1950s EASY-POP Songs and Singers...on the verge of Rock 'n Roll
What is Love? recorded by the Play-Mates with orchestra conducted by Joe Reisman
Written by Lee Pockriss and Paul Vance Introduced July 6, 1959, on Roulette records #4160
While the Play-Mates are not well known, between 1958 and 1962 they released ten recordings that made the charts but only their novelty recording of Beep Beep made it into the top-five. They were one of the first artists to sign with Roulette Records. What is probably the trio’s best classic fifties song What is Love? didn’t make it above 15th place in the charts in the summer of 1959. Five-feet-of-heaven-in-a-pony-tail “swaying with a wiggle” as she walks, creates an unforgettable fifties image of sex and fashion. T he Play-Mates three part harmony and a bright, foot-tapping arrangement featuring castanets and tambourines, produced an outstanding fifties sound. While the word playmates might suggest women, the Play-Mates were actually three young men from Waterbury, Connecticut. Donny Conn (born in 1930), Morey Carr (born in 1932), and Chic Hetti (born in 1930) created the nucleus of their act in the early 50s while they were students at the University of Connecticut, initially placing more emphasis on comedy than singing (they were originally known as the Nitwits).
Quintessential Fifties lyric:
"Sways with a wiggle with a wiggle when she walks… five feet of heaven in a ponytail"