On this day in music history: July 11, 1960 – “Alley-Oop” by The Hollywood Argyles hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 1 week. Written by Dallas Frazier, it is the biggest hit for the Los Angeles studio band created by producer Gary Paxton. Having previously scored hits as one half of the duo Skip And Flip (“It Was I”, “Cherry Pie”), record producer and singer Gary Paxton comes up with the idea of forming another group to mask his identity. Still under contract to Brent Records, Paxton creates the shadow group The Hollywood Argyles, named after the street Arygyle Street, off of Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood. During this time, Paxton meets producer Kim Fowley and they form a production company called Maverick Music, initially conducting business from a pay phone booth at a Chevron gas station. They find the song “Alley Oop”, a novelty tune written by country songwriter Dallas Frazier (a friend of Paxton’s) about the caveman comic strip character. Recording with local studio musicians, “Alley-Oop” is released through Los Angeles based Lute Records. The record quickly become a hit in L.A. and other cities, but because Lute does not have a distributor in New York, they soon find that they have competition. Madison Records founder Larry Uttal (later founding Private Stock Records) releases a cover of “Alley-Oop” by Dante And The Evergreens. The Hollywood Argyles version stomps the competition. Entering the Hot 100 at #85 on May 30, 1960, it races to the top of the chart six weeks later. The Evergreens version stalls at #15 before The Hollywood Argyles hit the top on July 11, 1960. The Argyles are short lived when Gary Paxton feels he hasn’t been paid properly by Lute Records for the huge hit. He forms his own label Garpax Records, later producing the chart topping single “The Monster Mash” for Bobby “Boris” Pickett in 1962. Kim Fowley later discovers and produces The Runaways, working with a number of other groups. Dallas Frazier continues to have a successful songwriting career. The Oak Ridge Boys cover his song “Elvira” in 1981, scoring a Platinum selling country and pop crossover smash with it. “Alley-Oop” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.
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