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The Monkey Time by Major Lance
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The Happy Organ by Dave “Baby” Cortez

The Happy Organ by Dave Baby Cortez


Today’s selection for an instrumental is a a happy composition: “The Happy Organ” by Dave “Baby” Cortez. This moniker is the professional name of David Cortez Clowney, from Detroit, Michigan. He is an organist and pianist.  “The Happy Organ” was written by Cortez , Kurt Wood, and celebrity photographer James J. Kriegmann. The piece came about, according to Doug Moody, owner and producer of Clock Records, because Dave lost his voice and couldn’t sing what they were planning to record. So Dave started fooling around on the piano , starting with a funky version of “Shornin’ Bread.” He then switched to the organ, and “The Happy Organ” came about.

In 1959, the composition went to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #5 on the R&B chart. There originally had been lyrics, but Cortez didn’t care for the vocal. He decided to play the melody instead on a Hammond B3 organ in the studio. Gary Hammond is on percussion. Session musician Wild Jimmy Spruill is on guitar. The B-Side was “Love Me as I Love You.”

Before this, Cortez had been with the doo wop groups The Pearls and The Valentines under the name of Dave Clowney. The follow-up song to “The Happy Organ” was The Whistling Organ,” which went to #1 on the charts. Cortez also had a big hit in 1962 with “Rinky Dink.”

For More Golden Oldies Music

The Daily Doo Wop Rec Room has daily featured doo wop music, rock and roll hits, R&B, or rockabilly songs that were hits during the first era of rock and roll (that is, from about 1952 until the British invasion in 1964). After a song is featured, it then goes into the juke box. You are welcome to listen to any of the 40+ selections there. Every weekend, there is a Golden Oldies Juke Box Saturday Night, and the juke box is full of song requests from the 1950s and 1960s.

Please click here for the Daily Doo Wop YouTube channel, to which you can subscribe. Thank you for stopping by The Daily Doo Wop. Hope you enjoyed “The Happy Organ” by Dave “Baby” Cortez.


  1. Cheryl Amelino says:

    I love this song I have it as a ringtone for my friend Judy when she calls me this is what I hear I match the song up to her

  2. Larry Calvin says:

    I remember this song from way back in High School. Loved it then and still do. Just makes you feel GOOD all over.

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