The Ran-Dells (New-Jersey)
Robert Lawrence Rappaport
1963 - Sound of the sun / Come on and love me to (Charmain 4407)
1964 - The Martian Hop / Forgive me darling (Charmain 4403)
1964 - Beyound the stars / Wintertime (RSVP 1104)
The group consisted of three first cousins: Steven Rappaport, Robert Rappaport and John Spirt. Steven was from Villas, New Jersey and the others were from nearby Cape May, New Jersey. In the early 60's certain things became fashionable, such as space exploration and dance songs. The three cousins were in college when they began discussing writing a song that included these themes. Within minutes they came up with a song they called Martian Hop.
Steven had worked as a disc jockey under the name Steve Randle -- hence the group's name, the Ran-Dells. In January of 1963 the three students made a master of the song, with Robert on lead vocals in his natural falsetto voice and playing guitar, and the other two singing the doo-wopish ba-ba-um-mum-mum's and playing the other instruments on the record.
It cost Steven $330 to produce the master, a rather significant amount at that time. Brill Building songwriter Gerry Goffin was in the studio when the song was recorded. He liked it and brought it to producer Don Kirschner. Kirschner signed the group; the record was released in June of 1963 on Kirschner's Chairman label.
The members of the Ran-Dells were surprised when they heard it on their car radio four weeks later, when it was spun by Cousin Brucie on WABC. The song began to climb the charts. It was a big hit overseas, reaching number one on the charts in France, Israel and West Germany. In the USA it went as high as number sixteen on Billboard. Worldwide the record sold more than 1 million copies.
The Ran-Dells were stars, if only for a brief time. They appeared on American Bandstand on August 22, 1963. They tried a couple of follow-up songs but without much success. Steven Rappaport recalled receiving a check in the amount of $32,000 in the days when a Pontiac Grand Prix sold for $2,200. Having been razzed by his college buddies during the year he made the record, he got the last laugh by taping a copy of the check to the front of the door of his dormitory room at Brandeis University.
Martian Hop was chosen as one of the top songs of the 60's by Doctor Demento, who calls it "neo-doowop." It is a fun novelty song that reflects its era in American pop music.
Beyound the stars Wintertime
The Martian Hop Sound of the sun
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