We're often given to believe that popular music in America before the Beatles had fallen into some kind of malaise. People will mention Frankie Avalon and Fabian as examples of how the industry was trying to create new versions of Elvis or something out of whole (plastic) cloth, and dumbing down music in the process. True, as far as it goes, but nowhere near the entire story.
This cut is from 1962, and it's as good as anything cut before or since. There was a lot going on between, let's say, 1959 and 1964. It just wasn't all rolled up into one package. It was spread out, from California to Oregon and Washington, from Texas to Cincinnati, from Chicago to Boston, from New York to New Orleans, and back to Cleveland!
Blame the industry. Who needs a hundred great acts that you can sell 10,000 each of, when you can find one Elvis that can sell a million! They're still reaching for that brass ring. Music has suffered accordingly, but let's not blame it on the artists.