These posts are about the songs that can accurately claim to crossed the key line of chart success, becoming Top 40 hits on Billboard, but just barely. Every song featured in this series peaked at number 40.
Apt Records was started in the late nineteen-fifties as a subsidiary of ABC-Paramount, which itself is widely considered to be the first major label to be formed after the rock ‘n’ roll era truly got underway. Whether by design of happenstance, Apt Records stuck solely with singles, apparently releasing not one one full-length album during its eight years of existence. In that span, the label boasted only one major success, but it was especially significant. Apt snapped up “Little Star” by the Elegants after it was originally released on Hull Records and helped propel the song all the way to the top of the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Since the label never released anything else that even approached the stature of “Little Star,” it’s widely considered its only hit. But assuming that anything that hit the Top 40 qualifies for that term, Apt Records had at least one other release that qualified. In fact, by some accounts, it was the first single the label ever released.
There’s not much information out there about Bobby Hamilton, beyond the fact that his single “Crazy Eyes for You” peaked at #40 on the Billboard charts in 1958. Hamilton was seventeen-years-old when he recorded the track. Billboard praised him for “an impressive reading of a listenable rockaballad,” adding that he was “better than his material.” Beginning with a whistle and the announcement of the title affliction before lapsing into a mid-tempo trill typical of the era, although it’s enlivened somewhat by an appealingly flinty rockabilly guitar line that springs up now and again. Nice as his vocal performance is, Hamilton actually does sound about his age, which is in keeping with the parent label’s methodology of being one of the first music company’s to go aggressively after the teen market.
It’s unclear what Hamilton’s relationship was like with the label, but he was gone from their roster by the next year, recording for Diana Records and then Decca Records instead. Several years later, a Bobby Hamilton turns up as one of the singers with a group called the Choice Four, but I can’t say for certain that it’s the same person, even though the intuited particulars seem to match up. It’s not an incredibly unique name, after all. Regardless, that name has its place in the pop music history books, and a nice little song to go with it.
—“Just Like Heaven” by The Cure.
—“I’m in Love” by Evelyn King
—“Buy Me a Rose” by Kenny Rogers
—“Who’s Your Baby” by The Archies
—“Me and Bobby McGee” by Jerry Lee Lewis
—“Angel in Blue” by J. Geils Band
—“Crazy Downtown” by Allan Sherman
—“I’ve Seen All Good People” and “Rhythm of Love” by Yes
—“Naturally Stoned” by the Avant-Garde
—“Come See” by Major Lance
—“Your Old Standby” by Mary Wells
—“See the Lights” by Simple Minds
—“Watch Out For Lucy” by Eric Clapton
—“The Alvin Twist” by Alvin and the Chipmunks
—“Love Me Tender” by Percy Sledge
—“Jennifer Eccles” by the Hollies
—“Video Killed the Radio Star” by the Olympics
—“The Bounce” by the Olympics
—“Your One and Only Love” by Jackie Wilson
—“Tell Her She’s Lovely” by El Chicano
—“The Last Time I Made Love” by Joyce Kennedy and Jeffrey Osborne
—“Limbo Rock” by The Champs