Jailhouse Rock ran out of steam after three weeks at the top, and after two barnstormers, the number 1 spot was taken by this pleasant easy listening ditty – the first bestseller from the legendary partnership of Burt Bacharach and Hal David, whose prolific work-rate saw them create many pop classics of the 1950s and particularly the 60s.
Bacharach had spent his teenage years enthralled with jazz, and went on to study music. After a tour of duty he became Vic Damone’s (who had a number 1 later in 1958 with On the Street Where You Live) pianist and conductor. Bacharach later worked with Marlene Dietrich, before meeting lyricist and former journalist Hal David at the Brill Building. US country star Marty Robbins initially recorded The Story of My Life in 1957, but it was Michael Holliday’s cover that became famous on these shores.
Holliday was born Norman Alexander Milne in Liverpool on 26 November 1924. His music career began when he won a local talent contest. He joined the navy and won another contest, this time in New York, inspiring him to turn professional. Before leaving the navy, however, he found time to smuggle obscure jazz records back home, where they were sold by Elvis Costello’s mother.
Holliday made his TV debut in the summer of 1955, and he soon found himself with a record deal, and with his screen idol looks and voice comparable to Bing Crosby, he enjoyed moderate success. In 1956 he reached the top 20 for the first time with his third single Nothin’ To Do. He didn’t chart with any singles in 1957, but then came this, his first of two number 1s.
I’ve always admired Bacharach and David’s work, and even though a lot of easy listening music leaves me cold, there’s usually enough in their songs to keep me interested. The Story of My Life is slushy and somewhat of a throwback to earlier number 1s, but I can’t help but enjoy the whistling and sentimental lyrics. And Holliday performs it well. A pretty good start for the duo, with another chart-topper to follow straight after.
As for Holliday, his second number 1, Starry Eyed, was the first chart-topper of the 60s.
Written by: Burt Bacharach & Hal David
Producer: Norrie Paramor
Weeks at number 1: 2 (14-27 February)
Actor James Wilby – 20 February
Footballer Duncan Edwards – 21 February
21 February: Another of Busby’s Babes died as a result of the Munich Air Disaster. Manchester United’s Duncan Edwards was only 21, and was considered by many to be the finest footballer in England. Six days later, the 23rd and final victim was claimed when co-pilot Kenneth Rayment died in hospital.