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Barry Levine

Stories by Barry

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BARRY LEVINE: One-hit wonders who reach the top are rare

Patty Page's brother is among those achieving the feat

Here are five of the early No. 1 one-hit wonders whose careers were for the birds.

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BARRY LEVINE: Mailbag full with Hall of Fame responses

OLD ROCKER: Most favor inclusion of pop stars

Earlier this month, I wrote a column about my disgust with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 2016 nominations. Of the 94 who posted comments on the column, an overwhelming majority voiced their displeasure with the exclusion of Paul Anka, Frankie Avalon, Chubby Checker, Connie Francis, Johnny Maestro, Johnny Mathis, Bobby Rydell and Neil Sedaka who we wrote deserve Hall of Fame recognition.

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BARRY LEVINE: Three Dog Night featured three lead singers

THE OLD ROCKER: Group topped the country in hits and sales from 1969 to 1974

Cory Wells, co-founder of the immensely popular 1970s rock band Three Dog Night died on Oct. 21 in his hometown of Buffalo, N.Y. Wells had been fighting cancer.

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BARRY LEVINE: Once again, Rock Hall of Fame misses the mark

THE OLD ROCKER: Many pre-Beatles performers ignored by Hall

Do you think rock ‘n’ roll would be the same without the contributions of Paul Anka, Frankie Avalon, Chubby Checker, Connie Francis, Johnny Maestro, Johnny Mathis, Bobby Rydell and Neil Sedaka?

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BARRY LEVINE: Georgia popular title in hit songs

THE OLD ROCKER: New Orleans also popular with songwriters

Ray Charles’ “Georgia on My Mind,” the official state song, was No. 1 for two weeks in November1960 and was his first chart topper. The Albany native had 33 other Top 40 hits including two that reached the top – “Hit the Road Jack” in 1961 and “I Can’t Stop Loving You” in 1962.

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BARRY LEVINE: Thumbs Up to Gray for honoring singer Otis Redding

OLD ROCKER: Dawson gets poor marks for neveral honoring native son Otis Redding

Thumbs Up to the early stars of rock ‘n’ roll such as Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis, Fats Domino, Frankie Avalon, Bobby Rydell, Fabian, Charlie Gracie Johnny Mathis and Chubby Checker, among others, who keep performing, not so much for the almighty dollar, but to give their fans of all ages the opportunity to see them perform just one more time.

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BARRY LEVINE: Anti-rock stance hurt Mitch Miller

OLD ROCKER: Miller passed on Elvis, Buddy Holly, Beatles

In 1956 Mitch Miller hosted a panel discussion show on CBS-TV on which he had two psychiatrists who warned parents about the “negative effects” rock music had on teenagers and gave a list of “signs” to watch out for.

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BARRY LEVINE: Singers used television shows to advance their songs

Ricky Nelson first to promote his records on the shows

The trend started in 1957 when Ricky Nelson became the first teen idol to utilize television shows to promote hit records when he sang “I’m Walkin’ ” on “The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet.”

BARRY LEVINE: Doo-Wop quizzes rate high with readers

OLD ROCKER: Send in questions for future columns

If you have a favorite Doo-Wop trivia question, please email it to me along with your name and telephone number so that I can use in a future column.

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BARRY LEVINE: Some band names came down strange road

THE OLD ROCKER: For wild band names, few outdo The Trashmen

A rock-garage band, The Trashmen had one major hit “Surfin’ Bird” which reached No. 4 in 1964. The song was a combination of two 1962 songs by the Doo-Wop group The Rivingtons – “Papa-Oom-Mow-Mow” and “The Bird’s the Word.”

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BARRY LEVINE: Jim Croce at top of his profession at time of fatal plane crash

THE OLD ROCKER: Singer was weary of time on the road

Jim Croce joined a list of singers killed in aircraft accidents, including Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and The Big Bopper in 1959; Patsy Cline in 1963; Jim Reeves in 1964, and Dawson’s Otis Redding in 1967.

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BARRY LEVINE: Charlie Gracie on outside looking in at Rock Hall of Fame

THE OLD ROCKER: Gracie says financial dispute led to his being blackballed

During his more than six-decade career as a rock ‘n’ roll performer, the guitar-strumming Charlie Gracie probably has done everything in the industry but drive the tour bus.

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BARRY LEVINE: Nice to be first in the music world

THE OLD ROCKER: Williams ranked No. 1 among piano recording artists

Renowned pianist Roger Williams earned that honor. He recorded an instrumental version of “Autumn Leaves” in 1955. The song climbed to No. 1 in October of that year to become the first instrumental in the rock era to top the Billboard magazine charts.

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BARRY LEVINE: Female musical artists hitting record-setting pace

OLD ROCKERS: Elvis and the Fab Four are getting some company

The current records are inundated with female superstars during the past 25 years, including Mariah Carey, Madonna, Rihanna, Whitney Houston and Katy Perry.

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BARRY LEVINE: Albany residents pick their favorite Elvis song

OLD ROCKER: Where were you when Elvis died 38 years ago?

Elvis Presley recorded approximately 700 songs on 45s and albums and had a then-record 18 No. 1 hits. He also appeared in 33 movies. The Beatles hold the record with 20 No. 1 hits, two more than Presley and Mariah Carey.

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BARRY LEVINE: Somerville had long, successful career

THE OLD ROCKER: Diamonds' version of 'The Stroll' a No. 1 hit

Nicknamed Diamond Dave, Dave Somerville performed with a variety of acts and had a full schedule until his death.

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BARRY LEVINE: Old Rocker: Aug. 2, 2015

OLD ROCKER: Mammals, bird, reptiles, insects have their day on charts

Of all the words in the titles of rock ‘n’ roll songs during the modern era’s first decade, most were focused on love and relationships and good times. On the opposite end, few titles referred to mammals, birds, reptiles and insects.

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BARRY LEVINE: One quick quiz before school starts

OLD ROCKER: Check your knowledge of No. hits in the 1050s

The Isley Brothers recorded their second single, “Shout,” on July 29, 1959. The song did not achieve great chart success, but would sell more than 1 million copies and became a rock classic.

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BARRY LEVINE: Songs set the moods on the silver screen

THE OLD ROCKER: Tunes in films make them more memorable

From “West Side Story”and “My Fair Lady” to “Grease” and “Ghost,” big screen entertainment wouldn’t be the same without a memorable soundtrack.

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BARRY LEVINE: Favorite list of songs from Broadway shows

OLD ROCKER: Broadway shows, movies fertile ground for great songs

Day sang “Que Sera Sera” near the end of the film as she and her husband tried to find her son who had been kidnapped. The song climbed to No. 2 in the summer of 1956 and won an Oscar.

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BARRY LEVINE: Happy 60th birthday rock n roll

OLD ROCKER: Bill Haley’s hit song credits as the first rock n roll song

During the 1970s, Bill Haley fell victim to alcoholism and died on Feb. 9, 1981, at his home in Harlingen, Texas.

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BARRY LEVINE: Weavers had huge impact on folk music revival

THE OLD ROCKER: With passing of Ronnie Gilbert, only one member of The Weavers is still alive

Even after splitting up during the 1950s Red Scare, The Weavers got back together in the mid-’50s and found they still had an audience, influing later folk singers.

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BARRY LEVINE: The story of Linda Hoffman 1 and Linda Hoffman 2

THE OLD ROCKER: A Bobby Rydell story strange even by Hollywood standards

Bobby Rydell, a teen idol, actor, author and stage performer, got married on Jan. 17, 2009, to Linda Hoffman. It was the second marriage for both.

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BARRY LEVINE: Rydell's career successful in many endeavors

OLD ROCKER: Rydell's been a teen idol, actor, author and stage performer

In July 2012, Bobby Rydell underwent a 20-hour double-transplant procedure to replace his liver and a kidney? Incredibly, he was released from a Philadelphia hospital 10 days following the surgery and six months later was performing in Las Vegas.

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BARRY LEVINE: Summer deeply imbedded in rock song titles

OLD ROCKER: Frank Sinatra's 1966 hits tops the list

No list would be complete without one song by a British act and Chad & Jeremy’s “A Summer Song” qualifies. The song was written by Chad Stewart of Chad and Jeremy. “A Summer Song” is a reminiscence of a summer romance and was a Top 10 hit for the duo in 1964.

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BARRY LEVINE: Four events crushed rock n roll in the early stages

OLD ROCKER: Teen musicians from Philadelphia came to the rescue

Philadelphia developed into a mecca for rock and roll as more than 80 performers from the city have had at least one Top 40 hit.

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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.