Atomic Baby : Linda Hayes ©2000JCMarion

Linda Hayes from Elizabeth, New Jersey, hoped to make it in the world of music. In 1952 Linda Hayes record of "Big City (parts one and two)" for the Recorded In Hollywood label #246 is touted by the label as "the greatest R & B record ever" and "an unprecedented event" in trade ads. The record does well especially on the West coast, the label's home base. Hayes is now a rising star on the R & B scene. In early 1953 she records an answer record to one of the hottest sides of all, Willie Mabon's "I Don't Know". RIH #244 is her version of "Yes I Know (What You're Putting Down)". The other side is "Sister Ann" featuring the Que Martyn Orchestra. The record is one of the top answer record successes of all time. On the strength of her first two records Hayes goes to the East for the first time and opens at New York's Apollo Theater in March, then on to Washington D.C.'s Howard appearing with turbanned sax star Lynn Hope.

In March of 1953, Recorded In Hollywood issues "Atomic Baby" and "What's It To You Jack" with Red Callendar's band on #407. Hayes then tours other parts of the Northeast with Eddie Boyd. In April a show in Newark, New Jersey's Laurel Gardens is a huge draw. With Linda Hayes are The Orioles and Amos Milburn. Later in the year Hayes is back on the West coast with a stint at the 5-4 Ballroom in Los Angeles. In November, the newly renamed Hollywood label releases "Take Me Back" / "Yours For The Asking" on #1003 with Monroe Tucker and his Orchestra. Linda does a turn with Prince Partridge in Los Angeles.

Starting off the year 1954, Hayes appears with Little Willie Littlefield and Peewee Crayton at the L.A. Elks Hall. The mid Atlantic area of Baltimore, D.C., and Richmond, report great sales of "Take Me Back". In February, Decca Records completes a deal that will allow the label to lease masters from Hollywood including those by Linda Hayes and be issued on the major label. Hollywood #1009 is released in the spring - "No Next Time" and "Don't Do Nothing Baby". The 'A' side ("No Next Time") is written and produced by Buck Ram with arrangement by Red Callendar. Hayes headlines a show in L/A. in the spring that also features The Lamplighters, The Flairs, and Mel Walker. A benefit show for the wife of jazz star Stan Getz is held at the 5-4 Ballroom features Linda Hayes and also Joe Liggins, Roy Brown, Joe Houston, and jazz stars Shorty Rogers and Shelley Manne. After the show Hayes embarks on a tour of the Southwest with Peewee Crayton. In July Hollywood Records #1016 features "Play It Right" and "Your Back's Out".Hollywood Records owner Don Pierce concludes a deal that gives Hayes recording contract to King Records of Cincinnati. In October the first King release is another answer record for Hayes, this time "My Name Ain't Annie" for the label's Midnighters. The flip side is "Let's Babalu" on #4752.

Hollywood Records still has some recorded sessions left. In January of 1955, Hollywood #1027 is released and it features "Darling Angel" and "Change Of Heart". The label's release#1031 is rushed out.It is a tribute to the recently deceased Johnny Ace. Linda Hayes sings "Why Johnny Why" with Johnny Moore's Three Blazers, and it is paired with Frankie Irwin's recording of "Johnny Ace's Last Letter". In the middle of the two Hollywood releases comes King #4773 - Linda Hayes & The Platters (whose lead singer Tony Williams is the brother of Linda) "Please Have Mercy". The other side is "Oochy Pachi" by Luis Rivers and Red Callendar's band. The touring show called "The Hollywood Records Revue" tours the West with Hayes topping the bill with Roy Brown, Johnny "Guitar" Watson, and the Tommy Jones Orchestra. Linda plays New York's Apollo with Nappy Brown in June. Later in the year King releases #29644 - "Our Love's Forever Blessed" and "You're The Only One For Me".

By 1956 Linda Hayes seemed to be bypassed by the rock 'n roll tidal wave. Her records were not big sellers, and King did not renew her contract. She got a one time shot with Mercury Records in the spring of the year but nothing transpired. Her fame still remained with the R & B fans however as proven by a poll of readers in the Pittsburgh Courier gives Hayes the number one spot among female vocalists. In late August Hayes gets a chance for Buck Ram's Antler label, but her day as a top performer has passed and she becomes a name to be remembered as one who helped build the house that is America's music.

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