Back during 1965, when I was all of eight years old, you could not turn on the radio without hearing the song “The Birds and the Bees.” It crossed over from being a rhythm and blues hit into pop radio, and it made it up to No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 during that year.
The singer of the song was Jewel Akens. If you couldn't get the song out of your head, you certainly wouldn't forget a name like that, either. The future looked bright for this young singer, but alas, he was never to have another real big hit.
Defining a true one-hit wonder, Akens passed away on March 1 at age 79 after complications from back surgery.
Although he was best known for his hit "The Birds and the Bees," Akens had been recording since the late 1950s, usually as part of rhythm and blues groups such as the Medallions and the Four Dots.
He had one other Hot 100 chart hit, "Georgie Porgie," which got up to No. 68, also in 1965.
But “The Birds and the Bees” cemented himself on pop radio, and due to the fame of his one hit, he had been touring on a regular basis since the mid-1960s to almost the present time.
He even received some type of push later in the 1960s when he recorded two singles for Colgems, the Monkees’ label. Although he never hit the Hot 100 with either of the two singles he recorded on the label--No. 1099, September 1967, "Born a Loser"/"Little Bitty Pretty One" and No. 1025, July 1968, "It's a Sin To Tell a Lie"/"You Better Move On”—he considered them to be among his finest recordings.
He also toured with the Monkees during his time on the label, then moved on to other things, including producing critically acclaimed rhythm and blues recordings by other artists.
Meanwhile, the song—written by the head of Era Records, Herb Newman--was covered by many artists, including Dean Martin and Johnny Kidd and the Pirates.
But he was best known to the public as a one-hit wonder, and that song still gets played today on a regular basis on oldies stations around the country, and around the world, where the song also was successful.
Although the tune gave him his two minutes of fame, Akens rode that fame into decades of recording and touring.
Here are the lyrics to this classic tune:
Let me tell you 'bout the birds and the bees
and the flowers and the trees,
the moon up above, and the thing called love.
Let me tell you 'bout the stars in the sky,
the girl and the guy
and the way they could kiss
on a night like this.
When I look into your big brown eyes,
it's very plain to see
that it's time you learn about the facts in life
startin' from A to Z.
Let me tell you 'bout the birds...
When I look into your big brown eyes...
Well, let me tell you 'bout the birds and the bees...
Let me tell you 'bout the birds and the bees,
the flowers and the trees,
the stars in the sky, a girl and a guy.
The birds and the bees,
the flowers and the trees,
the stars in the sky and a girl and a guy...