53. Guy Mitchell with Ray Conniff & His Orchestra – Singing the Blues (1957)

1957 began with happy-go-lucky crooner Guy Mitchell at the top for the third time, with his version of Singing the Blues.

Previously recorded by country star Marty Robbins, it had been written by Mervin Endsley, a musician who had contracted polio at the age of three and had been in a wheelchair ever since. From the age of 11 he spent three years in the unfortunately-named Crippled Children’s Hospital in Memphis. While there he became a huge country music fan and taught himself the guitar. He had written Singing the Blues in 1954 and taken it to Nashville in the hope of getting a hit. And a hit is what he got, several times over.

I wasn’t too flattering about Mitchell’s 1953 number 1s – She Wears Red Feathers and Look at That Girl – but Singing the Blues is a cut above both of them.

Produced once more by Mitch Miller, Mitchell is in his element here. The country element is hard to detect – this version of Singing the Blues sounds more like the older generation trying to harness rock’n’roll and put their own, safer, stamp on it. Unlike Kay Starr on (The) Rock and Roll Waltz, Mitchell and Miller pull it off. That’s largely down to the song itself, a winning tune set to effectively downbeat lyrics, rather than a naff novelty song with a new genre awkwardly shoved into it.

Mitchell, from the evidence I’ve heard, couldn’t sing a sad song if he tried, and he certainly doesn’t try here. Somehow though, it all gels, with Mitchell turning it into a cheeky come-on over a chirpy backing of whistling, ukulele and backing harmonies. He’s hoping to charm his ex into coming back.

And listeners kept coming back to Singing the Blues – his version made it to number 1 for two more week-long stints, making him one of only five acts to have the same number 1 on three separate occasions. The other artists are Frankie Laine with I Believe, Pharrell Williams with Happy, What Do You Mean? by Justin Bieber and Despacito (Remix) by Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee featuring Justin Bieber.

At the same time as the Mitchell and Robbins versions were released, they found themselves competing with a third, by up-and-coming rock’n’roller Tommy Steele. More on that next time…

Written by: Melvin Endsley

Producer: Mitch Miller

Weeks at number 1: 3 (4-10 January, 18-24 January & 1-7 February)

Births:

Astronaut Michael Foale – 6 January
Journalist Francis Wheen -22 January
Comedian Adrian Edmondson – 24 January 

Meanwhile…

9 January: 1957 began with political change. Prime Minister Anthony Eden had struggled at the end of 1956 to recover from the debacle of Suez, and perhaps because of this he had suffered ill health. His doctors advised him to quit if he wanted to carry on living, and so he resigned. A day later, with no formal process in place at the time, the Conservative Party decided he would be succeeded by then-Chancellor Harold Macmillan. The political situation was so rocky at the time that Macmillan told the Queen he could not promise the government would last longer than six weeks.

51. Frankie Laine with Percy Faith & His Orchestra – A Woman in Love (1956)

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Throughout the short-lived but infamous Suez conflict (see below), the UK’s number 1 single was Frankie Laine’s fourth and final number 1 – this cover of A Woman in Love.

It had been written by Frank Loesser for the Broadway musical Guys and Dolls. The Four Aces had some success with their version in the US, but the golden touch of Laine surpassed this in the UK.

Despite all his UK previous number 1s happening in 1953, the hits had continued. 1954 saw six top 10 singles and three more in 1955, including Cool Water which stalled at number two.

As usual, Laine gives it his all here, over a tango drumbeat and parping, swinging brass, but I’m already struggling to remember the tune two minutes after hearing it and it’s left me rather cold. Laine is insistent that the woman he’s bellowing at is in love with him as it’s clear in her eyes. I’m not sure shouting this at her is the right way to go about persuading her, though.

Laine had many more years of good fortune ahead. He famously sang the theme to western TV series Rawhide, which began in 1959, and showed he had a sense of humour by doing the same for Mel Brooks’ spoof Blazing Saddles in 1974, which won him an Oscar nomination.

He is now considered somewhat a bridge from the pop of old to rock’n’roll, not so much because of his style, but the way he expressed his voice, putting more soul into his performances than your average swinger of the time.

He was also one of the first white performers to cover black artists. His reputation as a social activist is impressive – he was the first white artist to appear on Nat King Cole’s TV show when he was unable to get a sponsor, purely because he was black. He later performed for free for supporters of Martin Luther King, and devoted a large amount of his time to the Salvation Army and homeless charities.

His final recording, Taps/My Buddy, was dedicated to the firefighters who helped during the 9/11 terrorist attack, and he insisted all profits went directly to them.

Frankie Laine died of heart failure on 6 February 2007, aged 93, his ashes scattered in the Pacific Ocean.

Written by: Frank Loesser

Producer: Mitch Miller

Weeks at number 1: 4 (19 October-15 November)

Births:

Director Danny Boyle – 20 October
Singer Hazell Dean – 27 October
Actress Juliet Stevenson – 30 October
Screenwriter Richard Curtis – 8 November 

Meanwhile…

Only eleven years after the end of World War Two, the United Kingdom’s reputation as a superpower took a battering that it never really recovered from. Suez. Nasser’s plans to nationalise the Suez Canal company had shocked the UK and France, and plans began to remove him, partly to protect what was left of the British Empire. After meeting with President Eisenhower, Chancellor Harold Macmillan misread the situation and believed the US would not stand in their way. In fact, Eisenhower was insisting on a peaceful solution.

24 October: The UK, France and Israel agreed in secret that Israel would invade Sinai. Then, the UK and France would heroically intervene, and engineer the situation so that Nasser could not nationalise the company. Pretty shameful, sneaky stuff.

29 October: The Israelis attacked expecting retaliation, Nasser’s army instead withdrew.

5 November: The Anglo-French assault began, soon overwhelming the Egyptian army.

6 November. The UN insisted on a ceasefire, and Eisenhower was furious.

There had also been a backlash in the UK, and the consensus now was that Prime Minister Anthony Eden should have acted in the summer before public opinion had turned. Before replacing Winston Churchill, Eden had a reputation as a man of peace. By going to war, and subsequently claiming the meeting between the UK, France and Israel had never taken place, Eden’s reputation was permanently damaged, and parallels were later drawn between him and Tony Blair. By mid-November, newspapers began demanding his resignation.

49. Doris Day – Que Sera, Sera (Whatever Will Be, Will Be) (1956)

Que Sera, Sera (Whatever Will Be, Will Be) is a quintessential 50s standard that has long since surpassed its original use, which was to serve as a musical number for Doris Day in the Alfred Hitchcock thriller The Man Who Knew too Much (1956). Since Day’s role in Calamity Jane (1953), she had been seeking more serious movie roles.

Songwriters Jay Livingston and Ray Evans specialised in writing songs for films, and really hit gold here. It may be sugar-coated (thanks in large part to perpetually squeaky-clean Day’s signature vocal style), like most 50s pop, but the cheeriness belies there’s something lyrically deeper going on – often a key ingredient in some of the best pop music.

‘Que sera, sera’ doesn’t actually mean anything. Livingston and Evans created it from a mix of Spanish and Italian. The Italian phrase ‘Che sarà sarà’ (translated as ‘what will be, will be’) is carved into a wall in The Barefoot Contessa (1954), and the two songwriters decided to add some Spanish to the phrase due to the language’s popularity, and probably because it rolled off the tongue easier.

Although Doris Day’s voice leaves some people cold, and is the sort of thing I’d normally run a mile from, I can’t fault her performance here, just like I couldn’t for her previous number 1, Secret Love.

Although, indeed, ‘the future’s not ours to see’, it’s turned out alright for Day in the song, as by the end she has children of her own, and they in turn are asking her about their future. Yet despite the joy in Day’s voice as the song ends, who knows how the children will turn out? What will be, will be, after all, and the message somewhat pricks the positivity in the production and performance.

It would be impossible to name all the cover versions. My personal favourite has to be Sly & the Family Stone’s suitably strung-out recording from his 1973 album Fresh. Stone had a very tough future ahead of him at that point, making his version rather poignant. I also can’t let this blog pass by without mentioning a memorable advert from my childhood, in which the song was rewritten to sell McCain Steakhouse Grills. As you can see here, the new version was sang by a group of hungry builders in a van, and ends with the chorus changed to ‘We hope it’s chips, it’s chips!’ God knows what Doris Day would have thought of it.

Like Secret Love before it, the song won an Oscar for Best Original Song. However, despite its enduring popularity, it became something of a millstone around Day’s neck, as it became the theme tune to her sitcom The Doris Day Show in 1968, which she didn’t enjoy making. By this point her film career was stalling, the permissive society was at large and she was seen as a symbol of a bygone age. Threats of bankruptcy and the death of her husband Marty Melcher also took their toll.

There were still occasional chart hits in the 60s, however. Move Over Darling, a top 10 hit from the film of the same name in 1963, had been co-written by her son, Terry Melcher. But she did herself no favours by turning down roles like Mrs Robinson in The Graduate (1967) because she deemed it offensive.

Her sitcom ended in 1973, and Day began to live a quieter life running several animal welfare organisations. The 80s did see her involved in lengthy legal proceedings over her money. Her final album, My Heart, was released in 2011.

Day died of pneumonia on 13 May 2019, aged 97. The Doris Day Animal Foundation announced there would be no funeral service, gravesite or memorial. An unusually muted end for a much-loved celebrity, but one entirely in keeping with the modest woman Day was.

Written by: Jay Livingston & Ray Evans

Producer: Mitch Miller

Weeks at number 1: 6 (10 August-20 September)

Births:

Actress Kim Cattrall – 21 August
Footballer Ray Wilkins – 14 September
Actor Tim McInnerny – 18 September

Meanwhile…

9 August: The opening of the seminal art exhibition This Is Tomorrow at the Whitechapel Art Gallery, which featured, among others, Richard Hamilton’s collage Just What Is It that Makes Today’s Homes So Different, So Appealing?. It is now considered to be one of the earliest examples of pop art, a decade before the movement really became popular. Hamilton went on to design the sleeve for The Beatles in 1968.

17 August: Scotland Yard began investigating society doctor John Bodkin Adams. Between 1946 and 1956, more than 160 of his patients died in suspicious circumstances.

10 September: French Prime Minister Guy Mollet visited London and proposed that France should merge with the United Kingdom. The idea was rejected by Anthony Eden.

12 September, Manchester United became the first English team to compete in the European Cup, beating RSC Anderlecht 2–0 in the first leg of the preliminary round.

48. The Teenagers Featuring Frankie Lymon – Why Do Fools Fall in Love (1956)

Following a few lacklustre affairs, here’s a breath of fresh air at number 1. The Teenagers with Frankie Lymon became the youngest act to date to rule the roost, with this classic rock’n’roll and doo-wop number.

Franklyn Joseph ‘Frankie’ Lymon was born 30 September 1942 in Harlem, New York. His parents were both singers in gospel group The Harlemaire, and young Lymon sang with two of his brothers in the Harlemaire Juniors.

At the tender age of 12, he was working as a grocery boy to help his struggling family when he became friends with a doo-wop group known as The Coup de Villes – lead singer Herman Santiago, plus Joe Negroni, Jimmy Merchant and Sherman Games.

There are several versions of who came up with the song, and indeed several court battles have ensued over publishing rights, but a neighbour of The Premiers, as they were known in 1955, handed the group some love letters written by his girlfriend, to use as inspiration. By the time they had their audition with tough producer George Goldner, they were known as The Teenagers. Santiago was either ill, or late, but whatever the reason, Lymon had a crack at the lead, and the group recorded their biggest single and one of rock’n’roll’s most memorable hits. Why Do Fools Fall in Love influenced the Jackson 5 and spawned the girl-group sound, as well as hundreds of imitators. And with Lymon barely a teenager.

For a song recorded such a long time ago, Why Do Fools Fall in Love still sounds exciting. It’s bursting with youthful energy, and a large part of that is down to Lymon’s lead vocal. This was rock’n’roll but filtered through the innocence of such a young group with little experience of the world. And the saxophone break is a blast. The song charted highly in the US, but performed even better in the UK. And then, before their career had barely begun, things began to fall apart.

Tensions understandably began to surface when the next single was credited to Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers. Early in 1957, Goldner began pushing Lymon as a solo act, and his departure was made official by September. New lead vocalist Billy Lobrano made the group unusually mix-raced, with a white member adding to the black and Hispanic mix. But Lobrano didn’t hang around long and they were looking for another singer in 1958. 

While The Teenagers went through a string of replacement singers, to little success, Lymon’s career also went into freefall. They reunited briefly in 1965 but it didn’t last. He had become addicted to heroin at the age of 15, and died of an overdose on 27 February 1968 at his grandma’s house, aged only 25. 

Two more founder members died during the 70s – Games of a heart attack in 1977 and Negroni a year later of a cerebral haemorrhage. In the 80s they hired female singer Pearl McKinnon in a desperate attempt to mimic Lymon’s voice. Funk star Jimmy Castor also had a run as their lead vocalist. 

These days it’s Santiago, along with Bobby Jay, Terry King and Terrance Farward who make up The Teenagers, but even now they bill themselves as Frankie Lymon’s Legendary Teenagers – a testament to Lymon’s star power.

Written by: Frankie Lymon & Morris Levy

Producer: Richard Barrett

Weeks at number 1: 3 (20 July-9 August)

Births:

Sculptor Andy Goldsworthy – 26 July
Madness guitarist Chris Foreman – 8 August

Meanwhile…

22 July: Music newspaper Record Mirror published the first ever UK Albums Chart. They had their own version of the singles chart, but it is the New Musical Express charts that I use for this blog, as these are the ones recognised by the Official Charts Company as canon until 1960. The first album at number 1 was Frank Sinatra’s classic Songs for Swingin’ Lovers!.

26 July: The Suez crisis began when Egyptian leader Gamal Abdel Nasser shocked the British government by announcing the nationalisation of the Suez Canal. Initially, Anthony Eden believed he had the country’s support in taking military action, and Labour leader Hugh Gaitskell agreed, but in the following weeks he took a more cautious tone.

39. Bill Haley & His Comets – Rock Around the Clock (1955)

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Finally! After nearly 40 blogs, rock’n’roll has arrived. Although not the first song of the genre (nobody really knows if such a song actually exists, although Rocket 88 by Jackie Brenston and His Delta Cats is often credited as such), and not the best either, Rock Around the Clock is understandably credited as the tune that brought it to a wider audience, and influenced millions, including many youngsters who were taking note and went on to become star musicians themselves. Rock’n’roll was about feeling rather than form, about stripping away such soppy, sappy lyrics over flowery, string-packed instruments. There’s no wonder it helped bring about the dawn of the teenager. Why should young adults grow from children to instant adulthood? Why not have some fun first, before life gets too dull and dreary? Haley may have been way too old to be a teenager, but it didn’t matter. Rock Around the Clock represented the new young energy that would help sweep the country out of the post-war doldrums.

The song is believed to have been first written in 1952. Credited to Max C. Freedman and Jimmy De Knight (a pseudonym belonging to James E. Myers), it was first recorded by Sonny Day and His Knights, although apparently they’d always had Haley’s group in mind.

William John Clifton Haley was born in Highland, Michigan on 6 July 1925. When he was four he underwent an inner-ear mastoid operation which accidentally severed an optic nerve. This left him blind in his left eye for the rest of his life, and may explain why he grew a kiss curl over his right eye.

The Haley family moved to Bethel, Pennsylvania due to the effects of the Great Depression when he was seven. Both his parents were musicians (his mother originally came from Ulverston in Lancashire) and by the time he was 13, their son was singing and playing the guitar.

Two years later Haley left home to find fame. He spent the 40s in several bands, including The Down Homers and The Four Aces of Western Swing, and was even known as Silver Yodelling Bill Haley at one point.

By 1951 he was leading a country music act known as Bill Haley and the Saddlemen, but they changed their name to Bill Haley with Hayley’s Comets and adopted an early rock’n’roll sound after covering Rocket 88. They had their first hit with Crazy Man, Crazy, which is perhaps the first song of the genre to be shown on television, used on the soundtrack to a play starring James Dean. Soon after, they settled on Bill Haley & His Comets, and they were pianist Johnny Grande, steel guitarist Billy WIlliamson and bassist Marshall Lytle. Before long they had their first drummer, Earl Famous, who was soon replaced by Dick Richards.

In spring 1954 they began working with Milt Gabler, who had worked on several proto-rock’n’roll tracks previously. In their first session they recorded Rock Around the Clock as a last minute B-side to Thirteen Women And Only One Man In Town, a track about the survivors of a nuclear bomb.

Luckily for Haley and co, the son of a famous actor had become quite the fan of that B-side. 10-year-old Peter Ford was Glenn Ford’s son, and Glenn was due to co-star alongside Sidney Poitier in a film about teenage delinquents called Blackboard Jungle. He suggested to director Richard Brooks to stick the song over the opening credits. Swiftly capitalising on the attention, the song was re-released and spent two months at number 1 in the US. It was only a matter of time before their success was repeated in the UK, a nation starving for the return of the good times.

I’m stating the obvious by saying it sounds quaint compared with the songs it later influenced, but there’s more raw energy packed into the opening of Rock Around the Clock than any UK number 1 up to that point. Haley’s voice commands you to take note and to have a good time, and the Comets ably assist, and so does guitarist Danny Cedrone, on loan from The Esquire Boys, who couldn’t think of a new solo and simply redid his performance on their earlier track Rock This Joint. It didn’t matter, it’s blistering and is easily the highlight of the song.

In a genre full of tragedy, Cedrone was one of the first victims. He never had chance to enjoy the group’s fame as a month after they had recorded Rock Around the Clock, he fell down some stairs and broke his neck, dying at the age of 33. By the time they became number 1, the Comets were a different group to the ones that recorded the song. In addition to Cedrone’s death, three other members left the group over money issues.

Before long, the younger acts they had helped influence suddenly made Bill Haley & His Comets look old and staid by comparison. They had become victims of the youth movement they helped usher in. Stardom lasted longer in Europe, where they enjoyed a few more years of being mobbed by fans. But rock’n’roll came and went many times over the years, with several revivals, and Rock Around the Clock was re-recorded several times and often reissued.

Haley battled the booze during the 70s, and towards the end of his life he had a brain tumour. He died on 9 February 1981, aged 55 of ‘natural causes, most likely a heart attack’, according to his death certificate. But in a sense Rock Around the Clock‘s influence has made him immortal.

Written by: Max C Freedman & Jimmy De Knight

Producer: Milt Gabler

Weeks at number 1: 5 (25 November-15 December 1955, 6-19 January 1956) *BEST-SELLING SINGLE OF THE DECADE*

Births:

Singer Billy Idol – 30 November
Conservative MP Philip Hammond – 4 December
The Clash bassist Paul Simonon – 15 December
Presenter Angus Deayton – 6 January
Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby – 6 January
Actress Imelda Staunton – 9 January
Singer Paul Young – 17 January 

Deaths:

Ecologist Sir Arthur Tansley – 25 November

Meanwhile…

2 December: The Barnes rail crash in Barnes, South London, left 13 dead and 35 injured.

7 December: Long-running Labour leader Clement Attlee resigned. For all the positive changes he helped bring about after the war, it was time for him to pass on the torch if the party was to usurp new Tory Prime Minister Anthony Eden. One week later, Hugh Gaitskell, a right-wing politician by many Labour members’ standards, defeated Nye Bevan and was named as the new leader.

32. Tony Bennett with Percy Faith & His Orchestra and Chorus – Stranger in Paradise (1955)

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One of many versions in the chart that year of Robert Wright and George Forrest’s song from the 1953 musical Kismet, which had only just arrived in the UK, Stranger in Paradise marked the start of slick crooner Tony Bennett’s international success.

Anthony Dominick Benedetto, born 3 August 1926 in Queens, New York to Italian immigrants, grew up loving music. Among his favourite trad pop and jazz stars were Al Jolson, Bing Crosby and Louis Armstrong. His uncle Dick was a tap dancer, and Benedetto loved the idea of joining him in showbusiness. At the age of 10, he sang at the opening of the Triborough Bridge, and as a young teen he worked as a singing waiter in various New York restaurants. But towards the end of World War Two he was drafted into the US army.

He later described his time in the front line as a ‘front-row seat in hell’. Returning to his previous career after the war, singer Pearl Bailey invited him to be her warm-up in 1949. She had invited Bob Hope to watch, and he was so impressed he took the young hopeful on the road with him. And that was the start of Tony Bennett, one of our last living original swingers.

Bennett’s first hit came with Because of You in 1951, a US chart-topper for 10 weeks. It was followed by versions of Cold, Cold Heart and Blue Velvet. Such was Bennett’s popularity among women, when he first married in 1952, 2,000 female fans gathered outside the ceremony in black as part of a mock mourning. With his star on the rise, it made perfect sense for the producers of Kismet to get him to record Stranger in Paradise as a way of promoting their musical during a newspaper strike.

Tony Bennett’s voice is the best thing about this song. It’s yet another smooth ballad, smothered with the usual arrangement, but he sings his heart out and it’s plain to see why he became so famous. However, the lyrics are also noteworthy. It’s another love song, but we’re a step above the usual fare from these times. For example:

‘I saw her face
And I ascended
Out of the common place
Into the rarest
Somewhere in space
I hang suspended
Until I know
There’s a chance that she cares’

Despite being his only UK chart-topper, the best was yet to come for Bennett, but he faced several peaks and troughs. He survived the rock’n’roll boom that soon followed, and hit big again in 1962 with his version of I Left My Heart in San Fransisco. Even Sinatra said he was the best singer in the world, but the boom of The Beatles saw Bennett feeling out of place once more, and he faced trying times until he nearly died of a cocaine overdose in 1979.

In the 90s though, he enjoyed a big revival. The illness and eventual death of Sinatra in 1998 perhaps made the world realise the easy listening stars of the past should be enjoyed while they were still around.  Bennett was all over television at the time. His natural charm shone when telling tall tales of his career, and that voice was still golden.

Always a supporter of civil rights, and with opinions on the Iraq War and apartheid that have later proven him to be on the right side of history, he’s that rare commodity in music, namely a nice guy and one hell of a talent. He’s now 93 and still recording and performing, and long may he do so.

Tony Bennett is also the earliest UK number 1 act that I have ever seen live. Performing at a very muddy and wet Glastonbury Festival on Sunday 28 June, 1998, my friends and I sat on bin bags near our tents up on the hill by the Pyramid Stage. We probably began watching him with a sense of ironic detachment, as it certainly wasn’t the sort of music we were into. However, he won us over. Though it’s nearly 20 years ago, I remember we danced, we smiled, and the sun even shone for one of the few times that entire weekend. One of the better ‘legend’ slots in the festival’s history.

Written by: Robert Wright & George Forrest 

Producer: Mitch Miller

Weeks at number 1: 2 (13-26 May)

Births:

Singer Hazel O’Connor – 16 May
Presenter Dale Winton – 22 May

Meanwhile…

26 May: As soon as he replaced Winston Churchill, Anthony Eden sought to establish his presence in Number 10 by immediately announcing a General Election for this day. For the first time in an election, television proved to take a prominent role in campaigning for Eden’s Conservatives and Clement Atlee’s Labour. As the polls closed, all the signs pointed toward Eden having made a very shrewd move.

30. Tennessee Ernie Ford with Orchestra conducted by Billy May – Give Me Your Word (1955)

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Give Me Your Word, by Tennessee Ernie Ford, became number 1 on 11 March. Written by bandleader George Wyle and lyricist Irving Taylor, it’s considered the first country song to top the charts, although it isn’t really. All the ingredients of 50s romantic, overwrought ballads are present and correct. The only thing remotely ‘country’ about it is the drawl of Tennessee Ernie Ford.

Ford, born Ernest Jennings Ford in Bristol Tennessee on 13 February 1919, had added the state to his stage name when he became a radio disc jockey during the 40s, and taken on the character of a wild, crazy hillbilly. Before then, the bass-baritone had served as a local radio announcer before becoming a First Lieutenant in the US Air Corps during World War Two. When the war ended, he was back on the radio.

But soon he was releasing singles, and doing very well out of fast-paced boogie-woogie like The Shotgun Boogie. He also recorded slower-paced duets with the likes of jazz singer Kay Starr, who had been number 1 in 1953 with Comes A-Long A-Love.

How did Give Me Your Word achieve the same feat? Let alone, for seven weeks? This is a mystery, lost in the mists of time. I’m not much of a country fan, so I may be biased, but like I said above, this isn’t much of a country song. It had been a B-side originally, to River of No Return in 1954. That’s where by rights it should have stayed. It’s no How Soon Is Now? by The Smiths, for example, where the sheer brilliance of the tune demands it to be promoted from the flip side. To be fair to Ford, he made up for this bland, soppy rubbish when Sixteen Tons became his second number 1 in January 1956.

Written by: George Wyle & Irving Taylor

Producer: Lee Gillette

Weeks at number 1: 7 (11 March-29 April) *BEST-SELLING SINGLE OF THE YEAR*

Births:

Poet John Burnside – 19 March
DJ Janice Long – 5 April

Deaths

Bacteriologist Sir Alexander Fleming – 11 March

Meanwhile…

5 April 1955: Prime Minister Winston Churchill announced his retirement. The following day, his deputy for 15 years, Anthony Eden, replaced him in Downing Street. Highly regarded as a man of peace, world events would soon tarnish his reputation and have a lasting impact on his legacy.