Friday, January 11, 2013

Shelley Fabares--Johnny Angel (1962)

     Many of you will remember Shelley Fabares depending on your age. She began as a full time actress at the age of 14 playing Mary Stone on the ABC hit series, "The Donna Reed Show", where she stayed from 1958 to 1963 (the show itself lasted three more seasons). She co-starred alongside Elvis Presley in three of his movies, "Girl Happy" (1965), "Spinout" (1966), and "Clambake" (1967). The 70's were spent doing a lot of one appearance guest spots on many television shows and was probably best remembered as playing Brian Piccolo's wife Joy in the movie, "Brian's Song" (1971). 1978 she began a re-occurring role on the series, "One Day at A Time" as Francene Webster. For those who are even younger still, you might have seen her on the series, "Coach" (1989-1997) as Christine Armstrong.
     As studios in the late 50's/early 60's were looking for fresh photogenic faces to not only market to TV and films, but to also record them in the studio. Some of these attempts were better than others, and very few of them had more than a couple of hits. Although her top 40 presence was limited to this song and it's follow up, "Johnny Loves Me" her talents as a singer have held up better than many of her contemporaries.
     Fabares wasn't crazy about the idea of recording as she didn't see herself as a singer. Having Darlene Love and her group the Blossoms, along with a well placed echo chamber helped a bit, but she recalled later that she was very much intimidated by Love and the other back up singers. Like other TV teen stars before (and after) her, television was used to promote the new single and by mid spring of 1962, it had reached the #1 position.


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