In a week hit by not one but two tragedies (see below). Outside of Heaven was a suitably gloomy song to rule the singles chart. Sammy Gallop and Chester Conn had written this from the perspective of a spurned lover on the outside looking in at his lost love’s new life.
Unable to let go, the ex walks past her house, and is even around on her wedding day, suggesting he is at best a glutton for punishment, or at worse, indulging in a spot of stalking…
‘On your wedding day I stood in the crowd
I could hardly keep from crying out loud
There goes the kiss my lips have known’
Ironically, Outside of Heaven was recorded by a man who had no problem with women. Singer and actor Eddie Fisher, born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on 10 August 1928 to Russian-Jewish immigrants, was one of the biggest heart-throbs of the 50s, and is best know these days for his marriages to Debbie Reynolds and Elizabeth Taylor, to name two out of five. Carrie Fisher, the much-missed Star Wars star, was his daughter to Reynolds, but I’m getting ahead of myself here.
‘Sonny Boy’, as he was known to his family, won several amateur singing contests in his youth. Following his performance on radio (and later TV) show Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts, Fisher dropped out of high school to focus on his budding career.
In 1949 he signed with RCA Victor and became a nationwide success, but his success was curtailed when he was drafted into the US Army in 1951 and he served a year in Korea. From 1952-53 he was the official vocal soloist for the United States Army Band. During that time he would make occasional TV appearances, and must have still been recording, as he went to number 1 in the US in 1952 with Wish You Were Here, which became his first UK top 10 hit.
Outside of Heaven was released three singles later, and is a very maudlin affair, which I’m sure did so well due to Fisher’s charisma and good looks. Yes, even in the 50s, appearance was often as important as talent. Hugo Winterhalter’s orchestra smothers the recording, but that was par for the course in the pop of the era.
1953 would prove to be one of Fisher’s most successful years, as in addition to two number 1s, he began hosting his own variety show in the US, Coke Time with Eddie Fisher. I’m assuming this was blatant sponsorship for a certain soft drink rather than an open confession to a drug habit.
Written by: Sammy Gallop & Chester Conn
Producer: Hugo Winterhalter
Weeks at number 1: 1 (30 January-5 February)
31 January : The UK was hit by not one, but two aquatic disasters. The car ferry MV Princess Victoria was sailing from Stranraer, Scotland, to Larne in Northern Ireland, when it sank in the Irish Sea, killing 133 people, including several high-ranking Northern Irish politicians. Also that night, the North Sea flood began, and hundreds of people on the east coast in England, Scotland and Belgium lost their lives.