He was described as having “a distinctive voice that no one could imitate.”
Jimmy Beaumont was 18 years old and singing with a group called “The Crescents.”
Joe Rock was promoting the band and was hurting because his girlfriend was leaving to attend flight attendant school on the West Coast.
While in his car, Rock would jot down lyrics whenever he’d come to a stoplight, with words lamenting the departure of his girlfriend.
Rock took his composition to Beaumont who would come up with music to the words.
“I had been listening to all the doo-wop groups from that period — The Platters, The Moonglows. I guess just from listening it came out of me,” Beaumont said in a 2009 interview with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
The song as a demo was rejected by record companies, 13 in all. Thirteen.
In December of 1958 the sad song was released and went to #1 in Pittsburgh, catching the attention of the folks at “American Bandstand” who invited Beaumont and his group, “The Skyliners” on the program.
Their hit made it to #12 on the Billboard pop chart and has been covered by Barbra Streisand, Patti LaBelle, Art Garfunkel, Don McLean, Ronnie Milsap, The Brian Setzer Orchestra and Guns N’ Roses.
If you’ve seen the 1973 movie “American Graffiti” you heard this great oldie that was included in the soundtrack.
Beaumont died in his sleep last Saturday at his home in McKeesport, about 10 miles southeast of Pittsburgh, his hometown, at the age of 76. He was the co-writer of a classic.
“People still want me to hit that high note. I’ve lost a little bit, but I’d like to think not much. I’m not going to retire. People will retire me when they stop coming.”
Jimmy Beaumont in 2009
Beaumont second from left