Jerry House, Jeff Meyerson, and many other commentators on this blog love the music of the 1960s. When I stumbled across this CD in a Salvation Army thrift store, I realized I hadn’t heard some of these songs for decades. Yes, included on this compilation disc are very familiar songs like Leslie Gore’s “It’s My Party” and The Platter’s “Red Sails in the Sunset.” But, when’s the last time you listened to “Give Him a Great Big Kiss” by The Shangri-las? Or The Secrets’ “The Boy Next Door.” How many of these songs do you remember?

The only song I remember from one of the Proms I attended was “The Look of Love” which is a great Slow Dance song. Do you remember your Prom? GRADE: B+


It’s My Party

Wally Gold / John Gluck Jr. / Herb Weiner / Herbert Weiner
Lesley Gore
George Fischoff / Tony Powers
3When the Boy in Your Arms (Is the Boy in Your Heart)
Roy Bennett / Sid Tepper
Connie FrancisAmazon
4What’s the Use of Breaking Up?
Theresa Bell / Thom Bell / Jerry Butler / Kenny Gamble
Jerry ButlerAmazon
5Rhapsody in the Rain 
Lou Christie / Twyla Herbert
Lou ChristieAmazon
6Young Lovers
Ray Hildebrand / Jill “Paula” Jackson
Paul & PaulaAmazon
7Hey! Baby
J.J. Cale / Bruce Channel / Margaret Cobb
Bruce ChannelAmazon
8Little Bitty Pretty One
Robert Byrd / Johnny Colla / Bill Gibson / Chris Hayes / Sean Hopper / Huey Lewis / Professor Longhair
Clyde McPhatterAmazon
9The Boy Next Door
John Madara / David White
The SecretsAmazon
10Red Sails in the Sunset
Jimmy Kennedy / Hugh Williams / Tony Williams
The PlattersAmazon
11Give Him a Great Big Kiss 
George “Shadow” Morton
The Shangri-LasAmazon
12Fools Rush In
Rube Bloom / Johnny Mercer
Brook Benton

36 thoughts on “PROM NIGHT: THE 60s

  1. Steve Oerkfitz

    Maybe the very early 60’s. I graduated in 1966 and nobody was playing any of these songs at the prom. We had mostly music from British invasion bands, the Beach Boys and Motown. Brook Benton, Connie Francis and The Platters? Nobody listened to that. The only song here after the Beatles broke was the horrid 98.6 by Keith. The only decent song here is Give Him A Great Big Kiss. I give this an F. And yes I know all these songs. Some I haven’t heard in years for good reason.

  2. wolf

    Proms are unknown in Germany but in 1960/1961 we had dancing lessons, starting with German folk dance and later waltz, tango, samba and even some rock.
    I vaguely remember the last three songs here and some names but at home and on parties we would listen to songs from the AFN (soldiers radio) and then of course the British invasion – wonderful!
    A bit OT:s
    After our dancing lessons we sometimes had a party in the backroom of a restaurant and I sometimes was the DJ. because I wasn’t so interested in dancing.
    I still remember the others’ faces after I started “Take five” as they were trying to decipher that rhythm and how to dance to it …

  3. Michael Padgett

    I remember maybe five of these, with “It’s My Party” being the most familiar. “Red Sails in the Sunset” and “Fools Rush In” are almost standards, but I don’t specifically recall the versions listed even though I remember both Brook Benton and, of course, The Platters. Connie Francis was everywhere during this period but I don’t remember her song. Just one song I really liked could move this from an F to a D-, but I can’t find one.

    1. Jeff Meyerson

      Jackie would probably want me to mention that her crush Ricky Nelson did a souped up version of “Fools Rush In” in 1963.

      1. george Post author

        Jeff, I actually own a CD with Ricky Nelson’s souped up version of “Fools Rush In” around here somewhere.

      2. george Post author

        Maggie, my sisters were ga-ga over Ricky Nelson back in the early 1960s. They listened to RICK TURNS 21 constantly!

    2. george Post author

      Michael, I suspect some of these songs might have been played at Proms in the early 1960s. By the time my Prom rolled around in 1967, most of these songs were consider “Oldies.”

  4. Patti Abbott

    I have the feeling I would know more if I heard them rather than just saw the title and artist.

  5. Jeff Meyerson

    My junior high school was next door to an elementary school and they shared a very large schoolyard. That was where they held the prom (in 1962!), which I did go to (no date, needless to say). The #1 song all that June was “I Can’t Stop Loving You” by Ray Charles. Three years later, I cannot even say for sure if my high school had a prom. I think so, but I definitely didn’t go.

    As for this collection, it is definitely odd. There are obvious choices (It’s My Party stands out), but some real head-scratchers. No “Hey Paula” but “Young Lovers” by Paul and Paula? I don’t know it. Since we have Girl Groups CDs as well as the ShangriLas’ Greatest Hits, we listen to “Give Him a Great Big Kiss” all the time. It’s a big favorite of Jackie’s. (“Is he a good dancer?” “Whatta ya mean, is he a good dancer?” “How does he dance?” “Close. Very, Very Close.”) I don’t know #3 or 4 or 9.

    Other trivia. It’s well known now that Delbert McClinton played the harmonica part on Bruce Channel’s “Hey! Baby.” It’s a classic. “Little Bitty Pretty One” was written and performed by Bobby Day, but the big hit was by Thurston Harris. McPhatter covered it five years later (1962). And lastly, I remember Cap’n Bob’s attack on Keith when the latter got arrested for draft evasion while on a concert tour.

    1. maggie mason

      did Napier ever rant about #45 being a multiple draft dodger?? (many exemptions for bone spurs)

  6. Deb

    Looks like someone got the rights to a bunch of 1960s songs, threw them in a blender, and issued the results. “Hey Baby” is my favorite song here. But the idea that the same prom that would play that song would also play “Rhapsody in the Rain” is nonsensical.

  7. Jeff Meyerson

    Jackie dug out a 2 CD compilation from Universal Music (in 2000) called PROM NIGHT FAVORITES.

    Disc One – Earth Angel (Will You Be Mine) – Penguins
    I Can Dream, Can’t I? – The Andrews Sisters
    Sh-Boom (Life Could Be a Dream) – Crew Cuts
    Unchained Melody – Al Hibbler
    Sugartime – The McGuire Sisters
    The Stroll – The Diamonds
    Sea of Love – Phil Phillips (and the Twilights)
    Young Love – Tab Hunter
    Teen Angel – Mark Dinning (“I’ll never kiss your lips again…they buried you today.” A classic
    It’s All In the Game – Tommy Edwards (only #1 song EVER co-written by a former Vice President of the U.S. You could look it up. A favorite of mine.)
    Who’s Sorry Now – Connie Francis (“DO you know the Rainbow Motel on Old Mill Road?”)
    It’s Just a Matter of Time – Brook Benton
    The Tennessee Waltz – Patti Page (I hate Patti Page)
    My Prayer – The Platters

    Disc Two:
    It’s My Party – Lesley Gore
    Where the Boys Are – Connie Francis
    I’m Sorry – Brenda Lee
    Sealed With a Kiss – Brian Hyland
    Our Day Will Come – Ruby & The Romantics
    (You’re My) Soul and Inspiration – The Righteous Brothers
    Navy Blue – Diane Renay (“‘Cause my steady boy said ‘Ship Ahoy’ and joined the Na-aa-vy.”)
    The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore – Walker Brothers (who weren’t brothers, or named Walker)
    Baby Love – The Supremes
    I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch) – The Four Tops
    You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me – Dusty Springfield
    A Groovy Kind of Love – The Mindbenders

    1. george Post author

      Jeff, I really like the songs on DISC TWO of PROM NIGHT FAVORITES especially (You’re My) Soul and Inspiration by The Righteous Brothers. And who can ever forget Ruby & The Romantics’ “Our Day Will Come.”

    2. Jerry House

      Jeff, I looked up who co-wrote IT’S ALL IN THE GAME. I was hoping it was Spiro Agnew but I was wrong (as I usually am).

  8. Jeff Meyerson

    OK, one more. Summer of 1962, I had my first girlfriend (whose name will remain private to protect the innocent) in camp that year. At the end of the summer, they had a sort of semi-formal dance on the lawn. People got dresses and jackets and ties. The song I remember dancing to was “Sealed With a Kiss.”

    Did you know that when Brian Hyland had his first big hit two years earlier with “Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka Dot Bikini” he was only 16?

    1. george Post author

      Jeff, I remember “Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka Dot Bikini” being played constantly on my transistor radio! Plenty of Rock & Roll singers were teenagers in the Sixties. Carole King and Paul Simon wrote hits at the Brill Building after they came home from school.

  9. Michael Padgett

    Jackie’s compilation is much, much better. Nearly all the songs are familiar and I even like a few of them.

  10. maggie mason

    I like Jackie’s compilation better. I remember few of prom night of the 60’s (by title, might be familiar if I heard them)

    When I graduated (67) it was either surf music, british invasion, or motown

  11. Fred Blosser

    At this late date I hardly remember Prom Night ’68 (aging memory cells, not the contemporary effects of anything imbibed at the dance). But to the extent I do, I believe the music was mostly ’65-’67, Motown, Beach Boys, etc., much like Maggie’s and Steve’s. “Rhapsody in the Rain” ran afoul of the Family Values gestapo in 1966. After the initial pressing in which Lou sang, “And in this car / Our love went much too far,” the lyric was yanked and replaced with “And in this car / Love came like a falling star.”

  12. Beth Fedyn

    I never went to any proms – or dances for that matter – but I recognize and enjoy a lot of these songs.
    I was in high school in the late 1960s. My crowd was more likely to be gathered around a bong than a punchbowl.
    My senior year the principal called a special assembly for my class and yelled at us because nobody was buying prom tickets.

    1. george Post author

      Beth, today Proms are a Big Business: rented limos, hotel rooms, videos, etc. And asking a girl to a Prom borders on the elaboration of a marriage proposal.

  13. Jerry House

    I have blocked my Senior Prom from my memory, mainly because I was a complete dork. As a semi-dork now I remain embarrassed of the amazing amount of dorkicity there was to my dorkiness. I pity my date.

    1. george Post author

      Jerry, I was a dork back in the Sixties, too. But I went to two Proms (and was surprised each time when the girl I asked said, “Yes”). And, this Coronavirus Stay-At-Home order has really brought out my dorkiness in spades!

  14. Rick Robinson

    The 1963 Senior Prom at Lowell High School In Southern California featured almost all surf music and Motown. So, songs of Beach Boys, Dick Dale and the Deltones, the Surfaris, plus the usual Motown hits. Though The Beatles were on the radio with I Want To Hold Your Hand, there weren’t any of their songs played. At the same time, Dick Dale was playing at the Avalon Ballroom in Anaheim, and it was a hard choice which to do. I left the prom early, changed from jacket & tie to Alpaca sweater (they were “in” at the time) a caught Dale’s second show, dancing to Misserlou, Surf Walk, and other favorites. A great night.

    The songs on that CD Jackie found is much better picture of the period.

    1. george Post author

      Rick, sounds like your Prom had better music than my Prom. I agree with you on Jackie’s PROM double CD. Much better songs than the ones on mine.

  15. wolf

    Seems I’m a lot older than you – in the 60s we only listened to “Real Rock&Roll” like the Rolling Stones, Johnny Winter, Blind Faith, Cream, Traffic …
    Then of course Bob Dylan etc, Simon and Garfunkel, …
    One of the exceptions was Ray Charles. I might have told this already:
    The first record I ever bought from my pocket money before I went to university in 1962:
    What’d I say part one and two

    1. george Post author

      Wolf, the bands that played PROMs back in the 1960s had one foot in the music of the 1950s and the other foot in contemporary music like Motown and girl groups.


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