Dickie Do and the Don'ts

Posted April 4, 2008
Courtesy: Dik de Heer,

Quite recently, a CD was released on the Regency label called "Dicky Doo And the Don'ts : The Complete Stereo Recordings" (Regency RR-CD 7006). Like most Regency releases, the copy- right year on the sleeve (1994) has nothing to do with the actual release year (2008). There are 33 tracks, the first 24 of which are instrumentals, originally (1960) released on two LP's "Madison And Other Dances" (United Artists UAL 3094) and "Teen Scene" (United Artists UAS 6097). The remaining nine tracks are vocals, previously issued as by Dicky Doo and the Don'ts or by Gerry Granahan, the group's founder. The instrumentals are mostly covers of hits from 1957-1960, like "Wake Up Little Susie", "The Stroll", "What In the World's Come Over You" and "Wild One", done in an almost middle of the road style, though occasionally a wailing sax livens up the proceedings.

The real surprise of this otherwise rather uninteresting CD is "Teen Scene". To be honest, I did not know that the original version of this tune was recorded by Dicky Doo (United Artists 238, July 1960). In Europe, "Teen Scene" (written by singer Teddy Randazzo) is much better known in the version by the UK instrumental group The Hunters, who recorded it for Fontana in late 1960. Though it wasn't a hit, this record has achieved almost classic status among many European music fans.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=guxhfVS0qLk. The Dicky Doo original, which was not released in the UK, is at least as good as the Hunters' version. The main difference is that the US recording also features a sax, which becomes more prominent towards the end, though this is basically a guitar instrumental.

The story of Dicky Doo and the Don'ts revolves around Gerry Granahan (born 17 June 1939, Pittston, Pennsylvania). Having moved to New York in 1955, he earned his keep working demo sessions for music publishers. Herb Abramson of Atco Records signed him as a singer and Gerry had two singles released on that label, one as Jerry Grant and one under his own name. In late 1957 he befriended Dave Aldred, the drummer of Buddy Knox and the Rhythm Orchids, and together they wrote a song called "Click Clack". They made a demo at the Bell Studio, with Granahan's voice multi-tracked, and took it to Dick Clark, host of the nation's most popular TV pop show, American Bandstand. Notwithstanding a blatant conflict of interests, Clark and his producer, Tony Mamarella, were just about to launch their own record label, Swan Records. Clark made "Click Clack" Swan's first release. Granahan could not use his own name, as he was signed to Atco. Clark had a new-born son which he jokingly called Dicky Doo and Tony Mamarella suggested Dicky Doo and the Don'ts as the group's name. When "Click Clack" charted (peaking at # 28), Aldred and Granahan formed a touring group with Ray Gangi (guitar), Al Ways (sax) and Harvey Davis (bass). Aldred even legally changed his name to Richard A. Doo. The group had four more chart entries in 1958-59 with Swan singles. Then Granahan dropped out to concentrate on a new group, the Fireflies (hit : "You Were Mine", # 21, 1959) and on producing acts for his newly formed Caprice label. In between, Granahan also scored a hit under his own name, "No Chemise Please", which went to # 23 in mid-1958 (Sunbeam 102).

After their stint at United Artists (1960-61), the group did not record for several years, but reunited for one more single in 1965 on the Ascot label, "Click Clack 65". Granahan is still active in the music business, mainly as a producer.

More info: http://www.epinions.com/content_4303069316 (scroll down to Fireflies) and http://members.cox.net/phattones/gerrygrant/index.html. The Regency CD includes the original versions of "Click Clack" and "No Chemise Please".


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