The String-A-Longs

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The String-A-Longs were an American instrumental group from Plainview, Texas, United States, known for their hit single, "Wheels", produced by Norman Petty on Warwick Records. The band consisted of Richard Stephens and Jimmy Torres alternating lead guitars, Keith McCormack on rhythm guitar, Aubrey de Cordova, bass guitar and Don Allen, drums.[1]

They began recording in Amarillo, Texas, as the Rock'n Rollers, under their first manager Johnny Voss, Keith McCormack's Uncle. Their first single was on the Ven label. In the later fifties they began recording in Clovis, New Mexico, under Norman Petty as "The Leen Teens" but Petty suggested the name "String-A-Longs". They had several releases before recording their big hit "Wheels".

"Wheels" was released in December 1960 and hit in 1961. The tune peaked at number 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was the number 8 single of 1961 according to Billboard.[2] The track reached number 8 in the UK Singles Chart.[3] It sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc.[4]

Warwick Records paid few royalties to the band and they declared bankruptcy as they were being sued to avoid paying more.[citation needed] The writers of the song did receive their royalties, including Norman Petty.

There were 100+ cover versions, including by Joe Loss ("Wheels Cha-Cha") and Billy Vaughn.

The String-A-Longs followed up "Wheels" with "Brass Buttons" (U.S. #35), "Should I", and "Replica". In 1961, they moved to Dot Records; and had disbanded by 1964. Petty still had the "String-A-Longs" name copyrighted, and to avoid confusion with the instrumental Fireballs music and the current vocal hit "Bottle Of Wine" they were having, opted to reuse the name for the LP Wide World Hits on Atco in 1968. It is the Fireballs performing the music under the String-A-Longs moniker.

The original lineup reunited for the Clovis Music Festival in 2006.

Keith McCormack, singer, guitarist and songwriter, died of a stroke on April 10, 2015, at age 74.[5]

Singles[edit]

Year A-side/B-side
Both sides from same album except where indicated
Peak chart positions Album
US Billboard US
Cashbox
UK
Pop AC R&B
1961 "Wheels"
b/w "Tell The World" (first pressings)
"Am I Asking Too Much" (later pressings)
Both B-sides are non-album tracks
3 19 4 8 Pick A Hit
"Tell The World"
b/w "For An Angel"
Non-album tracks
"Brass Buttons"
b/w "Panic Button" (from Pick-A-Hit)
35 44 Matilda
"Should I"
b/w "Take A Minute"
42 10 54 Non-album tracks
"Mina Bird"
b/w "Scottie"
1962 "Theme For Twisters"
b/w "Nearly Sunrise" (from Pick A Hit)
"Twistwatch"
b/w "Sunday"
"My Blue Heaven"
b/w "Spinnin' My Wheels" (Non-album track)
Matilda
"Matilda"
b/w "Replica" (Non-album track)
133
1963 "Happy Melody"
b/w "Heartaches"
Non-album tracks
1964 "My Babe"
b/w "Myna Bird"
1965 "Caravan"
b/w "Mathilda"
1969 "Popi"
b/w "Places I Remember" (from Wide World Hits)

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Up Close with Keith McCormack and Aubrey deCordova of the Legendary String-A-Longs". Musicdish.com. 2004-01-06. Retrieved 2008-06-20. 
  2. ^ "Billboard Top 100 - 1961". Longboredsurfer.com. Retrieved 2008-06-20. 
  3. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 536. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  4. ^ Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (2nd ed.). London: Barrie and Jenkins Ltd. p. 140. ISBN 0-214-20512-6. 
  5. ^ "Plainview hit-maker Keith McCormack dies at 74". Myplainview.com. Retrieved 28 October 2017. 

Bibliography[edit]

  • Joel Whitburn, The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits. 7th edn, 2000

External links[edit]