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Ray Stevens

Stevens' recording career began in the mid-1950s with two singles released on Prep Records. He then signed a contract with Capitol Records with the help of Atlanta, Georgia music maven Bill Lowery. In 1958, Stevens joined Lowery's National Recording Corporation (NRC), playing numerous instruments, arranging music, and performing background vocals for its band. After NRC filed for bankruptcy, he signed with Mercury Records with whom Stevens recorded a series of hit records in the 1960s that included songs such as "Ahab the Arab", "Harry the Hairy Ape", "Funny Man", the original recording of "Santa Claus is Watching You", and "Jeremiah Peabody's Polyunsaturated Quick-Dissolving, Fast-Acting Pleasant-Tasting Green and Purple Pills".

Stevens often employed canned laugh tracks in his comedic novelty songs, such as "The Streak", "Harry the Hairy Ape", "It's Me Again, Margaret" and others, which contributed to his success in the 60s and 70s (during a time when canned laughter was used to "punch up" TV sitcoms). Stevens continues to use canned laugh tracks in recent recordings.

In 1968, Stevens signed with Monument Records and started to release serious material such as "Mr. Businessman" in 1968, a Top 30 pop hit, and "Have A Little Talk With Myself" and the original version of "Sunday Morning Coming Down" in 1969, which became Ray's first two singles to reach the country music charts; Johnny Cash's recording of "Sunday Morning Coming Down" was a hit in 1970. Stevens continued releasing novelty songs, and in 1969 he had a million-selling Top 10 pop hit with "Gitarzan". Stevens also became a regular on The Andy Williams Show during the 1969–1970 season, and even hosted his own summer show (The Ray Stevens Show) in 1970.

50s, 60s Hits

Ahab The Arab

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