December 12, 1935|
Paulsboro, New Jersey, U.S.
|Died||May 13, 1981
Ancora, New Jersey, U.S.
Weber was raised in Paulsboro, New Jersey and married to a young bandleader. She was pregnant in 1954 when she was introduced to Eddie Joy, a manager, who in turn introduced her to Charles Randolph Grean, an A&R worker for RCA and Dot Records in New York.
Grean gave a demo of Weber's singing a song called "Marionette" to Mitch Miller, the head of artists and repertoire at Columbia Records. Miller took a song entitled "Let Me Go, Devil" and had it rewritten by Jenny Lou Carson and Al Hill as "Let Me Go, Lover!" for Weber, who recorded it on the Columbia label (with "Marionette" as the B-side). The song was performed on the television show, Studio One and caught the public's fancy, reaching #1 in the United States and #16 in the United Kingdom in 1955. It sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc. "Let Me Go, Lover!" ascended to #1 on the Billboard Most Played by Jockeys chart on January 1, 1955, the date that the rock and roll era began, according to music historians such as Joel Whitburn.
At the time of the song's biggest success, however, she gave birth to a baby daughter Terry Lynn, and was unable to promote her career. Weber's next single, "Lover Lover (Why Must We Part) (b/w "Tell The Lord", Columbia 40474), released later in 1954, failed to dent the record charts. (Mitch Miller, in a 2004 interview for the Archive of American Television, recalled that Weber's husband assumed total control of the singer's activities, thus depriving Weber of experienced career guidance.) After three more non-hits, "Call Me Careless", "Goodbye Lollipops, Hello Lipstick" and the appropriately-titled "Gone", Joan was dropped from Columbia's roster.
During her final years, she lived a reclusive life, before moving to a mental institution. Columbia Records' efforts to send her royalty checks failed, as all her checks were returned to sender as "Address Unknown". For this reason, chart program American Top 40 ranked Weber at number one on a special program featuring the "Top 40 Disappearing Acts", which was broadcast in 1975.
On 13 May 1981, Weber died of heart failure at a mental institution in Ancora, Winslow Township, Camden County, New Jersey, aged 45. Her death was overshadowed by the first attempted assassination of Pope John Paul II on the same date.
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- Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (2nd ed.). London: Barrie and Jenkins Ltd. p. 71. ISBN 0-214-20512-6.
- Durkee, Rob. American Top 40: The Countdown of the Century. ISBN 0-02-864895-1. New York City: Schirmer Books, 1999, p. 74-75. Accessed December 10, 2007.
- Thedeadrockstarsclub.com - accessed February 2011