Saturday, November 20, 2010

Shortest Number 1 Hit

Maurice Williams & the Zodiacs were an American doo wop/R&B vocal group, active during the late 1950s and early 1960s. Originally The (Royal) Charms, the band changed its name to The Gladiolas in 1957 and The Excellos in 1958, before finally settling on "The Zodiacs" in 1959.

In early summer of 1959, Maurice Williams and the Zodiacs recorded a number of tracks in Columbia, SC. One of the last tracks that they recorded that day was "Stay," a song that Williams had written a couple of weeks before.

The demo of "Stay" was sent to Herald Records in New York City where it was pressed and released in early 1960 as a 45 rpm single. "Stay" is the shortest recording ever to reach number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the United States (Billboard cites it as 1:37). The inclusion of "Stay" on the soundtrack to the film Dirty Dancing in 1987 led to the song selling more records than it had during its original release.

Williams has continued to record and tour, and currently resides in Charlotte, North Carolina.



5 comments:

Michael said...

Jackson Browne appended this song to a live song called "The Load Out" from the "Running on Empty" album, circa 1978. Here is a youtube link for anyone interested. The "Stay" part it toward the end.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jtuvXrTz8DY

Assistant Village Idiot said...

This was before the era when the kids dancing on American Bandstand and the like were told that they should smile and look excited if they wanted to be asked back for next week.

Sponge-headed ScienceMan said...

My claim to fame: I was a Philly resident back when AB was still broadcast from there before shifting to the West Coast. I wasn't into the program much, but I have strong recollections of friends' older sisters being glued to the tube every afternoon after school to watch the show. "You can dance to it, I give it a 96."

Anonymous said...

The comments about the length of the record, "Stay - Maurice Williams & The Zodiacs" are wrong. I am holding the original 45 RPM on Herald label H-552, which clearly shows the record length as Time: 1:50

Just to keep things correct...

Anonymous said...

Billboard probably used the radio version which cuts out any excessive instrumental parts.