The Top 50 Studio Acts of the 60’s

Show Title: Ghost Sessions

Show Time: View Schedule
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Nearly 4% of the records that charted pop during the 60’s were by studio acts that did not perform their recordings publicly. Now 4% is a small amount but out of a universe of 1,800 charting acts on the Billboard magazine “Hot 100,” it’s sufficient to put together what I hope you’ll find to be an interesting countdown show—“The Top 50 Ghost Acts of the 60’s.”

A “ghost act” is here defined as a recording act whose studio work was effectively masked by an assumed name on the charting single’s label and who didn’t promote that single by touring under the assumed name.

 Ghost acts recorded in a variety of guises:

  • Some chose not to compromise their established identities as performers (Eivets Rednow, Adrian Kimberly, Kokomo, the Wonder Who?).
  • Others opted for anonymity to pad their resumes as studio singers or musicians (The Cuff Links, Sagittarius, B. Bumble & the Stingers, the Butterflys).
  • Still others were studio sessioneers assembled by a producer for a one-off project (Max Frost & the Troopers, the Brass Ring, the Bob Crewe Generation, the San Remo Golden Strings, the Electric Indian).
  • And some were primarily songwriters or producers (or both) who preferred the studio over the stage (the Innocence, the Trade Winds, the Strangeloves, Ronny & the Daytonas, the New Vaudeville Band).

The studio acts have been identified, ranked and counted down.  Throughout the countdown, cloaks of anonymity are tugged to reveal the names behind the acts:

  • Producers Phil Bodner, Mike Curb, Don Everly, Bill Justis, Jerry Kasenetz-Jeff Katz, Al Kent-Bob Hamilton, Buddy Killen, Joe Saraceno, John Schroeder.
  • Songwriter/Producers Pete Anders-Vinny Poncia, Jeff Barry-Ellie Greenwich, Ross Bagdasarian, Terry Cashman-Tommy West, Bob Feldman-Jerry Goldstein-Richard Gottehrer, Terry Melcher, Paul Leka, Geoff Stephens, the Tokens, Gary Usher.
  • Session singers Glen Campbell, Ron Dante, Ellie Greenwich, Bruce Johnston, Anita Kerr, Joey Levine, Terry Melcher, Tony Orlando, Toni Wine.
  • Session musicians Hal Blaine, Red Callender, Glen Campbell, Rene Hall, Plas Johnson, Larry Knechtel, Earl Palmer, Richie Podolor, Tommy Tedesco and other members of The Wrecking Crew and also Ernie Freeman, the Funk Brothers, Chips Moman, Bobby Russell.
  • And other creative minds: Louie Bedell, Bernie Binnick, Buzz Cason, Johnny Cymbal, Roger Greenaway-Roger Cook, Tony MacAuley, Gary Paxton, Willie “Piano Red” Perryman, Artie Resnick, Tupper Saussey, Chip Taylor, Frankie Valli, John “Bunky” Wilkins and Jimmy Wisner.

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A. One-hit Acts: 20
     1. No. 41-100: 9
     2. No. 1-40: 11 (One-hit Wonders)
         a. No. 21-40: 3
         b. No. 11-20: 4
         c. No. 2-10: 3
         d. No. 1: 1
B. Multi-hit Acts: 30
     1. No. 41-100: 4 (2 songs for each)
     2. No. 1-40: 17 (One-hit Wonders)
         a. No. 21-40: 4
         b. No. 11-20: 6
         c. No. 2-10: 5
         d. No. 1: 2
     3. No. 1-40: 9 (Highest charting song)
         a. No. 21-40: 3
         b. No. 11-20: 1
         c. No. 2-10: 4
         d. No. 1: 1

A little more trivia about these acts:

  • 28 were One-hit Wonders.
  • 16 were instrumental acts.
  • Only 8 out of 50 placed two or more songs in the national weekly Top 40.
  • Only 4 out of 50 peaked higher the second time around.

The cutoff to qualify for the Top 50 Ghost Acts: Act No. 1322 from the playbook, Ranking the ’60s.  To view sample pages from Ranking the ’60s, click on the flipbook below.  If you like what you see, an Add to Cart button is provided for eBook purchase and download.  RT60s with an added 50-page song title index is also available for purchase in print at Amazon.  

Preview this countdown.

Enjoy the show!

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