Saturday, January 14, 2012
Linda Laurie was born Linda Maxine Gertz on 26 May 1941 in Brooklyn, New York. She made her first record, Sun Glasses by The Shades Featuring The Knott Sisters, with her friend Linda Yellin when she was just 17 years old and the two were still attending Abraham Lincoln High School. It was issued on Big Top 3003 in 1958. The flip side is Undivided Attention simply credited to The Knott Sisters.
Linda Laurie is one of several artists who made a bunch of great Teener records, but never got on the charts with any of them. That's not to say she never made a chart record, however. The second record she ever made, and the first one to bear her name as the artist, reached #52 on Billboard's Hot 100 in March 1959. It was a bizarre novelty record that she made in 1958 on Glory Records, then personally shopped it around to radio stations. It got a lot of airplay on the East Coast, particularly in the New York City and Philadelphia areas. To say this record was strange would be an understatement. It's a spoken-novelty record with heavy Brooklyn accents. It features Linda Laurie as a girl walking through a dark subway tunnel with her boyfriend, Ambrose, an almost perverted-sounding older guy whose deep voice was also done by Linda! Although it was tagged "Part Five" there were never any earlier versions.
Here's Ambrose (Part Five) by Linda Laurie on Glory 290 from 1959:
It was so unusual that it landed her a guest appearance on To Tell The Truth on 10 February 1959 where two of the four panelists managed to guess her identity.
Over the next five years, Linda lived in New York and made several more records, mostly Teener and Novelty records. Although she never hit the charts again with her own material, her records have become very popular with collectors.
Today's New Oldie is the flip side of a collector favorite called Prince Charming. This one is about a frustrated young girl whose boyfriend seems to like working on his car more than spending time with her.
Here's Soupin' Up Your Motor by Linda Laurie on Rust 5022 from 1961:
Here's the A-side of that single, Prince Charming by Linda Laurie:
Linda also cut some records to follow-up her only chart hit. They include Forever Ambrose and Return Of Ambrose. There was even a record about Ambrose made by another group, Jimmy And The Valentines on Cub 9024 in 1959. It was called Just Keep Walkin' by Ambrose. Linda also made one of my favorite Answer Songs when she cut Stay-At-Home Sue, a response to Dion's Runaround Sue.
Linda Laurie relocated to the West Coast and started writing songs for other artists such as Bobby Vinton, Sonny And Cher, Frank and Nancy Sinatra, and Love Unlimited. Her biggest claim to fame came when a song she wrote and recorded herself got covered by Helen Reddy and became a #3 chart hit in 1973. That song was Leave Me Alone (Ruby Red Dress), and I play Linda's version as one of the many Original Versions of Hits you'll hear on MusicMaster Oldies. Linda also wrote the theme music for the Saturday morning show, Land Of The Lost, which was later used in the 2009 movie version starring Will Farrell. It was even covered by Everclear. I Did It For Love, the disco song she wrote for Love Unlimited in 1977, was sampled on several hip hop songs in the 1990's, like It's All About The Benjamins by Puff Daddy (on an extended remix for DJ Clue's Holiday Holdup mix tape in 1996), Money In The Bank by Swizz Beats, Miss You by Mariah Carey, and The Gang by Shyne.
Linda Laurie became Executive Director for Theatre Of Life For Children, an community-based organization dedicated to providing multi-cultural access to performing arts for children. She was diagnosed with cancer and passed away at the age of 68 on 20 November 2009 in Santa Barbara, California.
Posted by joeknapp at 11:49 AM