Dale and Grace – “I’m Leaving It Up to You”

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Introduction to Dale and Grace

Dale and Grace were a 1960s pop duo, consisting of Robert Dale Houston, while Grace is Grace Broussard. Formed in Louisiana, they released their first single on Montel’s own label, “I’m Leaving It Up To You” in 1963. It became #1 on both US Hot 100 and UK charts that year. The second single, 1964’s “Stop and Think It Over,” was also a Top 10 hit. The duo’s debut LP did well on the Billboard 200 album chart. However, subsequent singles “The Loneliest Night” and “Darling It’s Wonderful” did dismally on the chart. Moreover, the British Invasion that swept America at that time, as well as each of the duo’s personal problems led to an eventual breakup in 1965. They reunited almost exactly 30 years later, for only a brief time. Houston passed away in 2007.

About Dale and Grace’s individual members

1960s pop duo Dale and Grace may have had the shortest career, but at least they had some measure of success that prevented them from being one-hit wonders.

Robert Dale Houston was born in Covington County, Mississippi on April 23, 1940. But he later grew up in Baton Rouge, Louisiana – the home to Cajun music and swamp pop that he grew up listening to. He learned playing the piano while he was younger, as well as singing.

Grace Broussard was born in 1939, and she originated from Prairieville, Louisiana. She had a brother, Van, with whom she had been singing for a while at local clubs in Louisiana (Van himself would later be a recording artist on Bayou Boogie label). With the help of record executive Sam Montel, Houston and Broussard began their professional partnership.

The duo’s ascent to success with the #1 hit “I’m Leaving It Up to You”

While Dale and Grace were practicing at Montel’s piano for several hours, they decided to warm up to a Don and Dewey 1957 original recording “I’m Leaving It Up to You.” Montel, awaken from his sleep once he heard the song, prophesied that this was going to be a big hit. Soon the duo recorded the song, which was then issued on Montel own label. It was then heavily favored and voted by local radio disc jockeys, who even told Montel to leave the song as it was when he suggested to change its key.

“I’m Leaving It Up to You” was later picked up for national distribution by Philadelphia-based label Jamie/Guyden Records.

And true to Montel’s prediction, “I’m Leaving It Up to You” was fast climbing on the Billboard charts, later ending up at #1 on the Hot 100 in 1963. It also topped the easy-listening chart and #6 on the R&B singles chart. The single’s album, also titled I’m Leaving It Up to You, peaked at #100 on the Billboard 200 in early the following year.

Another hit (for the last time)

In early 1964 Dale and Grace had a hit anew with “Stop and Think It Over,” written by Jake Graffagnino. It also reached the top 10 pop chart at #8. It also peaked at #3 on the adult contemporary singles chart.

Later years

However, the duo wasn’t able to consolidate their earlier successes. Their next singles “The Loneliest Night” and “Darling It’s Wonderful” slid down the charts. Aside from that, the growing popularity of the British Invasion groups such as the Beatles, as well as Broussards’ homesickness and Dale’s illness prompted the group to dissolve in 1965. Grace returned to Louisiana and resumed her singing partnership with her brother. Dale and Grace reunited for a while in the mid-1990s, and following another split Dale Houston recorded and released A Lot of Good Miles Left in Me. Houston died in 2007 of heart failure, aged 67.

Dale and Grace were inducted into the Delta Music Museum Hall of Fame and Louisiana Music Hall of Fame.

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