Friday, August 1, 2003

50 years ago: The Orioles chart with “Crying in the Chapel”

First posted 3/14/2021.

Crying in the Chapel

The Orioles

Writer(s): Artie Glenn (see lyrics here)

First Charted: August 1, 1953

Peak: 11 US, 3 HP, 13 CB, 15 RB (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): 1.0 US, -- UK, 1.0 world (includes US + UK)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 2.0 radio, 0.81 video, -- streaming

Awards: (Click on award for more details).

About the Song:

Artie Glenn wrote “Crying in the Chapel” for his son Darrell, who recorded it while still in high school in 1953. WK1 His version, released in May 1953, reached #6 on Billboard’s pop chart and #4 on the country chart. A slew of covers followed, including charting versions from June Valli (#4), Rex Allen (#8), Ella Fitzgerald (#15), and Art Lund (#23).

The most significant, however, was the version by the Orioles, who named themselves for the state bird in their home state of Maryland. Although it only peaked at #11 on the pop chart, it was a #1 on the R&B chart and became the group’s biggest single as well as one of the most important recordings of doo-wop music. By “crossing over, it showed an increasing acceptance of a black style by a white audience.” HR

The Orioles emerged in 1946 as what has been acknowledged as R&B’s first vocal group. WK2 Their blend of rhythm with group harmonies helped establish the basic pattern for the doo-wop sound. WK2 The group “sang mainly ballads and sounded black.” HR “Crying in the Chapel featured “emotional singing, wordless falsetto and vocal backing that reflected a trend toward a gospel style.” HR

Elvis Presley recorded the song in 1960 with the intent of including it on his gospel album His Hand in Mine. The song was shelved, but resurfaced in 1965, hitting #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 and becoming his first million seller since 1962’s “Return to Sender.”

Others to record the song included Eddy Arnold, Johnny Burnette, Mahalia Jackson, the Lettermen, Little Richard, Bob Marley & the Wailers, Al Martino, Don McLean, Aaron Neville, the Platters, the Staple Singers, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, and Tammy Wynette. SH

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