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.”