February 1967: Freddie Scott Hits No. 1 with "Are You Lonely For Me"

Freddie Scott
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Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

The success of 1963 "Hey Girl" had launched Freddie Scott from behind the writing desk onto the road, but it was another three years before Scott chanced on another record that would score traction on the charts. 

His fateful encounter with Carole King and Gerry Goffin in1962 led to a spur-of-the-moment opportunity for Scott to record when vocalist Chuck Jackson couldn't make it to the recording. A testament to the victory of an underdog, "Hey Girl" scaled the charts that year, reaching Top Ten status, but Scott would spend the next few years adrift without a record deal before he met the famed producer and songwriter Bert Berns, also known as Bert Russells, who would become a lifeline for Scott's career.

Berns had founded the label Shout Records and written the song, "Are You Lonely For Me," a soulful serenade of a man returning to his lover in reminisce of the pain they have endured spending time apart from one another. "Ohh, there's a last train, to Jacksonville, I'm gonna get on it, baby, you know I will. Will you try, c'mon and try, To forget all the pain I've brought you?" From the playful keys, the guiding sax and the backing singers (Cissy Houston and the Sweet Inspirations) repeating "Are you lonely for me, babe?" the song is an irresistible apology hoping for a romantic reunion. 

Scott became the first singer to record "Are You Lonely For Me", and when the two paired up to release the song through Shout in 1966, the impassioned apology of a single shot to No. 1 on the R&B Chart on February 11, 1967, spending four consecutive weeks on its seat on high. The song would also become Scott's second Top 40 single on the Pop chart. This would ultimately be Scott's last hit, but live on through others - with countless legendary singers continue's the song's legacy through Otis Redding & Carla Thomas, Hank Ballard, Al Green, Grateful Dead and more. 

Listen to Otis Redding and Carla Thomas cover the song as a duet in their 1967 album King and Queen


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