#601: Keep Away From Other Girls by Babs Tino

Peak Month: January 1963
7 weeks on CFUN’s Vancouver Chart
Peak Position ~ #4
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart
YouTube.com: “Keep Away From Other Girls
LyricsL “Keep Away From Other Girls”

There is next to nothing online to be found about Babs Tino. She was from Philadelphia and composed her debut single, on Cameo Records, titled “My Honeybun” in 1957. One of the few narrative threads is found in the liner notes from the 1997 Ace Records album, Early Girls Vol. 2. The liner notes reveal: “Babs Tino had the looks and the talent but failed to get the breaks and therefore barely qualifies as a footnote to a footnote in the history books. Having made a solitary single for Cameo Records in 1957, it seems she did not record again until 1961 when she signed with Kapp Records and had six singles released between then and 1963. Owner Dave Kapp was a pillar of New York’s musical establishment, a man with strongly held views on the linear alignment of musical notes in relation to pitch and tempo, and no-one got through the door at Kapp unless they could count bars and sing in tune. The best arrangers/songwriters (including Bacharach and Leiber & Stoller) were assigned to Tino’s sessions but only her third single, ‘Forgive me’, made any sort of impression ‘bubbling’ under the Hot 100 for one week in 1962 and gaining a UK release.

In July 1962, Babs Tino had a #4 hit on the C-FUNTASTIC FIFTY in Vancouver titled “Too Late To Worry”. The single had earlier made the Top 20 in Mobile, Alabama, and the Top Ten in Cleveland, Ohio, in May ’62. The song was co-written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David. Next up, she climbed to #6 with “Forgive Me” on the CFUN chart in Vancouver in August ’62. She appeared on American Bandstand on September 6, 1962, to sing “Forgive Me”. Though the song had made the Top Ten in Toronto, Vancouver, Springfield (MA), it didn’t crack the Billboard Hot 100.

Babs Tino’s stardom was short-lived. She recoreded six records with Kapp. One of these, “What’s Wrong With Me and You”, was written by the songwriting team of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller. Babs Tino was on a double-billing with Ronnie Dio and the Prophets at the Sports O Rama in Syracuse, New York, on October 11, 1962.

A Billboard article in the October 27, 1962, issue reveals that Babs Tino was from Philadelphia. Writing for the Vox Jox column, June Mundy reported, “REALLY BIG SHOWS: Veteran deejays Buddy Deane, WJZ-TV, Baltimore, and Joe Niagara, WIBG, Philadelphia, staged special shows worthy of Ed Sullivan this month…. Niagara presented a 24-hour “Hometown Spectacular,” starting at 6 a.m. October 3 and running until 6 a.m. the following Thursday. More than 80 artists, all born in the Philly area, were featured, and most of them also recorded special material for airing on the program. More than 200 old hit disks were played during the 24-hour period. The Philly-born stars included Frankie Avalon, Chubby Checker, Freddy Cannon, James Darren, Fabian, Bobby Gregg, Buddy Greco, Babs Tino, Bobby Rydell, Eddie Fisher, Grace Kelly…, the Dovells… Danny and the Juniors, the Four Aces, Bill Haley and His Comets, the Sensations… and recordings by the late Mario Lanza.”

In a November 24, 1962, record review in Billboard magazine, Babs Tino’s “Call Off The Wedding” was given this endorsement: “Here’s a mighty attractive outing for the lass. The song is nicely sung and smash backing makes it really go. Strong dance beat is evident with string and voice background.”  But, aside from getting on the play list in San Diego (CA) and Lincoln (NE), the song wasn’t given a spin.

Her fifth single, “Keep Away From Other Girls’, was successfully covered in the UK by Helen Shapiro.

Keep Away From Other Girls by Babs Tino

“Keep Away From Other Girls” is a song warning a new boyfriend to stay away from the competition. The suitor in the song makes a great first impression. As Tino sings it, “you gave me everything a girl could want,” with his winning smile, the way he smokes (a cigarette), and buying her a hero sandwich and a glass of wine.

Hero sandwiches were derived from the Italian sandwich, invented in Portland, Maine, in 1903 by a baker named Giovanni Amato. While selling his bread on his street cart, Amato received requests from Portland dockworkers to slice his long bread rolls and add sliced meat, cheese and vegetables to them. Hero (plural usually heros, not heroes) remains the prevailing New York City term for most sandwiches on an oblong roll with a generally Italian flavor. Manhattan pizzeria menus often include eggplant parmigiana, chicken parmigiana, and meatball heros, each served with sauce. Hero sandwiches could be served hot or cold. Clementine Paddleworth, coined hero in a food column for the New York Herald Tribune in 1936. She told her readers since the sandwich was so large “you had to be a hero to eat it.” Clearly, the “girl” in “Keep Away From Other Girls” had a healthy appetite, or so the date seemed to think by buying her a hero and a glass of wine.

In the song the couple are on their first date in a corner booth. She recalls, “you told me everything that I love to hear, mixed my dreams with instant cheer.” But as the date progressed she noted, “you held me closer than a clinging vine.” The guy professed that he loved her, and she replied “tell the truth,” indicating she doubts his words. In the corner booth he gave her “such a great big line.” She hunches he’s used that line “a hundred times before.” And instantly her antenna are up, as she warns him “keep away from other girls.” This may be the one condition she sets for him. But, she’s got a sneaking suspicion he’s a snake charmer, adding “don’t break my heart.”

In an article in Business Insider titled “13 Red Flags to Look Out for on a First Date that Could Indicate Someone is Wrong for you — or Even Toxic,” asked CEO Kate Hood of One Love Foundation about first dates. Hood told them, “the first date is often like a dream or a scene from a movie, because your date is so charming and complimentary of you, telling you you’re such a special person and they are so glad to be with you. It’s actually right at this phase that you need to pay the most attention to balance in your relationship and also how you’re truly feeling in your gut about how things are going. If the pace feels too fast, it’s important to pay attention. Quick ‘I love you’s’ or moves to exclusivity before you really know each other may indicate you’re with a person who wants to label you as ‘his’ or ‘hers,’ a hallmark of a controlling personality.” The guy in “Keep Away From Other Girls” is moving pretty fast in that corner booth, telling his date he loves her and holding onto her like a “clinging vine.” Before the date is over his date is warning him to “keep away from other girls” and “don’t break my heart.” After the date is over, she should consider why she has these red flags. Is this guy is right for her, given he’s using lines she thinks he’s used a hundred times before?

The orchestra in the song is conducted by Burt Bacharach. “Keep Away From Other Girls” was composed by Bacharach and Bob Hilliard.

Born Hilliard Goldsmith in 1918, after attending public school in New York City, he got work as a lyricist in Tin Pan Alley in the late 30’s. He has his first significant commercial success with “The Coffee Song” for Frank Sinatra in 1946. Hillard had another novelty hit that year with “Red Silk Stockings and Green Perfume” for Sammy Kaye. In 1947 Hillard co-wrote “Civilization (Bongo, Bongo, Bongo)” for the Broadway musical Angel in the Wings. On the pop charts, the Andrews Sisters and Danny Kaye took the song to #3. In 1948 Bob Hilliard penned a #1 country hit for Eddy Arnold titled “Bouquet Of Roses”. In 1949, “Careless Hands” by Mel Torme (as well as Sammy Kaye and Bing Crosby) spent 28 weeks on the Cashbox Disc-Hits chart, peaking at #6. Sammy Kaye’s version placed #26 for the year-end Billboard pop songs of 1949. That same year, Bob Hilliard also penned “Dear Hearts And Gentle People” for Dinah Shore, who had a #2 hit with the tune in early 1950. In 1950, Hilliard co-wrote “Dearie”, which peaked on the Billboard pop charts at #5 for Guy Lombardo. The following year Doris Day wondered “(Why Did I Tell You I Was Going To) Shanghai”, and took Bob Hilliard’s tune to #9.

In 1953, Bob Hilliard wrote several songs for the Broadway musical Hazel Flagg. In 1955 Hilliard composed “In The Wee Small Hours Of The Morning” for Frank Sinatra. In 1957, Hilliard co-wrote “Moonlight Gambler” for Frankie Laine, the #32 song for the year. In 1959, Bob Hilliard penned “Seven Little Girls (Sitting In the Back Seat)” for Paul Evans. And in 1960 Anita Bryant had a Top Ten hit with “My Little Corner Of The World”, written by Bob Hilliard and Lee Pockriss (composer of “Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polkadot Bikini”, “Johnny Angel”, Playground In My Mind” and other pop hits). That year, Bob Hilliard co-wrote his first song with Burt Bacharach titled “Please Stay”, a Top 20 hit for the Drifters. In 1961, Bacharach and Hilliard wrote the novelty song “Three Wheels On My Wagon” for Dick Van Dyke. In 1961, Hilliard continued to adjust to the rock era co-writing “Tower Of Strength” for Gene McDaniels. In 1962, Hilliard and Bacharach co-wrote the soul classic “Any Day Now”, a R&B hit for Chuck Jackson.

Bob Hilliard’s biggest hit was from writing the lyrics for “Our Day Will Come”, a #1 pop hit for Ruby & The Romantics in 1963. Bob Hilliard died from a heart attack at the age of 53 in 1971.

Burt Bacharach was born in Kansas City, Missouri, in 1928. His father was a syndicated newspaper columnist and his family were non-practicing Jews. Starting in the late ’50’s, he teamed up with composer, Hal David, working in the Brill Building. They co-wrote “The Story Of My Life” which became a #1 hit for Michael Holliday in 1958 in the UK, and “Magic Moments” for Perry Como another #1 hit in the UK and #4 on the Billboard Hot 100 later that year. In 1961 Bacharach wrote “Tower Of Strength” for Gene McDaniels and “Baby It’s You” for The Shirelles. Bacharach and David had a banner year in 1962 with hits that included “The Man Who Shot (Liberty Valance)” (Gene Pitney),  “Make It Easy On Yourself” (Jerry Butler), “Don’t Make Me Over” (Dionne Warwick) and “Only Love Can Break A Heart” (Gene Pitney).

In 1963 the Bacharach and David enjoyed more accolades with “Wishing And Hoping” (Dusty Springfield), “Blue On Blue” (Bobby Vinton), “Close To You” (The Carpenters, #1 in 1970) and “Anyone Who Had A Heart” (Dionne Warwick). 1964 continued their winning ways with “Walk On By” (Dionne Warwick) as well as their hit with Sandie Shaw. The next year they had a modest hit with “Trains And Boats And Planes” by Billy J. Kramer and the Dakotas (and also Dionne Warwick). In 1965 they had a #3 hit with Tom Jones singing “What’s New Pussycat?” Other notable songwriting classics include “I Say A Little Prayer” (Aretha Franklin), “This Guys In Love With You” (Herb Alpert) and “Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head” (BJ Thomas). In the 1980’s Burt Bacharach co-wrote with Carol Bayer Sager “On My Own” for Patti Labelle and Michael McDonald and “Arthur’s Theme” for Christopher Cross. Both were #1 hits.

Babs Tino reappeared on the CFUN pop chart in Vancouver in April 1963 with “My First Love”. The single spent five weeks on the chart, stalling at #32. Elsewhere, it climbed to #13 in Grande Prairie, Alberta. She had a Top 30 hit in Endicott, New York, in the winter of ’63 titled “Dr. Jekyll Or Mr. Hyde”.

By the end of 1963, Tino faded into obscurity. Any web search in 2018 related to her has nostalgia buffs asking where they can find out whatever happened to her. While Andy Merey from Whitby, Ontario, noted in 2015 that information about her is extremely spotty.

May 31, 2019
Ray McGinnis

Reviews of New Singles: Moderate Sales Potential, Billboard, July 7, 1962.
American Bandstand, September 6, 1962
Early Girls Vol 2, All Music.com
Tapio’s Ronnie James Dio Pages, Early Ronnie James Did Tour Dates
June Bundy, Vox Jox, Billboard, October 27, 1962
Andy Merey, Six regional hits in Canada from the ‘50s and ‘60s from Whitby’s Andy Merey, Durham Region.com, September 10, 2015
Spotlight Singles of the Week, Billboard, November 24, 1962.
Bob Hilliard“, Songwriters Hall of Fame, inducted 1983.
Lindsay Dodgson, “13 Red Flags to Look Out for on a First Date that Could Indicate Someone is Wrong for you — or Even Toxic,” Business Insider, May 21, 2018.
C-FUNTASTIC FIFTY, CFUN 1410 AM, Vancouver, BC, January 12, 1963.

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