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This was written by Frank Cariola and A. Mangravito and produced by Cariola. Cariola was a New York-based songwriter who wrote oldies since 1957. While searching for a singer to record this, Cariola discovered English (who was 19 at the time and originally from Brooklyn) and hired him to record it. For backup vocals, Cariola hired a local black male quintet called the Accents (the Accents' lead singer was the falsetto voice that went, "Oooooooooh..."). This was a very unusual teaming, as English was a white Jewish man.
This song's initial release was in November of 1963; at that time, it was a flop on account of the assassination of President Kennedy. By March of 1964, it had become a national minor hit and had success in certain regional areas. Although it was only a minor hit nationally, it reached #3 in San Francisco and #1 in Pittsburgh. To this day, it is Pittsburgh's favorite oldie of all time. (thanks, Jerro - New Alexandria, PA, for above 2)
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Van Dyke Parks
U2, Carly Simon, Joanna Newsom, Brian Wilson and Fiona Apple have all gone to Van Dyke Parks to make their songs exceptional.