Zero to 180 – Three Minute Magic

Discoveries of a Pop Music Archaeologist

Nino & April’s Pop Steel Drums

In 1966 brother and sister duo, Nino Tempo and April Stevens, left Atco for White Whale, a label then enjoying commercial success with The Turtles.  White Whale demonstrated their eagerness to do business with Nino and April by allowing them complete artistic freedom in the recording studio. “All Strung Out” — the title track of their White Whale debut LP — also reached #26 on the Billboard‘s pop singles chart.

“All Strung Out” – originally offered to The Righteous Brothers as the follow-up single to their huge hit, “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling” – was recorded at Hollywood’s Gold Star studios by legendary recording engineers, Larry Levine and Stan Ross, along with the usual top-notch support from some of the West Coast’s finest session musicians.  Hear the final mix yourself in this (mimed) performance on TV’s Lloyd Thaxton Show in the summer of 1966.  Interesting to note that Vinnie Barbarino enjoyed a hit cover version in 1977 under the title, “All Strung Out on You.”

How surprising to learn that one of the album’s tracks, “Alone Alone” – a song brimming with obvious hit potential – was never released as a single:

Alone Alone

Nino Tempo & April Stevens (1966)

Very effective use of steel drums on the instrumental riff that opens and closes the song.   “Alone Alone” was written by John Dalton and Gary Montgomery, produced by Nino Tempo.

Malcolm Baumgart and Mick Patrick‘s liner notes from the Ace UK anthology, Hey, Baby

Nina and April’s White Whale debut reached a respectable #26 on the Billboard chart in the early autumn of 1966, a feat which none of their subsequent output for the company was able to emulate.  Their only other White Whale release to tickle the Hot 100, “I Can’t Go On Livin’ Baby Without You” in the summer of 1967, had already served as the flip of “All Strung Out.”

April Stevens

Six Degrees of Syd Nathan

Sometimes it seems as if just about everyone has passed through Syd Nathan’s King Records at some point in their career, even if just for one or two singles.  April Stevens,  as it turns out, released two singles on King in 1953 that were also issued in the UK on Parlophone (future home of The Beatles):  [1] “C’est Si Bon” b/w “Soft Warm Lips“; and  [2] “How Could Red Riding Hood (Have Been So Very Good)” b/w “You Said You’d Do It (Are You Gonna).”  Those two singles, however, were preceded by April’s King debut – “Hot Tamale” b/w “Treat Me Nice.”  Fascinating to discover that one of two unissued tracks in King’s vaults is “Wanting You,” a fantastic dance track that April later recorded for MGM in 1967 and that was originally (now, hold onto your hats) an Oscar Hammerstein song from the 1928 operetta, The New Moon!  Sadly, “Wanting You” didn’t burn up the charts, although it was later vindicated as a classic track of the UK Northern Soul music scene.

April Stevens - 1953 King EP

One Response

  1. Dear Chris, I read your “article” about Nino and me on your blog. It is very complimentary and appreciated. has a good feeling.
    Thank You and have a Happy New Year.
    April Stevens
    P.S. Have you visited my web page,

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