Frank Slay

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Frank Conley Slay Jr. (July 8, 1930 - September 30, 2017) was an American songwriter, A&R director, record producer, and record label owner. He wrote with Bob Crewe in the late 1950s and early 1960s, the partnership's most successful songs including "Silhouettes", a hit for several artists including The Rays and Herman's Hermits, "Daddy Cool", and "Tallahassee Lassie". As a producer, his biggest hit was "Incense and Peppermints" by the Strawberry Alarm Clock.[1]

Career[edit]

He was born in Dallas, Texas, and moved to New York City in 1951, attempting to find work as a songwriter. In 1957 he and Crewe wrote "Silhouettes" and "Daddy Cool" for the Rays.[2] Initially released on the XYZ label set up by Slay and Crewe, "Silhouettes" became a top ten pop hit in the US for both the Rays (#3) and the Diamonds (#10), and was re-recorded successfully by Herman's Hermits in 1965 (#5 US, #3 UK). and Cliff Richard in 1990 (#10 UK). The song "Daddy Cool" – originally on the B-side of the Rays' single – became a #6 hit in the UK in 1977 for Darts.[3] Slay and Crewe also wrote hits for Billy & Lillie, including "La Dee Dah" (covered in the UK by Jackie Dennis), and Freddy Cannon, for whom "Tallahassee Lassie" became a top ten hit in 1959.[3]

In 1961, Slay moved to Philadelphia to become A&R Director for Swan Records, Cannon's record label.[2] As well as producing many of Freddy Cannon's records, he also had a minor hit under his own name in late 1961, "Flying Circle", an instrumental adaptation of the traditional song "Hava Nagila", which reached #45 on the Billboard pop chart credited to Frank Slay and his Orchestra.[4] Slay moved back to New York around 1963, and then to Los Angeles. He worked as an independent producer, and in 1967 produced "Incense and Peppermints", a US #1 hit for Strawberry Alarm Clock.[5] He also set up Claridge Records.in 1965, and in 1974 the label had a US hit with "Don't Call Us, We'll Call You" by Sugarloaf, a record described by Slay as "probably.. the last top ten record on Billboard by a truly independent record company.."[2]

Slay remained active in the music industry and last lived in San Diego, California.[2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "FRANK CONLEY SLAY". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 24 February 2018. 
  2. ^ a b c d Seamus McGarvey, "Frank Slay: From Texas to Tallahassee", 2011
  3. ^ a b Songs written by Bob Crewe, MusicVF.com. Retrieved 12 September 2014
  4. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2003). Top Pop Singles 1955-2002 (1st ed.). Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin: Record Research Inc. p. 649. ISBN 0-89820-155-1. 
  5. ^ "Incense And Peppermints", Songfacts.com. Retrieved 12 September 2014