The majority of number 1 singles so far have been a bit on the serious side, with maudlin ballads often ruling the roost. Finally, after Frankie Laine’s I Believe‘s final three-week stint at the top (making a record-breaking total of eighteen), cheeky chap Guy Mitchell was back. Thankfully, this time he’s avoiding the slight racism of She Wears Red Feathers, too.
Bob Merrill, one of the era’s chief hitmakers, totted up a third number 1 songwriting credit here, after also being responsible for Mitchell’s She Wears Red Feathers and Lita Roza’s (How Much is) That Doggie in the Window?. With producing supremo Mitch Mitchell also back on board, Look at That Girl went to number 1 on 11 September and stayed there for an impressive six weeks.
Less impressive is the song itself. Yes, finally something a bit more light-hearted, but despite the bounciness of the tune and Mitchell giving it his all, I’ve forgotten how it goes already. A few things are of note though. Firstly, the lyrics are almost saucy, certainly if you compare them to previous number ones, although that’s not saying much.
‘Look at that girl, you see what I see
Oh look at that girl, she’s walking straight to me
That’s right, last night I held her tight
Ho ho it happens all the time
I look at that girl, and I can’t believe she’s mine’
Mitchell, you dirty dog! This is explicit, by 1953 standards, anyway. Also, Look at That Girl features two elements that would become pop staples in years to come, and haven’t featured in number ones yet. Handclaps! And, best of all, a guitar solo! Two of the most obvious ingredients to a pop tune ever sounded almost shocking when I first heard this, after what had come before. It was an unusual piece for Mitchell as well, who was more used to performing novelty songs. Just like She Wears Red Feathers, Look at That Girl was also more successful in the UK than the US. It didn’t even chart there, and it marked the end of the success for Mitchell, Merrill and Miller as a trio together. With names like that, perhaps they should have become a law firm. Mitchell’s career continued though, and he also starred in films such as Those Redheads From Seattle (1953) and Red Garters (1954). In 1957 he would achieve his third and final number one.
The government had sweet news for the country too. On 26 September, they ended post-war sugar rationing. Slowly, but surely, the UK was sweeping off the post-war malaise.
Written by: Bob Merrill
Weeks at number 1: 6 (11 September-22 October)
Comedian Les Dennis – 12 October
Politician Peter Mandelson – 21 October
Physicist Lewis Fry Richardson – 30 September