Friday, August 25, 2006

50 years ago: The Five Satins chart with “In the Still of the Nite”

First posted 3/13/2021.

In the Still of the Nite (I’ll Remember)

The Five Satins

Writer(s): Fred Paris (see lyrics here)


First Charted: August 25, 1956


Peak: 24 US, 32 CB, 26 HR, 3 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, 30.3 video, -- streaming

Awards: (Click on award for more details).

About the Song:

When the song was first released, it only reached #24 on the Billboard pop charts. However, it has gone on to become a classic, especially as a doo-wop standard and model of early rock and roll. The song re-charted twice, reaching #81 in 1960 and #99 in 1961.

The song is actually one of two which can claim the origin of the term “doo-wop.” “The plaintive ‘doo wop, doo wah’ refrain in the bridge has often been suggested as the origin of the term.” WK Similarly, the Turbans’ “When You Dance” features the chant “doo wop.” WK The spelling of “Nite” instead of “Night” was to avoid confusion with Cole Porter’s “In the Still of the Night.” WK

The Five Satins’ Fred Paris wrote the song while travelling by train between Philadelphia and his hometown of New Haven as a U.S. Army recruit. He wrote it about a former girlfriend he hoped would come back. Unfortunately, she moved from Connecticut to California and he never saw her again. She likely never even knew the song was about her. SF

It was recorded in the basement of St. Bernadette Church in New Haven. The building had great acoustics and was insulated from ambient noise. SF The group’s manager, Marty Kugell, was friends with Vinny Mazzetta, an altar boy at the church. Mazzetta convinced the pastor to let the group record at the church and use the church piano. SF Mazzetta plays saxophone on the recording. SF

After it was recorded, Paris shipped off to Japan and watched from afar as a new lineup including only two of the original members was assembled to tour the United States. When Parris was discharged in 1958, he set up a new version of the group with which to tour. SF Interestingly, the original group was called the Five Satins even though they had only four members. The trend was moving toward acts like the Five Crowns and the Five Royales instead of the Four Lads and the Four Coins. SF

The song is featured in the movies Dirty Dancing (1987) and The Irishman (2019). It was also a big hit by Boyz II Men, reaching #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1993.


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