The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

11 November 2005

Bread without no meat

Johnny Tanner has died. The last surviving original member of the seminal R&B group The "5" Royales — despite the name, often a six-man group, hence the quotation marks — Tanner sang lead on dozens of records, though his brother Eugene took the lead on perhaps their best-known crossover hit, 1958's "Dedicated to the One I Love," later covered to brilliant effect by the Shirelles.

The Royales' breakthrough record was "Baby Don't Do It," recorded for Apollo Records in late 1952; it spent three weeks on top of the R&B charts in the spring of 1953. Like most of the Royales' hits, it was written by guitarist (and bass vocal) Lowman Pauling, who died in 1973.

After leaving the Royales in 1963, Tanner returned to his gospel roots, and stayed there for the rest of his life. It was bone cancer that finally felled him this past Tuesday, at age 78, in the group's hometown of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, where there's a Five Royales Drive at the north end of Main Street.

Posted at 6:07 PM to Tongue and Groove


There is a site somewhere that will tell you for simply inputting your birthdate what the number one song was the day you were born. Same site though says that Pop charts were not kept until 1955 so if you were born prior to that it gives you the one from the British charts. Is that true? You mention a previous chart.

Posted by: ms7168 at 12:39 PM on 12 November 2005

Well, the Billboard Hot 100 chart as we know it was not invented until 1958; there were four different charts introduced in 1955, which were eventually consolidated. It is these charts which power those Web sites.

But their first chart dates back to 1940, though it listed only 10 songs, and the size fluctuated from 10 to 30 before the 1955 overhaul. They started an R&B chart in 1942 (I think), which is what is quoted here. You'll need a whole shelf of Joel Whitburn books to have all the hits covered.

My own tools go back to the end of 1949, so if you have a date in mind between 1950 and 1954, I can probably look it up here.

Posted by: CGHill at 12:45 PM on 12 November 2005

April 26, 1953

Posted by: ms7168 at 11:33 PM on 12 November 2005

Be prepared to be appalled.

Patti Page's straight-faced (I think) reading of "How Much Is That Doggie in the Window?" (Mercury 70070) made #1 on the 21st of March and stayed there for eight weeks, eventually bumped by Percy Faith's "The Song from Moulin Rouge" (vocal halfway through by Felicia Sanders).

Posted by: CGHill at 11:43 PM on 12 November 2005

Oh my. Of course as you've already surmised that is my birthdate.

Posted by: ms7168 at 11:34 AM on 13 November 2005