Marcy Joe

Best remembered for the girl group classic "Ronnie," singer Marcy Joe was born Marcy Rae Sockel in Pittsburgh on April 1, 1944. A pupil of vocal coach Lennie Martin, a local songwriter and aspiring record magnate, she wrote "Ronnie" in 1961 for her then-boyfriend, who was actually named Howard. Martin co-produced the single at Pittsburgh's United Recording Service studio, enlisting the aid of backing vocalists including one Lou Sacco, who later shot to fame as the pop idol Lou Christie. First issued on Martin's Robbee label and credited to Marcy Joe, "Ronnie" proved a regional smash and was licensed for national distribution by Liberty Records, eventually reaching the number 81 spot on the Billboard pop chart. Reportedly inspired by the military-bound Gary Troxel of the Fleetwoods, Marcy Joe's follow-up, "Since Gary Went in the Navy," failed to match the success of its predecessor. After releasing "Jumping Jack" in late 1961, Robbee folded, and the singer signed to the Philadelphia-based Swan imprint, which modified her stage name to Marcy Jo. "I'm a Dreamer" appeared in mid-1962, followed by "How Softly a Heart Breaks." For the 1963 medley "Those Golden Oldies," Swan paired Marcy Jo with singer/songwriter Eddie Rambeau, repeating the trick with "Lover's Medley," which fell just shy of the Hot 100. After a final solo effort, "The Next Time," Swan terminated Marcy Jo's contract and her singing career ground to a halt. According to reports, she later married the same Howard who inspired her biggest chart hit. ~ Jason Ankeny

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