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Saturday, October 25, 2008

She's My Witch - Kip Tyler & the Flips

One of our favorite discoveries, Kip Tyler's She's My Witch was featured on Dreamtime's 2007 Halloween special, generating more emails than all the other songs put together.

Chacun à son goût is the Dreamtime motto.

I've read claims that She's My Witch is a rewrite of Johnny Horton's Lover's Rock, and while there are certainly similarities between the two songs, I'm not so sure there's a direct connection, but you can decide for yourself. Below is Johnny Horton's Lover's Rock for your edification and enjoyment.

Kip and the Flips were the undisputed champs of the El Monte Legion Stadium Saturday night dances, which in the `50s meant that they were the undisputed champs of the Los Angeles rock scene. Tyler started off as the lead singer of "The Sleepwalkers," who not only had the reputation of being their high school's best rock n' roll band, but also of being the school's toughest band. The Sleepwalkers eventually merged with an equally tough band from Fairfax High School, forming an early version of the Flips.

In 1957, Kip found himself doing a strange impersonation, posing as a non-existent rock-n'-roll bandleader named Jimmy Daley.  Daley had been the lead character in a 19 and 56 exploitation movie titled Rock, Pretty Baby.  But the actor playing Daley, John Saxon, couldn't carry a tune in a bucket, so the producers hired various singers to do the songs in the movie while Saxon lip-synched.

Rock, Pretty Baby became a minor hit with the bubblegum and pony tail set, and the money behind the movie wanted to cash in on "Jimmy Daley's" rise to fame.  Of course, the problem was that there wasn't any Jimmy Daley, at least one who could sing.

What to do? Decca Records started hunting around for a good - but not good enough to be well-known - rock-n'-roller who could be Jimmy Daley. And that rock-n'-roller would turn out to be Kip Tyler.  Kip released two singles under the name "Jimmy Daley and The Ding-A-Lings" for Decca, although "Kip Tyler" was credited for the vocals in the fine print.

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