41) Maurice Williams and the Zodiacs – “Stay”


 Compared with the elegant craftsmanship of “Georgia on My Mind,” “Stay” is a bit of a lark, a tossed-off fragment of a song more memorable for the piercing falsetto of Henry “Shane” Gaston than for the melody or lyrics.  That’s not a knock on the song at all – “Stay” has a freshness and energy that marked it as the modern alternative to the Great American Songbook.  The song seems to start in the middle before jumping to the coda rather suddenly, and in between it doesn’t quite adhere to a verse/chorus/verse pattern.  Add to that the blink-and-miss-it length of 1:37 (still the shortest song to top the Hot 100) and you have an anomolous entry at the top of the charts.  But “Stay”‘s ramshackle charm is precisely its strength.  Williams pleas to “stay… just a little bit longer” because “your daddy don’t mind, and your mommy don’t mind” come off as sincere (well, at least as sincere as a guy trying to coax a girl to break curfew).  But “Stay” is also deceptively complex.  The seemingly random bits of the song’s structure flow together smoothly, like a doo wop mini-suite.  And the voices of Maurice Williams and the Zodiacs not only mesh well together, but also with the piano and drums that form the song’s foundation.  All these elements add up to a song that’s just the right palate cleanser between two courses of heart-rending ballads, a reminder that, above all, pop music is supposed to be fun.  7

Hit #1 on November 21, 1960; total of 1 week at #1
41 of 965 #1’s reviewed; 4.25% through the Hot 1o0


Filed under 07, 1960

2 responses to “41) Maurice Williams and the Zodiacs – “Stay”

  1. Action Man

    I just love how it hooks me immediately. The melody is beautiful.

  2. Marc Rettus

    If the union don’t mind…

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