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"Last Kiss" was originally recorded by Wayne Cochran, who co-wrote it with his bandmates in 1961. Cochran would record four different versions of the song in 1961-62, for four different labels. None charted.
|Posted: 25 May 2017 at 9:22pm | IP Logged
J. Frank Wilson and the Cavaliers covered "Last Kiss" in 1964. The 45 appeared on three different labels - Le Cam, Tamara, and Josie. I don't know if all are the same version, but the Josie 45 is considered the hit.
I found this on discogs.com, and reprint it here because it's interesting (if not necessarily true):
"Two different versions of "Last Kiss" ended up on two different labels. The first release was with Tamara Records and is the version of "Last Kiss" included on "The Last Kiss Sessions". Jamie Records also expressed an interest in the song and signed a contract with Sonley, Ron, and Major Bill. The single was released on the "Josie" label and this was the version that is remembered as the "Hit Version", the version that launched a multi-million selling smash hit. A lawsuit ensued between Jamie Records and Colonial Records (the Parent company of Tamara). Subsequently, a settlement was reached whereby Josie Records became the sole company selling the single. It has been reported that 1000 copies of Tamara 761 were pressed."
The album The Last Kiss Sessions is available on CD (Collectables 0712), but I don't have it. I don't know what the difference is between the Tamara and Josie versions, or even if there truly is a difference. I assume that all the commonly available compilation CDs have the hit version from the Josie 45.
The oldest CD I have with the J. Frank Wilson version is Time-Life's Rock 'N' Roll Era Vol. 10 1964 (1987), where it has absolutely no high end and could not sound any worse. It also starts with the bass notes, apparently cutting off the eight beats of just drums that start the song.
Warner Special Products' 2-CD Senior Prom (1987) sounds infinitely better than Rock 'N' Roll Era, but still cuts off the opening eight drum beats.
Better still is the version on Rhino's Billboard Top R&R Hits 1964 (1989, digitally identical rerelease in 1993), which starts with the eight drum beats before the bass notes. The same analog transfer is used on:
Finally, there's an even better-sounding version on Rhino's Dick Bartley Presents One Hit Wonders Of The '60s Vol. 1 (1990), which makes the Billboard disc sound a little muffled in comparison. The same analog transfer is used on Time-Life's 2-CD Lost Treasures Of Rock 'N' Roll (1991).
- Time-Life's Superhits Vol. 12 The Mid '60s (1991)
- Time-Life's AM Gold Vol. 5 The Mid-'60s (1991) - it's the exact same disc as Superhits
- Warner Special Products' 2-CD Forever Young (1994)
- Time-Life's 2-CD Glory Days Of Rock 'N' Roll Vol. 4 Teen Ballads (1999) - differently EQ'd digital clone
The Canadian group Wednesday had a #2 hit in Canada with their cover of "Last Kiss" in 1973. While the Wednesday cover was still climbing the US charts, the J. Frank Wilson hit version was rereleased on Virgo Records. The rereleased J. Frank Wilson version peaked at US#92 in January 1974. The Wednesday cover eventually peaked at US#34 in March 1974, and spent a whopping 18 weeks on the Hot 100!
For the J. Frank Wilson hit version, I recommend Rhino's Dick Bartley Presents One Hit Wonders Of The '60s Vol. 1 (1990).
Edited by crapfromthepast on 26 May 2017 at 7:19am
There's a lot of crap on the radio, but there's only one Crap From The Past.