60s Music

Who is Paul Evans?

Paul EvansPaul Evans’ career at a glance

Paul Evans is an American rock ‘n roll/country singer-songwriter known for his two Top 10 hits “Seven Little Girls (Sittin’ In The Back Seat)” and “Happy Go Lucky Me.” He has more success as a songwriter, having penned material for artists such as Elvis Presley, Pat Boone, Jimmy Dean, Bobby Vinton (for which Evans wrote “Roses Are Red [My Love],” a #1 hit), and The Kalin Twins (Evans and songwriting partner Jack Reardon wrote “When” for the twins; it would be #5 in 1957). Evans also wrote songs that have been recorded by Jackie Wilson, Fabian, Frankie Lymon, The Coasters, and Reba McEntire. He also wrote film and TV scores; his theme music is used for CBS This Morning.

 

Music was really Paul Evans’ love

Paul Evans has had a successful songwriting as well as singing career especially during the 1950s-1960s. He was born in Queens, New York on March 5, 1938. His entire family was not financially fortunate but was quite musical. Being poor didn’t prevent his parents from encouraging their children to pursue music. As the legend surrounds Evans’ early life, his father sold his flute to be able to buy his son a guitar. His mother taught him to play the piano. Evans’ older sister might have lent him his biggest influence; aside from teaching him how to play guitar, she also introduced him to folk music.

As he grew up, Evans entered a scholarship to study engineering at Columbia University. However, his love for music got the better of him. As the days passed he eventually ignored his scholarship and instead made the rounds at local clubs and even performed aboard a cruise ship.

Embarking a professional career

By the late 1950s, Evans had entered a professional music career. The first hit of his songwriting career was “When,” popularized by the Kalin Twins. It reached the top ten on the pop charts and topped both US R&B and UK singles charts in 1958.

Evans would also embark on his own recording career in 1959. His first and biggest hit was “Seven Little Girls (Sittin’ in the Back Seat)” which he performed along with a group called The Curls. The song was written by Bob Hilliard and Lee Pockriss, and had also been covered by several other artists such as The Avons. It went to #9 on the pop chart; it also peaked at #25 on the UK singles chart.

 

He released his second single in 1960, “Midnight Special” which was a cover of a traditional folk song. It went to #16 on the Billboard Hot 100. Later that same year Evans reached the very end of the top 10 pop chart with “Happy-Go-Lucky-Me,” written by Al Byron.

 

More successful as a songwriter

However, Evans became more prolific and successful as a songwriter. Aside from the Kalin Twins’ “When,” he wrote/co-wrote many hits for other artists such as Elvis Presley’s “I Gotta Know” (with Matt Williams), Pat Boone’s “Johnny Will” (with Fred Tobias), Johnny Tillotson’s “I’m A Worried Guy” (with Jack Reardon) and his most successful song “Roses Are Red (My Love),” sung by Bobby Vinton. Co-written with Byron, “Roses Are Red” topped both pop and easy listening singles charts in 1962.

Other artists either recorded the songs Evans specifically wrote (or co-wrote) for them, or covered his previous hits such as “Roses Are Red.” These artists include George Formby, Karl Hammel, Jr., Ronnie Carroll, Florraine Darlin, Susan Maughan, Hank Locklin, The Shevelles, Ray Conniff, Count Basie, Joe Sherman, Stu Phillips, Lulu, Marvin Maye (and a duet with Ed Ames), Skeeter Davis, The Hillside Singers, Roy Clark, Showaddywaddy, Jackie Wilson, Fabian, Frankie Lymon, The Coasters, and Reba McEntire.

When not writing potential hits, Evans has kept himself pre-occupied by writing music for films, televisions and commercials. One of his best-known contributions was his music for CBS This Morning theme. In 2006, he released his latest songs “Happy Birthday, America,” and “Santa’s Stuck Up in the Chimney.” He still actively performs up to the present.

One of his famous songs “Happy-Go-Lucky Me” can be heard in the 1998 John Waters movie Pecker as well as on a few episodes of the comedy TV seriesScrubs. He has also ventured into acting, mostly on television.

 

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