Passings: Ritchie Adams (Zigler) of the Fireflies, Songwriter of "Tossin' & Turnin'", "After the Lovin'" (1938 - 2017)

by VVN Music

Richard Adam Ziegler, who was known professionally as Ritchie Adams, died on March 6 after a long-term illness at the age of 78.

Peter Lemongello, Jr,, host of the streaming show Swingin' Soiree, wrote:

I have just learned that Ritchie Adams, the original lead singer of The Fireflies, has passed away.

He reportedly died on Monday, after suffering from a long term illness. He was 78 (Not 71 which has been listed).

Ritchie sang lead on The Fireflies major hit record, You Were Mine (#21, 1959) & on their other Top 100 record, I Can't Say Goodbye (#99, 1960).

Adams went on to release some solo singles and had a successful songwriting career, including the hits Tossin' & Turnin' for Bobby Lewis (#1, 1961) and After The Lovin' for Engelbert Humperdinck (#8, 1977).

Richard Adam "Ritchie Adams" Ziegler
(December 15, 1938 - March 6, 2017)

The Fireflies were formed in 1957 by producer Gerry Granahan who made regular lineup changes until, in 1959, it settled down with Adams, Paul Giacalone, Lee Reynolds, John Viscelli and Carl Girsoli. Adams sang lead on the group's biggest hit, You Were Mine, which was written by Giacalone and reached number 21 on the Hot 100. Although it didn't crack the top twenty, the record has gone on to become a standard on oldies radio.

The group only one more charting record, 1960's I Can't Say Goodbye, which peaked at number 90.

Adams eventually left the group for a songwriting career and, for a time, in pursuit of solo acclaim. He recorded a series of singles for Beltone, Congress, Imperial and other labels but none became hits.

His songwriting career, though, included numerous top forty hits on various charts:
  • Tossin' and Turnin' - Bobby Lewis (1961 / #1 Pop / #1 R&B) --- The Ivy League (1965 / #83 Pop / #5 U.K.) --- Bunny Sigler (1973 / #97 Pop / #38 R&B)
  • Fly By Night - Andy Williams (1961 / #82 Pop / #20 Adult Contemporary (AC))
  • Happy Summer Days - Ronnie Dove (1966 / #27 Pop / #7 AC)
  • Sugar (Don't Take Away My Candy) - Jive Five (1968 / #34 R&B)
  • After the Lovin' - Engelbert Humperdinck (1976 / #8 Pop / #1 AC / #40 Country)
  • Lover's Holiday - Engelbert Humperdinck (1977 / #26 AC)
  • Kentucky Mornin' - Al Martino (1977 / #26 AC)
  • The Next Hundred Years - Al Martino (1977 / #49 Pop / #6 AC)
  • Goodbye My Friend - Engelbert Humperdinck (1977 / #97 Pop / #37 AC / #93 Country)
  • This Moment in Time - Engelbert Humperdinck (1978 / #58 Pop / #1 AC / #93 Country)
  • Country Lovin' - Eddy Arnold (1978 / #23 Country)
  • A Much, Much Greater Love - Engelbert Humperdinck (1979 / #39 AC)
  • Banana Splits (The Tra La La Song) - Dickies (1979 / #7 U.K.)
Adams also worked as a songwriter on the Archies and Banana Splits children's shows and sang lead on the Archies' song Love is Living in You, the only song from their catalog not sung by Ron Dante. 


Ardy said...

I think you've gotten confused about "Love Is Living In You".

Ritchie Adams is the track's *producer*.

Bob Levine, one of the song's writers, sings lead.

An old 45 of the song was posted in 2014 to YouTube.


robert Levine said...

Ritchie was a great writer and humble man. He was inducted into the army at the same time he had a number 1 with Tossin' and Turnin', which meant he had to give up his career for two critical years.
When he went to Kirshner Ent he was kind enough to let me co-write the Archies single "This is Love" and write and sing his production of "Love is Living in You" (Bob Levine/Phil Cody). He was extremely generous and loyal. In the music business there were few people who gave up writing or
Artist credits. He also produced and arranged the demo of "Happy Together" for the Turtles, giving the Alan Gordon/Gary Bonner song it's ba ba ba.
I'm so sorry Ritchie passed. He was so good to do many. Rest in peace.
Bob Levine

Shropshire Dave said...

Ritchie's 1965 recording of "I Can't Escape From You" is a vibrant presence on the Northern Soul scene in the UK for almost 50 years now.
In a musical movement that has been enjoyed on many sides of the world since the late 60's, there are always new tunes being "discovered" through the years, which is what keeps Northern as bright a light as it has for half a century. Ritchie's sound however, has always been a part of it.
Just a few weeks ago, former Wigan Casino DJ & radio presenter Richard Searling opened his weekly show on Friday night with my request for this very song, on a show themed "Northern Soul Tunes We Can't Live Without". That went out on BBC Radio Manchester as the first request, so have no fear that the impact he had is still being felt to this day.
In Northern Soul, we stand by the motto "Keep The Faith". Never-aging sounds like this song help us to keep doing this both at regular dances, as well as at all nighters across the world, just like the one we'll have on Saturday. The guest of honour there will be dancing his 70th birthday & I know that this is one of the songs he holds in high regards as well.
RIP Ritchie & thanks for planting that opening piano sequence, that still makes our hair stand & our goosebumps appear.
Rest easy.

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