Today we’re going to try something different. In the Forties and Fifties, it was not uncommon for more than one artist to record a song and many times several versions would hit the charts. “Young Love” has been recorded by many people, but in 1957, both Sonny James and Tab Hunter hit number one with the song.
“Young Love” was written by Ric Cartey and Carole Joyner in 1956. They spent some time finding someone who would record it. Finally, they offered it to Sonny James, who was a struggling country artist. Sonny had had a few hits, but nothing really huge. “Young Love” hit number one on the country chart and stayed there for nine weeks, cementing Sonny James’ place in country music history. He would go on to have 22 more number ones in his career and was known as “The Southern Gentleman.” Sonny died just this year on February 22, 2016 at the age of 87.
Tab Hunter was not a singer. He was an actor, but the song writers wanted a version of the song on the pop chart, so they called Tab and asked him if he would do it. They told him, “If you can carry a tune, you can sing this song.” So, Tab agreed, went into the studio and recorded the song. Sonny James hit number one first for one week and then Tab Hunter knocked him out of the top spot and stayed there for six weeks, so I think it’s safe to say, at least for the pop chart, Tab Hunter’s version was the more successful.
Tab Hunter was born Arthur Andrew Kelm in 1931 in New York City. I don’t think he ever had any intentions of being an actor. He like horses and worked in a stable as a young man. He was spotted by a talent scout who liked his looks and thought he could make a star out of him. The scout, Dick Grayson, was famous for discovering people and giving them odd names. He had discovered Rock Hudson, Guy Madison and Rory Calhoun. He came up with the name Tab Hunter and so, his career began. Tab was in many movies throughout the Sixties and Seventies, but he didn’t do much singing. “Young Love” would remain his one big hit.
You get a double treat today. Here are both versions of “Young Love.”
Tab Hunter (this video proves he was not really a singer):
Next: “Butterfly” – Andy Williams