Author Topic: Toppermost of the Poppermost - UK Number Ones : part 2 - The 1960s  (Read 124422 times)


  • some weirdo taking the piss
Re: Toppermost of the Poppermost - UK Number Ones : part 2 - The 1960s
« Reply #1890 on: October 16, 2020, 02:00:00 PM »
Mainly Bad, it's . . .

261.  Hugo Montenegro Orchestra - The Good The Bad And The Ugly

From : 10 November – 7 December 1968
Weeks : 4
Flip side : There's Got To Be A Better Way

The Story So Far : 
Hugo Mario Montenegro was born in New York City in 1925. He served in the U.S. Navy for two years, mostly as an arranger for the Newport Naval Base band in Newport, Rhode Island. After the war he attended Manhattan College while studying composition and leading his own band for school dances.

In the 1950s, he was directing, conducting, and arranging the orchestra for Eliot Glen and Irving Spice on their Dragon and Caprice labels. It was he who was directing the Glen-Spice Orchestra on Dion DiMucci's first release "Out In Colorado" in 1957. His first album, 'Loves Of My Life' was released the same year on the Vik label. His first single, released as Hugo Montenegro Conducting The 20th Century Strings was 'La Primavera (Blush Of Spring)" in March 1959. He also released about a million other singles which, frankly, I just can't face trawling through!

He moved to Los Angeles in the early 1960s where he began working for RCA Victor, producing a series of albums and soundtracks for motion pictures and television themes, such as two volumes of Music From The Man From U.N.C.L.E., an album of cover versions of spy music themes Come Spy With Me and an album of cover versions of Ennio Morricone's music for the Clint Eastwood The Man With No Name series of spaghetti Westerns. He composed the musical score for the 1969 Western Charro! which starred Elvis Presley.


Montenegro was also contracted to Columbia's television production company Screen Gems where he is most famous for his theme from the second season of the television series I Dream of Jeannie. He also composed the music for the long running The Partridge Family. During the mid‑1960s he started producing some of the most renowned works from the space age pop era, featuring electronics and rock in albums such as Moog Power and Mammy Blue.


His best known work is derived from interpretations of the music from Spaghetti Westerns, especially his cover version of Ennio Morricone's main theme from the 1966 film The Good, the Bad and the Ugly which topped the UK chart for a month in late 1968. His only other UK chart entry was a version of the main theme from Hang 'em High which reached #50 in January 1969.


In the late 1970s severe emphysema forced an end to his musical career, and he died of the disease in 1981. He is buried at Welwood Murray Cemetery in Palm Springs, California.

The Single :
"The Good, the Bad and the Ugly" was composed by Ennio Morricone, and was the theme to the 1966 Sergio Leone film of the same name. A cover version by Hugo Montenegro was a pop hit in both the U.S. and the U.K. in 1968.

After hearing the music from The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, Hugo Montenegro decided to create a cover version of the theme. Similar to Morricone's original composition, Montenegro and a few session musicians sought to recreate this record using their own instrumentation. The opening two note segment was played on an ocarina by Art Smith, and Tommy Morgan provided the sounds that followed on a harmonica : "I knew it was live, so I had to do this hand thing, the 'wah-wah-wah' sound."

Montenegro himself provided the "Hoo Hah!" grunting bits between the chorus segments - possibly spelling out his own name in syllables. Other musicians heard on the record include Elliot Fisher (electric violin), Mannie Klein (piccolo trumpet) and Muzzy Marcellino, whose whistling is heard during the recording.

Much to the surprise of Montenegro and the musicians who worked with him, this cover of the film theme became a hit single during 1968. It peaked at #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart on 1 June 1968. In September 1968, Montenegro's version reached the UK Singles Chart and began a steady climb, eventually reaching the top of the chart on 16 November and remaining there for four weeks. It sold over one and a quarter million copies and was awarded a gold disc.


Other Versions include :   Ennio Morricone (1966)  /  Llans Thelwell And His Celestials (1968)  /  The Ventures (1970)  /  Killer Watts (1974)  /  Sly + Robbie (1986)  /  Johnny Marr & Billy Duffy (1992)  /  Hank Marvin (2000)  /  The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain (2007)  /  Lets' Quit (2010)  /    Danny McEvoy and Jasmine Thorpe (2011)  /  Kelly Valleau (2013)  /  The Fantasy Orchestra + Gurt Lush Choir (2014)  /  Jah Wobble (2015)  /  Ben's 8 Bit Tunes (2020)

On This Day  :
10 November : Steve Brookstein, X Factor winner, born Stephen Desmond Brookstein in Mitcham, England
15 November : Ol' Dirty Bastard, Wu Tang Clan rapper, born Russell Tyrone Jones in Brooklyn, New York
17 November : Mervyn Peake, British writer and illustrator (Gormenghast), dies aged 57
18 November : Walter Wanger, American film producer (Cleopatra) dies aged 74
18 November : Owen Wilson, actor, born Owen Cunningham Wilson in Dallas, Texas
21 November : Alex James, Cheesy bass player (Blur), born Steven Alexander James in Boscombe, Bournemouth
22 November : 1st interracial TV kiss on US TV (Star Trek - Captain Kirk and Uhura)
22 November : Beatles release "The Beatles" (White Album) double album
23 November : "Noël Coward's Sweet Potato" closes at Booth NYC after 36 performances
23 November : Kirsty Young, TV journalist, born Kirsty Jackson Young in East Kilbride, South Lanarkshire, Scotland
28 November : Enid Blyton, children's author, dies aged 71
28 November : John Lennon is fined £150 for drug possession
29 November : John Lennon and Yoko Ono release their 1st album "Two Virgins" in UK
30 November : Des'ree, singer, born Desirée Annette Weeks in Croydon, London, England
1 December : "Promises Promises" opens at Shubert Theater NYC
3 December : Elvis 'comeback special' airs on NBC
5 December : Rolling Stones release "Beggar's Banquet" LP

Extra! Extra! Read all about it! :
« Last Edit: October 16, 2020, 02:28:17 PM by daf »

Re: Toppermost of the Poppermost - UK Number Ones : part 2 - The 1960s
« Reply #1891 on: October 16, 2020, 11:35:05 PM »
It's shameful that people didn't know in 1968 that they were hearing an MOR cover rather than the real goods.

Re: Toppermost of the Poppermost - UK Number Ones : part 2 - The 1960s
« Reply #1892 on: October 17, 2020, 12:43:13 AM »
Returning briefly to Joe Cocker, a US oldies station played his version of She Came In Through The Bathroom Window today and I thought it worked well.


  • some weirdo taking the piss
Re: Toppermost of the Poppermost - UK Number Ones : part 2 - The 1960s
« Reply #1894 on: Yesterday at 02:00:00 PM »
Twin Peaks, it's . . .

261b. (MM 207.)  Barry Ryan With The Majority - Eloise
         (NME 258.) Barry Ryan With The Majority - Eloise

From :  16-22 November 1968 (1)
            30 November - 13 December 1968 (2)
Weeks : 3
Flip side : Love I Almost Found You
Bonus 1 : Promo film
Bonus 2 : Beat Club

Barry Ryan was born Barry Sapherson in Leeds, Yorkshire. The son of pop singer Marion Ryan, he began performing with his twin brother Paul at the age of 16.

Barry Ryan : "My mum was a singer, actually, in the fifties. She had a TV show called ‘Spot The Tune’. Of course in those days, there were only a couple of stations then. When you were a star then, you really were a star. It’s a whole different kind of thing. Paul and I were brought up in Leeds. We went to boarding school there – Fulneck in Pudsey. We were there a couple of years and then we came down to London, didn’t know what to do with ourselves. We had no skills, we weren’t academic, we came from quite a working class background, so the idea of going to university then was just not an option really so they didn’t really know what to do with us, so mum said “why don’t you guys become singers?” We thought, “Sounds a bit mad that, but why not? Better than working for a living.” So we did. And, of course, everyone knew my mother and knew that she was our mother so it was a little bit tough at first."


In 1965 they signed a recording contract with Decca under the name of Paul & Barry Ryan. Within two years they had amassed 8 Top 50 singles in the UK, including their debut single "Don't Bring Me Your Heartaches" (b/w "To Remind You Of My Love") which reached #13 in November 1965.


Further singles included "Have Pity On The Boy" (b/w "There You Go") - #18 in February 1966 . . .


"I Love Her" (b/w "Gotta Go Out To Work") - #17 in May 1966  . . .


and "I Love How You Love Me" (b/w "Baby I'm Sorry") - #21 in July 1966.

Barry Ryan : "We did get a lot of knocks and, to be honest, we weren’t that talented. We had a bit of talent but not a massive amount. We could sing a bit but we sort of got into it. We had a couple of hits, nothing massive, I think top 10s, and then we did some quite interesting stuff."


Later singles struggled to recapture their early success, and their next single, "Have You Ever Loved Somebody" (b/w "I'll Tell You Later") flopped at #49 in October 1966.


This was followed by "Missy, Missy" (b/w "Rainbow Weather") - #43 in December 1966  . . .


"Keep It Out Of Sight" (b/w "Who Told You?") - #30 in March 1967  /  and "Claire" (b/w "I'll Make It Worth Your While") - which was their final chart entry as a duo, reaching #47 in July 1967.


Barry Ryan : "The music started getting quite good, I thought. We started working with Mike Hurst, Mike Leander and Cat Stevens and there were some quite good songs, quite trippy sixties music, which I really liked."


In the Summer of 1967 they released their first LP, 'The Ryans'.


Jumping from Decca to MGM, two further non-charting singles were released before the split : "Heartbreaker" (b/w "Night Time") in October 1967 . . .


and "Pictures Of Today" (b/w "Madrigal") in February 1968.


In the Summer of 1968, MGM released their second album 'Paul and Barry Ryan', but success took its toll on Paul, who was unable to cope any longer with the stress of show business.


It was decided that Barry would now continue as a solo artist, enabling his brother to stay out of the limelight and write songs for his twin to perform.


Barry Ryan : "Paul sort of downed tools and said that’s it, sod it, I’ve had enough. He hated being on stage. He really didn’t like it at all and I think that’s when he really got the bug for the idea of becoming a songwriter. He went into the studio with Graham Nash – I remember he did a song called ‘Fifi The Flea’, a really nice track. It was a little before that but it got him in the mood to really write songs. He wanted to be in the background. I think the first song Paul wrote was a song called ‘The Show Is Over, We Are Going Home’ which is a really fantastically Beatley, sort of Sergeant Pepper song. He was not academically musical. It was not a craft he learnt. He just sat at a piano, painted the keys different colours so he could remember them and got writing. That’s what I loved about it. He sort of had no rules to break."

Barry's first solo single, "Goodbye" (b/w "I'm So Sad"), released in June 1968, failed to trouble the charts . . .


But the follow up, "Eloise", written by Paul and backed by 'The Majority', was a number 1 hit in November 1968.


Melodramatic and heavily orchestrated, it sold over one million copies and was awarded a gold disc.


Barry Ryan : "I remember, before ‘Eloise’ we went to Richard Harris’ house to one of his mad parties and he played ‘MacArthur Park’ to me and Paul. He’d got a rough mix of it. I always remember Paul listening to it, Jason. I can always remember seeing his face. I could see something on his face and he was thinking “I’ve got to do something like this.” He just loved it. He actually locked himself away and wrote ‘Eloise’. He really did close the door of the room and write it. It took him about three days and he came out and he played it to me and I thought “what’s this? You can’t have a slow bit, a fast bit, five minutes. No-one’s going to play this Paul…” Paul was absolutely right. We tagged it onto the end of a session that Paul and I did with mum actually. We only had the chance to do two takes because it was so long but, when we recorded it, I always remember this because Jimmy Page was on it and Glenn Campbell and John Paul Jones – they were all session guys – and I remember when we finished it the string section that recorded it kept their bows. I’ve never, ever had that before in the studio. It was always looking at their watch and getting out there quick."

His next chart entry, "Love is Love" (b/w "I'll Be On My Way Dear"), reached #25 in February 1969, and also became a million-seller.


Barry Ryan : "I like ‘Love Is Love’ a lot. It’s a really, really, really hard song to sing because at the end it just goes bananas. It’s really funny. Thinking of Yusuf, after ‘Eloise’ came out he wrote a song for me called ‘Wild World’. He said “do you want to release this?” I listened to it and it was a really good catchy simple song but I wanted to stick with Paul. In retrospect it was too close to ‘Eloise’. I really thought it was a fabulous song ‘Love Is Love’ so I was really happy to release it. It did pretty well. It got to number one in quite a few countries actually, but not in England."


His first album, 'Barry Ryan Sings Paul Ryan' was released on MGM Records in 1969, and featured his big hit song "Eloise" as well as other songs written by Paul.


Having dropped 'The Majority' His next single, "The Hunt" (b/w "Oh, For The Love Of Me") reached #34 in the UK charts in October 1969 . . .


. . . and was the opening track on 'Barry Ryan' - his first solo album for Polydor.


Barry Ryan : "It’s actually a really good album. I’m very proud of that album. And I listen to it sometimes. I’ve started to listen to it again sometimes and it’s actually a really fabulous album. I don’t care if that sounds big-headed or facetious because it really is and what I loved about Paul is that he really tried new things. It didn’t always come off and when it did it was fabulous and the best song Paul ever wrote for me was called ‘The Hunt’ which I absolutely loved. Funnily enough I did a show last year in Italy and this guy came up to me. He was a really big record producer in America. I can’t remember his name but he just walked up. I remember it was so nice. He walked up to me and said, “I just want to shake hands with the man who did ‘The Hunt’ ’’ and shook my hands and walked off. I found out later that it was one of his all-time favourite songs. It is a fantastic song – the originality of it. If I sat down for a hundred years I’d never write anything as original or wonderful as that. It’s a great song."

In 1970 he released his third album, the mysteriously titled "Barry Ryan 3" - which, again, mainly featured songs written by Paul. His next single, "Magical Spiel" (b/w "Caroline") featured 'The Candy Choir' on the A side, and reached #49 in February 1970.


The follow-up, "Kitsch" (b/w "Give Me A Sign") reached #37 in May 1970, but flopped with his next single, "It Is Written") (b/w "Annabelle") released in February 1971.

While his career was winding down in the UK, Ryan still popular on the Continent. "Red Man", the title track of his fourth album, reached number 2 in the French chart in 1971. And "Die Zeit macht nur vor dem Teufel halt", a version of his song "Today", peaked at number 8 in Germany in 1971. One further single charted in the UK - "Can't Let You Go" (b/w "When I Was A Child" - which reached #32 in January 1972.


After his fifth album, 'Sanctus, Sanctus Hallelujah', and two further singles - "From My Head To My Toe" (b/w "Alimony Money Blues") in June, and "I'm Sorry Susan" (b/w "L. A. Woman") in September 1972 - Ryan stopped performing, and concentrated on photography.


Barry Ryan : "Well I think I just thought I was really, really stale. The hits weren’t coming any more. I was drinking a lot. I was a bit sort of bonkers at the time, I was slightly off the rails and I thought I’d had enough of this and I discovered photography and I just loved it and, being an addictive kind of person, I just put everything into my photography and let the music drift by, which is a bit sad really."


After a few years off he returned to music, releasing the single "Do That", (b/w "The Summers Over"), in March 1975  /  "Judy" (b/w "Best Years Of My Love") in February 1976  /  "Where Were You" (b/w "Making Do") in August 1976  /  and "Brother" (b/w "Life's So Easy") in February 1977.


Barry Ryan : "I didn’t sing for years until I started doing shows about ten/fifteen years ago. People were ringing me to do concerts and things, tours of Germany. I got back on the road ’cause I actually missed singing like hell and the dosh is always good, of course. Done to a certain level, I really enjoy it. No, I kind of let my music drift away but maybe that’s the way it should be."

"Eloise", sung by Barry Ryan, was written by his twin brother Paul Ryan. Running for over five minutes, it featured strong orchestration, melodramatic vocals and a brief slow interlude.

After not being able to cope with the success of some of his hits as a duo with Barry, Paul decided to take a step away from the limelight and to concentrate on songwriting. "Eloise" was the second song he wrote and was influenced by Richard Harris' arrangement of "MacArthur Park" after listening to a rough mix of it at a party at Harris' house. After listening to it, Paul locked himself away and wrote "Eloise" in three days. The song was then recorded at IBC Studios at the end of a recording session with their mother Marion and they only had two takes to do it due to the length of the song. The session musicians included Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones, both of whom went on to form Led Zeppelin, and Glenn Ross Campbell, who didn't.

The single was released as "Barry Ryan with the Majority". The Majority were a pop band, who for a period, were the backing band for Ryan and who, after renaming to Majority One, had some success in Europe. Ryan also released an Italian-language version of the song, "Eloise (Versione Italiana)", in 1968.

Barry Ryan : "The only thing was in America they butchered ‘Eloise’. They cut the, oh it was terrible, they cut the beginning out. They cut the end out and they cut the middle out. They basically did about four verses. They basically wrecked it, cut it down to about two and half minutes. It sold about eight copies and got into the Top 50. It would have been a big hit in America. I’m absolutely convinced of it but the record company just couldn’t… The idea of releasing a five and a half minute song was kind of comical to them."

It sold three million copies worldwide, and reached No. 2 in the 'Record Retailer' UK Singles Chart as published in the Record Mirror, but hit No. 1 in both the NME and Melody Maker charts - which, despite later revisionism by a bunch of pen-pushing musical spods, were considered the REAL charts at the time (face facts, Gambo!). It topped the chart in 17 countries, including Italy, the Netherlands and Australia.


On the back of the commercial success of the 1985 Phantasmagoria album, The Damned released their cover of the track as a single in 1986. It reached No. 3 in the UK Singles Chart.

Dave Vanian had been thinking about doing a cover of the song from at least 1980 and in 1985 wanted to do a non-album single. Steve Kutner, who signed the Damned to MCA, has said that "it was a nightmare track to record", being "originally twice as long as what came out". Rat Scabies wasn't convinced by the song and has said that "it never sounded finished to me".

At the same time, a version of "Eloise" by Far Corporation singer Robin McAuley was released. McAuley said that the Damned's version had "got absolutely no chance of making it in the charts". Of the two competing versions at the time, Barry Ryan said that "I like the Damned's version best, it's even better than mine".

Other Versions include :   Claude François (1968)  /  Karel Gott (1969)  /  Dean Reed (1972)  /  Paris Connection (1978)  /  The Teens (1981)  /  The Associates (early 80s ?)  /  Mina (1985)  /  The Damned (1986)  /  Gerard Joling (1989)  / Leningrad Cowboys (mid 90s ?)  /  Spagna (2001)  /  Helloïse (2001)  /  Helmut Lotti (2003)    /  Déjà vu (2011)  /  Danny McEvoy (2011)

Extra! Extra! Read all about it! :

Re: Toppermost of the Poppermost - UK Number Ones : part 2 - The 1960s
« Reply #1895 on: Yesterday at 02:20:31 PM »
I know 'Eloise' mainly from the Damned version - years ago, I picked up a good compilation of theirs that tracked their career from start to the late 80s and it was kind of funny seeing the gradual change from 'New Rose' to their version of this. Listened to one after another, you'd barely see the connection, but via all their other stuff in between it does make some sense.

I've heard the original by Bazza here about two times - not sure if I've ever heard anything by him or his brother.