The Drifters – There Goes My Baby (2007, CD) - Discogs

2021 Song Draft- Round 1 Pick 3- The Hinoeuma selects- ‘There Goes My Baby’- The Drifters.

The Drifters Image One
Photo Credit: Pop Rock Doo Wop Site

You can find The Hinoeuma’s blog here: Cosmic-Observation

I thoroughly enjoyed Hans 2021 Movie Draft Challenge (thank you, again…), digging thru each category. This go ’round, it’s a free-for-all. I still need some kind of structure so, I will be attacking this via decades, as I find genres to be problematic (overlaps). This will be my only 1950s submission. Having grown up on the East Coast/Mid-Atlantic, one thing my state is known for is shagging (for the Brits, no, that is not what it means). While my Grandparents did the Jitterbug as youths, my parents shagged (a descendant of the Jitterbug), as did my classmates and I. This song, in particular, was my favorite to shag to, though I enjoyed many beach music songs. ~Vic

Released either in May (per Rolling Stone Magazine) or April 24, 1959 (per Wikipedia), it was written by Benjamin Nelson (Ben E. King), Lover Patterson and George Treadwell. Produced by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, the song hit #1 on Billboard’s Hot R&B chart (July) and, #2 on Billboard’s Hot 100 (August).

This is the second version of The Drifters under Treadwell’s management, crafted from the Five Crowns: Ben E. King, Charlie Thomas, Doc Green and Elsbeary Hobbs with James “Poppa” Clark being rejected for alcohol issues. With this line-up, There Goes My Baby was their first single and King’s debut as lead singer. It was unusual for its time, being the first commercial R&B/Soul recording with strings, arranged by Stan Applebaum, and a Brazilian Baiãon groove. Phil Spector studied the production style under Leiber & Stoller.

The song is ranked at #196 on Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. Donna Summer did a version that was released in July 1984 and peaked at #21 on Billboard’s Hot 100.

Ben E. King and The Drifters (The Vocal Group Hall of Fame Foundation/Inducted 2000)
John Gilliland’s Pop Chronicles (The Drifters & Ritchie Valens/Track 2/University of North Texas Digital Library)
There Goes My Baby (The Art of Rock Music Listening Guide/University of Albany/PDF)
Things You Didn’t Know About The Drifters (Pop, Rock & Do Wop/Joe Mirrione/April 10, 2020)



  1. Love The Drifters- they were a bright and shining act- in that lean period between The Day The Music Died and the arrival of that group from Liverpool. I would be hard pressed to name my favorite Drifters song- so many -but this would be a candidate. Well done!

    • My dad was BIG into Holly (swore he would have been bigger than Elvis…I may have expressed that, before) and my mom loved the Motown sound. The Drifters music was always there, as was local Beach Music groups like Chairman of the Board, The Embers, Band of Oz, The Castaways, The Tams… Thread thru my childhood and teens.

      In my reading, the running joke was, they were “Drifters” because members drifted in & out. Talk about a revolving door. So many different group versions…

      I will hit two for the 1960s, next.

  2. A very smooth sound The Drifters have. Trying to imagine what kind of dancing shagging is to do it to this song. Nice write-up, Vic, and lots of good information gathered about the context of the song.

    • Some shagging is like that. Instead of showcasing a female with twirls or flips or being tossed, in some shags, the guy does more footwork and the woman keeps a steady tempo. It is a very fluid style…one of the reasons it is still around.

    • Honestly, I can’t seem to find where the actual term “shag” came from (the Brit term, aside). As I stated, above, it is a descendant of the Jitterbug, which is a descendant of the Lindy Hop, which came from Big Band Swing. Swing (East Coast or West Coast) has different step movements from the shag, most notably a step back as opposed to the kick forward.

    • Yep. 1989.

      That was more the style back in the 60s. It’s an interesting movie with Bridget Fonda stealing scenes. It also had Carol Burnette’s daughter Carrie in it. It is politically incorrect. Assuming you can even find it, if Netflix carries it or Hulu, it will be plastered with warnings. It was directed by an older British woman.

  3. Absolutely love the Drifters! Up on the Roof and Under the Boardwalk always got more play at most radio stations, but this one was one of my favorites! A solid pick!

    The Shag was huge down in the south as I recall. As I thought about it, one could have easily picked 12 “dance songs” for this draft (The Stroll, The Twist, Pony Time, Madison Time, Limbo, etc…).

    My songs are kind of broken down by decades, but not sure I will present them that way. Looking forward to your next pick!!

    • It still is huge. The two Carolinas argue over where it started…Carolina Beach, NC or Myrtle Beach, SC. Both claim it.

      Provided a couple of links in the above comments.

  4. Pingback: Hans 2021 Song Draft: Round One-Pick Three-There Goes My Baby-Drifters (1950s) « Cosmic Observation·

  5. I only know the Drifters from songs like Under the Boardwalk and Up on the Roof so it’s nice to hear another great song by them. I did a bit of reading on them and you’re right about the turnover in the group over the years. Sounds like it was partly due to the way they were set up business wise. Amazing though that with all the change that had so many good songs over such a long period of time.

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