By: Bobby Day (born, ironically, Robert James Byrd on July 1, 1928 in Ft. Worth, Texas, died of cancer July 27, 1990.)
Day’s songwriting efforts include "Over & Over", which was later a #1 hit for the Dave Clark Five in 1965, and "Little Bitty Pretty One", which was a hit for Day, Thurston Harris, Clyde McPhatter, and the Jackson 5.
Day's first solo hit, "Little Bitty Pretty One", competed with Harris' version, which was much more successful. However, Day was approached by songwriter and Class Records owner Leon René with a song: "Rockin' Robin".
Again, Thurston Harris saw an opportunity to compete with Day, when he found out Day's next single was to be "Over and Over" (with "Rockin' Robin" as the B-side). Harris recorded his own version of "Over and Over"!
Knowing that Harris had a bigger label promoting him, the decision was made to flip the A- and B-sides so that they would not compete. But the contest wasn't even close: Harris' single fell off the charts after a week, while Day's reached the #2 spot after 11 weeks.
Day's backing band on "Rockin' Robin" was his group the Satellites. The piccolo solo was played by veteran woodwind musician Plas Johnson, who also played the lead tenor saxophone on "The Pink Panther Theme" (Henry Mancini).
"Rockin' Robin" was featured in the 1984 film Stand by Me.
Chart position: #2 (US), #1 (US R&B), released in 1958.
It was kept from #1 by "It's All In The Game" (Tommy Edwards).
Written by: Leon René (born Feb 6, 1902 in Covington, Louisiana, died May 30, 1982 in Los Angeles, CA), credited to "Jimmy Thomas".
The song was inspired by a mockingbird whose singing pestered René. René's wife, Jenny "Jimmy" Thomas, receives the songwriting credit.
René also wrote "When It's Sleepy Time Down South" and "When the Swallows Come Back to Capistrano", both of which were popular songs, and were featured in many Looney Tunes cartoons in the 1940s and 1950s.
Also by: Michael Jackson, at the age of 14. It was his second single as a solo artist (and, like Day's version, also reached #2, US, 1972).