Maurice Williams & The Zodiacs main claim to fame occurred fifty years ago this week, when their single “Stay” topped The American singles chart for one week. It almost went unnoticed as it was tucked away between the number the one hits, “Georgia On My Mind” by Ray Charles and “Are You Lonesome Tonight” by Elvis Presley.
The song also is an answer to a music trivia question as it remains the shortest song ever to top the charts, as it clocked in at only 1:37.
Maurice Williams formed the Royal Charms during the mid-fifties. By 1957 he had formed The Gladiolas with Earl Gainey, William Massey, Willie Jones, and Norman Wade. They were a typical doo-wop group of the day. They produced one big hit as “Little Darlin’” reached number 11 on the rhythm & blues charts in The United States and also climbed to number 41 on the pop charts. The white Canadian group, The Diamonds, would cover or steal the song, and take it to number two on the pop charts where it remained for eight weeks.
“Stay” would be the only top forty hit of their career. The Four Seasons (1964) and Jackson Browne (1978) would both produce versions of the song that would reach The American top 20.
Despite a lack of hits, Maurice Williams and The Zodiacs have continued to record and tour down to the present day. They were inducted into The Vocal Group Hall Of Fame in 2007. They released the album, Merry Christmas, several months ago.
“Stay” may have been a short song but a half century ago it ruled The American music world.