1963 starts off with another great song from the team of Gerry Goffin and Carole King. This song has a rich history. It was first recorded by Bobby Vee in early 1962, but did not chart for him. Steve Lawrence then recorded it in late 1962 and it became the first number one of 1963. The song would go on to be recorded by many other people over the years. Two others would also hit the Top 40 with “Go Away Little Girl,” a group called The Happening reached number twelve with the song in 1966 and Donny Osmond put it back at number one in 1971.
Steve Lawrence was born Sidney Leibowitz in 1935 in Brownsville, a part of Brooklyn, New York. His father worked as a baker and owned his own bakery in the Bronx, but at the synagogue, he served as the cantor. In a story that seems to come right out of the movie The Jazz Singer, little Sidney would also sing in the synagogue. When his voice began to change at about the age of eleven, everyone thought his singing days were over, but he got through it and by the time he was in high school, he was singing regularly.
He tried out for Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts and won first place which won him a place on the show for a week. This brought him to the attention of King Records and he started recording. His very first two singles hit the chart in 1952 and 1953. He was still in high school at the time and while his principal gave him time off for personal appearances, Sidney could see that show business and high school did not mesh well, so he quit school and devoted his full attention to his career. By this time, he decided that Sidney Leibowitz might not be a name to put on records, so he took the first names of two of his cousins and renamed himself Steve Lawrence.
He auditioned for Steve Allen’s variety show which was playing on one of the New York television stations and won a place to sing on the show. That show evolved into The Tonight Show and Steve was with the show for five seasons. Another good thing to come out of the Steve Allen show was that he met Eydie Gorme on the show and they were married December 29, 1957. Steve and Eydie would become show business legends.
Steve Lawrence hit the charts regularly from 1957 until 1964, but “Go Away Little Girl” was the only number one he had. He later became an actor and starred in many television shows and movies, sometimes co-starring with his wife, Eydie Gorme. Today Steve Lawrence is 82 years old.
“Go Away Little Girl” debuted on the pop chart on December 8, 1962, hit number number during the week of January 12, 1963 and stayed there for two weeks.