Dale & Grace cracked the top forty twice in the 60's. The two Southerners took one of their songs all the way to number one not long after they had met each other.
Grace Broussard was born in 1939 in Prairieville, Louisiana and Dale Houston was born the following year in Seminary, Mississippi. Dale was the son of a minister and grew up with the music he heard in church, singing and playing piano. His family moved from Seminary to Collins, Mississippi, then to Ferriday, Louisiana and eventually to Baton Rouge. By the time he was in his teens, Dale knew that he wanted to make music his career.
He recorded a song titled Lonely Man that dented the top 100 nationally and brought him to the attention of Sam Montel, a local record producer in Baton Rouge. Montel signed Dale as a songwriter. A Cajun band from nearby Prairieville headed by Van Broussard found its way to Montel's studio, and the singer in the band was Van's sister Grace.
Dale and Grace worked together for the first time in 1963. At the end of their first recording session together, they recorded I'm Leaving It Up To You on the Michelle label -- one that Sam Montel had named for his daughter. Sam sent it to a disk jockey in Houston and the record was an immediate hit there. It was re-released a short time later on Sam's national label, Montel. It entered the national charts in October, 1963 and began to soar. Dale and Grace joined Dick Clark's Caravan of Stars and began to tour almost immediately.
As their record became more and more popular across the United States, their tour stopped in Dallas, where President Kennedy was scheduled to visit. Dale and Grace stood along the motorcade route with Bobby Vee, Brian Hyland, Jimmy Clanton and others from the Caravan of Stars and waved as Kennedy's motorcade passed by. By the time it had travelled another three blocks, some gunshots were fired in the distance from an office building along the motorcade route. A few hours later they learned that those were the shots that ended the life of the assassinated President. That same week, the number one song on the chart was Dale & Grace's I'm Leaving It Up To You. The following week, Thanksgiving found them having dinner at Dick Clark's house in Philadelphia. They appeared on Clark's American Bandstand television program.
The duo recorded a follow-up hit, Stop And Think It Over, which reached number eight early in 1964. Then the British Invasion hit the shores of America, and pop music began to change drastically. Dale & Grace disbanded their act in 1965.
Dale Houston complained of stomach pains and experienced congestive heart failure; he checked into a hospital in Seminary, Mississippi, where he had been born, and passed away on September 27, 2007.
I'm Leaving It Up To You has been a favorite of male-female duos ever since it left the charts in 1964, and has been recorded by artists such as Sonny & Cher and Donny and Marie Osmond, among others. Donny and Marie brought it back to the top ten in 1974. Dale and Grace performed, together and separately, off and on in the intervening years. In the 90's they were inducted into the Gulf Coast Hall of Fame, the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame, and the Texas Music Hall of Fame.
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