Sunday, July 24, 2011

A Special Day for a Music Legend

Originally posted on OGR 11/08/2009

Maurice Williams is celebrating 50 years of entertaining tonight with a
concert at the Newberry Opera House in Newberry SC. You don’t have to
be a boomer to remember his signature song “Stay”
which was the shortest recording ever to reach number one on the
Billboard Hot 100 chart in the United States at a minute and thirty
nine seconds. “Stay” was included on the soundtrack to the film Dirty Dancing
in 1987, which led to the song selling more records than it had during
its original release. Maurice and the Zodiacs recording of "May I", in 1961 became, over the years, another million selling record.

“Stay” was Almost an Afterthought”

In the spring of 1959, Maurice Williams and the Zodiacs performed at
the University of South Carolina in Columbia, South Carolina. Around
that time, the group split and reformed. The new band consisted of
Williams, Henry Gatson, Wiley Bennett, and Charles Thomas. Later,
Little Willie Morrow and Albert Hill were added. One month later, in
the early summer of 1959, the band recorded in a the studios of WOLO
Television which was located at that time in a Quonset Hut on
Shakespeare road near Two Notch Road in Columbia. The recording
engineer, Homer Fesperman, recorded several tracks that the band had
hoped would fetch them a hit. One of the last tracks that they recorded
that day was "Stay," a song that Williams had written a couple of weeks
before. He also wrote and recorded “Little Darlin’” while a member of the “Gladiolas”.

Full Circle

During the span of his musical career, Maurice Williams and the Zodiacs
have travelled far and wide but the Newberry Opera House is located
just 32 miles, as the crow flies, West-Northwest of the WOLO – TV
studios. The memories are coming home. Oh MY!

Copyright 2009 Rick Wrigley

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