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Dicky Doo & The Don'ts

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Biography

Dickey Doo & the Dont's started out as a joke with a purpose. Gerry Granahan, a producer, songwriter, and performer needed an alias under which he could release his newest record without getting into legal trouble with another record label to which he was already under contract and the alias turned into a successful recording act. Granahan, born in Pittston, PA, was a musician and singer who'd handled demos for Hill & Range aimed at Elvis Presley. Signed to Sunbeam Records in 1957, he had a hit in mid-1958 with "No Chemise Please," a novelty song that got to number 23 on the Billboard chart. His next four singles stiffed, but then he found himself with a song that seemed like a certain hit, "Click Clack," and a label -- Swan Records of Philadelphia -- that wanted to release it; moreover, with Swan behind it, the label's silent partner, Dick Clark, would give it a boost on the local version of his daily music showcase, American Bandstand, thus ensuring it had every chance to become a hit. Granahan's different contractual relationships, with Sunbeam and an earlier contract with Atlantic, however, made it risky for him to release anything with Swan, at least under his own name. Thus were born Dickey Doo & the Dont's, a mythical act whose name would be attached to the song "Click Clack." Swan partner Tony Mammarella suggested the name Dickey Doo & the Dont's as an "in" joke that obliquely referred to Clark's secret involvement with Swan. The song broke out gradually and rose to number 28 during a three-and-a-half-month run. With a hit behind him, Granahan now faced another problem: coming up with a group to appear as Dickey Doo & the Dont's. He recruited a quartet -- Harvey Davis (bass), Al Ways (sax), Ray Gangi (guitar), and Dave Alldred (drums) -- to back him as Dickey Doo & the Dont's; Granahan was referred to on their recordings as Richard A. Doo. The quintet proved extremely popular in concert and charted more singles, including "Nee Nee Na Na Na Na Nu Nu," "Leave Me Alone," and "Teardrops Will Fall," over the next year and a half. By the 1960s, the group had left Swan and moved to the United Artists label, where they cut two albums and remained under contract until 1965. Granahan continued his extensive activities as a producer during this period, working with the music of the Angels and Patty Duke, among others. Dickey Doo & the Dont's have never been compiled on one CD, but their music is spread among several compilations devoted to Swan Records and early '60s oldies. ~ Bruce Eder

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