Pop Archives

Jimmy Hannan - You Make Me Happy (1964)

(Jimmy Curtiss)
Australia Australia
#17 Sydney #14 Brisbane

March 1964 single on RG label of Reg Grundy, issued by Festival. The other side Hokey Pokey Stomp co-charted. Also on Festival in NZ. Both labels misspell the writer's name as 'Jimmie Curtis'.

Jimmy Hannan (b.1934) is best known as a television compere and entertainer, seen on numerous programs from the early 60s.

As Bee Gees World notes, the backing vocals are by The Bee Gees, as on another Jimmy Hannan hit from 1963, Beach Ball.

On the other side:

Hokey Pokey Stomp YouTube, which co-charted with You Make Me Happy, is a rearrangement of the old dance song, updated to exploit surf music's stomp dance craze. The original dates from the 1940s and is of disputed authorship.

No arranger or additional writer is credited for Jimmy Hannan's Australian version. The single credits the original American writers Larry La Prise, Charles Macak and Taft Baker, but the sheet music credits Jimmy Kennedy, the Briton who also copyrighted the song. 

Val Martinez - You Make Me Happy (1963)

(Jimmy Curtiss)
Original version

Single on RCA, July 1963. Writer's name is spelt 'Jimmie' on the label.

The singer:
Val Martinez released at least eight singles, on King* (1954), United Artists (1958), and finally four on RCA (1963) that followed one on RCA subsidiary Groove (1962). 

On his two 1954 King singles Martinez was backed by Bill Doggett's Orchestra.* His RCA single Someone's Gonna Cry (1963) was arranged by Jack Nitzche and produced by Lester Sill who also co-produced You Make Me Happy.

In spite of such distinguished connections, details about Martinez are elusive. Billboard's review of his second single At Last (1954) describes him as using some of the techniques of Johnnie Ray, Billy Eckstine and other stylists. He was still around in 1980, when an entertainment column in The Baltimore Afro-American mentions shows at the Playboy Club at Century City (LA) by Val Martinez, who got his start singing with Bill Doggett… in Detroit.

Martinez's records (mostly Someone's Gonna Cry) are often listed nowadays under the retrospective genres of Northern Soul and its Belgian counterpart Popcorn. He may also be found in a category called Popcorn Soul, at the bouncier end of soul music.

* I'm assuming, plausibly, that the 1954 Val Martinez on King is the same as the Val Martinez on the later singles. A complication is yet another Val Martinez who released four 78s in Spanish on Decca in 1936. Unraveling this is beyond my resources.

The writer:
New York singer, songwriter, producer and label owner Jimmy Curtiss (b. James Stulberger, 1940) had a varied and productive career in music from the late 50s but never became a household name.

Curtiss released two singles in the current teen idol style 1960-61 on United Artists, and one on Warner Brothers (1962), before concentrating on songwriting and working in advertising. He resumed recording with three singles on Laurie 1965-67, of which Psychedelic Situation (1967, co-wr. Ernie Maresca) is the best remembered. He then formed The Hobbits whose records on Decca later became sought after by fans of sunshine pop. From 1969, Curtiss's own label Perception issued records by a number of jazz, r&b and pop artists, the most successful of which was King Harvest's Dancing In The Moonlight (1972). During this period he produced and wrote for a number of lesser-known bands, often in bubblegum or psychedelic pop styles, and released his own album Life using the name J.C. (1969).

References, further reading: 1. My initial source on Jimmy Curtiss was Jason Ankeny's detailed biography of Curtiss at All Music. 2. The biography at the unofficial Jimmy Curtiss site has more details and is up-to-date to c.2014. 3. Marios's Rockasteria blog has an enthusiastic review of Jimmy Curtiss's album Life (1969, released under the name J.C.) and also goes into his production and writing for various psychedelic or bubblegum bands. Marios also reviews Down To Middle Earth (1967) and Men And Doors (1968), albums by Jimmy Curtiss's band The Hobbits.

Bruce Channel - You Make Me Happy (1964)

(Jimmy Curtiss)
Later version

Single on Mel-O-Dey, July 1964 

Here the song is worked over in the style of Channel's hit Hey! Baby (1962, #1 USA).


Bobby Sherman - You Make Me Happy (1964)

(Jimmy Curtiss)
Later version

Single on Decca, September 1964, B-side of Man Overboard.

Bobby Sherman (b.1943) released singles from 1962 and had been a resident singer on TV's Shindig in the mid-60s, but it wasn't until he became known through his role in Here Come The Brides from 1968 that he became a pop star. His biggest hits were Little Woman (1969, #3 USA), La La La (If I Had You) (1969, #9), Easy Come, Easy Go (1970, #9) and Julie, Do Ya Love Me (1970, #5).

Cliff Bennett & The Rebel Rousers - You Make Me Happy (1964)

(Jimmy Curtiss)
Later version

On Parlophone EP Cliff Bennett And The Rebel Rousers, November 1964. Also on 1966 MFP album Drivin' You Wild.

Popular live soul band Cliff Bennett & The Rebel Rousers were first formed in 1959. They recorded with Joe Meek from 1961 and were signed by Brian Epstein in 1964. Their best known song was a hit version of The Beatles' Got To Get You Into My Life (1966, #6 UK), produced by Paul McCartney.

Further reading: Cliff Bennett & The Rebel Rousers at British Beat Boom [archived page]. 

Curtiss Maldoon - You Make Me Happy (1971)

(Dave Curtiss - Clive Maldoon)
Red herring


Single on Regal Zonophone by British folk duo Dave Curtiss & Clive Maldoon [Clive Skinner].

This is a double red herring because of the coincidence of the surname CURTISS. This You Make Me Happy is co-written and performed by Dave Curtiss, but the song recorded by Val Martinez, Jimmy Hannan and others is written by Jimmy Curtiss.

Further reading: The duo's history at Wikipedia is brief but informative and touches on an early connection with Deep Purple.

The Artistics - You Make Me Happy (1967)

(Van McCoy)
Red herring


Single on Brunswick, B-side of Nothing But Heartaches (Keep Haunting Me) by Chicago vocal group, produced by Brunswick's major in-house soul producer Carl Davis.

  A couple of other red herrings:

• PuzzleYou Make Me Happy (John LiVigni, aka John Valenti)
USA 1973
Track on Motown album Puzzle by band with brass section à la Chicago, led by LiVigni.
• The DodgersYou Make Me Happy (Paul Winley-Dennis Edwards)
USA 1954
Single on Aladdin by doowop group. According to 45Cat commenter this was a hit in Jamaica on a 1960 Down Beat [UK] rerelease.