#1050: A Kookie Little Paradise by Jo Ann Campbell

Peak Month: September 1960
7 weeks on Vancouver’s CKWX chart
Peak Position #12
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 #61

In 1938 Jo Ann Campbell was born in Jacksonville, Florida. When she was just four years old she was enrolled in music school.  She also had a flare for choreography winning successive honors at her high school as a drum majorette. She flew to Europe in 1954 as part of a dance troupe. Afterward, she based herself in Manhattan having a successful audition with the Johnny Conrad Dancers. In that capacity she appeared on The Milton Berle Show and The Colgate Comedy Hour. She was encouraged to give attention to her vocal talents and in 1956 she recorded her debut release with RKO-Point Records in New York called “Where Ever You Go” with the Johnny Conrad Dancers. It was unsuccessful. In search of  a hit she moved on to sign with Eldorado Records after her performance at the Apollo Theater in Harlem got favorable reviews. Again there were no hits resulting from several single releases. Next she signed with Gone Records and in December 1957 her single, “Wait A Minute”, spent six weeks on the CHUM chart in Toronto. Campbell also appeared at the Brooklyn Paramount Theater and on American Bandstand.

Three more singles with Gone Records followed in 1958-59. “I’m Nobody’s Baby Now” seemed to interest nobody except the DJ’s of her hometown, Jacksonville, Florida. So once more she switched to ABC-Paramout, her fourth record label in four years.
In 1960 Campbell recorded “A Kookie Little Paradise.” It was a song about a fantasy tropical island paradise where the people on the island teach about making love and eat “pizza pie.” It was a minor hit in the USA and was covered in England by Frankie Vaughan who took the tune to #31. A novelty song complete with Tarzan calls, it stayed on the Vancouver charts for nine weeks, four in the top twenty and peaking at #12. Americans found the song a bit too novel and it only reached #61 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Jo Ann Campbell - A Kookie Little Paradise 45 (Sparton Promo).jpg

Jukebox playing in the jungle
No charge, absolutely free
Soft drinks bubbling
Down the mountain
To the Carribean Sea

What a kookie little paradise
What a kookie little paradise
Never was an island half as nice
As my kookie little paradise

Sportcars, one for everybody
No speed limit on the beach
But there’s lots of education
Making love is what they teach

What a kookie little paradise
What a kookie little paradise
Never was an island half as nice
As my kookie little paradise

Boyfriends, any girl can have one
Girlfriends, one for every guy
Ice cream loaded with bananas
And there’s always pizza pie

That’s my kookie little paradise
I love my kookie little paradise
What a kookie little paradise

Campbell appeared in two rock n’ roll movies: Go, Johnny, Go in 1959, and Hey, Let’s Twist in 1962. During this time she continued to release records. There were three more singles with ABC-Paramount and then she moved to her fifth record label, Cameo. With the label she had her biggest hit in August 1962, a country tune called “I’m The Girl From Wolverton Mountain“. This was an answer record to Claude King’s “Wolverton Mountain“. The song reached  #38 on the Billboard Hot 100. In April 1963, she followed up with “Mother, Please! (I’d Rather Do It Myself)“, a take-off on an Anacin television commercial of the day, Campbell’s song only peaked at #88. After three single releases with Cameo Records Campbell moved on to sign a deal with Atlantic Records. While there she got engaged and was married Atlantic Record producer Troy Seals. As a duet they recorded one single called “I Found A Love, Oh What A Love“.  A regional hit, it peaked at #3 in Baltimore and Atlanta, and #4 in Arveda, Colorado.


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