Saturday, December 21, 2013

December 21: "Hey, Hey Paula's" Ray Hildebrand (Paul of Paul and Paula) is 73-years-old today.

Ray Hildebrand, who was born in Joshua, Texas, and Jill Jackson were attending Howard Payne College, an obscure Baptist college in West Texas in 1962 when a local disc jockey, Riney Jordan, asked listeners to come to the studio and sing their songs to help the American Cancer Society.

On October 6, 1962 the  two college students drove over to Ft. Worth and dropped in at a small recording studio in the basement of a radio station. When the scheduled artist failed to appear, the two students were given the opportunity to sing and record their song. A few months later "Hey, Paula" was at the top of the charts in the U.S., Europe, Japan and other places across the globe.

"Hey Paula" sold over two million copies, and was awarded a gold disc by the Recording Industry Association of America (R.I.A.A.) in 1963.

When Shelby Singleton of Mercury Records  signed them, Singleton made them change their  names on the record.  Singleton reasoned that a pair named Ray and Jill singing about "Hey, hey Paula" and "Hey, hey Paul" did not make sense.

Since then, "Hey, Paula" has been used on television shows such as Cheers, Married with Children, Dharma and Greg, Ali McBeal, That 70's Show, as well as in movies such as Animal House, Hotel De Love, and Family of Strangers. The radio and television appearances on past royalty statements indicate that "Hey, Paula" has been played somewhere in the world virtually every day since 1962.

The pairing of Paul & Paula was credited with inspiring other famous male/female pairings, mostly from record companies that had originally turned the duo down in 1962: Jerry Butler was quickly paired with Betty Everett, and Marvin Gaye was paired with a number of female partners before Motown finally settled on Tammi Terrell.

Recommended (Press album covers for direct links to Amazon):

Paul & Paula - Greatest HitsThe Legend of Paul and PaulaHEY PAULA

Paul & Paula released two regular albums and a Christmas-themed album after the success of "Hey Paula", which charted at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for the entire month of February 1963. Their follow-up, "Young Lovers," reached #6 on the Billboard chart later in the same year.

In 1965, Hildebrand left the act to complete his college education, having decided that a future in show business was not for him. He made this decision in the middle of a Dick Clark Caravan of Stars road trip, and Clark had to fill in at the last minute.

Jill Jackson went on with a solo singing career. In 1967, Ray and his family moved from Ft. Worth, Texas to Kansas City to work with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and a solo music career with Word Records out of Waco, Texas in Contemporary Christian Music.  In the 1980s, Hildebrand sang in the Christian duo Land & Hildebrand.

Today, Paul & Paula - or Ray and Jill- get together from time-to-time to sing as Paul & Paula for special events. In 2002, Hildebrand and Jackson returned to Howard Payne College to be the homecoming guests of honor and Grand Marshalls.

Over the years, countless fans have said  they fell in love and got married because of the song, "Hey, Hey Paula," were named after the song, named their kids after the song, or were greatly encouraged because of the song. The song is still  in demand at "oldies" concerts across the country and has stood the test of time for 45+ years.

On the 25th anniversary of Elvis Presley's death, Priscilla Presley said in a television interview that one of her husband's favorite songs was "Hey, Paula." She said Elvis had sent the record to her from Germany while he was in the army. Country singer Kenny Rodgers named his twins "Paul" and "Paula" after the song.

News commentator, Bill O'Reilly said it was the first song he ever danced to in Jr. High School. The late Karen Carpenter of The Carpenters, once said the song provided the inspiration and encouragement for her to get into the music business.


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