Pop Archives

The Questions - Sally Go ‘Round The Roses (1967)

(Abner Spector, also attrib. to Zell Sanders - Lona Stevens*)
Australia Australia
#12 Sydney

Originally an instrumental band in the style of The Shadows, The Questions acquired Doug Parkinson as vocalist in 1966. They came second to The Groop in the 1967 Hoadley's Battle of the Sounds and supported The Who and The Small Faces on their 1968 tour of Australia.

Members of The Questions formed the basis of Doug Parkinson In Focus, the successful late-60s to early-70s band that featured Parkinson's powerful soul-influenced vocals.

*See below under The Jaynetts for notes on attribution.

Further reading: Milesago's Doug Parkinson page. Suggestion and background from Terry Stacey.

Normie Rowe & The Playboys - Sally Go ‘Round The Roses (1966)

(Abner Spector, also attrib. to Zell Sanders - Lona Stevens*)
Australia Australia

Track on 1966 album Wonderful Feeling, on Sunshine label.

Melbourne singer Normie Rowe became Australia's top teen idol of the late 60s and the star of Ivan Dayman's Sunshine label. He had a string of hits in Australia from 1965, recorded four singles in London, toured Britain and America, and even inspired a tribute song, Norman-Normie. After he was conscripted to serve in Vietnam he never regained his earlier 'King of Pop' status, but he re-established himself as a respected performer, especially on stage, starring in such productions as Les Miserables and Annie.

*See below under The Jaynetts for notes on attribution.

Further reading: Full biography at Milesago. The official site is at www.normierowe.com

The Remo Four - Sally Go ‘Round The Roses (1964)

(Abner Spector, also attrib. to Zell Sanders - Lona Stevens*)

Influential version?

Single on Piccadilly by Liverpool band, contemporaries of The Beatles, first formed in 1958 as the Remo Quartet.

The Remo Four went through numerous line-up changes throughout the 60s, teaming at different times with vocalists Johnny Sandon, Tommy Quickly, Billy J. Kramer (for whom they became The New Dakotas) and Billy Fury. The Remo Four’s history is full of interesting details: they worked with George Harrison on Wonderwall Music (1968), and founding member Roy Dyke joined a later Remo Four member Tony Ashton in Ashton, Gardner & Dyke (Resurrection Shuffle, 1971, #3 UK).

Further reading: 1. Tommy Quickly & Remo Four page at British Beat Boom. 2. The Wikipedia entry on the Remo Four is more comprehensive, and includes a thorough discography (still only "start class" to the Wikipedants). 3. Remo 4 biography at All Music Guide.

Thanks for the version alert to Terry Stacey who reasonably speculates about whether this is yet another Mersey record that carried influence in Australia.

The Jaynetts - Sally Go ‘Round The Roses (1963)

(Abner Spector, also attrib. to Zell Sanders - Lona Stevens*)
Original version
#2 USA #13 Perth

Single on Tuff label.

The Jaynetts were a later configuration of The Hearts, a girl group first formed in 1954 by producer and label owner Zell Sanders. Baby Washington was a member of The Hearts for a while, from 1957.

After numerous personnel changes and recordings, Zell Sanders teamed with producer Abner Spector and his wife Lona Stevens to produce Sally Go Round The Roses, financed by Chess Records and using a number of singers including members of The Hearts.

The Jaynetts were built around Johnnie Louise Richardson, daughter of Zell Sanders, who quit the group after Sally Go Round The Roses, the group's only hit.

Johnnie Louise Richardson had been in the duo Johnnie & Joe. They had a hit in 1957 with Over The Mountain, Across The Sea (#8 USA), recorded in Australia by Johnny O'Keefe.

Lezli Valentine, a key Jaynett and later a critically acclaimed solo artist on All Platinum, comments on the recording for this website:

Zell Sanders telephoned before I was off to the office as a stenographer for the State of New York to come to the studio because the girls she had – Ethel Davis, Ada Ray Kelly, Mary Sue Wells – were not experienced in the studio and could not get anything right and needed my expertise. I wrote the hook, "Saddest thing in the whole wide world is to see your baby with another girl," and I also suggested the song be sung in a 'round' version. Zell said, “Do it for them, Lezli," and I recorded it. (Contributed, July 2009)

The title at least seems to be derived from Sally Go Round The Sun, although the song's lyrics depart considerably from that traditional skipping or nursery rhyme. Perhaps there is a North American variation I don't know about?

*Writers: The song was first registered at the US Copyright Office in 1963 under the names of Zell Sanders and Lona Stevens (pseudonym for Lona Spector). The copyright was renewed in 1978, and is now registered in Abner Spector's name. At ASCAP the song is listed under Abner Spector.

References: Girl Group Chronicles and sites linked above. Additional detail from Dave Overett and Virgin Encyclopedia of 60s Music.

Thanks to Lezli Valentine of The Jaynetts.