Pop Archives

Jimmy Hannan - You Make Me Happy (1964)

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

B-side on Reg Grundy’s RG label, issued by Festival, March 1964. Also on Festival in NZ. Both labels misspell the writer’s name as ‘Jimmie Curtis’.

Jimmy Hannan (1934-2019) was 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.

See also the co-charting A-side Hokey Pokey Stomp for a brief history of that 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 (1936-1998) was from San Antonio, Texas, but he made his career in Los Angeles, singing at such venues as the famous P.J.’s Nightclub where he was a regular.

Val Martinez is doing big business nightly at Hollywood’s popular nitery P.J.’s .

Cash Box, January 25, 1964

Before that, he recorded two singles in Cincinatti for the King label in May 1954 when he was still in his late teens. Backing him on organ was the notable r&b keyboardist Bill Doggett with his orchestra. Billboard’s review of Martinez’s second King single At Last (1954) describes him as using some of the techniques of Johnnie Ray, Billy Eckstine and other stylists.

After one single on United Artists in 1958, Martinez was signed by RCA for five singles 1962-63, including one on RCA’s Groove label.

Val Martinez 1963

At RCA, Martinez worked with some distinguished names in 50s-60s American music. His single Someone’s Gonna Cry (1963), recorded at RCA’s Hollywood studio, was arranged by Jack Nitzsche and produced by Lester Sill. Personnel on the session, listed at authoritative pop site Spectropop, included Bobby Sheen, Darlene Love and Gracia Nitzsche (vocals), Tommy Tedesco, Glen Campbell and Barney Kessel (guitars) and Hal Blaine (drums). The arranger and conductor was Shorty Rogers, a major figure in West Coast jazz more often found in studio work at this time.

Noting that Martinez’s records are often included under the retrospective genres of Northern Soul and its Belgian counterpart Popcorn, Spectropop has high praise for the big soul sound of Someone’s Gonna Cry: a fine set of pipes, a strong song and a first-rate arrangement – a HIT! Of course it wasn’t, but it shoulda been.

Lester Sill also co-produced You Make Me Happy. In all, six of Martinez’s sides had Lester Sill production credits, including his last A-side Pay Day.

Val Martinez, currently playing the Thunderbird Hotel, Las Vegas, has recorded ‘Pay Day’ for RCA, and is gaining heavy play.

Cash Box, March 3, 1963

Val Martinez over three generations In fact, the current Val Martinez tells us at his website that there are four generations of singers called Val Martinez, but my research has not reached that far back. The I, II and III below are for clarity: the numbers do not usually appear after their names.

Val Martinez I (1900-1943) was a Mexican singer-guitarist who performed in San Antonio and other locations in Texas. In July 1933 the Herald in Brownsville, Texas, announced the appearance of Mexico’s golden-voiced recording artist Val Martinez and troupe. His recordings, mostly in Spanish, included numerous sides in San Antonio in the late 1920s,1 and four 78s on Decca(1936).2 [Listen at YouTube.] In 1932 he was singing three times a day on the high-power Mexican station XER, just over the border from Texas .3 His son was:

Val Martinez II (1936-1998), who recorded You Make Me Happy (see above). His son is:

Val Martinez III, who first sang in public at the age of 3 when he joined his dad on stage. He is associated with Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons, both as a touring member of the (New) Four Seasons (2004-2007), and as singer and director with the tribute show Walk Like A Man. His work in a range of musical fields can be seen at his website Val Martinez Music.

1. See, for example, Richard Spottswood, Ethnic Music on Records, p.2073, and Laird & Rust Discography of OKeh Records, 1918-1934, p.563. The Strachwitz Frontera Collection features many Val Martinez records with label shots and audio samples
2. Online Discographies Project’s discography for Decca (USA) 10000 series (Mexican): see label numbers 10108, 10130, 10161 and 10169.
3. José Luis Ortiz Garz’s history of XER, Una Radio Entre Dos Reinos (2010), p77 has more details on Martinez’s performances [Internet Archive]. XER was in Villa Acuña, now Villa Ciudad.

Thanks to Val Martinez.

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 onLaurie 1965-67, of which Psychedelic Situation (1967, co-wr. Ernie Maresca) YouTube 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).

More on Jimmy Curtiss: 1. My initial source on 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 more up-to-date.

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).

Listen at YouTube

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).

Watch at YouTube

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.

Listenat YouTube

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.

Michel Mallory - Sur Mesure Pour Moi (You Make Me Happy) (1964)

(Jimmy Curtiss - André Pascal)
France France
Later version

French-language version (= Tailor-made For Me) on Barclay EP Mon Vieux Jo by Paris-based singer-composer-lyricist born in Corsica (1941, Jean-Paul Cugurno). He wrote hundreds of songs, notably for French singing stars Johnny Hallyday and Sylvie Vartan. He also recorded as Thomas Liberi and composed as Godefroy Liberi.

French lyrics by André Pascal (1932-2001). With the orchestra of Paul Mauriat.

Further reading: 1. Michel Mallory at French Wikipedia. 2. Jean-Paul Cugurno/Michel Mallory profile at Passion Chanson.

Listen at YouTube

Merci à Philippe de me signaler cette version.