On this day in music history: December 6, 1969…

On this day in music history: December 6, 1969 – “Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye” by Steam hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 2 weeks. Written by Gary De Carlo, Dale Frashuer and Paul Leka, it is the lone hit single by the Bridgeport, CT band fronted by singer Gary De Carlo. Newly signed to Mercury Records, De Carlo is put under contract by A&R exec Bob Reno at the suggestion of producer and songwriter Paul Leka. For his initial recording session for the label, Leka and De Carlo cuts four songs. When they agree that all four songs are strong enough to be A-sides, they decide that they need to come up with a quick throwaway B-side that will discourage DJ’s from playing the wrong side. Along with mutual friend and former band mate Dale Frashuer, the trio revive an old song they had written eight years before titled “Kiss Him Goodbye”. Recording in Mercury’s New York recording studio without a full band, Leka plays most of the instruments and splices together a drum track, creating a loop from parts of a another song. Several hours later, the song is completed and mixed, clocking in at over six minutes, and is far too long to be considered for radio play. The song is pared down to under four minutes, when Leka is told by a mastering engineer he’s unable to cut the full length of the song, on to one side of a single and have it track properly. The producer gives his approval to shorten it. Mercury execs like the song so much that they insist that it be released as an A-side. Embarrassed by the song, De Carlo requests that it be released under a pseudonym. Producer Paul Leka comes up with the name Steam, and it is issued on Mercury’s Fontana Records imprint. In an ironic twist, “Kiss Him Goodbye” becomes an instant and unexpected smash, while all four of De Carlo’s singles (released under the name Garrett Scott) flop. Entering the Hot 100 at #76 on October 18, 1969, it climbs to the top of the chart seven weeks later.  In 1983, British pop group Bananarama cover the song on their debut album, taking it to #5 on the UK singles chart. In 1987, Canadian a cappella vocal group The Nylons release a cover version with the title shortened to “Kiss Him Goodbye”, peaking at #12 on the Hot 100. Today, Steam’s original version is a still a staple on oldies radio and has become an anthem at sports events over the years. “Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.