Listen: 'I'll Step Down' at MPH's Judy Stone page.
Single on RCA #47-7951, reviewed in Billboard 16 October 1961 [Google books]. Recorded 18 July 1961.
Bonnie Guitar: country singer, songwriter and session guitarist from Seattle (b. Bonnie Buckingham,
1923) who co-founded the Dolphin (later Dolton) label and signed The Fleetwoods and The Ventures. Her own recording career included the pop hit Dark Moon (1957,
References: 1. Tom Simon’s biography of Bonnie Guitar. 2. Wikipedia entry for Bonnie Guitar.
Thanks to Terry Stacey for suggestion and initial research.
Thanks also to John Baart.
British band from the Home Counties, occasionally anthologised on CD. Previously working as The Off-beats, they were recorded by the great British producer Joe Meek as Ricky Wayne & The Off-beats.
This single on Fontana, the B-side of Josephine, was released in May 1961, the same month as the charting version by Garry Mills. Ray Poole notes that it was recorded in April 1961 "on the very day Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin was blasted into space".
Further reading: Former Cherokee Ron Bowdery has his recent music and updates online at MySpace and at Overplay.com. His recollections of working with Joe Meek and Ricky Wayne are at California Ballroom.
Not to be confused with either Australian 60s band The Cherokees (see, for example, "Minnie The Moocher") or The Cherokees from Leeds, who had a minor hit with "Seven Daffodils" (1964, #33 UK). And let’s not confuse The Off-beats with the Australian Off Beats led by Ray Hoff.
Single on Decca, also on London in the USA.
You’ll see his name misspelt as Gary Mills, but this is British singer Garry Mills, whose Look For A Star (1960), written by Tony Hatch as ‘Mark Anthony’, was a hit in the US (where, to add to the confusion, it was covered by Buzz Cason using the name Garry Miles).
I’ll Step Down was released in May 1961, the same month as the version by Lee Diamond & The Cherokees. Given the higher profile of Garry Mills, this may have the edge as the original, but I’m keeping that question mark for now. Entered the UK charts in June.
Sid Tepper and Roy C. Bennett were prolific US songwriters whose partnership lasted from 1945 until 1970. They wrote numerous songs for Elvis Presley films, and for British pop star Cliff Richard.
Further reading: On ‘Look For A Star’, 45Cat has a discussion on the Garry Mills-Garry Miles confusion, with a contribution from Garry Mills himself. Label shots of the UK release of the American ‘Look For A Star’ by Garry Miles shows that some B-side labels were misprinted as Garry Mills, just to add to the confusion.
Same title but probably not the same song as ‘I’ll Step Down’ by Judy Stone.
Single on San Antonio, Texas label TNT, #188. The review in Billboard, 19 June 1961 gives Jack Newman as composer [Google books]. At BMI, a song called I’ll Step Down is indeed listed in the repertoire of blues guitarist Jack Newman who recorded briefly in Chicago in the late 1930s.
Country singer Billy Deaton later went into business as a booking agent and as manager to country star Faron Young. He died in 2009, but the Billy Deaton Talent Agency still operates in Nashville (2011).
Reference: Billy Deaton biography by Craig Harris at All Music Guide.
Further reading: "Music City mourns the loss of legendary talent booker Billy Deaton…", Examiner.com, 5 November 2009.