Joan Weber on Apple Music

Joan Weber

Pop singer Joan Weber scored one of the biggest hits of 1955 with "Let Me Go, Lover!" -- however, impending motherhood kept her out of the limelight at the zenith of the record's popularity, and her career never recovered. Born December 12, 1935, in Paulsboro, NJ, Weber was just 18 when manager Eddie Joy escorted her to New York City's legendary Brill Building to audition for RCA producer Charles Randolph Grean. After supervising a demo session, Grean passed along Weber's recording of the song "Marionette" to Columbia A&R exec Mitch Miller, who quickly extended a contract offer. Although Weber and her bandleader husband were due to give birth to their first child in late 1954, Miller nevertheless ushered her into the studio to record "Let Me Go, Lover!," a rewrite of Jenny Lou Carson and Al Hill's anti-alcohol screed "Let Me Go, Demon." On November 15, 1954, a visibly pregnant Weber performed the song on the television showcase Studio One, and it emerged as an overnight hit, confirming the burgeoning power of the television medium as a platform to promote popular music. A prescient Miller made sure "Let Me Go, Lover!" was stocked in record stores across the U.S. prior to Weber's TV appearance, and the disc sold over 100,000 copies in its first week of release, topping the Billboard pop chart in January 1955 and inspiring cash-in covers by Patti Page and Teresa Brewer. The birth of her daughter nevertheless forced Weber onto the sidelines as the single peaked, and Columbia soon terminated her contract. She never again charted, releasing only a handful of follow-up efforts before abandoning her music career altogether. Weber died May 13, 1981, of heart failure while confined to an Ancora, NJ, mental institution -- she was just 45 years old. ~ Jason Ankeny

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