Gretchen Christopher and Barbara Ellis were singing together in high school and looking for a trumpet player to back them. Gary Troxel could play the trumpet, but wasn’t able to play in the girls’ key. But Gary started humming a tune and soon they discovered they sounded great as a trio. The group performed a song Gretchen had written at their high school talent contest and the kids loved it so much they recorded a tape and took it to Bob Reisdorff in Seattle. Reisdorff was starting his own label, Dolphin Records and decided to record the song but he made two changes. First of all, he found the title of the song too suggestive and changed it to “Come Softly To Me” (even though those words are not included in the lyrics). He also asked the group to change its name from Two Girls and a Guy. All three had the same phone exchange and so they became The Fleetwoods. Six months later, the record was released and in March of 1959 it entered the national Billboard chart. The group was invited to appear on “The Dick Clark Saturday Night Beechwood Show” in New York. Back stage at the theater they met Frankie Avalon who introduced himself: “Congratulations! ‘Come Softly To Me’ just knocked ‘Venus’ out of the number one spot.”
Besides “Venus” and “Come Softly To Me,” “The Happy Organ” was the only other number one song in the top twenty on April 13th, 1959 – currently #13, it would get there in May after “Come Softly To Me” had spent four weeks at the top. Two runner-up records were in the top twenty: “A Fool Such As I” which would peak at #2 on April 27th and “Charlie Brown” which had topped out in second place on March 9th.
Two artists did a top twenty double dip that April: Elvis Presley with “A Fool Such As I” (#8) b/w “I Need Your Love Tonight” (#10) and Ricky Nelson with “There’ll Never Be Anyone Else But You” b/w “It’s Late.”