Thursday, April 18, 2013

New Oldies - Tonight I'm Telling You by Keith Colley

Here's another really nice Teener that recalls a time when life was less complicated and teenagers fell in love and got married after they discovered the joys of going steady and making out in the back seat of cars parked under the summer moon.

Not very much is known about Keith Colley except that he was born Jarrell Keith Colley in Connell, Washington in 1941. After being raised on a wheat farm near Spokane, Keith attended the University of Washington. While still attending college, he went down to a radio station in town and recorded a cover of Dion's 1959 hit, A Teenager In Love and they played it on the air. A guy named Jerry Dennon heard the song and tracked Keith down to offer him a recording contract with his company, Jerden Records.

His contract was transferred to Era Records where he cut three singles:

Era 3054 1961 It's Nice Out Tonight / Zing Went The Strings
Era 3067 1962 Put Em Down / (And Her Name Is) Scarlet
Era 3068 1962 The Number / Someone To Take Your Place

Keith then moved on to Unical Records where he recorded Heartbreaker USA on Unical 3004 in 1962, which was only released as a promo with the same song on both sides.

His next record would finally land him on the national charts. However, rumor has it that the lyrics he wrote were so bad, the record producer decided to translate them to Spanish. The result was Enamorado, which means "in love." The song was released on Unical 3006 in 1963 and climbed to #66 on Billboard's Hot 100. It did much better regionally, peaking at #19 on 1050 CHUM-AM in Toronto and #16 on the Silver Dollar Survey from WLS-AM in Chicago. The song was reissued in 1968 on White Whale 311.

Here's Enamorado by Keith Colley on Unical 3006 from 1963:

Here's the flip side, a song called No-Joke:

Keith followed this up with a very similar song called Queridita Mia (Little Darlin') on Unical 3011 in 1963, which only managed to appear on Billboard's Bubbling Under chart for one week at #122. The flip side was a tune called Ramblin' Bee. He had just one more release on Unical 3013 in 1963 with Aladdin / Cuando La Luna.

Apparently, Keith cut a record just after leaving Unical on JAF 2502 in in 1963 called Discover A Lover / The Puppet, but I've been unable to locate this record, or even find anyone with a recording of either side! Do you have one to share?

After one more single on Vee-Jay 682 in 1965 called Welcome Home Baby / Billy Girl, Keith moved on to the Challenge label, the company where he would end up working as a record executive, composer, and promoter. Today's New Oldie was his first release on that label.

Here's Tonight I'm Telling You by Keith Colley on Challenge 59334 from 1966:

The flip side was a tune called Up Off My Knees. A couple years after Keith released this record, he put out his last single on the Columbia label. This was the ORIGINAL version of the song that would later become a #29 Billboard Hot 100 hit in that same year for a group from Warrington, Lancashire, England, who called themselves the Magic Lanterns.

Here's Keith Colley's original version of Shame Shame on Columbia 44410 from 1968:

And here's the hit version of Shame Shame by The Magic Lanterns on Atlantic 2560 from 1968, which also appeared on their Shame Shame album on Atlantic SD 8217 from 1969:

I haven't been able to track down the current location of Keith Colley, but I can tell you that he'd be 72 today and is probably still living in the Spokane area. I'd love to find out more about him! In the meantime, you can hear almost all of his songs (except those two that I'm missing on the JAF label) on MusicMaster Oldies on Live365. If you enjoy the oldies there or the stuff you're reading on this blog, please invite your friends!