“Twilight Time” has quite a history. It was written by songwriter Samuel Buck Ram (they called him Buck) back in 1944. He wrote the words as a poem and then the music was supplied by the members of the instrumental group, The Three Suns, Al and Morty Nevins and Artie Dunn. It was originally recorded by The Three Suns, in 1946, and there were no words in that first record. The Three Suns hit number one with the song and sold over one million copies which was good for 1946.
In 1958, the Platters decided to record the song. It was right up their alley and fit in with songs like “My Prayer” and “The Great Pretender.” But their label Mercury were getting requests from the kids that they wanted more uptempo Platters songs. So, they had them record a song called “Out of My Mind” which was the a-side of their new record. “Twilight Time” was put on the b-side of the record because they really didn’t want to promote that song.
They didn’t count on Dave Clark and American Bandstand. When they appeared on the show, they sang “Twilight Time” first and then followed it up with “Out of My Mind,” but the kids liked “Twilight Time” more and so that became the hit.
This song marks two very important events in recorded music. First, this was the last song that was pressed in the 78 RPM format of records. There may have been a few after this, but “Twilight Time” was the last major record. Billboard Magazine wrote a couple months later that the 78 was dead and all future records would be pressed on the new 45 RPM format. The 45 lasted for a long time and was gradually replaced by the cassette and the CD later in the Twentieth Century.
The other significant event was, that Mercury decided to record a short film of the Platters singing “Twilight Time” and they also filmed one with the group The Diamonds, singing “Little Darlin’”, a hit in 1957. Both of these films were sent to television stations to play on the air. These were, literally, the first music videos. Music history had been made.
“Twilight Time” entered the pop chart on April 7, 1958 and spent one week at number one.
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