20. David Whitfield, with Chorus and Mantovani and His Orchestra – Cara Mia (1954)

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Doris Day’s Secret Love had a second, lengthy eight-week stay at number 1 after toppling Johnnie Ray’s Such a Night. During that time, Diane Leather became the first woman to break the five-minute mile, and on 29 May, the IRA returned after a long period of inactivity. Eventually Secret Love ran out of steam and on 2 July, Hull’s favourite soprano David Whitfield returned to number one with his version of Cara Mia, with dual credit going to popular conductor Mantovani and his orchestra. Both were at the height of their fame and had previous chart-toppers to their name, Whitfield with Answer Me and Mantovani had The Song from The Moulin Rouge. This track easily outdid the success of both, and stayed top of the pops for a mammoth ten-weeks, a UK record at the time.

Cara Mia, Italian for ‘My Beloved’, was credited to Tulio Trapani and Lee Lange. In fact, Trapani was Mantovani, who had arranged the song, and Lange was producer Bunny Lewis. Why did they use aliases? I’m not sure, but it’s the first time we’ve seen a number one with credits for pseudonyms. Why am I mentioning it? Because there’s not a lot that can be said about the song itself, unfortunately.

We’re back in the rather ‘dull, overblown sludge’ territory that seemed so popular in the early 50s, after a run of interesting tracks. Whitfield can hold a note, that’s for sure, but once more I find myself asking how this could be number 1 for so long. Then again I did the same when Bryan Adams lasted so long in the 90s, so perhaps it’s going to be a common theme with the biggest sellers.

Neither artist had a number one again, although Mantovani continued to enjoy huge sales figures for a never-ending stream of albums until his death in 1980. Whitfield fared less well, and although he still had success for a few years, including recording the theme music to the TV series The Adventures of William Tell, he fell out of favour when rock’n’roll took hold. It also didn’t help that he would turn down offers to go to America, preferring to stay put in Hull. He too died in 1980, of a brain haemorrhage while touring Australia.

To end the blog on a more positive note, rationing finally came to a complete end on 4 July, with the news that people could get their hands on as much meat as they liked. Cor!

Written by: Tulio Trapani & Lee Lange

Weeks at number 1: 10 (2 July-9 September)

Births:

Musician Neil Tennant (Pet Shop Boys) – 10 July

Singer Joe Jackson – 11 August

Singer Elvis Costello – 25 August

Deaths

Physician Henry Valentine Knaggs – 11 July

2 Replies to “20. David Whitfield, with Chorus and Mantovani and His Orchestra – Cara Mia (1954)”

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