Author Topic: The Toppermost of the Poppermost - UK Number Ones : part 1 - The 50s  (Read 21376 times)

Captain Z

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Re: The Toppermost of the Poppermost - UK Number Ones : part 1 - The 50s
« Reply #60 on: March 14, 2019, 10:30:18 AM »
It's quite funny picturing him showing up (I presume uninvited) to his ex's wedding and sitting in the crowd 'crying out loud'. The poor bride should've got an usher to take him into the graveyard for a shoeing.

The b-side is much better, and more dignified.

I agree that it's a terrible hook to hang a song around, no wonder she chose someone else mate. 3/11

Jerzy Bondov

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Re: The Toppermost of the Poppermost - UK Number Ones : part 1 - The 50s
« Reply #61 on: March 14, 2019, 10:39:42 AM »
I'm well up for this thread. I love this sort of thing. Comes A-Long A-Love my favourite so far. Eddie Fisher is a moaning bastard quite frankly. Get a grip son.

daf

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Re: The Toppermost of the Poppermost - UK Number Ones : part 1 - The 50s
« Reply #62 on: March 14, 2019, 12:36:11 PM »
Everyone's favourite Crooner of the Year (1943), it's . . .

5. Perry Como - Don't Let The Stars Get In Your Eyes



From : February 1 – March 7 1953
Weeks : 5
B side : To Know You (Is to Love You)

Quote
Pierino Ronald "Perry" Como (May 18, 1912 – May 12, 2001) was an American singer, actor and television personality. During a career spanning more than half a century he recorded exclusively for RCA Victor for 44 years, after signing with the label in 1943.

He became a very successful performer in theater and night club engagements; Como's initial two weeks at the Copacabana in June stretched into August.There were times when Frank Sinatra would ask Como to fill in for him at his Paramount Theater performances.

The crooning craze was at its height during this time and the "bobby soxer" and "swooner" teenage girls who were wild about Sinatra added Como to their list. A "swooners" club voted him "Crooner of the Year" in 1943. The line for a Perry Como Paramount performance was three deep and wound around the city block.

Perry Como credited Bing Crosby for influencing his voice and style. Perry Como's voice is widely known for its good-natured vocal acrobatics

Quote
"Don't Let the Stars Get in Your Eyes" is a country song about a man away from home who's worried that his paramour may unwittingly stray from their relationship. The song was recorded in many different styles by many artists. It was written by Winston L. Moore (whose stage name was Slim Willet) and was published in 1952.

Slim Willet and Tommy Hill also wrote the female answer song "I Let the Stars Get In My Eyes", which was performed by Hill's sister Goldie Hill.
« Last Edit: March 14, 2019, 02:30:40 PM by daf »

Re: The Toppermost of the Poppermost - UK Number Ones : part 1 - The 50s
« Reply #63 on: March 14, 2019, 12:43:14 PM »
According to the Youtube comments, "Perry hated the song and because it was 'off meter' he found it difficult to sing. Ray Charles (not the legendary soul singer) had to stand in front of Perry to tell him when to come in and when not to. Perry later said 'I told them 'The meters all wrong, I don't understand it'. They said to do one take, so I did. Almost 2 million records later, I guess they were right'.

Crabwalk

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Re: The Toppermost of the Poppermost - UK Number Ones : part 1 - The 50s
« Reply #64 on: March 14, 2019, 01:03:03 PM »
It has an appealingly live, spontaneous feel to it actually, with those spaces between the lines. Good fun, but the melody's not really strong enough for it to stick long in the mind.

daf

  • Laminated with 'Clarifoil'
Re: The Toppermost of the Poppermost - UK Number Ones : part 1 - The 50s
« Reply #65 on: March 14, 2019, 02:14:27 PM »
Quote from: Perry Como
'The meters all wrong, I don't understand it'.

Sort of like a funk record - with the emphasis on "The One"?

(two-three-four) / don't-let-the
            - ONE - / STARS
(two-three-four) / get in your
            - ONE - / EYES
(two-three-four) / don't let the
            - ONE - / MOON
(two-three-four) / break your
            - ONE - / HEART

(or is it in something like 5/8? Over to you, Buzby!)

daf

  • Laminated with 'Clarifoil'
Re: The Toppermost of the Poppermost - UK Number Ones : part 1 - The 50s
« Reply #66 on: March 14, 2019, 02:28:33 PM »
I wonder if the B side was the source for the "To Know Him Was To Love Him" inscription on Phil Spector's Dad's Tombstone (which led to The Teddybears hit) *

- - - - - - - - - - - -
* Scrap all that - his dad died in 1949! - DOH!!

machotrouts

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Re: The Toppermost of the Poppermost - UK Number Ones : part 1 - The 50s
« Reply #67 on: March 14, 2019, 02:34:35 PM »
"good-natured vocal acrobatics"?

This one pops off a bit but Perry Coma, that's my INSULTING name for him, sounds at odds with it. Perhaps it should be sung by someone of a worse nature

Jerzy Bondov

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Re: The Toppermost of the Poppermost - UK Number Ones : part 1 - The 50s
« Reply #68 on: March 14, 2019, 02:44:43 PM »
Too parpy for my tastes

bigfatheart

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Re: The Toppermost of the Poppermost - UK Number Ones : part 1 - The 50s
« Reply #69 on: March 14, 2019, 04:34:42 PM »
Just listened to all of these - I'd considered doing a blog along these lines before but got bored listening to, as people have noted, so many saccharine ballads - and I agree with people saying the Eddie Fisher b-side is better. I'd say the same for the Kay Starr one too - the a-side is a nice, peppy song, but the b-side's got a bit more of an edge, with her not taking any shit from her ex-lover, and a moodier feel to the music. My favourite of the songs so far, with You Belong to Me being the best a-side.

Ballad of Ballard Berkley

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Re: The Toppermost of the Poppermost - UK Number Ones : part 1 - The 50s
« Reply #70 on: March 14, 2019, 04:53:46 PM »
Yes, I'm quite surprised at the quality so far, was expecting more like today's. Not that I'm eager for rock 'n' roll - not a fan at all - but I definitely prefer the more upbeat, focused sound of the first three.

I wasn't specifically referring to Elvis, Jerry Lee and that lot - brilliant though they are - but the groovy young person-focused pop era in general. That doesn't kick in until the late '50s.

buzby

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Re: The Toppermost of the Poppermost - UK Number Ones : part 1 - The 50s
« Reply #71 on: March 14, 2019, 09:29:19 PM »
Sort of like a funk record - with the emphasis on "The One"?

(two-three-four) / don't-let-the
            - ONE - / STARS
(two-three-four) / get in your
            - ONE - / EYES
(two-three-four) / don't let the
            - ONE - / MOON
(two-three-four) / break your
            - ONE - / HEART

(or is it in something like 5/8? Over to you, Buzby!)

According to the sheet music it's in 4/4, though Willet described it as "an off meter song in which the
band could play as long as they want between phrases, and the singer can begin singing whenever he feels like it"

I know the song well daf, as it became a country standard and my dad had versions of it by many artists. The one that was his favourite was by top country yodeller Slim Whitman, though little old wine drinker Dino also had a crack at it too, in a bit of a mariachi style. The original Slim Willet version is a lot more honky-tonk/hillbilly (it;s also a lot clearer to hear that the rhythm is in 4/4, but with the vocal, piano and fiddle melodies wandering around all over the shop).

There's an absolutely fantastic in-depth article about the composition and recording of the song here, including how it came to be covered by Como and Willet's experience of the music industry (he was not a shrinking violet when it came to getting the royalties he was owed by his shady publisher).

daf

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Re: The Toppermost of the Poppermost - UK Number Ones : part 1 - The 50s
« Reply #72 on: March 14, 2019, 10:04:34 PM »
little old wine drinker Dino also had a crack at it too, in a bit of a mariachi style.

Fits him like a glove!

purlieu

  • Woo-hoo, Lord Nimon!
Re: The Toppermost of the Poppermost - UK Number Ones : part 1 - The 50s
« Reply #73 on: March 14, 2019, 10:41:01 PM »
I wasn't specifically referring to Elvis, Jerry Lee and that lot - brilliant though they are - but the groovy young person-focused pop era in general. That doesn't kick in until the late '50s.
As someone who loves music hall and jazz standards, I still get where you're coming from and am still not especially looking forward to it.

No idea what to make of the Perry Como number. The brass and the rest of the track didn't seem to blend at all well. A forgettable song, but the brass stabs were quite energetic.

Re: The Toppermost of the Poppermost - UK Number Ones : part 1 - The 50s
« Reply #74 on: March 14, 2019, 11:08:27 PM »
As someone who used to compile pop quizzes, I can confirm that 'Name the 3 number hits written by Mungo Jerry's Ray Dorset' is a cracking question.

It certainly is. I did know the third but had forgotten. I know the second without looking it up though.

Re: The Toppermost of the Poppermost - UK Number Ones : part 1 - The 50s
« Reply #75 on: March 15, 2019, 12:37:13 AM »
The Perry Como track is the first that seems like a baffling #1 hit. Why??

People must have been buying it for the b-side.

Re: The Toppermost of the Poppermost - UK Number Ones : part 1 - The 50s
« Reply #76 on: March 15, 2019, 09:56:16 AM »
The Perry Como track is the first that seems like a baffling #1 hit. Why??

People must have been buying it for the b-side.

To be fair, the b-side had a hidden version of 'Crazy Horses'.

daf

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Re: The Toppermost of the Poppermost - UK Number Ones : part 1 - The 50s
« Reply #77 on: March 15, 2019, 01:57:46 PM »
She lives on just cokey-nuts and fish fur-um the sea, it's . . .

6. Guy Mitchell - She Wears Red Feathers



From : 8 March – 4 April 1953
Weeks : 4
B side : Why Should I Go Home

Quote
Guy Mitchell (born Albert George Cernik) was born of Croatian immigrants in Detroit, Michigan on February 22, 1927 at the age of 0.
At age 11 he was signed by Warner Brothers Pictures, to be a child star, and performed on the radio on KFWB in Los Angeles, California. After leaving school, he worked as a saddlemaker, supplementing his income by singing. Dude Martin, who had a country music broadcast in San Francisco, hired him for his band.

Mitchell served in the United States Navy for two years in World War II, then sang with Carmen Cavallaro's big band. In 1947 he recorded for Decca with Cavallaro's band, but left due to food poisoning. He went next to New York City and made records for King Records as Al Grant (one, "Cabaret", appeared in the Variety charts). He won on the radio show Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts in 1949 as a soloist.

Quote
"She Wears Red Feathers" was written by Bob Merrill in 1952.

As a teenager, Bob wanted to be a singer and performed in all local talent contests, and even worked as an impressionist-emcee at a local burlesque house. His plans for a career in show business were cut short by the advent of World War II when he was drafted into the Horse Cavalry Division with the Army. After the war, Bob moved to Hollywood, where he worked as a dialogue director for Columbia Pictures and while on location for a film, he was asked to write some songs for the actress in the film, Dorothy Shay, who was recording an album at the time. Dorothy's album ″Park Avenue Hillbilly″ became a hit which launched Bob's career. Soon Bob was invited to collaborate with Al Hoffman and Clem Watts, to write some songs. They came up with a novelty song "If I Knew You Were Comin' I'd've Baked a Cake"

His greatest theatrical success was the Barbra Streisand musical Funny Girl, (1964) which introduced the standards "People" and "Don't Rain on My Parade".
« Last Edit: March 15, 2019, 02:21:09 PM by daf »

Captain Z

  • Oh yeah my cholesterol's going down
Re: The Toppermost of the Poppermost - UK Number Ones : part 1 - The 50s
« Reply #78 on: March 15, 2019, 04:38:34 PM »
This is the first one I was vaguely aware of having heard before in my life. Now anytime I try and play it in my head it always turns into 'World Cup Willie'.

Obviously it was a simpler time when respectable English men worked in banks and a 'native' girl’s diet consisted purely of cokey-nuts and fish from the sea. But actually the song's conclusion is quite sweet, in that the protagonists’ friends are merely tickled by the sight of an exotic girl drinking tea. Compare that to the potential reaction in today's Brexit Britain and maybe they were more progressive in the 50's than we give them credit for.

The song also features an effective technique of alluding to another piece of music in the lyrics ('here comes the bride'), and then transitioning into that song in the music. Only other example I can immediately think of is 'Freestylers - So Fine'.
https://youtu.be/NxfqSDqTbNg?t=113

I can’t score this because lyrically you'd have to say #cancelled. But being of its time in this case that's good cancelled, not bad cancelled.

Dressed in red, white and blue and a huly-huly skirt,
she wears red feathers and a huly-huly skirt,
she lives on just cokey-nuts and never will give up
that's why Willie is favourite for the cup

machotrouts

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Re: The Toppermost of the Poppermost - UK Number Ones : part 1 - The 50s
« Reply #79 on: March 15, 2019, 05:07:54 PM »
When you listen to songs like this it's hard to believe anyone thinks white culture is so worth preserving that they shoot up mosques about it

Ballad of Ballard Berkley

  • a hopeless vanity... a stupefyingly futile conceit
Re: The Toppermost of the Poppermost - UK Number Ones : part 1 - The 50s
« Reply #80 on: March 15, 2019, 06:20:17 PM »
As someone who loves music hall and jazz standards, I still get where you're coming from and am still not especially looking forward to it.

Fair enough!

Re: The Toppermost of the Poppermost - UK Number Ones : part 1 - The 50s
« Reply #81 on: March 15, 2019, 07:09:50 PM »
"good-natured vocal acrobatics"?

This one pops off a bit but Perry Coma, that's my INSULTING name for him, sounds at odds with it. Perhaps it should be sung by someone of a worse nature

Perry Combover is my less insulting name for him.

Worth noting that not all these people's careers died in 1956 - Mitchell and Como would do well in 1957 and Como had  Top 5 hit in the 70s.

purlieu

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Re: The Toppermost of the Poppermost - UK Number Ones : part 1 - The 50s
« Reply #82 on: March 15, 2019, 07:14:36 PM »
She lives on just cokey-nuts and fish fur-um the sea, it's . . .

6. Guy Mitchell - She Wears Red Feathers
Hmmmm.

That's all.

Re: The Toppermost of the Poppermost - UK Number Ones : part 1 - The 50s
« Reply #83 on: March 15, 2019, 07:23:49 PM »
1950-53 was notable for asinine country covers and parodies and we are at the tail of that period. Frankie Laine dabbled in that style but his huge UK hits were ballads.

buzby

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Re: The Toppermost of the Poppermost - UK Number Ones : part 1 - The 50s
« Reply #84 on: March 15, 2019, 07:49:46 PM »
She lives on just cokey-nuts and fish fur-um the sea, it's . . .

6. Guy Mitchell - She Wears Red Feathers
This really is just my dad's record collection you are playing, daf - he was born in 1937 so  this era coincides with his formative early teens. His taste for 'hit parade' stuff basically ended with early Merseybeat (he never liked the Beatles, despite  being a proud Scouser). As a result me and my sisters all knew these songs from an early age (and we never had any Beatles records in the house).

daf

  • Laminated with 'Clarifoil'
Re: The Toppermost of the Poppermost - UK Number Ones : part 1 - The 50s
« Reply #85 on: March 15, 2019, 08:47:54 PM »
Got to admit this is my favourite so far -  'Cokey-nuts' indeed!

This really is just my dad's record collection you are playing, daf - he was born in 1937 so  this era coincides with his formative early teens. His taste for 'hit parade' stuff basically ended with early Merseybeat (he never liked the Beatles, despite  being a proud Scouser).

I remember Dave from Datblygu mention his fondess for pre-Rock&Roll pop in a John Peel session in the late 80's* with particular reference to Guy Mitchell - first time I'd heard of him (. . . or the fact that there WAS such a thing as pre-Rock&Roll pop!)

- - - - - - - - - -
* (Think it was one of his loose 'talky' interludes in one of the songs rather than an interview)
« Last Edit: March 15, 2019, 09:59:16 PM by daf »

Johnboy

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Re: The Toppermost of the Poppermost - UK Number Ones : part 1 - The 50s
« Reply #86 on: March 15, 2019, 09:28:23 PM »
I like this one, especially the exotica insertion and pace

daf

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Re: The Toppermost of the Poppermost - UK Number Ones : part 1 - The 50s
« Reply #87 on: March 16, 2019, 02:35:20 PM »
Set the Controls for the Top of the Charts, it's . . .

7. The Stargazers - Broken Wings



From : 5 – 11 April  1953
Weeks : 1
B side : Make It Soon

Quote
"Broken Wings" is a 1953 popular song that was written by John Jerome and Bernard Gunn.

Probably the best-known version of the song was produced by Dick Rowe and recorded in the UK by The Stargazers in 1953. It was the first record by any UK act to reach number one in the UK Singles Chart.

Quote
The Stargazers were a British vocal group, jointly founded in 1949 by Cliff Adams and Ronnie Milne. Other original members were Marie Benson, Fred Datchler and Dick James. Very shortly after the group made their first broadcasts with BBC Radio on such programs as Workers' Playtime, Dick James decided to resume his career as a solo vocalist, left the group, and was replaced by Bob Brown. Ronnie Milne took care of the musical arranging, while Cliff Adams became their manager, in addition to contributing scores for the group. In September 1953, Milne left the Stargazers to emigrate to Canada, and was replaced in the group by Dave Cary. The group served as backing vocalists for Petula Clark on her first recordings. The group appeared on such BBC Radio programmes as Workers' Playtime, and its fans included Queen Elizabeth II.

In 1954, Cliff Adams formed a new group, the Show Band Singers, for live appearances, but the group was renamed the Cliff Adams Singers when it moved into broadcasting. On 3 July 1959 the singers first appeared on the BBC Light Programme in Sing Something Simple

Stargazers' member Fred Datchler went on to form The Polkadots, who enjoyed success in their own right. Beyond their own hit singles and albums, which included a cover version of "April In Paris", they recorded extensively with Jo Stafford, Peggy Lee and Frank Sinatra. One of Datchler's sons is Clark Datchler of Johnny Hates Jazz.

Dick James was the singer of the theme songs of The Adventures of Robin Hood and The Buccaneers, from British television in the 1950s, and was a friend and associate of the record producer George Martin.
James entered the music publishing business as his singing career tapered off. In 1958 he joined Sidney Bron Music as a song-plugger but decided to leave and open Dick James Music in 1961.
In early 1963, he was contacted by Brian Epstein who was looking for a publisher for the second Beatles single, "Please Please Me". James called Philip Jones, producer of the TV show Thank Your Lucky Stars, played the record down the phone to him and secured the band's first nationwide television appearance. The pair subsequently established Northern Songs Ltd., with Beatles John Lennon and Paul McCartney, to publish Lennon and McCartney's original songs.


Re: The Toppermost of the Poppermost - UK Number Ones : part 1 - The 50s
« Reply #88 on: March 16, 2019, 02:48:03 PM »
It's no 'I See The Moon'!

Jerzy Bondov

  • give my cheeky volvic a bash
    • righto so ive got five minutes off work and uh yeah im gonna have a cheeky volvic
Re: The Toppermost of the Poppermost - UK Number Ones : part 1 - The 50s
« Reply #89 on: March 16, 2019, 03:46:52 PM »
‘She Wears Red Feathers’ - she does, does she? So fuck

‘Broken Wings’ - broken are they? Etc