Saturday, April 18, 2015

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-The Lettermen

Artist:The Lettermen
Song:Goin' Out Of My Head/Can't Take My Eyes Off You
Album:Capitol Collectors Series

The vocal group The Lettermen have been around since the late 50s and had some chart success in the 60s. This medley of Goin' Out Of My Head and Can't Take My Eyes Off You was a top ten pop hit in 1967. That might seem odd in the midst of psychedelia but there were radio stations that preferred this kind of sound. The leader of The Lettermen is Tony Butala. He was born Nov. 20, 1940 in Sharon, PA. As a child, Butala sang on a Pittsburgh radio station. Then his family moved to Los Angeles and Butala appeared in films like Peter Pan and White Christmas until his voice changed. He became assistant music director of the Robert Mitchell Boys Choir. In the late 50s he wanted to form a vocal group. His first group The Fourmost included Connie Stevens. Then he formed The Lettermen and they were hired to impersonate The Rhythm Boys in a Vegas revue. The original group didn't work out. But then Butala met Jim Pike and Jim Engemann who sang together while attending Brigham Young University. Engemann's older brother Karl Engemann was a record producer at Warner Bros. The Lettermen recorded a couple of singles and then went with Engemann when he left Warners for Capitol in 1961. They had immediate success when When I Fall In Love reached #7 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1961. It also topped the easy listening charts. And it's that easy listening market that has sustained The Lettermen for many years. That and concerts because their harmonies are real, not studio enhanced. And The Lettermen didn't write songs. They recorded strictly covers. Engemann was replaced by Jim Pike's brother Gary Pike in 1967. They continued to have success mostly as an album artist until Goin' Out Of My Head/Can't Take My Eyes Off You reached #7 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1967. This first appeared on the 1967 album The Lettermen!!...And Live and then after it was a hit, the single was added to an album that was retitled Goin' Out Of My Head. Of course Goin' Out Of My Head was a Little Anthony & The Imperials hit and Can't Take My Eyes OfF You was a Four Seasons hit. The combination of the two was only to be performed live. They never intended to record it but it was on the live album. The Lettermen recorded for Capitol until 1973. You can get all their hits on this budget comp. Jim Pike left The Lettermen in 1976 and sold the name to Butala. Butala still leads a version of The Lettermen today and Jim and Gary Pike have a similar group called Reunion. So there is still demand for smooth vocal groups that aren't too challenging to listen to. It's not my kind of music but there ya go. Here are The Lettermen performing Goin' Out Of My Head/Can't Take My Eyes Off You on The Hollywood Palace 1968 followed by a separate clip of Never My Love.

1 comment:

  1. I know its not your kind of music Frank, but I just love this kind of easy listening music. Its the music I grew up with and my parents used to listen to a lot. I picked up the love of this music from them.