Waterbury American Graffiti

The Crosby High Class of 1959

 

CRUISIN' DOWNTOWN WATERBURY & THE GREEN IN THE 1950s

 

 

Downtown stores we cruised by

 CRUISIN' MUSIC WAS PROVIDED ON OUR "AM ONLY" CAR RADIOS BY: 

(All of the sites in blue below will open in a new window when you click on them. The WKBW & WMCA sites contain audio files that play automatically, and many of the other sites have links to audio files, so you should click on the Pause or Stop button on the bottom of this page before going to them) 

WKBW 1520 Buffalo - Dick Biondi, Tom Shannon

WMCA 570 New York City - Scott Muni

WINS 1010 New York City - Alan Freed, "Cousin Brucie" (Bruce Morrow), "Murray The K"

WMGM 1050 New York City - Peter Tripp

WPOP 1410 Hartford - "Hound Dog" (George Lorenz), Mike Lawless

WWCO 1240 Waterbury - Joe Mulhall"Wildman Steve" Gallon

WATR 1320 Waterbury - "Rocky The Jockey" (Marvin Rothschild) & "Kwa The Earth Man" (our classmate John Kwasinskas, who took our record requests and dedications on the phone every weeknight) Listen to Rocky's theme song 

Kwa The Earth Man

WBRY 1590 Waterbury - Lou Dennis, "Sweet Daddy" (Joe Mulhall / Ken Griffin) Read Joe Mulhall's 1950s Waterbury radio memories

 

 

 CRUISIN' TUNES: ALL THE WMGM TOP 40 SURVEYS, 1956 TO 1961

SPRING CRUISIN' TUNES: THE WPOP "POP40", APRIL 1958 

The #28 record on the Survey, I Love You So, was recorded by two high school students at Hillhouse High School in New Haven in 1958. Cookie & Charley were "regulars" on Jim Gallant's Connecticut Bandstand that preceded American Bandstand every afternoon on WNHC-TV in New Haven

 Let's Go Rock 'n Roll was on the flip side of I Love You So.

(Click on the Pause or Stop button on the bottom of this page before playing a video)

We cruised over to Buckingham Hall and the State Armory to rock 'n' roll

Cookie, Charley, and Jim Gallant (left) were joined by Class of 1959 Crosbyites Joyce Shiel, Don Vaitkus, Donna Davies, Bob Smith, Dolores Pomponio, and Hank Datelle when they cruised down to New Haven to do the Stroll on Connecticut Bandstand in 1958.

 

Some class members may remember Jim Gallant's rock 'n' roll stageshows at Marino's Danz-Er-Roll in Buckingham Hall in 1959.

 

Top 40 Hits Of 1958

 

(SONG TITLE - Artist, Label)

1. VOLARE - Domenico Modugno (Decca)

2. ALL I HAVE TO DO IS DREAM - Everly Brothers (Cadence)

3. DONT/I BEG OF YOU - Elvis Presley (RCA Victor)

4. WITCH DOCTOR - David Seville (Liberty)

5. PATRICIA - Perez Prado (RCA Victor)

6. SAIL ALONG SILVERY MOON - Billy Vaughn (Dot)

7. CATCH A FALLING STAR - Perry Como (RCA Victor)

8. TEQUILA - Champs (Challenge)

9. IT'S ALL IN THE GAME - Tommy Edwards (MGM)

10. RETURN TO ME - Dean Martin (Capitol)

11. IT'S ONLY MAKE BELIEVE - Conway Twitty (MGM)

12. THE PURPLE PEOPLE EATER - Sheb Wooley (MGM)

13. BIRD DOG/DEVOTED TO YOU - Everly Brothers (Cadence)

14. GET A JOB - Silhouettes (Ember)

15. LITTLE STAR - Elegants (APT)

16. TWILIGHT TIME - Platters (Mercury)

17. STOOD UP - Ricky Nelson (Imperial)

18. HE'S GOT THE WHOLE WORLD IN HIS HANDS - Laurie London (Capitol)

19. SECRETLY - Jimmie Rodgers (Roulette)

20. AT THE HOP - Danny & the Juniors (ABC-Paramount)

21. YAKETY YAK - Coasters (Atco)

22. WEAR MY RING AROUND YOUR NECK - Elvis Presley (RCA Victor)

23. ROCKIN ROBIN/OVER AND OVER - Bobby Day (Class)

24. POOR LITTLE FOOL - Ricky Nelson (Imperial)

25. WONDERFUL TIME UP THERE - Pat Boone (Dot)

26. JUST A DREAM - Jimmy Clanton (Ace)

27. SUGARTIME - McGuire Sisters (Coral)

28. TOM DOOLEY - Kingston Trio (Capitol)

29. SWEET LITTLE SIXTEEN - Chuck Berry (Chess)

30. TOPSY II/TOPSY I - Cozy Cole (Love)

31. LOOKING BACK - Nat King Cole (Capitol)

32. BOOK OF LOVE - Monotones (Argo)

33. TEA FOR TWO CHA CHA - Tommy Dorsey Orch. (Decca)

34. TEARS ON MY PILLOW - Little Anthony & the Imperials (End)

35. SHORT SHORTS - Royal Teens (ABC-Paramount)

36. GREAT BALLS OF FIRE - Jerry Lee Lewis (Sun)

37. LOLLIPOP - Chordettes (Cadence)

38. SPLISH SPLASH - Bobby Darin (Atco)

39. WHO'S SORRY NOW - Connie Francis (MGM)

40. MY TRUE LOVE - Jack Scott (Carlton)

"Regional" Top 40 Hits from 1958 

 

Top 40 Hits Of 1959

Song Title Artist Chart
Position
Almost Grown Chuck Berry #32
Along Came Jones The Coasters #9
Alvin's Harmonica The Chipmunks #3
Always Sammy Turner #19
Among My Souvenirs Connie Francis #7
The Angels Listened In The Crests #22
Baby Talk Jan & Dean #10
Back In the U.S.A. Chuck Berry #37
Battle Hymn of the Republic Mormon Tabernacle Choir #13
The Battle Of Kookamonga Homer & Jethro #14
The Battle Of New Orleans Johnny Horton #1
Be My Guest Fats Domino #8
Believe Me Royal Teens #26
A Big Hunk O' Love Elvis Presley #1
The Big Hurt Miss Toni Fisher #3
Bobby Sox To Stockings Frankie Avalon #8
A Boy Without A Girl Frankie Avalon #10
Broken-Hearted Melody Sarah Vaughan #7
Caribbean Mitchell Torok #27
Charlie Brown The Coasters #2
Nick Nack Paddy Whack Cyril Stapleton #13
The Class Chubby Checker #38
Come Into My Heart Lloyd Price #20
Come On and Get Me Fabian #29
Come Softly to Me The Fleetwoods #1
Come To Me Marv Johnson #30
Dance With Me The Drifters #15
Danny Boy Conway Twitty #10
Deck of Cards Wink Martindale #7
Don't Pity Me Dion & The Belmonts #40
Don't Take Your Guns to Town Johnny Cash #32
Don't You Know Della Reese #2
Down By the Station The Four Preps #13
Dream Lover Bobby Darin #2
El Paso Marty Robbins #1
Enchanted The Platters #12
Endlessly Brook Benton #12
Everybody Likes To Cha Cha Cha Sam Cooke #31
First Name Initial The Afterbeats #20
Fools' Hall of Fame Pat Boone #29
For A Penny Pat Boone #23
Frankie Connie Francis #9
Go, Jimmy, Go Jimmy Clanton #5
God Bless America Connie Francis #36
Goodbye Baby Jack Scott #8
Goodbye Jimmy, Goodbye Kathy Linden #11
Graduation's Here The Fleetwoods #39
Guess Who Jesse Belvin #31
Handy Man Jimmy Jones #2
The Hanging Tree Marty Robbins #38
The Happy Reindeer Dancer, Prancer & Nervous #34
He'll Have to Go Jim Reeves #2
Heartaches By the Number Guy Mitchell #1
Heavenly Lover Teresa Brewer #40
Here Comes Summer Jerry Keller #14
Hey Little Girl Dee Clark #20
High Hopes Frank Sinatra #30
High School U.S.A. Tommy Facenda #28
Hound Dog Man Fabian #9
How About That Dee Clark #33
Hushabye The Mystics #20
I Ain't Never Webb Pierce #24
I Got a Wife The Mark IV #24
I Loves You, Porgy Nina Simone #18
I Miss You So Paul Anka #33
I Need Your Love Tonight Elvis Presley #4
I Only Have Eyes For You The Flamingos #11
I Waited Too Long LaVern Baker #33
I Wanna Be Loved Ricky Nelson #20
I Want To Walk You Home Fats Domino #8
I'll Be Satisfied Jackie Wilson #20
I'll Be with You in Apple Blossom Time Tab Hunter #31
I'm a Hog for You The Coasters #38
I'm a Man Fabian #31
I'm Gonna Be a Wheel Someday Fats Domino #17
I'm Gonna Get Married Lloyd Price #3
I'm Movin' On Ray Charles #40
I'm Never Gonna Tell Jimmie Rodgers #36
I'm Ready Fats Domino #16
I've Been Around Fats Domino #33
I've Come of Age Billy Storm #28
I've Had It The Bell Notes #6
If I Didn't Care Connie Francis #22
If I Give My Heart To You Kitty Kallen #34
If I Had a Girl Rod Lauren #31
If You Cry True Love, True Love The Drifters #33
It Doesn't Matter Anymore Buddy Holly #13
It Was I Skip & Flip #11
It's Just A Matter Of Time Brook Benton #3
It's Late Ricky Nelson #9
It's Time To Cry Paul Anka #4
Just a Little Too Much Ricky Nelson #9
Just As Much As Ever Bob Beckham #32
Just Ask Your Heart Frankie Avalon #7
Just Come Home Hugo & Luigi #35
Just Keep It Up Dee Clark #18
Kansas City Wilbert Harrison #1
Kissin' Time Bobby Rydell #11
Kookie, Kookie Edward Byrnes #4
Lavender-Blue Sammy Turner #3
Lipstick On Your Collar Connie Francis #5
The Little Drummer Boy Harry Simeone Chorale #15
Little Space Girl Jesse Lee Turner #20
Little Things Mean a Lot Joni James #35
Living Doll The Drifters #30
Lonely Blue Boy Conway Twitty #6
Lonely Boy Paul Anka #1
Lonely for You Gary Stites #24
Lonely Street Andy Williams #5
Lonely Teardrops Jackie Wilson #7
Love Potion #9 The Clovers #23
Lucky Devil Carl Dobkins, Jr. #25
M.T.A. The Kingston Trio #15
Mack the Knife Bobby Darin #1
Makin' Love Floyd Robinson #20
Marina Rocco Granata #31
Mary Lou Ronnie Hawkins #26
May You Always The McGuire Sisters #11
Midnight Stroll The Revels #35
Mighty Good Ricky Nelson #38
Misty Johnny Mathis #12
Mona Lisa Carl Mann #25
Mona Lisa Conway Twitty #29
Morgen Ivo Robic #13
The Morning Side Of the Mountain Tommy Edwards #27
Mr. Blue The Fleetwoods #1
The Mummy Bob McFadden #39
My Heart Is an Open Book Carl Dobkins, Jr. #3
My Melancholy Baby Tommy Edwards #26
My Own True Love Jimmy Clanton #33
My Wish Came True Elvis Presley #12
Never Be Anyone Else But You Ricky Nelson #6
No Other Arms, No Other Lips The Chordettes #27
Nola Billy Williams #39
Not One Minute More Della Reese #16
A Fool Such As I Elvis Presley #2
Oh! Carol Neil Sedaka #9
Only Sixteen Sam Cooke #28
Personality Lloyd Price #2
Pink Shoe Laces Dodie Stevens #3
Plain Jane Bobby Darin #38
Please Mr. Sun Tommy Edwards #11
Poison Ivy The Coasters #7
Poor Jenny The Everly Brothers #22
Pretty Blue Eyes Steve Lawrence #9
Primrose Lane Jerry Wallace #8
Put Your Head on My Shoulder Paul Anka #2
Ragtime Cowboy Joe The Chipmunks #16
Ring-a-Ling-a-Lario Jimmie Rodgers #32
Robbin' the Cradle Tony Bellus #25
Run Red Run The Coasters #36
Running Bear Johnny Preston #1
Sandy Larry Hall #15
Say Man Bo Diddley #20
Scarlett Ribbons The Browns #13
Sea Cruise Frankie Ford #14
Sea of Love The Twilights #2
See You In September The Tempos #23
Seven Little Girls Sitting In the Back Seat Paul Evans #9
She Say The Diamonds #18
Shimmy, Shimmy, Ko-Ko-Bop The Imperials #24
Since I Don't Have You The Skyliners #12
Since You've Been Gone Clyde McPhatter #38
Six Nights a Week The Crests #28
Small World Johnny Mathis #20
Smoke Gets In Your Eyes The Platters #1
So Close Brook Benton #38
So Fine The Fiestas #11
So Many Ways Brook Benton #6
Someone Johnny Mathis #35
Sorry I Ran All the Way Home The Impalas #2
Stagger Lee Lloyd Price #1
Story of My Love Conway Twitty #28
Sweet Nothin's Brenda Lee #4
Sweeter Than You Ricky Nelson #9
Swingin' On A Rainbow Frankie Avalon #39
Take A Message To Mary The Everly Brothers #16
Talk That Talk Jackie Wilson #34
Talk to Me Frank Sinatra #38
Tall Paul The Afterbeats #7
Tallahassee Lassie Freddy Boom-Boom Cannon #6
A Teenager In Love Dion #5
Tell Him No Travis & Bob #8
Thank You Pretty Baby Brook Benton #16
That's Why I Love You So Jackie Wilson #13
The Three Bells The Browns #1
The Tijuana Jail The Kingston Trio #12
There Goes My Baby The Drifters #2
There Must Be a Way Joni James #33
This Friendly World Fabian #12
This I Swear The Skyliners #26
This Should Go On Forever Rod Bernard #20
Three Stars Tommy Dee #11
Tiger Fabian #3
'Til I Kissed You The Everly Brothers #4
'Till There Was You Anita Bryant #30
Tomboy Perry Como #29
Tragedy The DeLons #5
Tucumcari Jimmie Rodgers #32
Turn Me Loose Fabian #9
Twixt Twelve and Twenty Pat Boone #17
Uh! Oh! Part 2 The Nutty Squirrels #14
Unforgettable Dinah Washington #17
Venus Frankie Avalon #1
The Village of St. Bernadette Andy Williams #7
Waterloo Stonewall Jackson #4
Way Down Yonder in New Orleans Freddy Cannon #3
The Way I Walk Jack Scott #35
We Got Love Bobby Rydell #6
What A Diff'rence A Day Makes Dinah Washington #8
What Is Love? The Playmates #15
What'd I Say Part 1 Ray Charles #6
Where Were You on Our Wedding Day? Lloyd Price #23
Why Frankie Avalon #1
With Open Arms Jane Morgan #39
With the Wind and the Rain In Your Hair Pat Boone #21
The Wonder of You Ray Peterson #25
Wonderful You Jimmie Rodgers #40
A Worried Man The Kingston Trio #20
You Better Know It Jackie Wilson #37
You Got What it Takes Marv Johnson #10
You Were Mine Fireflies #21
You're Gonna Miss Me Connie Francis #34
You're So Fine The Falcons

#17

 

Tommy Facenda turned the novel “High School U.S.A.” into a Top 30 hit in 1959. What evolved as the most nonconforming hit of the rock era began simply enough in Norfolk as a musical tribute to some Virginia high schools. While popular in Virginia, the tune drew very little interest in the other 49 states. Realizing the nationwide potential of “High School U.S.A.,” Facenda recorded a template track, of sorts, with generic lyrics that do not refer to any specific areas. Then Tommy separately recorded 28 different tributes to selected regions, which, when edited into the master template, gave listeners the names of local area high schools. The editing is so well done that teens in Connecticut had no idea the folks in California were hearing a completely different list of schools. Crosby and other Waterbury high schools are mentioned on the Hartford Area version (Atlantic 45-64).

 

Listen to the Pittsburgh version of "High School U.S.A."

(Click on the Pause or Stop button on the bottom of this page before playing)

Listen to some other 1959 Top 40 hits

(Click on the Pause or Stop button on the bottom of this page before playing)

FACULTY   CLASS MEMBERS   GROUPS   SPORTS   OUR TOWN   AUTOGRAPHS 

              

  THE GOLDEN AGE OF NEW YORK CITY RADIO  

 
WINS, WABC, WMCA, WMGM, WNBC
 
Murray The K, Alan Freed, Ron Lundy, Bruce Morrow, Herb Oscar Anderson, Dan Ingram, Peter Tripp, Scott Muni, Mad Daddy

I’ve tracked down a great 15 minute montage of airchecks from New York radio stations in the 1950s and 1960s and you can hear it right here on Waterbury American Graffiti.

 

This montage shows why radio isn't fun any more. No personality, all 'canned', voice-tracked, sterile pap at best, trash at worst. Nothing 'local'. We no longer have "On Air Personalities". The montage was put together by Peter Mokover, who still has the original master tape of it and all of the original airchecks the various segments came from (except for Alan Freed and Murray The K which came from some record albums).

New York Radio Airchecks Montage


FONZIE AND POTSIE HAD ARNOLD'S, WE HAD THE TOWER GRILL

On Saturday night after the YMCA dance

when all the girls have gone home

with the boys who drive newer cars,

I drive down to Freight Street

to hang out at the all-night diner.

 

The place is empty,

except for the cook

asleep next to the Roll-A-Grill

and a lone waitress

who leans against the counter

blowing curls of smoke

that cling to the glass pie case.

 

I drop my last nickel

into the jukebox

and ask her to dance.

Sure kid, she laughs,

as she punches out her cigarette

in a leftover mound of mashed potatoes.

 

We step into the aisle,

her hand on my shoulder,

my eyes even with her pink name tag.

Outside, next to the Naugatuck River,

the old overhead street lamps

in the empty American Brass parking lot

give off a muddy yellow glow

 

but here, in the Tower Grill,

me and Rita turn slowly

between the vinyl stools

and Formica booths,

we move under the flash of red neon,

Open All Night, Best Food In Town.

The original owner and founder of the Tower Grill in Waterbury was Joseph "Pepe" Janatiss. Janatiss and his partner, Pat Sebastian, opened the restaurant on Meadow Street in 1941. The building was destroyed by the 1955 flood and moved to Freight Street, where Sebastian, Janatiss, and his son, our Crosby High School classmate Robert Janatiss, operated the restaurant until 1989.

Aside from the missing jukeboxes and modernizations (such as new lights and revamped kitchen), the place doesn't look much different today than it did in the '50s. It still sits in a nondescript building lined with glass windows tucked between tall brick factory buildings once teeming with workers. A simple, green sign stands out front.

The Tower Grill takes its name from the old railroad station clock tower that looms behind it. Like many diners, it was built on a tradition of simple food, friendly service and a welcoming, no-frills atmosphere. That much has stayed the same since the restaurant opened its doors on Freight Street in 1955. In celebration of its 50th anniversary at the Freight Street location, the diner hosted a cruise night on Aug. 7, 2005, complete with tunes of the 1950s.

Back then, the Tower Grill was the kind of joint teenagers and adults would hang out at on a Saturday night after the roller skating rink closed. They'd drop a nickel in the jukebox and listen to Elvis' "Jailhouse Rock" while slurping malts and biting into burgers. Waterbury resident John Bartolini remembers those days fondly. "I kind of still wish it was open 24 hours," the 62-year-old retiree said. The restaurant now closes at 3 p.m. on weekdays, 2 p.m. on Saturdays and 1 p.m. on Sundays.

Polly Cotsoradis, who calls her waitresses "girls" and is often poised with her elbow on the counter, unlocks the diner's doors at 5:30 a.m. A cluster of regulars, newspapers in hand, wait outside for their cup of joe and possibly a piece of her famous strawberry shortcake made with Irish tea biscuits. Cotsoradis, who greets each patron with a smile and flash from her lively green eyes, runs the restaurant with her son, Peter Cotsoradis. Polly and her late husband, Steve, took over the business in 1989 from the original owners. 

 Take Me Back To The '50s

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