Ernie Maresca, a product of New York’s Italian community, started his songwriting career as a teenager in the late 1950s. Rock & Roll had burst upon the music scene a few years earlier and was already starting to evolve into sub-genres such as doo-wop and the ‘white vocal group harmony’ sound that Ernie and his peers would soon become known for. While noted mainly for his songs written for other performers, Ernie Maresca’s one foray into the American charts as a recording artist came with the Kassner owned copyright Shout Shout (Knock Yourself Out) SHOUT SHOUT (KNOCK YOURSELF OUT) by THOMAS BOGDANY,ERNEST MARESCA| which made the US Top 10 in 1962. Cover versions in the UK and France would bring the song back to prominence some twenty years later, proving, as always, that you can’t keep a good song down.
Singing in harmony
From 1957 onwards, Maresca was involved to one degree or another with a string of 4 or 5 piece male vocal harmony groups including The Montereys, The Desires, The Regents, The Demilles, The Tremonts and The Runarounds, more often than not providing the songs they would record. Most successful was The Belmonts, fronted by lead singer Dion DiMucci. The relationship with Dion would produce two of Ernie’s biggest hits, Runaround Sue and The Wanderer in 1961.
Shout Shout (Knock Yourself Out)
The young writer’s association with Kassner Music had begun several years earlier in 1958, when the fledgling Seville Records label (with its ties to Kassner) signed Ernie’s first group, The Montereys, on the strength of a demo of two of his songs recorded that May. The group would evolve into The Desires but it was not until 1961 that Seville A&R man, Marvin Holtzmann, persuaded Ernie to try his hand as a solo artist. The result was the 1962-released US Top 10 hit single Shout Shout (Knock Yourself Out) SHOUT SHOUT (KNOCK YOURSELF OUT) by THOMAS BOGDANY,ERNEST MARESCA| and an album of the same name.
Despite the success of Shout Shout stateside, little happened for the song on the other side of the Atlantic. This changed dramatically when in 1982, twenty years after its initial success, a cover by British retro-band Rocky Sharpe & The Replays broke into the UK Top 20 singles charts. The renewed activity on the song led to a further cover later that same year - a French lyric version entitled Chante by Les Forbans. The French recording exploded onto the European scene, far outselling both its English counterparts. An official list of France’s best selling singles of all time broadcast in 2004 placed Les Forbans’ Chante CHANTE by THOMAS BOGDANY,ERNEST MARESCA| at #8, not bad going for the kid from the Bronx who by his own estimation “couldn’t sing”.