Country-Pop Singer Jeanne Black (1937-2014): The Woman Behind The One Hit Wonder

Country-pop singer Jeanne Black, who had a million-selling hit with “He’ll Have To Stay” in 1960, passed away on October 23, 2014 in Orem, Utah — two days shy of her 77th birthday. According to her son Josh Shipley she was suffering from Alzheimer’s.

Jeannie Black was born on October 25, 1937 in Pomona, California.
Her biggest hit “He’ll Have To Stay” was the answer song to Jim Reeves’ “He’ll Have To Go”. It sold over one million copies worldwide. Because she could never repeat this success, she was labeled as “one hit wonder”. But she was more than that. Jeanne Black was a versatile singer with a dramatic talent. She was not only a fine ballad singer, but could also sing western swing, pop, rock ‘n’ roll and even proved that she was able to sing the blues.

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All photos in the slideshow were taken between 1956 and early 1960s. (Courtesy of Billy Strange)

From 1956 until 1959 Jeanne Black was part of Cliffie Stone’s radio and TV show “Hometown Jamboree” that broadcasted live from the Harmony Park Ballroom in Anaheim, California. The show paved the way for many country musicians of the west coast. Among others Tennessee Ernie Ford, Zane Ashton (aka Bill Aken), Speedy West and Molly Bee played on Hometown Jamboree.

In 1960 Jeanne Black signed a record contract with Capitol. She worked very close with guitarist Billy Strange. He not only  accompanied her on stage and in the music studio, but he was also her arranger and music coach and they became lovers. They parted in the early sixties. Billy Strange became a famous studio musician and arranger in Los Angeles. He worked with stars like Elvis Presley, Frank and Nancy Sinatra and Nat King Cole. He was also a successful song writer and music publisher. After breaking up with Billy Strange, Jeanne Black married Mark Shipley. Together the rose six children and ran community theatres in California and Utah. In 1999 she finally married her early love Billy Strange. They lived together in Franklin, TN until he died in 2012.

In the video Jeanne Black talks about how she and her youngest sister Janie auditioned for Cliffie Stone in 1956 and how she became a singer and recording artist. And while browsing through old issues of country music magazine “Country Song Roundup”, she and Billy share memories and remember the first time they saw Elvis Presley on TV.

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Spotify Playlist From Richard Linklater Movie “Boyhood” Including Wilco, Arcade Fire, Lady Gaga, Coldplay, Hives, And The Flaming Lips

Ellar Coltrane in "Boyhood".

Ellar Coltrane in “Boyhood”.

“Boyhood” by Richard Linklater is a wonderful quiet story. It’s like a Eric Rohmer movie but more down to earth and more fun to watch. The songs are neatly woven into the story and help define the characters and the time.

From the very beginning the filmmakers make it clear that they understand their business. They start the title sequence with “Yellow” by Coldplay and set the thoughtful mood for the entire movie.

In this Spotify playlist most of the songs from the movie are included. It was inspired by Indiewire. Enjoy.


Back to back: Nancy Sinatra sings Lee Hazlewood songs

Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazlewood on cover of Reprise LP “Nancy & Lee” (1968)

Beauty and mustache: Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazlewood on cover of Reprise LP “Nancy & Lee” (1968)

He wrote “These Boots Are Made For Walkin'”, produced several of Nancy Sinatra’s records and was her duet partner. «Some Velvet Morning», «Summer Wine» and «Sand» became immortal gems of popular music. The pairing of Hazlewood’s and  Sinatra’s voices and the headstrong Hazlewood lyrics still intrigue listeners today.

But let’s turn the spotlight to some lesser known songs by Lee Hazlewood that were sung by Nancy Sinatra. On this playlists Nancy’s versions are played back to back with Lee’s. His most famous song “These Boots Are Made For Walkin'” is also included.

After Nancy had a huge hit with this song, Lee recorded his own very funny version which comments about how he and arranger Billy Strange recorded Nancy’s Hit.

Lee was not only an adept songwriter, he was also a clever businessman. He sold his songs to as many artists as possible and also recorded them himself. In many cases he also produced the songs that he had written. Sometimes Lee recorded his version before Nancy’s, sometimes it was the other way around.

All songs on the playlist are arranged and co-produced by Billy Strange, who worked both with Lee Hazlewood and Nancy Sinatra. He’s responsible for the unique sound, an astonishing mixture of sophisticated pop music and easy listening. And on all songs Eddie Brackett was responsible for the sound engineering.

Lee used the same group of Los Angeles studio musicians for his own and Nancy’s version. That includes drummers like Jim Gordon and Hal Blaine, keyboard player Don Randi, electric bass player Carol Kaye, acoustic bass player Chuck Berghofer, Al Casey or Billy Strange on guitar and countless others.

These boots are made for walkin'
 1966: Lee Hazlewood. LP "The very special world of Lee Hazlewood" (MGM)
 1966: Nancy Sinatra. LP "Boots" (Reprise)
 1968: Lee Hazlewood. LP  "Something special" (MGM)
 1968: Nancy Sinatra. LP "Nancy in London" (Reprise)
So long, babe
 1966: Lee Hazlewood. LP "The very special world of Lee Hazlewood" (MGM)
 1966: Nancy Sinatra.  LP "Boots" (Reprise)
My Baby Cried All Night long
 1966: Lee Hazlewood. LP "The very special world of Lee Hazlewood" (MGM)
 1966: Nancy Sinatra. LP "How does that grab you?" (Reprise)
Not the loving kind
 1966: Lee Hazlewood. LP "The very special world of Lee Hazlewood" (MGM)
 1966: Nancy Sinatra. LP "How does that grab you?" (Reprise)
I Move Around
 1966: Lee Hazlewood. LP "The very special world of Lee Hazlewood" (MGM)
 1966: Nancy Sinatra.  LP "Boots" (Reprise)

Weihnachtssongs, die fast nicht nerven

Eels sind überzeugt: Weihnachten geht vor die Hunde. Clarence Carter singt vom Weihnachtsmann, der die kleinen Mädchen in den frühen Morgenstunden glücklich macht, während die Knaben draussen spielen.

Otis Reddings Version des Weihnachtsklassiker “White Christmas” ist unübertroffen: Zerrissen, verzweifelt und sehnsüchtig träumt er von einem weissen Fest. Poly Styrene zerschmettert, von einem Reggae- Rhythmus unterlegt, die weihnachtliche Idylle. Ella Fitzgerald hingegen lädt zur unbeschwerten Schlittenfahrt. Und Neil Diamond zitiert sein eigenes Repertoire.

Die Spotify-Liste ist eine eigenwillige, aber nicht zufällige Mischung aus Soullegenden, Rockgiganten, Jazz, Elvis und Indiebands.

Fröhliche Weihnachten. Oder wie die Ramones sagen würden: Merry Christmas (I Don’t Want to Fight Tonight).

Zuviel Strontium ist schlecht fürs Plattencover

Single-Cover, The Fidelios: Strontium 90

Als Strontium noch populär war: The Fidelios auf Elite Special (1964).
(Foto: Feathered Apple Records)

Ein erstaunliches Schweizer Beispiel für abgefahrene Covergrafik fand ich auf Feathered Apple Records. Diese Seite listet Singles des Schweizer Labels Elite Special auf, ein Unterlabel von Turicaphon.

Elite Special hatte in den 60er-Jahren anscheinend vor allem deutsche und amerikanische Produktionen in Lizenz veröffentlicht. Aber auch Schweizer Beat-Combos waren unter Vertrag. Gegründet wurde Turicaphon 1930 in Zürich. Später verlegte die Firma ihren Sitz nach Riedikon ZH und stellte bis 1992 Schallplatten her.

CDs gegen Angstzustände statt Beatmusik

Produziert wurden The Fidelios von Heinz Schiegl für seine Nürnberger Plattenfirma Abanori Records. Abanori Records und der dazugehörige Musikverlag Noriton sind heute noch tätig und vertreiben nicht nur CDs gegen Angst und Schmerzen, sondern verkaufen unter dem Namen Norimed «Colortron»-Lampen für Lichttherapien.

The Fidelios sollen später laut eines Forumeintrags unter dem Namen Fred Schultheiss und die Fidelios aufgetreten sein.