Alley Oop (1960)

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The Hollywood Argyles, an act thrown together by producer Kim Fowley (famous for producing such novelty hits as Napoleon XIV's "They're Coming to Take Me Away, Ha-Haaa!") and singer Gary S. Paxton (who, at the time, was half of the duo Skip and Flip). Paxton later said, "I was still under contract as 'Flip' ... I couldn't put my name on 'Alley Oop'."

The Hollywood Argyles were named (by Paxton) after the street names of Hollywood Boulevard and Argyle Street, where the studio at which "Alley Oop" was recorded was located. 

Paxton hired pianist Gaynel Hodge, bassist Harper Cosby, drummer Sandy Nelson (known for his #4 US hit "Teen Beat",) who performed percussion on garbage cans and contributed background screams, and backing vocalists including the song's writer Dallas Frazier.

Paxton said, "Other than myself, there were no actual Hollywood Argyles.  Everyone else on the track was either a friend or a studio musician who I paid $25 apiece for the session . . . When 'Alley Oop' suddenly took off and people wanted to book us for concerts, there was no such group."

The song was referenced by David Bowie in the song "Life On Mars?", which reached #3 in the UK in 1973: "Oh, man, look at those cavemen go..." The song was also recorded by Barbra Streisand for her 1974 album ButterFly.
Chart position:
#1 (US).

It was #1 in the US for one week in July 1960. It was preceded at #1 by "Everybody's Somebody's Fool" (Connie Francis) and succeeded by "I'm Sorry" (Brenda Lee).

The Top Ten Songs: July 11, 1960 (US Billboard Hot 100).
  1. "Alley Oop" (Hollywood Argyles)
  2. "I'm Sorry" (Brenda Lee)
  3. "Everybody's Somebody's Fool" (Connie Francis)
  4. "Because They're Young" (Duane Eddy)
  5. "Mule Skinner Blues" (Fendermen)
  6. "Only The Lonely" (Roy Orbison)
  7. "That's All You Gotta Do" (Brenda Lee)
  8. "My Home Town" (Paul Anka)
  9. "A Rockin' Good Way" (Dinah Washington and Brook Benton)
  10. "When Will I Be Loved" (Everly Brothers)

Written by:
Dallas Frazier (born October 27, 1939 in Spiro, Oklahoma.)

"Alley Oop" was the first major songwriting hit for Frazier. He wrote it while working at a cotton gin in Pond, California.

Dallas Frazier wrote many hits after "Alley Oop", including "Mohair Sam", "There Goes My Everything", and "Elvira".

Alley Oop is the title character of a comic strip created in 1932 by cartoonist V. T. Hamlin, who wrote and drew Alley Oop for four decades. The current Alley Oop Sunday and daily strips are written by Carole Bender and illustrated by Jack Bender.

In basketball, an "alley oop" is an offensive play in which a player throws the ball up towards the basket to a teammate who jumps, catches the ball in mid air and scores a basket, usually with a slam dunk. It is an impressive way to score and often electrifies the spectators. It is thought that this basketball move was named for the comic strip character because sportscasters believed the throw looked like Alley Oop the caveman in action.

The phrase itself, according to, derives from the French allez-oop, the cry of a circus acrobat about to leap.

Also by:
The Dyna-Sores and Dante and the Evergreens.

"Alley Oop" was released by three different artists around the time of May 1960: The Dyna-Sores, Dante and the Evergreens, and the Hollywood Argyles.

The Dyna-Sores version reached #59 (US), the Dante and the Evergreens version reached #15 (US), and the Hollywood Argyles version reached #1 (US) and sold over a million copies. The Hollywood Argyles' version is generally considered to be the definitive version.

It was also recorded by the Beach Boys on their 1965 album Beach Boys' Party!, with Mike Love on lead vocals.

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