THE DRIFTERS RECORD “THERE GOES MY BABY” WHILE ACTING AS PALLBEARERS FOR “SCREAMIN'” JAY HAWKINS
The Drifters recorded their classic single “There Goes My Baby,” today (March 6, 1959).
This was an entirely new set of The Drifters, since the group manager George Treadwell, fired the first line up over monetary disputes.
The new set of The Drifters were actually a group from Harlem known as The Crowns, whom George Treadwell hired during a show at The Apollo Theater, just after he fired all of the original group members.
Ben E. King said in published interviews that it took his original group, The Crowns, two weeks to formally become The Drifters.
Once that was set in motion, the group hit the south for a string of one-nighters, during which time Ben E. King wrote “There Goes My Baby.”
It was during this time, that The Drifters also served as pallbearers for “Screamin'” Jay Hawkins.
The group went to work with the singer before they found their own fame, and carried him onto the stage, where he would pop out of his coffin.
During the March 6, 1959 session, the second set of The Drifters recorded four of their best-known hits under the guidance of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller: “Hey Senorita,” “There Goes My Baby,” “Baltimore,” ” and “Oh My Love.”
When the producer’s brought the song to Atlantic’s CEO Jerry Wexler, he immediately started yelling, while eating a tuna fish sandwich, which he spit all over his desk.
“Goddamn awful trash. How can you play a tape like that for me? That tune is being played in three different keys, it sounds like three different stations playing it at the same time, coming through on one very bad car radio,” Wexler lamented according to “The Last Sultan: The Life and Times of Ahmet Ertegun,” by Robert Greenfield.
When co-producer Jerry Lieber also labeled “There Goes My Baby” a “full of s**t” record, Atlantic Records’ co-owner Ahmet Ertegun replied “boy, that’s the kind of s**t I need.”
Needless to say, when The Drifter’s song “There Goes My Baby” was released in May 1959, it hit #2 on the Pop charts.