One of the biggest hits of 1958 was “Chanson D’Amour” by Art and Dotty Todd. The couple had already been married for 17 years when they hit the charts. While they only had that one hit, it enabled them to appear on both the Ed Sullivan show and American Bandstand. Arthur William Todd died October 10th, at the age of 93 of congestive heart failure in Honolulu.
Mr Todd was born the fourth child of a family of six in Baltimore Maryland. His mother played piano, his father violin and young Arthur wanted to be a banjo player. So, when he was 10, he built one, out of a cigar box, a broom handle, and four pieces of wire. His father was so impressed, he bought him the best banjo he could find and Mr. Todd played that banjo his entire life.
He met his future wife, Doris “Dotty” Dabb, a piano player, while both were performing in Providence, R.I. They married in 1941 and Mr. Todd served in the Army in an entertainment unit during World War II. After the war, the couple worked the lounge circuit in California in the 1940s and 1950s as Art and Dotty Todd and later was signed by CBS for their own radio show.
Art & Dotty enjoyed a bit hit in England with ‘Broken Wings’ in 1953, but had no recording success in America until 1958. Composer “Wayne Shanklin stopped them one day and said, ‘I’ve got a great song for you.’ He had already written big the big hits, ‘Jezebel’ and ‘The Old Man and the Sea.’ Art knew that a lot of the success of their song came from the many old-time DJ’s who resisted the emerging rock sound. The song peaked at No. 6 on Billboard’s Top 40 list on April 21, 1958. It remained on the list for 11 weeks.
The Todds retired in Hawaii in 1980. They ran a supper club and were active members of the Oahu Country Club and Outrigger Canoe Club. Mrs. Todd died in 2000. Mr. Todd’s survivors include a sister, and eight nieces and nephews.
You’ll find ‘Chanson D’Amour’ on our play list, ‘the Honor Roll of Hits’. Listen for it on Tunedex Memories.