The “Golden Hits Of The 50s” 

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Joan Weber


(JennyLou Carson, Al Hill)

Columbia 40366

No. 1    January 1, 1955



Joan Weber had a five-and-dime voice,” Mitch Miller told Circular’s Harvey Geller.  “She sounded

like every girl you ever heard singin’ behind the counter in a five­ and-dime store.”


Joan Weber was born in 1936, raised in Paulsboro, New Jersey, and married to a young bandleader.

She was pregnant in 1954 when she hit the streets of New York to audition.  She stumbled upon Eddie

Joy, the right man with the right ideas–a manager who brought her around to music publishers in the

famed Brill Building.


“She was a wide-eyed, virginal, vulnerable, 105­ pound waif,” CHARLES RANDOLPH GREAN, Weber’s

discoverer, recalled.  One day, Ginny Gibson, one of Grean’s most-used demo singers, was unavailable; 

Weber was available.  “Joan did a credible job on this song ‘Marionette; but it was no Grammy winner.”

Grean took the tape around to various labels and found Mitch Miller of Columbia Records most interested–

not in “Marionette,” but in that five-and-dime voice.


The producers of the long-running CBS program “Studio One” were planning a drama about shady

activities in the record industry and needed a torchy song to provide some musical counterpoint.

They approached Miller, who in turn approached Hill & Range Songs.  Arnold Shaw, then general

manager of the music publishing house, offered Miller a tune that had bombed a year earlier for

Georgie Shaw, “Let Me Go, Devil.”  When Miller turned it down, Shaw had a team of house writers

under the pseudonym “AI Hill” rewrite the country ode, eliminating references to lust for that demon

rum.  “I wanted to cut [“Lover”] with a voice nobody knew, so the audience wouldn’t be distracted from

the story line,” Miller recalled.  Before Joan’s baby was due, the 18-year-old was in front of a microphone

and Jimmy Carroll’s Orchestra.


The big day arrived for the excited songstress and mother-to-be.  On November 15, 1954, Joan’s song

appeared and reappeared six times in the “Studio One” presentation.  The response was immediate:  

within two weeks, her first recording had sold half a million copies.  Reportedly, this was the first time

a song shot overnight into the nation’s hit parade solely by means of a lone television plug.  Despite

successive cover versions of this lover’s dirge by the well-established Teresa Brewer, Patti Page, and

Sunny Gale, Joan’s version out-distanced all the others, rocketed to the top, and held down Bill­ board’s

sacred number-one position for four weeks.


On the same Monday that “Let Me Go Lover” hit number one, Joan’s first-born arrived prematurely.

The following Sunday she sang on “The Ed Sullivan Show.”   Within a month, she was co-starring with

Jack Carter at the Copacabana, reportedly for $10,000 a week.  “It May Sound Silly” and “Gone” were

issued; neither single charted, despite the promotion as well as the extensive diction and vocal classes

that she took.


Eighteen months after her dizzying ride to the top, Joan’s record contract was terminated and her

marriage ended.  She performed in nameless bars in Philadelphia, worked as a clerk in a public library

in New Jersey, and, according to rumors at the time, she was confined to a state mental hospital.  “Let

Me Go Lover” appeared on several anthology LPs, and in 1969, Columbia mailed Weber a sizable royalty

check.  It was returned; the enve­lope stamped “address unknown.”

Weber died on May 13, 1981.