Monday, January 23, 2017
AccuRadio Song Of The Day-The String-A-Longs
Here's one of those songs that I'm sure you have heard since it was a top five hit in 1961. And most folks know nothing about the song or the group that recorded it. The String-A-Longs were from Plainview, TX. Guitarists Keith McCormack and Richard Stephens and bassist Aubrey de Cordova were high school classmates and they called themselves Patio Kids. McCormack's uncle was their manager. They added a third guitarist Jimmy Torres and changed their name to Rock 'n' Rollers. McCormack's mother paid for a recording session at Norman Petty's studio in Clovis, NM. Of course Petty was best known for producing Buddy Holly. They added drummer Don Allen and changed their name to The Leen Teens. McCormack was lead singer. They released a single on Imperial that went nowhere. When McCormack had trouble with his voice at one session, Petty suggested they record an instrumental. He also gave them the name The String-A-Longs. Petty licensed Wheels to Warwick Records and it reached #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1961. There has been some confusion about the songwriting credit as Warwick mixed them up on the single. Today the song is credited to Petty, Torres and Stephens. Apparently Wheels was a mix of two songs. It hardly mattered as Warwick went bankrupt to avoid paying recording royalties. They do get songwriting royalties. There have been many covers of Wheels, most notably by Billy Vaughn. The singles Brass Buttons and Should I also charted. And The String-A Longs moved to Dot Records and continued to record with little success. Ace has a deal with Petty's estate so all of the String-A-Longs' Petty recordings are on this CD. McCormack and Torres wrote the 1963 Jimmy Gilmer smash hit Sugar Shack. And in 1968 McCormack was a member of The Fireballs when they recorded as The String-A-Longs for Atco. One thing is for sure. Wheels is a memorable instrumental classic. Here's a video for Wheels by The String-A-Longs.