The ‘comic’ stylings of She Wears Red Feathers were knocked from number 1 on 10 April, and we were back to appropriately mournful ballad territory, but for the first time, it was a British vocal group.
The Stargazers, went through several incarnations following their inception in 1949. The original line-up consisted of Dick James, Cliff Adams, Marie Benson, Fred Datchler and Ronnie Milne.
The Stargazers became famous via their appearances on radio shows of the era, including The Family Hour and The Goon Show. By 1953 James had departed. He went on to be a music publisher, establishing Dick James Music in 1961 and becoming one of the founders of The Beatles publishing arm, Northern Songs in 1963. Bob Brown replaced him in the group.
Broken Wings has not aged well. Written by John Jerome and Bernard Gunn, the lyrics point out correctly that with broken wings, no bird can fly. The subject of the song has been let down by their lover, who has been unfaithful.
‘With broken wings, no bird can fly
And broken promises mean love must fade and die
I trusted you, you can”t be true
My heart no longer sings
It”s wings are broken too’.
Musically, The Stargazers’ cover is a dirge, with only two points of interest. One is the sparse instrumentation, dominated by an electric piano. Very different to what had been top of the pops up to this point. Second is that the producer was Dick Rowe, the man who famously said ‘Guitar groups are on their way out, Mr Epstein’ when The Beatles failed their audition for Decca. He made up for his mistake by signing, among others, The Rolling Stones, Them, Tom Jones and Small Faces.
If you want to hear a catchier song called Broken Wings, there is of course, this track by Mr Mister.
Written by: John Jerome & Bernard Gunn
Producer: Dick Rowe
Weeks at number 1: 1 (10-16 April)
Mathematician Andrew Wiles – 11 April
Labour MP Stephen Byers – 13 April
13 April: Ian Fleming’s first James Bond novel, Casino Royale, was published, beginning an almighty cultural legacy.