11 Game Show Hosts and Their Musical Aspirations
After legendary game show host Richard Dawson passed away last week, Gawker dug up a single Dawson released in 1967. Titled “Apples and Oranges,” the song was actually the B-side to another single called “His Children’s Parade.” Though dual careers as a game show host and singer/songwriter may seem a bit odd, it’s actually more common than you think. Here’s Dawson’s morbid single and 10 other game show hosts who dabbled in the music business.
1. As promised, here’s Richard Dawson’s “Apples and Oranges.”
2. Chuck Barris is certainly a multi-faceted guy.
Not only did he create The Newlywed Game and The Dating Game, host The Gong Show and serve as a CIA assassin (so he claims), Barris left his mark on the music industry. Among other things, he wrote the hit song “Palisades Park” for Freddy “Boom Boom” Cannon, who took it to #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1962.
3. Steve Allen wrote more than 10,000 songs, including 350 in one week after making a bet with singer-songwriter Frankie Laine. He won a Best Jazz Composition Grammy in 1963 for “The Gravy Waltz,” but his most famous is probably “This Could Be the Start of Something Big,” which Allen used as his own personal theme song for many years. Here’s Bobby Darin putting his spin on the tune:
4. Bob Eubanks, perhaps best known as the cheeky host of The Newlywed Game, also served as a promoter for both The Beatles and the Rolling Stones, then later managed the country music careers of Dolly Parton, Barbara Mandrell and Marty Robbins.
5. A 19-year-old Mervyn Griffin kicked off a career in the entertainment industry by scoring a job as a singer on the radio. A few years later, he was offered a job touring with Freddy Martin’s orchestra, and in 1950, his version of “I’ve Got a Lovely Bunch of Coconuts” was in demand across the country. Merv’s charismastic television presence meant that he transitioned to talk show and game show hosting rather naturally; from there he built his empire and was eventually named the “richest Hollywood performer in history” by Forbes magazine in 1986.
Just because Merv became a television mainstay doesn’t mean he stopped composing, though. He once estimated that one of his little ditties earned him more than $70 million in royalties over the years; you’d recognize it as the Jeopardy! theme song.
Griffin returned to his roots in 2001 when he released an album called It’s Like a Dream, but it’s one of his early clips that I think will blow your mind (it blew mine):
6. In 1959, Wink Martindale’s spoken word “Deck of Cards” hit #7 on the Billboard Hot 100 and went on to sell more than a million copies. Assuming you don’t have one of those million copies, you’re probably more familiar with Wink from his hosting duties on any of 19 game shows including Tic Tac Dough, The Joker’s Wild, Trivial Pursuit and Debt. Bonus trivia: Wink’s real name is Winston.
7. You probably could have guessed that Regis Philbin was once a singer based on how often he burst into song on Live! or various Miss America pageants over the years. He released his first album in 1968, hilariously titled It’s Time for Regis! It didn’t do very well, and his next release didn’t come until 2004’s When You’re Smiling.
8. Would you believe Love Connection host Chuck Woolery once had a band called The Avant-Garde and they had a hit called "Naturally Stoned"? The song made it into the top 40 but quickly fell into one-hit-wonder wasteland. The solo Woolery, however, had a couple of country songs chart in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s.
9. Alan Thicke is probably most famous for his role as Jason Seaver on Growing Pains, but he has actually contributed quite a bit from behind the camera as well. Just a few of the theme songs Thicke wrote or co-wrote: Diff’rent Strokes, The Facts of Life, The Joker’s Wild, Celebrity Sweepstakes, Blank Check and the original Wheel of Fortune song.
10. If you don’t consider Dancing With the Stars a game show, don’t worry: Carrie Ann Inaba is also hosting 1 vs. 100 on GSN. But the real revelation is that before Inaba was a host or a judge, and even before she was a Fly Girl with J.Lo on In Living Color in the early ‘90s, Inaba was a bonafide Japanese pop star. She talks about it a little bit here on Lopez Tonight.
11. John Davidson’s credits include That’s Incredible, The (New) $25,000 Pyramid, The New Hollywood Squares, nine albums, posing nude for Cosmopolitan in the '70s and wearing this boss tracksuit in 1990.