As the 1950s faded into the 1960s, Warner Bros. was messing around with the concept of synergy: they’d hired actress Connie Stevens for their TV series Hawaiian Eye, but they figured they could get even more mileage out of her at their nascent record company. Accordingly, they paired her up with then-cult hero Edd “Kookie” Byrnes from WB’s 77 Sunset Strip, with the following results:
Never was quite sure what Kookie meant by “You’re the ginchiest,” but surely Connie had no shortage of ginch:
The next year, Stevens got a solo hit — #3 in Billboard, one notch higher than the Kookie track — with the teen-dream ballad “Sixteen Reasons.”
She would continue to score low-charting items through 1965, but her best record might have been “Keep Growing Strong,” which failed to catch fire in 1970:
Producer/cowriter Thom Bell, however, knew this song could be a hit, and a couple of years later it would be, with an established soul group and a new title.