Tuesday, March 6, 2012
Death sells. Well, at least it helped sell a bunch of records in the 1950's and 1960's. There are some classic teenage tragedy songs from that era such as Teen Angel, Tell Laura I Love Her, and Leader Of The Pack. But for each successful death record there must have been dozens of others that died before they had a chance to grow old. Sorry ;-)
All I know about Howard Davis is that he was from Dayton, Ohio and used to play at a bar called the Melody Pine Tavern on the corner of Richard Street and Pritz Avenue back in the early 1960's. The Cincinnati-based Ark record label was owned by Roy Shepard and Bob Lanham and was best known for producing Country-flavored Gospel records. There were only a few exceptions, and this is one of them.
There are so many different ways to get yourself killed at an early age that it's a wonder any of us lived through our teen years. I'll bet there's at least one song for every conceivable cause of accidental death. This is one of the most unusual I've heard, and also one of the most depressing. It's also a pretty good example of the Teener style that has become really popular with many collectors. Howard first cut a version of this song in 1962 on Dixie 1000 under the name Howard And The Darts.
Here is Lightning by Howard Davis on Ark 251 from 1963:
I'll go back to this theme again over the coming weeks with more songs that feature really unusual ways for a teenager to buy it, each one written into a song in an attempt to get a teenager to buy it. Sorry again. When you need some cheering up, there were plenty of happy songs to offset the depressing ones, and you'll hear them all on MusicMaster Oldies.
Posted by joeknapp at 3:56 AM