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Barry Levine

Stories by Barry

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BARRY LEVINE: Doo-Wop group working on behalf of top artists

OLD ROCKER: Groups inducted into Doo-Wop Hall of Fame

Under the direction of hard-working Charlie DiComo, the Doo-Wop Music Hall of Fame, a non-profit organization, is dedicated to promoting, preserving, perpetuating and developing Doo-Wop music.

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BARRY LEVINE: Change title to 'Let's Get Physicals'

OLD ROCKER: Alter songs to make lyrics suitable to older generation

Now that I have had a birthday cake with 70 candles — that’s right, 70 — on it, the time has come to rename some of my favorite rock songs to make them more suitable to somebody in my age bracket.

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BARRY LEVINE: Mama a favorite topic for popular songs

OLD ROCKER: Songs that honor mother in the title

Unquestionably known more for his acting ability than his singing skill, Walter Brennan had his third and last Top 40 tune when “Mama Sang a Song” reached No. 38.

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OLD ROCKER: Drifters star, Louie Louie singer die

BARRY LEVINE: Ely bounced from Kingsmen shortly after the hit

Because some considered the lyrics to Louie, Louie obscene, an Indiana parent sent a letter to Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy in 1964 asking that the FBI investigate the lyrics. After two years, the FBI issued a 455-page report stating it could not discern any obscene lyrics in the song.

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OLD ROCKER: Mary Wells won the battle but lost the war

BARRY LEVINE: Leaving Motown signaled the end of her hit records

Mary Wells, who joined the fledgling Motown group as a 17-year-old in 1960, registered many firsts for the label.

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BARRY LEVINE: Ben E. King's move to Drifters led to series of top hits

THE OLD ROCKER: 'Stand By Me' reached Top 10 twice, 25 years apart

Ben E. King’s hit “Stand By Me” was reissued in 1986 followed the song’s use as the theme song from the movie “Stand By Me,” a coming-of-age drama directed by Rob Reiner.

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BARRY LEVINE: Rock Hall of Fame still snubbing deserving entertainers

THE OLD ROCKER: Eleven gross oversights should be remedied

Compare the careers of Withers, Jett and the “5” Royales with artists still waiting for the Hall to call including Paul Anka, Frankie Avalon, Bon Jovi, Chubby Checker, Chicago, Connie Francis, Whitney Houston, Johnny Maestro, Johnny Mathis, Bobby Rydell and Neil Sedaka. Frankly, there is no comparison.

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BARRY LEVINE: Davy Crockett bagged big bucks in the 1950s

THE OLD ROCKER: Four artists had Top 10 hits with same song

Bill Hayes’ Davy Crockett song was the biggest hit of 1955.

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BARRY LEVINE: 'Short Shorts' ignited career for Four Seasons' Bob Gaudio

THE OLD ROCKER: Bob Gaudio's time with Royal Teens included just two Top 40 hits

The Royal Teens were a New Jersey rock and roll band that formed in 1956, consisting of Bob Gaudio on piano, Tom Austin on drums, Billy Dalton on guitar, and Billy Crandall on sax.

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BARRY LEVINE: Fool make its way into song titles

THE OLD ROCKER: History of April Fools Day cloudy

To honor this unique celebration, here are some of my favorite songs with the word “fool” or a derivative of the word in the song’s title.

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BARRY LEVINE: Hamilton's song a major hit 10 years later

THE OLD ROCKER: Leesburg, Dawson natives connected by special date

March 16 had a major impact on the careers of two major local rock ‘n’ roll stars.

BARRY LEVINE: Sister groups often struggled during rock n roll era

OLD ROCKER: Many of the top sister groups were one-hit wonders

The Ronettes had one of the more successful runs of a sister group during the 1960s. Headed by lead singer Ronnie Bennett, the trio also consisted of Bennett’s sister, Estelle Bennett, and their cousin, Nedra Talley.

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BARRY LEVINE: Sister acts gained rock 'n' roll national prominence

THE OLD ROCKER: Boswell, Andrews, Fontane sisters featured

The Andrews Sisters charted an incredible 113 songs, 46 of which reached the Top 10. That’s more than Elvis Presley or The Beatles. Five of their songs reached the top of the charts.

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BARRY LEVINE: Add Sedaka, Maestro to the list of Hall of Fame talent

OLD ROCKER: Sedaka credited with writing more than 500 songs

Barry Manilow, one of the premier entertainers of the past 40 years, has announced that this is the last year that he will be touring.

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BARRY LEVINE: Gore's biggest hit was a race to the charts

THE OLD ROCKER: Great artists of the 1950s and 1960s dying

When her singing career waned, Gore turned to writing music.

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BARRY LEVINE: Checking into the background of Doo-Wop music

THE OLD ROCKER: The Orioles were first Doo-Wop group to gain national attention

When Bill Haley & The Comets ushered in the Modern Rock ‘n’ Roll Era in the summer of 1955, there were basically four different types of music in the new genre – rock, pop, Rhythm & Blues and Doo-Wop.

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BARRY LEVINE: A musical take on Valentine's Day

THE OLD ROCKER: Check out the romantic gifts from musicians

In 1962, Neil Sedaka recorded “Breaking Up Is Hard To Do,” which became his fifth Top 10 hit and first No. 1.

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BARRY LEVINE: Test yourself on rock 'n' roll tragic day

THE OLD ROCKER: Tuesday marks the 56th anniversary of crash that killed three stars

Feb. 3, 1959, is, arguably, the most-tragic day in rock ‘n’ roll history as three stars were killed in an airplane crash that also claimed the life of Roger Peterson, the pilot.

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BARRY LEVINE: Four more who should be in the Hall of Fame

OLD ROCKER: Rydell, Francis, Mathis and Houston overlooked by Hall of Fame

This column explains why Connie Francis, Whitney Houston, Johnny Mathis and Bobby Rydell deserve to be in the Hall of Fame.

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BARRY LEVINE: How can you leave these musicians out of the Hall of Fame?

OLD ROCKER: Nine performers bypassed unfairly

I guess Bon Jovi has not experienced enough success in more than 30 years to be enshrined.. Good enough for the Brits Hall, but not the U.S. Hall.

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BARRY LEVINE: Haley's song marked beginning of modern rock 'n' roll

THE OLD ROCKER: Haley had 11 Top 40 hits

What Bill Haley did accomplish was to bring rock n roll to the consciousness of the American public. While he never garnered the fame or popularity of Elvis Presley, he always will be known as The Father of Rock ‘n’ Roll.

BARRY LEVINE: Imagine Elvis at 80

OLD ROCKER: The Greatest was born 80 years ago

Elvis has had 150 different albums and singles that have been certified gold, platinum or multi-platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), with more certifications expected as research into his past record sales continues and as current sales continue.

BARRY LEVINE: Music, and the country, 60 years ago

OLD ROCKER: New year marks 60th anniversary of modern rock 'n' roll

The year 2015 will mark the 60th anniversary of the beginning of the modern rock ‘n’ roll era. You know, the time when your parents were totally convinced that this new music was going to drive you insane or send you off the deep end.

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BARRY LEVINE: What's your favorite Christmas song?

THE OLD ROCKER: Learn the story behind some of the youletide classic sounds

“Do You Hear What I Hear” by Ed Ames, formerly of the Ames Brothers, was written in October 1962, with lyrics by Noël Regney and music by Gloria Shayne Baker. They wrote it as a plea for peace during the Cuban Missile Crisis. It has sold tens of millions of copies and has been covered by hundreds of artists.

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BARRY LEVINE: No parole in sight for John Lennon's killer

OLD ROCKER: Ono continues battle to keep Mark Chapman in prison

Mark Chapman had previously revealed that he had a list of people he had mulled killing including Walter Cronkite, Johnny Carson, Marlon Brando and Jackie Kennedy Onassis, but that Lennon would be the easiest.

BARRY LEVINE: Nation has lost many talented singers in airplane crashes

THE OLD ROCKER: Otis Redding died just before his popularity spiked

Redding died just three days after recording “Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay” which became the only record to reach No. 1 after the performer died. It remained No. 1 for four weeks.

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PART 2: Dougherty County Jail officials work to reduce recidivism

This is the second part of a two-part series on Dougherty County Jail operations

Dougherty County Sheriff’s Office officials work to stop the revolving door of inmates who get in trouble and return to the facility.

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PART I: Dougherty County Jail director looks for ways to improve operations

This is the first in a two-part series about operations at the Dougherty County Jail.

As head of jail operations in Dougherty County, Col. John Ostrander has to be an administrative jack of many trades — security, business, food services, health care, communications, technology and public relations.

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BARRY LEVINE: This Top 10 list covers 'submarine' songs

THE OLD ROCKER: Turn back the clock to remember these songs

Love Me Tender was the only film in which Elvis Presley did not get top billing and was the only film he made where his character was killed on screen.

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BARRY LEVINE: Westerns were king in the late 1950s

THE OLD ROCKER: Going back to those days of yore when cowboys ruled the airwaves

Hopealong Cassidy and the Lone Ranger were pioneers for Westerns that dominated America’s airwaves in the late 1950s and into the ’60s.

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BARRY LEVINE: Running afowl of band name choices

THE OLD ROCKER: Bird names plentiful in music history

The most successful of the bird groups was the Eagles, who formed in 1971 in Los Angeles.

BARRY LEVINE: Listing the instrumental songs to hit No. 1 on the charts

THE OLD ROCKER: Acker Bilk had the nation's top hit in May 1962

“Stranger in the Night” was one of a plethora of instrumental songs to reach No. 1 from the start of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Era from the summer of 1955 through 1962.

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BARRY LEVINE: Hall of Fame of strange band names

THE OLD ROCKER: Nine bands with weird names still did well on the charts

Check nine band names we uncovered that are appreciably stranger then Foo Fighters. They all have one thing in common – they all had at least one Top 40 hit.

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BARRY LEVINE: Four Tops remained intact for 44 years

THE OLD ROCKER: Group members unchanged from 1953 until 1997

The four original members were Levi Stubbs, Lawrence Payton, Duke Fakir and Renaldo Benson.

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BARRY LEVINE: 'Monster Mash' surfaces at Halloween

THE OLD ROCKER: Bobby Boris Pickett co-wrote the song in two hours

The song was a spoof on several of the era’s dance crazes including “The Twist” by Chubby Checker and “Mashed Potato Time” by Dee Dee Sharp. “Monster Mash” featured several of Pickett’s impersonations of renowned Hollywood horror stars including Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff, who he also had used in his nightclub act.

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BARRY LEVINE: The times definitely were a-changing

THE OLD ROCKER: The changing morals of the nation reflected in changes to its music

Two of Bob Dylan’s early songs — “Blowin’ in the Wind” and “The Times They Are a-Changin’” — became anthems for the American civil rights and anti-Vietnam War movements.Dylan’s “The Times They Are a-Changin’” further expounded on this nation’s changing morals, especially as it pertained to early rock ‘n’ roll.

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BARRY LEVINE: Mills Brothers one of numerous brother acts to find success in the music business

THE OLD ROCKER: The Mills Brothers made more than 2,000 recordings

It started more than seven decades ago when the Mills Brothers, four siblings born near Dayton, Ohio, began to make their mark on the music world.

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BARYY LEVINE: Strange ways some musical groups got their names

THE OLD ROCKER: Beach Boys named without any input in selection process

The Platters tooks their name after the nickname used at that juncture for vinyl 45 records.

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BARRY LEVINE: Tragedy a constant companion for Jackie Wilson

THE OLD ROCKER: Singer suffered financially because of manager's misdeeds

After a funeral attended by more than 1,000 in his native Detroit, Jackie Wilson was buried in an unmarked grave in the Motor City. He was an estimated $300,000 in debt.

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BARRY LEVINE: Music tastes vary for Albanians

THE OLD ROCKER: Top picks range from the Stones to Tony Orlando

There’s one thing for certain about those of us who love rock ‘n’ roll. Our tastes vary as much in music as they do in food, clothes and TV programs. Preferences vary from Doo-Wop to Rockabilly to British Invasion to Motown.

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BARRY LEVINE: Some musical stars got their start on the screen

THE OLD ROCKER: Ricky Nelson had biggest advantage of any teen TV actor turned singer

Nelson, 16, introduced his first record, a cover of the Fats Domino hit “I’m Walkin’,“ on the TV show on April 10, 1957. The song quickly climbed to No. 4 on the charts. The flip side, “A Teenager’s Romance,” reached No. 2.

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BARRY LEVINE: British Invasion dominated music in the '60s

THE OLD ROCKER: Elite British musicians had staying power

When The Beatles came to America 50 years ago in 1964, there were 22 No. 1 hits during that year, nine of which were done by British Invaders. Six were by The Beatles and one each by Peter & Gordon, The Animals and Manfred Mann. They controlled the No. 1 slot for 25 weeks.

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BARRY LEVINE: Paul Anka's biggest hit motivated by early days on the road

THE OLD ROCKER: Paul Anka is still performing at age 73

Paul Anka penned such well-known music as the theme for “The Tonight Show” starring Johnny Carson, one of Tom Jones’ biggest hits, “She’s a Lady” and the English lyrics for Frank Sinatra’s signature song, “My Way.”

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BARRY LEVINE: Anniversary of Beatles' first film passed without fanfare

THE OLD ROCKER: The Beatles made its 'A Hard Day's Night' film 50 years ago

Called by Time magazine one of the best 100 films of the past 80 years, “A Hard Day’s Night” was nominated for two Academy Awards — Best Screenplay (Alun Owen) and Best Score Adaptation (George Martin).

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BARRY LEVINE: Video jukebox site the best for music from the 40s to the 90s

THE OLD ROCKER: Retired federal employee generates site with more than 3,500 songs

Christmas came five months early this year for the Old Rocker, thanks to an email from Don Picciotto, of Lee County, a lunch-buddy who forwarded absolutely the best site for music that I have ever used.

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Music died a second time with Elvis

Elvis Presley unofficially sold more than a billion records

“The King” impacted the American music scene until his untimely death at age 42.

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BARRY LEVINE: Boseman brilliant in portrayal of the Godfather of Soul

MOVIE REVIEW: Film jumps between significant incidents in James Brown's life

Dan Aykroyd gave a strong performance portraying Brown’s manager/adviser Ben Bart. Aykroyd and the real-life Brown appeared in two films together.

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BARRY LEVINE: Rockers play ‘The Name Game’

OLD ROCKER: Shirley Ellis has a hit with name game song

Rock stars played games with their names long before “The Name Game” reached the charts. It was not uncommon for performers to change their names for a variety of reasons.

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BARRY LEVINE: Sam Cooke a success even after death

THE OLD ROCKER: Sam Cooke among the greatest of all time

Of all the great rock ‘n’ rollers whose career began during the 1950s, one who has slipped under the radar is Sam Cooke.

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BARRY LEVINE: A rock quiz before schools reopen

OPINION: How well do you know your rock ‘n’ roll?

If you get all 10 of these multiple-choice questions correct, ask your guidance counsellor to place you in a rock ‘n’ roll honors class.