Friday, 1 May 2015

The Song - Ronnie & The Daytonas' 'Little GTO'

little GTO, you're really lookin' fine; three deuces and a four-speed and a 389 .....

Fancy some aural car porn?. .. OK then!!

Yap. it's that timeless vibrant paean to the the Gran Turismo Omologato here, by the wonderful Ronnie & The Daytonas.

Ronnie & The Daytonas were a short-lived surf rock group from the early 1960s.

Their 1964 debut single "G.T.O." reached No. 4 on the Billboard Pop Singles chart. "G.T.O." sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc.

The G.T.O. auto had been introduced shortly before the song's creation. The "muscle car" was produced by Pontiac (a division of General Motors) in the US until 1974. Some 30 years later, Holden (GM's subsidiary in Australia) began producing it again until 2006.

Singer/songwriter/guitarist John "Bucky" Wilkin - a car fanatic - wrote the song as a high school senior in a physics class. Shortly thereafter, his mother, Marijohn Wilkin (a writer of Country music), helped him land a publishing deal and a session with producer Bill Justis (based in Nashville). Justis hired different session artists to record this song but then requested the song to be credited under a group name. It was then that Wilkin adopted the stage name of Ronny Dayton and the group became the Daytonas. No such group existed until this song was recorded. 

Lee Kraft (Wilkin's friend since high school) was the only true band member of the group, being featured on the majority of the band's recordings and in their live appearances. The rest of the "band" consisted of any musician who was free to work as a session player and/or perform on tour.

Ronnie & The Daytonas made a major stir with their debut and parlayed that into a subsequent single, "Bucket T" reach No. 54 on the Billboard chart that same year. 

After an album and tour in 1964, Ronny & The Daytonas had another hit in 1965 with a ballad, "Sandy", and an album that reflected a similar country-inflected surfer sound. 

In 1966 the band switched to RCA Records and released a romantic ballad called "Diane, Diane" and the upbeat "All American Girl", both of which had some success on the charts. 

Ronny & The Daytonas toured for a short time after these latter singles before deciding to call it a day.

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