Hal Kalin

Elder of the Kalin Twins, singers of 'When'

The finger-snapping introduction leading into melodious saxophones and then the sprightly vocals of the Kalin Twins puts "When" among the most distinctive hits of the rock'n'roll era. The 1958 single owed as much to middle-of-the-road pop as rock'n'roll and, although the brothers were likened to the Everly Brothers, their work was more orchestral. "When" made the US Top Ten in 1958 and topped the UK charts for five weeks.

Hal and Herbie Kalin were identical twins from Port Jervis, New York, with Hal being the elder. They were born in 1934, although the publicity at the time stated 1939. They were singing together from an early age and were only separated when Hal went to Japan for his military service. In the mid-Fifties, they formed a duo to sing hits from the pre-rock'n'roll era, especially Johnnie Ray's, but the crowds went wild when they added some Everly Brothers numbers. Their manager, Clint Ballard Jnr, who was to write "You're No Good", wrote their first single, "Jumpin' Jack", for the US Decca label.

The Brill Building songwriter Paul Evans submitted "When" to the Kalin Twins' record producer, Jack Pleis, but he did not care for it. He placed it in a pile of rejects, but he wasn't around when the twins went to his office and they started playing the discarded songs by mistake. Evans recalled,

They pulled it out and loved it and their producer was too embarrassed to tell them that he had rejected it. He let them cut it and it had a thrilling arrangement, which really helped the record.

The single was originally promoted with a teenage song about a drugstore romance, "Three O'Clock Thrill", but the radio disc-jockeys soon discovered "When" and it soared up the charts. In view of its success, the twins came to the UK on tour. At first they played in variety in London, bizarrely supporting Paul Robeson at the Palladium. They toured the UK with the trumpeter Eddie Calvert and a new rock'n'roll sensation, Cliff Richard.

Because of a dispute over publishing rights, Paul Evans was not allowed to pass any more songs to the Kalin Twins, but they made the US Top Twenty with "Forget Me Not" and did well with "It's Only the Beginning". One of their best records, "Chicken Thief" (1960), was written by Boudleaux and Felice Bryant who often wrote for the Everly Brothers. They recorded "Loneliness" by a little-known songwriter, Gene Pitney, and covered Joe Brown's UK hit, "A Picture of You", for the US market. They wrote some good songs themselves including "One More Time", but they were asking for trouble when they recorded a song called "It's Just Terrible".

In 1977 "When" was revived by Showaddywaddy and went to No 3, but the original was not reissued. In 1989, Cliff Richard invited them to join him on stage for a recreation of the ITV show Oh Boy! for concerts at Wembley Stadium.

Spencer Leigh

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Area Sales Manager

£25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join ...

Recruitment Genius: Freight Forward Senior Operator

£22000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This logistics firm are looking...

Recruitment Genius: Lead Marketing Specialist

£34500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A lead marketing specialist is required ...

Recruitment Genius: IT Support Technician - 2nd / 3rd Line

£26000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An IT Support Technician is req...

Day In a Page

Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most
Katy Perry prevented from buying California convent for $14.5m after nuns sell to local businesswoman instead

No grace of God for Katy Perry as sisters act to stop her buying convent

Archdiocese sues nuns who turned down star’s $14.5m because they don’t approve of her
Ajmer: The ancient Indian metropolis chosen to be a 'smart city' where residents would just be happy to have power and running water

Residents just want water and power in a city chosen to be a ‘smart’ metropolis

The Indian Government has launched an ambitious plan to transform 100 of its crumbling cities
Michael Fassbender in 'Macbeth': The Scottish play on film, from Welles to Cheggers

Something wicked?

Films of Macbeth don’t always end well - just ask Orson Welles... and Keith Chegwin
10 best sun creams for body

10 best sun creams for body

Make sure you’re protected from head to toe in the heatwave
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon files

Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games
Women's World Cup 2015: How England's semi-final success could do wonders for both sexes

There is more than a shiny trophy to be won by England’s World Cup women

The success of the decidedly non-famous females wearing the Three Lions could do wonders for a ‘man’s game’ riddled with cynicism and greed
How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

One day to find €1.6bn

Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

Historians map out untold LGBT histories

Public are being asked to help improve the map