GERRY GRANAHAN

Born 20 April 1932, Pittston, Pennsylvania

Singer / songwriter / label owner /producer

Of Irish descent, Gerry Granahan was associated with the '50s groups Dicky Doo and the Don'ts and the Fireflies and also recorded under his own name. He started out as a disc jockey and sports announcer at WPTS Radio in his hometown of Pittston, PA before switching to a music career. In 1956 he moved to New York City, determined to succeed in the music business. His Presley-like voice got him a job at the publishing company Hill & Range, recording demos for Elvis. The next year he was signed to the Atlantic subsidiary Atco and had two singles released on the label, one credited to Jerry Grant and the Rockbilly Bandits ("Talkin' About Love") and one under his own name ("Sweet Affection"). Also in 1957, Granahan befriended Dave Aldred, the drummer with Buddy Knox and the Rhythm Orchids. Together they wrote a song, "Click Clack", and sent a demo to Dick Clark, the host of American Bandstand. Notwithstanding a blatant conflict of interests, Clark and his producer, Tony Mammarella, were planning to launch their own label, Swan Records, in partnership with businessman Bernie Binnick. They purchased Granahan's masters and made "Click Clack" the first release on Swan, in December 1957. As Gerry was still contracted to Atco, he couldn't use his own name and the record was credited to Dicky Doo and the Don'ts. When "Click Clack" charted (peaking at # 28), Aldred and Granahan formed a touring group and scored four further hits on Swan during 1958-59. Later Dave Aldred would legally change his name to Richard A. Doo.

While still with Dicky Doo and the Don'ts, Granahan was signed as a solo singer by the new Sunbeam label, owned by publisher Tommy Volando. His first Sunbeam single, the rocker "No Chemise Please", was a # 23 pop hit in the summer of 1958. Four more Sunbeam records followed, including a duet with Eddie Fontaine, but there was no further success and Sunbeam folded in 1959. In that same year Gerry cut two solo singles for Gone Records and joined the Fireflies (with Ritchie Adams as lead singer), who scored a # 21 hit with the ballad "You Were Mine", on Ribbon Records in the autumn of 1959, followed by "I Can't Say Goodbye" (# 74) in early 1960. By using substitute musicians as needed, Granahan was able to have three acts on the road simultaneously : Dicky Doo and the Don'ts, the Fireflies and, of course, Gerry Granahan.

But he soon found out that he was outpacing himself and understood that there was more of a future in the executive side of the record business. Towards the end of 1960 Gerry founded his own label, Caprice Records, located at 101 West 55th Street in Manhattan. On paper he was the sole owner, but the label was co-founded and co-run by Neil Galligan (previously General manager of Canadian-American Records, the label that distributed Caprice) and pianist / arranger Hutch Davie. Caprice released 21 singles (and two LP's) during 1961-63, seven of which made the Billboard Top 100 : three by Janie Grant, two by the Angels (before they scored a # 1 with "My Boyfiend's Back" in 1963) and two by James Ray, including the semi-classic "If You Gotta Make A Fool Of Somebody" (# 22 pop, # 10 R&B). Congress Records was a subsidiary of Caprice, started in 1962, when Galligan lured hitmaker Linda Scott away from Canadian-American. Scott had a few minor hits on Congress, but in August 1963 Galligan sold the label to Kapp Records (Shirley Ellis would become the biggest hitmaker on Congress) and Caprice was also discontinued, with Gerry retaining the masters. Around the same time Granahan married Mary Lou Kiernan and relocated to Warwick,Rhode Island, where he is still living today.

Granahan had produced almost all Caprice and Congress recordings and was subsequently hired as an A&R man for United Artists. There he produced some of the biggest hits of Jay and the Americans (like "Cara Mia", "Some Enchanted Evening", both 1965) and Patty Duke ("Don't Just Stand There", # 8, 1965). He also produced the original version of "Wild Thing" by the Wild Ones (United Artists 947), which became a # 1 hit for the Troggs in 1966. Furthermore, his duties at United Artists included the administration of the Ascot subsidiary. Ascot had a number one hit in 1964 with "Do Wah Diddy Diddy" by the British group Manfred Mann. Gerry himself also made a few recordings for Ascot, under the names Gerry Patt and Jerry Thomas. Other aliases were Gary Williams (on the Date label, 1967) and Christopher Sunday, on Dot, the company that he joined in 1968. Though he rose to the position of vice-president at Dot, he failed to produce any hits for the label. After leaving Dot around 1971, Granahan took a few years off to enjoy his family. When he began to perform again in the mid-1970s he limited his appearances to the southern New England area. In the 1980s he opened a recording facility in Warwick, GPG Studios, where he produced many local acts. These days, Gerry is lending his knowledge and experience to the younger generation and still does occasional performances at oldies shows on the East Coast.

More info :
- http://www.ripopmusic.org/musical-artists/musicians/gerry-granahan/
- http://www.bsnpubs.com/nyc/canam/caprice.html

Discography : http://www.rocky-52.net/chanteursg/granahan_g.htm

CD's :
- My Musical Scrap Book (Relic, 1995, 26 tracks). Good overview of his early recordings (including those by Dicky Doo and the Don'ts and the Fireflies), but no longer in print.
- The Best Of Dicky Doo and the Don'ts, Gerry Granahan, the Fireflies (GQ Records, 2011, 15 tracks). A less comprehensive compilation.
- Caprice! The Story Behind Gerry Granahan's Caprice Label, 1960-'63. (X-Bat, 2007, 24 tracks.) Contains the A-sides of all 21 Caprice singles, plus the LP track "I've Got My Mind Set On You" by James Ray (a # 1 hit for George Harrison in 1987) and two previously unissued duets between Gerry Granahan and Janie Grant.

Acknowledgements : Rick Bellaire, Mike Edwards, Rob Finnis.

YouTube :
Talkin' About Love : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fxDXxUERxqk
Click Clack : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fvyfHVai0Qs
No Chemise Please : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=40Xyjf4aUCo
King Size : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zMwlijmAw0s
Nee Nee Na Na Na Na Nu Nu : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iqIUFzaPI8c
O Well A Whatcha Gonna Do : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ZuCJiy4i_M
You Were Mine : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YG_ZMLGSqto
Dance Girl Dance (1961) : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xxdWT3O8Ruw
Dancing Man : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=toniknI5TJY

Dik, May 2013

 
These pages were saved from "This Is My Story" for reference usage only. Please note that these pages were not originally published or written by BlackCat Rockabilly Europe. For comments or information please contact Dik de Heer at dik.de.heer@ziggo.nl

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