQGXa3FiXKM) (RQ 7).
Between 1960-1970 the Miracles produced 26 Top40 songs including these that charted No1:
“You’ve Really Got a Hold on Me” (https://youtu.be/AdDnqSFYXFs) (RQ 7)
“I Second That Emotion” (https://youtu.be/mv9cWgkpIZ4) (RQ 8)
“Mickey’s Monkey” (https://youtu.be/jpLVyZVRw3w) (RQ 5)
“Baby Baby Don’t Cry” (https://youtu.be/_45gwZ7vXAg) (RQ 6)
“Tears of a Clown” (https://youtu.be/0fD-CstUnfw) (RQ 9)
In addition to these five hits, they had another six notable recordings:
“Ooh Baby Baby” (https://youtu.be/uThnUmWRCCs) (RQ 9)
“Going to a Go Go” (https://youtu.be/sWt4Hz1KGcQ) (RQ 5)
“The Tracks of my Tears” (https://youtu.be/BCwkZrj2VT4) (RQ 9)
“The Love I Saw in You Was Just a Mirage” (https://youtu.be/Xu8WOh58EvI) (RQ 6)
“More Love” (https://youtu.be/7iZhlRXZTs8) (RQ 8)
“I’m The One You Need” (https://youtu.be/-zsC5Kr1onc) (RQ 5)
In addition to producing records, Smokey wrote songs for:
Mary Wells (9) including:
“The One Who Really Loves You” charted No8
“You Beat Me to the Punch” charted No9
“Two Lovers” (https://youtu.be/NmICa5hzIG0) (RQ 6). Charted No7
“Operator” uncharted for Mary. Brenda Holloway’s version charted No78.
The Temptations (12) including:
“I Want a Love that I Can See” uncharted
“The Way You Do the Things You Do” (https://youtu.be/cDakhsaPTE0) (RQ 8). Charted No11
“I’ll Be in Trouble” charted No33
“My Girl” (https://youtu.be/swSytFVMHuU) (RQ 10). Charted No1
Brenda Holloway (2):
“When I’m Gone” (https://youtu.be/5KhcqxIUi6M) (RQ 7). Charted No25
“Operator” (https://youtu.be/3LirUvntBrg). (RQ 7). Charted No78
The Marvelettes (8): including;
“As Long as I Know He’s Mine” uncharted
“You’re My Remedy” uncharted
“Don’t Mess With Bill” (https://youtu.be/OVsW_6AomOQ) (RQ 6). Charted No7
“You’re the One” uncharted
Note: the Marvelettes “Please Mr. Postman” (https://youtu.be/425GpjTSlS4) (RQ 10). Was charted No1 but was not written by Smokey Robinson.
Marvin Gaye (5) including:
“Lucky, Lucky Me” charted No67
“I’ll Be Doggone” charted No8. (https://youtu.be/qzEwSJGzXVs) (RQ 7)
The Contours (2):
“That Day When She Needed Me” (https://youtu.be/eMUlrjHj5cs) (RQ 8)
“First I Look at Your Purse”
The Supremes (7) including:
“Floy Joy” charted No15 (https://youtu.be/DmAaz2e1G5U) (RQ 5)
“Sunshine“ charted No37
He also wrote one song each for: Debbie Dean, Chuck Jackson, Bobby Taylor, The Jackson 5, The Four Tops, Bobby Darin, Carolyn Crawford, Gene Chandler, Kim Weston, and Singing Sammy Ward.
In 1972, be became a full time vice president for Motown Records until 1990. While his singing career was winding down, between 1974-81 he had a No1 hit called: “Crusin” (https://youtu.be/WlzY6cWpoMQ) (RQ 8). A Top40 hit called “Let Me Be the Clock,” another No1 hit: “Being With You” (https://youtu.be/0P2a6aLDkkM) (RQ 10). In 1983, he recorded another four hits: “Tell Me Tomorrow”, “Touch the Sky”, “Essar” and “Ebony Eyes.”
After experiencing a period of personal and professional issues, in 1987 he made a comeback with the singles: “Just to See Her” (https://youtu.be/g5bvjUrVObk) (RQ 9) and “One Heartbreak” (https://youtu.be/A39xfn3K_Ps) (RQ 8). They were Top10 hits and he won his first Grammy Award as well as they sold more than 900,000 copies. In 1988, Robinson himself was inducted into the Rock and Roll HOF (but not his band members, by which Smokey was offended). It was not until 2012 that the committee reversed their decision and included the whole band.
Roe, Tommy. 1959-2018
Was an American rock-pop singer and songwriter. He was widely perceived as one of the archetypal bubblegum artists of the late 1960s. He is best remembered for these two hit singles: “Sheila” in 1962 and “Dizzy” in 1969. “Sheila” (https://youtu.be/oDWM3bLEB3M) (RQ 7) was a No1 hit but the Recording Industry of America didn’t present him with the gold record until 1969. “Dizzy” (https://youtu.be/arpidGq8SlA) (RQ 10) also became a No1 hit and sold more than two million copies.
ABC/Paramount asked him to go on tour to promote his successful recordings. But Roe was hesitant because he was afraid of losing his soldering job he had with General Electric. Not until ABC advanced him $5,000 would he agree to go on tour. During the tour, the UK magazine NME reported that Roe (and Chris Montez) were being upstaged by the Beatles. Even so, Roe produced two more Top10 hits: “Everybody” (https://youtu.be/WkOyTewypAo) (RQ 7) and “The Folk Singer” (https://youtu.be/lBKWNaKLpgQ) (RQ 8).
Later on Roe toured the U.S. with his friend Roy Orbison. After about a year, Roe moved to England where he lived for several years. In 1964, Roe recorded a new song called “Diane From Manchester Square” that failed to chart. However, in 1966, he recorded two more Top10 singles: “Sweet Pea” (https://youtu.be/JCKXxJRgVgc) (RQ 7) and “Hooray for Hazel” (https://youtu.be/DHxm99JgTLg) (RQ 7). His last single to make the Top10 chart was: “Jam Up and Jelly Tight” (https://youtu.be/WmwcaP2wwEg) (RQ 9).
Rolling Stones. 1962-
An English rock band formed in London in 1962. The original band members were: Mick Jagger (lead vocals, harmonica), Brian Jones (keyboard, guitar), Keith Richards (guitar, vocals), Bill Wyman (bass), Charlie Watts (drums) and Ian Stewart (piano).
The Rolling Stones (RS) were at the forefront of the “British Invasion” of music from the UK taking over the U.S. marketplace (in 1964). They were symbolic of the youthful and rebellious counterculture in the U.S. in the 1960s. Their most important records initially were:
”I Can’t Get No Satisfaction” (https://youtu.be/nrIPxlFzDi0) (RQ 10)
“Paint It Black” (https://youtu.be/nVrdXUHvsF0) (RQ 10)
“Aftermath” “Mother’s Little Helper” (https://youtu.be/QAszapI0unE) (RQ 6)
By the mid-sixties, they focused on their blusey roots with these songs:
“Sympathy for the Devil” (https://youtu.be/GgnClrx8N2k) (RQ 9)
“Let It Bleed” (https://youtu.be/4EaYdwLDCew) (RQ 10+)
“Sticky Fingers” (https://youtu.be/M9hcAA93N8c) (RQ 10)
“Rocks Off” (https://youtu.be/w5HP2Xcy_eQ) (RQ 8)
At their concerts they were beginning to be introduced as “the greatest rock and roll band in the world.” From 1978-81 they recorded two commercially successful albums: “Some Girls” (https://youtu.be/aJDwQjZrYW8) (RQ 10) and “Start Me Up” (https://youtu.be/SGyOaCXr8Lw) (RQ 8).
The rest of the 1980s (until 1989) proved to be an unproductive time as group in-fighting disrupted their work. In 1989, their fortunes changed when they released “Sad Sad Sad” (https://youtu.be/ARFqK4kKg5s) (RQ 6). After this hit, the group didn’t produce new material in the 90s. Despite this, the group were hugely popular on the live concert tours. By 2007, the group had four of the five largest grossing concert tours all time: “Voodoo Lounge (1994-5), Bridges to Babylon (1997-8), Licks (2002-03) and A Bigger Bang (2005-07).
The Rolling Stones were inducted into the Rock and Roll HOF in 1989 and the UK HOF in 2004. They have released 30 studio albums and 23 live albums (and numerous compilations). In total, according to the Recording Industry Association of America, they have sold 68M certified units (42 were gold second only to the Beatles 43). They still continue to release albums, for example in 2016, they released “Blue and Lonesome” (https://youtu.be/iDCKiJkHAQ4) (RQ 5) which charted No1 in the UK and No4 in the U.S. The album won a Grammy Award for Best Traditional Blues album.
How the Rondels got their start…So it’s a Friday night in early 1957 and I’m excited to be at what I believe is my first high school dance “Record Hop.” A Disc Jockey playing the hit 45’s of the day The sound was loud and bouncing off the wood in the Weymouth High School gymnasium in Weymouth, Massachusetts. A new sound of guitars, drums, pumping bass and vocals bred energy for all the teenagers anxious to dance, a sound created by “Rock and Roll” The DJ replayed “Party Doll“ by Buddy Knox five times in three hours. He also played “Poor Butterfly” by Charlie Gracie, ”Roll Over Beethoven” by Chuck Berry, “Eddie My Love“ by The Teen Queens and “I’m Sticking With You“ by Jimmy Bowen. I had heard all these songs on Boston radio but this environment added another dimension of excitement. One that left me longing to create that environment and be a bigger part of it. It was an experience that lead to experimenting with the formation of bands. Teens from the suburbs of Boston, Massachusetts; Weymouth, Quincy and Braintree called themselves as they evolved: The Rhythm Rockers, The Rainbows, and The Reveleers. Ultimately four teens from those bands, came together to form The Rondels. Lennie Petze, Jimmy Petze, Ray Pizzi and Lenny Collins started writing and recording as The Rondels in 1959. As luck would have it, a demo we recorded of an old standard song titled “Greensleeves” would find it’s way to the ears of a producer in New York city named “Bugs” Bower. Bugs was currently having huge success with an artist named Brian Hyland. Brian’s record of ‘Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini” was a top five record at the time and destined to get to the number one position on all the music charts. After hearing our demo, Bugs asked the band to come to New York to record “Greensleeves” with him as the producer. That is how it all started for The Rondels. One of their better recordings was “Back Beat No.1” (https://youtu.be/2ui48a_z6Wo) (RQ 9).
Ronettes, The. 1957-68
They were a trio of girls from Spanish Harlem, NYC. The group members were: Veronica Bennett (lead singer), older sister Estelle, and their cousin Nedra Tally. They were considered one one of the popular groups in the 1960s. They were the only girl group to tour with the Beatles in 1967. After this tour, while in Germany, the group agreed to breakup.
Their most famous songs were:
“Be My Baby” (https://youtu.be/jSPpbOGnFgk) (RQ 10)
Baby I Love You“ (https://youtu.be/zgOONhI3FnM) (RQ 8)
“The Best Part of Breaking Up” (https://youtu.be/DsMw8EwjQwE) (RQ 5)
“Walking In the Rain” (https://youtu.be/PbSQf9RkVSU) (RQ 6)
All charted on Billboards Top100. “Walking in the Rain” (https://youtu.be/tBBys5TLxCI) won a Grammy Award in 1965. “Be My Baby” was inducted into the Grammy HOF in 1999. The Ronettes were inducted into the Rock and Roll HOF in 2007.
Jimmy Lee Ruffin (May 7, 1936 – November 17, 2014) was an American soul singer, and elder brother of David Ruffin of the Temptations. He had several hit records between the 1960s and 1980s, the most successful being the Top 10 hits “What Becomes of the Brokenhearted,” “Hold On (To My Love)” and “ When My Love Hand Comes Down” (https://youtu.be/DeCBP4eu3iM) ( RQ 9).
Rush was a Canadian hard rock band formed in Toronto in 1968, consisting of Geddy Lee (bass, vocals, keyboards, composer), Alex Lifeson (guitars, composer), and Neil Peart (drums, percussion, lyricist). After its formation in 1968, the band went through several configurations before arriving at its classic power trio lineup with the addition of Peart in 1974, who replaced original drummer John Rutsey right after the release of their self-titled debut album, which contained their first radio hit, “Working Man” (https://youtu.be/iIGKlicb8n0) (RQ 8). This lineup had remained intact for the duration of the band’s career.
Bobby Rydell (born Robert Louis Ridarelli; April 26, 1942) is an American singer, mainly of rock and roll music. In the early 1960s, he was considered a teen idol.
Rydell was born to an Italian family, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Jennie (Sapienza) and Adrio “Al” Ridarelli. In 1950, he won a talent show on the television series Paul Whiteman’s TV Teen Club and gained a spot on the cast, where he remained for several years. He changed his name to Bobby Rydell and played in several bands in the Philadelphia area. After three unsuccessful singles for small companies, he signed a recording contract with Cameo Records. After a couple of flops, “Kissin’ Time” reached the charts in 1959. In May 1960, Rydell toured Australia with The Everly Brothers, Billy “Crash” Craddock, Marv Johnson, The Champs, and The Crickets, recording an Australian version of “Kissin’ Time” for the event.
His second success, “We Got Love”, was his first million-album seller, gaining gold discstatus. “Wild One”, backed with “Little Bitty Girl”, was his second million-selling single; his successes continued with “Swingin’ School” backed with “Ding-A-Ling”, and the million-album selling Volare (https://youtu.be/7seu5KXBUuc) (RQ 10) later that year. He performed at the Copacabana in New York City in 1961, where he was the youngest performer to headline at the nightclub. In February 1961 he appeared at the Festival du Rock, at the Palais des Sports de Paris in Paris, France.
Ryder, Mitch (& The Detroit Wheels) 1964-67
They were an American rock band formed in Detroit in 1964. The Detroit Wheels served as Backup band to Mitch Ryder. The group got together starting out with a young white singer by the name of William Levise Jr. They were playing at a black soul club callef the Village. Initially, Levise took a stage name of Billy Lee and he started a band called The Riveras.
Then the band moved to NYC and, with a help of a phonebook, they renamed themselves Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels.
Their first big hit was in 1965 called: “Jenny Take a Ride” (https://youtu.be/9cFWclF7p8A) (RQ 8). It sold more than one million copies and received a gold disc from RIAA. It charted No1 on R&B and No10 on the national charts. Immediately afterward, the group recorded three more top twenty hits: “Little Latin Lupe Lou” (https://youtu.be/KEGS-pAEvCA) (RQ 10), “Devil with the Blue Dress On” (https://youtu.be/xXy7qYAKrfc) (RQ 7) and Good Golly Miss Molly” (https://youtu.be/nZ9QlVBSX5g) (RQ 4). In 1967, Ryder produced another hit: “Sock It To Me Baby” (https://youtu.be/lX_2mqFeGRk) (RQ 7). This was banned by some radio stations as it was considered to be too sexually suggestive. Its last recording before Ryder left to develop his solo career was: “Too Many Fish in the Sea” (https://youtu.be/8fPTBMWVy3Y) (RQ 6). After Ryder left, the group dissolved.