Cameo-Parkway is the fabled Philadelphia label that brought the world such classic artists as Chubby Checker, Bobby Rydell, Dee Dee Sharp, The Tymes, Patti Labelle and her Blue Belles, Frankie Beverly, ? & The Mysterians and others. It was America’s leading independent label during the era that preceded the British invasion with a breathtaking range of pop, soul, rock, novelty and dance records that have continued to resonate with fans over the past five decades. It has been argued that popular culture was forever changed by the impact of Cameo-Parkway hits. The labels’ biggest claim to fame are the string of dance craze hits that followed in the wake of “The Twist.” These included “Mashed Potato Time,” “The Wah Watusi,” “Bristol Stomp,” “Do The Bird,” “Hully Gully Baby,” “Pony Time,” “The 81,” “Limbo Rock” and, of course, “Let’s Twist Again.” Beyond the dance songs, Cameo-Parkway issued garage rock classics including ? & The Mysterians’ “96 Tears” as well as early tracks by Frankie Beverly, The Rationals and Terry Knight & The Pack as well as novelty and seasonal songs including “Sock It To Me Santa” by Bob Seger & the Last Heard and “Jingle Bell Rock” by Chubby Checker and Bobby Rydell. The label even embraced the British invasion releasing early tracks by The Kinks and Screaming Lord Sutch. Cameo-Parkway’s stock and trade was cultural ephemera; the paradox to contemplate today is that its legacy has been so long-lasting.


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96 Tears


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