#1153: Little Girl Blue by Bobby Curtola
Peak Month: February 1964
7 weeks on Vancouver’s CFUN chart
Peak Position #15
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart
Poor Bobby Curtola. Between the summer of 1961 and December 1963 the boy from Thunder Bay had charted twelve songs into the Top 20 in Vancouver, nine of these into the Top Ten. Back in 1961 there was something in Canada called Curtolamania. His #1 hit “Fortune Teller“, in March 1962, had assured his place as a teen idol across Canada as he charted song after song onto the charts coast to coast. But in February 1964 everything was about Beatlemania. The moment The Beatles appeared three times that month on the Ed Sullivan Show, Curtola struggled to get Canadian record buyers attention. (He never got much traction with record buyers south of the border). In Vancouver “Little Girl Blue” was his most successful effort in the face of the British Invasion and Beatlemania. And of eight singles between 1964 and the summer of 1965, only two climbed into the Top 20.
On February 22, 1964, “Little Girl Blue” was stalled in its second week at #15 on the C-FUNTASTIC FIFTY. The record survey had taken an international turn. The Beatles had three singles in the Top Ten: “I Want To Hold Your Hand” at #1 for the fifth of six weeks in a row, since it’s appearance on the January 18th record survey when it debuted at #6. At #2 was “She Loves You” which had jumped from #14 to #2 on December 14, 1963. Since then “She Loves You” had spent four weeks at #1 and was in its eleventh of twelve weeks in the Top Ten. At #6 was the song that was #1 on January 18, “Please Mister Postman“, a buffer between the other Beatles #1 hits. ‘Postman was in its seventh week in the Top Ten at #6. And on the February 29th record survey “All My Loving” jumped from #40 to #2, a factor that sent “Little Girl Blue” on a downward slide on the CFUN charts.
But it wasn’t only The Beatles that were causing Bobby Curtola to stall on the pop charts in February 1964. The British Invasion was in full swing on the CFUN charts. The Dave Clark Five had “Glad All Over” at #7 on their way to #3 in a few weeks. Perennial Vancouver favorite, Cliff Richard, who had never been embraced by American record buyers, had another of his many Top Ten hits in Vancouver climbing the charts, “Don’t Talk to Him,” at #4 up from #5. There were numbers of other British recording artists climbing the charts that February: The Swingin’ Blue Jeans with “Hippy Hippy Shake,” Dusty Springfield was singing “I Only Want To Be With You,” The Searchers were lamenting about “Needles and Pins” and The Shadows had an instrumental called “Geronimo.”
As for American recording artists there was the Surfin’ Sound. On the charts that February The Beach Boys leapfrogged over Bobby Curtola with “Fun Fun Fun“, climbing from #30 to #11 bound for the Top Ten. The Rivieras were singing about that warm “California Sun“, while The Trashmen were telling everybody about a “Surfin’ Bird.”
“Little Girl Blue” is about a fan of a singer who stays after a performance to get him to write something on her arm. It was written by the songwriting team of Basil and Dyer Hurdon. Basil and Dyer Hurdon discovered Bobby at a time when he was going to school, working at his father’s gas station and playing high school dances with his group Bobby and the Bobcats. Basil’s son actually went to the same high school as Bobby and told his dad about him. The Hurdons managed Bobby, wrote all his songs, with the exception of the 1965 remake of Floyd Robinson’s “Makin’ Love,” and owned the Tartan label for which he recorded. “The Hurdons were thorough in their marketing of Bobby as the sweet, sincere, ideal ‘60s beau. Bobby’s popularity and the fan craze that surrounded him came about due to strategizing on the part of his management team. It was Basil and Dyer Hurdon who got the first chapter of the Bobby Curtola fan club off the ground.”
I saw you in front row centre
and I sang all my songs for you,
It was after the show that I wrote on your arm
“all my love, little girl blue.”
Chorus: You said “you won’t remember me,
I’m just your little girl blue.”
But I know that I, ’til the day I die,
will always remember you.
The postman he brought me your letter,
But I couldn’t write back to you.
For the words that my heart had been waiting for
were just signed Little Girl Blue.
Though time has now faded your letter
and I’ve travelled the whole world through.
I still pray that some day you’ll be standing there
front row centre little girl blue.
The song peaked at #15 on CFUN, #11 in Hamilton, #10 in Calgary and #7 on CHUM in Toronto. In June of 1964, Bobby Curtola got to sing what would become an ear-worm for radio listeners across all radio and TV stations in the mid-sixties. He became the first pop singer to record a jingle that sounded like a Top 40 Hit Single. The jingle was “Things Go Better with Coke.” He signed an exclusive contract with Coca-Cola to be their #1 Spokesman. Bobby, also co-wrote “The Real Thing” which was used for the commercial “Coke’s The Real Thing.”
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