If you were around in 1956, and old enough to pay attention to the music being broadcast on the radio or coming out of jukeboxes, then you will probably remember a song that soared to the top of the charts that year. I’ll give you a hint — it had something to do with a door of a particular color.
In the early 1950’s Jim Lowe was a Chicago DJ who’d been kicking around for a while, trying to break into performing music instead of just playing the records of other artists. He was also a songwriter who leaned toward the country side of things, and that helped him finally snag a recording contract with Mercury. His early recordings, such as “Gambler’s Guitar,” sold a few copies, but things really began looking up for him when he moved to Dot Records in 1955.
He had some success with “Close The Door,” and sold a few records with “Maybelline,” although nobody would mistake him for Chuck Berry. He also covered “Blue Suede Shoes,” but Carl Perkins and Elvis Presley both topped him by far. However, he hit gold in 1956 when he recorded another song with ‘door’ in the title. “Green Door” rocketed to number one on the charts and paved the way for what he hoped would be a big career.
He did pretty well for a while, and even found himself making appearances on TV shows like Steve Allen’s. He continued to record, and the following year he again hit the charts with “Talkin’ To The Blues,” but it didn’t come close to reaching the heights of his previous number-one hit.
Inevitably, his recording career wound down but he continued to be a force in radio for many years, not only as a DJ but also as a program host and producer. According to various sources, Jim is currently enjoying his retirement in the New York area, but according to some he still finds the opportunity to sing from time to time. In any case, he’ll always be remembered as one of the pioneers of early pop music.