110. Cliff Richard and The Shadows – I Love You (1960)

1960 had proven to be a rather staid year as far as number 1s went, with only a few highlights (Cathy’s Clown, Shakin’ All Over, Apache and Only the Lonely (Know How I Feel)). And so it seems appropriate that the Christmas number 1 that year was also pretty dull. Elvis Presley’s It’s Now or Never had been unstoppable for two months, but the UK’s other biggest-selling artist of the era managed to topple it during Christmas week. Not for the last time, Cliff Richard was the festive chart-topper, but this wasn’t considered such an honour back then.

In my review of Every Christmas Number 1, I decided Cliff Richard and the Shadows’ I Love You was the worst Christmas best-seller of the 1960s, describing it as ‘generic’, ‘tepid’ and ‘very forgettable’. Since then I’ve discovered that the singer’s father fell ill during I Love You‘s fortnight at the top, and died a few months later. This track was his favourite number 1 by his son, so I feel a bit guilty. Not enough to change my opinion, though.

If you’re going to call a song I Love You, you should be pulling out al the stops to make it interesting, in my opinion. Like their previous number 1, Please Don’t Tease, the writer is rhythm guitarist Bruce Welch, and once again, it’s a very bland and polite track, but it got the job done, I guess. There were better number 1s to come for Cliff and The Shadows, but not for a while.

Written by: Bruce Welch

Producer: Norrie Paramor

Weeks at number 1: 2 (29 December 1960-11 January 1961)

Births:

Footballer Steve Bruce – 31 December
Actor Mark Wingett – 1 January 

Meanwhile…

New Year’s Eve 1960: The final day that the farthing, a coin that had been in use since the 13th century, could be used as legal tender. It was also the day that conscription ended in the UK.

7 January 1961: The Avengers premiered on ITV. The original episodes focused on Dr David Keel, played by Ian Hendry, with John Steed (Patrick Macnee) growing in popularity throughout the series, before eventually becoming the central character.

9 January: British authorities announced a large Soviet spy ring had been uncovered in London.

104. Cliff Richard and The Shadows – Please Don’t Tease (1960)

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It would seem that teenage rebellion in 1960 was to be found in the jazz world (see below), because it’s hard to imagine anyone getting fired up to the sound of most of the number 1s of that year so far, and Cliff Richard and The Shadows’ Please Don’t Tease is certainly no exception.

Cliff’s fans are to blame for his third chart-topper. In an unusual gimmick for the time, Columbia Records assembled a panel of youngsters to listen to a batch of unreleased tracks from Cliff and co, and Please Don’t Tease was the winner, with Nine Times Out of Ten the runner-up (it became the subsequent single, but didn’t make it to number 1). The fans picked well, as their hero’s last two singles only made it to number 2.

Please Don’t Tease had been written by Shadows rhythm guitarist Bruce Welch and Pete Chester, son of comedian Charlie Chester. Hank Marvin and Welch had been in Chester’s band, The Five Chesternuts (groan) before joining Cliff Richard and The Drifters (as they were called originally).

It’s hard to write about this single, as it’s so flimsy it’s impossible to remember. It’s like a castrated version of Move It, that tries to sound like Elvis or Buddy Holly, but is so wet and polite, it’s laughable. Cliff’s getting mighty cross that his lady friend is messing him around. He’s sick to death of her playing it ‘oh so doggone cool’, and he’s so annoyed, ooh, he’s going to… ask her to please kindly refrain from teasing him, because it’s really upsetting him. Now I prefer a gentlemanly Cliff to the idea of him locking his girl up in a trunk, but come on Cliff, show some balls, please! And while you’re at it, please don’t ever attempt to sing the word ‘hurricane’ in an American accent again. Ah well, at least, like most 1960 songs, it doesn’t outstay its welcome. Oh wait, it does. For some reason, Please Don’t Tease goes on for over three minutes. On the plus side, Marvin’s guitar solo is pretty good.

After a week at number 1, Johnny Kidd & The Pirates’ rightly toppled Cliff with the astounding Shakin’ All Over, but somehow Please Don’t Tease returned for a further fortnight at the top. What an injustice.

Written by: Bruce Welch & Pete Chester

Producer: Norrie Paramor

Weeks at number 1: 3 (28 July-3 August, 11-24 August) 

Births:

Darts player Phil Taylor – 13 August
Singer Sarah Brightman – 14 August 

Meanwhile…

30 July: At the third Beaulieu Jazz Festival in Hampshire, riots break out between the teenage progressive jazz fans and the older trad jazz brigade. Following a stage invasion, 39 people were injured and a building was set on fire, causing the BBC to pull its coverage early.

16 August: Cyrpus gained independence from the UK.

17 August: A five-piece performing in Hamburg, West Germany played their first concert under a new name. Would The Beatles stick with it? Only time would tell.

22 August: The first performance of the satirical review Beyond the Fringe took place in Edinburgh. Featuring Alan Bennett, Peter Cook, Jonathan Miller and Dudley Moore, the show received a lukewarm response until it moved to London.