Jim Freeman was born in 1937 in New Haven Connecticut and joined The Five Satins in 1955. Shortly after joining the group, “In the Still of the Night,” the Satins’ best-known hit, was recorded in 1956 in the basement of St. Bernadette’s Church in New Haven. The song was recorded in the basement of Saint Bernadette Catholic School, a church school in the group’s neighborhood. The song was first released on the Standord label, and later by Ember.
Shortly after the recording was finished, lead singer Fred Parris left for military service in Japan. “In the Still of the Night” became a hit, and entered the top forty later that year reaching No. 24 on Sept. 8, 1956. Jim Freeman quickly assumed leadership of the group and contacted Bill Baker and asked him to join the group to promote the record on tour. The group traveled throughout the United States and overseas and in 1957 recorded “To the Aisle,” with Mr. Baker, a tenor, as lead singer. In July 1957, the song peaked at #5 on the R&B charts and #25 on the Hot 100 and was featured in the popular film American Graffiti (1973).
As a member of The Five Satins, Jim played in venues such as the famous Apollo Theater in Harlem and toured with such greats as Chuck Berry, Fats Domino, Little Richard, Bo Diddley, and The Platters. The Five Satins were the headliners in many of the shows which featured artists such as these, with the other performers often billed as special guests.
“In The Still of The Night” has sold over ten million records and is still played on radios throughout the world. In 2001 the Recording Industry Association of America and the National Endowment for the Arts named the song one of the “Songs of the Century”. Later that year Jim was honored by the Iowa Legislature under House Resolution 36 which states in part that: ”WHEREAS, as a member of The Five Satins, James Freeman recorded one of America’s most beloved and recognized ballads, “In The Still Of The Night”, and WHEREAS, James Freeman has been a resident of the state of Iowa since 1970, and has been an Iowa business owner for two decades, “BE IT RESOLVED BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, That James Freeman be recognized as a pioneer of rock and roll music, whose contributions to the uniquely American genre of music is appreciated not just by the citizens of Iowa, but also by music fans all over the world”.
The Five Satins Fast Facts
In 1987, “In The Still of the Night” was included on the soundtrack of the ‘50s-revival movie Dirty Dancing. The soundtrack sold over 10 million copies.
Subsequently, the song — “In The Still of the Night” sold more than 32 million copies on the soundtrack of “Dirty Dancing”.
It is the only song ever to have charted on the Billboard Hot 100 three separate times by the same artist, with the same version each time; in 1956, 1960 and 1961.
It was the number one song in WCBS-FM’s annual “Labor Day Weekend Top 500” countdown for over a decade.
It has been covered dozens of times, including by the Beach Boys, Boys II Men, Ronnie Milsap — nominated for a Grammy — Johnny Mathis and Dion & The Belmonts, The Tokens, The Fleetwoods, Johnny Maestro & The Crests, Jan & Dean, Sha Na Na, Debbie Gibson, and 98 Degrees.
When Rolling Stone magazine released its list of “The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time” a few years back, “In The Still Of The Night” was right up there at #90 — in between #89 “California Dreamin’” by The Mamas & The Papas and #91 “Suspicious Minds” by Elvis Presley in a list compiled by music billionaire Jay-Z.
For over 30 years, “In The Still Of the Night” remained in the top 5 of the Top 500 Songs Countdown for New York’s “oldies” radio station WCBS-FM.
Boyz II Men recorded their rendition of “In The Still of The Night” in 1992. Their version was used in a TV miniseries about The Jacksons and went to #3 US.
In 1986, country singer Ronnie Milsap released “Lost in the Fifties Tonight,” where he sings about fond memories listening to this song, which he sings in the chorus. It went to #1 on the Country chart and earned Milsap a Grammy Award for Best Male Country Vocal Performance. It was also nominated for Best Country & Western Song.
In late 2019, Jim Freeman launched Freeman Legacy Group, a music memorabilia company. Through Freeman’s business he offers autographed original 45’s, vinyl records, and other valuable music items that he’s collected over several decades. Visit freemanlegacygroup.com to acquire some of music’s most valuable and precious gems.