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Jerry Osborne

In syndication since 1986, and now in our 31st year — Over 3,100 questions answered
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FOR THE WEEK OF FEBRUARY 27, 2017

DEAR JERRY: I was thrilled to see the question about Britain's No. 1 hits that never made our Top 100.

Having lived across the pond in the 1960s, I'm especially curious to know how the British Invasion affected the amount of music the two countries had in common.
—Vernon Smotherman, Roanoke, Va.

DEAR VERNON: Among many changes in early 1964, thanks to the Beatles and other British bands, is they became far less dependent on doing lame covers of American hits.

Unlike in the 1950s, many mid-'60s performers were creating original music, resulting in success on both sides of the Atlantic.

I will provide the information you requested, but in two parts. We'll begin by reviewing the 1950s, then follow next week with the '60s.

The first New Musical Express (NME) chart, dated November 15, 1952, was mostly made up of popular American singers and musicians.

On April 11, 1953, the Stargazers became the first British act to top the NME chart.

And since their first hit, "Broken Wings," was not issued in the U.S., that's where our list begins:

1953:

The Stargazers - "Broken Wings" (Decca 10047)
We know of no U.S. recordings of this song.

Lita Roza - "(How Much Is) That Doggie in the Window?" (Decca 10070)
UK cover of "The Doggie in the Window" by Patti Page (Mercury 70070), a No. 1 smash in the U.S.

Guy Mitchell - "Look at That Girl" (Philips 162)
Also issued in the U.S. (Columbia 40008), but it didn't chart.

David Whitfield - "Answer Me" (Decca 10192)
Not issued in the U.S.

Frankie Laine - "Answer Me" (Philips 196)
Released in the U.S. as "Answer Me, Lord Above (Mutterlein)" (Columbia 40079), but didn't chart. Several later recordings came out titled "Answer Me, My Love."

1954:

The Stargazers - "I See the Moon" (Decca 10213)
Cover of the Mariners' U.S. version (Columbia 40047), a Top 15 hit.

Winifred Atwell - "Let's Have Another Party" (Philips 268)
The sequel to her "Let's Have a Party" (Philips 213), that peaked at No. 2 a few months earlier. Neither was issued in the U.S.

1955:

Ruby Murray - "Softly, Softly" (Columbia 5162)
Issued in the U.S. (MGM 11940), but didn't chart.

Tennessee Ernie Ford - "Give Me Your Word" (Capitol 14005)
Issued in the U.S. in mid-1954 (Capitol 2810), but didn't chart.

Eddie Calvert (The Man With the Golden Trumpet) - "Cherry Pink (and Apple Blossom White)" (Columbia 5158)
Cover of Perez "Prez" Prado's U.S. version (Columbia 40047), also a No. 1 hit.

Jimmy Young - "Unchained Melody" (Decca 10502)
Cover of Les Baxter's U.S. version (Capitol 3055), also a No. 1 hit.

Alma Cogan - "Dreamboat" (His Master's Voice 10872)
We know of no U.S. recordings of this song.

Jimmy Young - "The Man From Laramie" (Decca 10597)
Young's version (London 1609) was one of six different U.S. issues, but none charted.

Johnston Brothers - "Hernando's Hideaway" (Decca 10608)
Cover of Archie Bleyer's U.S. version (Cadence 1241), a No. 2 hit.

Dickie Valentine - "Christmas Alphabet" (Decca 10628)
Dickie's version of a tune issued a year earlier (1954) in the U.S., by the McGuire Sisters (Coral 61303). Their record did not chart.

1956:

Winifred Atwell - "The Poor People of Paris" (Decca 10681)
Cover of Les Baxter's U.S. version (Capitol 3336), a No. 1 hit.
Atwell's U.S. release (London 1628) did not chart.

Ronnie Hilton - "No Other Love" (His Master's Voice 198)
Hilton's remake of a No. 1 hit in 1953 by Perry Como (RCA Victor 5317).

1957:

Tommy Steele and the Steelmen - "Singing the Blues" (Decca 10819)
Cover of Guy Mitchell's version (Columbia 40631), that was No. 1 on Billboard for 10 weeks, beginning December 8th, 1956.
Interestingly, Guy Mitchell's release was a cover of Marty Robbins' original (Columbia 21545), and a No. 1 C&W hit.

Frankie Vaughan - "The Garden of Eden" (Philips 660)
Cover version of a No. 15 hit in the U.S., in 1956 by Joe Valino (Vik 0226).

Lonnie Donegan and His Skiffle Group - "Cumberland Gap" (Pye Nixa 15087)
This Appalachian folk song has been around since 1924, but there has never been a Pop or C&W charted version in the U.S., and that includes Lonnie Donegan's American release (Mercury 71094).

Lonnie Donegan and His Skiffle Group - "Putting on the Style"/"Gamblin' Man" (Pye Nixa 15093) Double-sided No. 1 in Britain, not a common occurence. Labels on both sides indicate "Recorded during his act at the London Palladium on the 9th May, 1957." Neither side of Donegan's U.S. counterpart charted (Mercury 71181).

1958:

Michael Holliday - "The Story of My Life" (Columbia 4058)
Cover of Marty Robbins' No. 1 C&W, and No. 15 Pop hit (Columbia 41013). This was the first of hundreds of hits composed by Burt Bacharach and Hal David.

Jack Good Presents Lord Rockingham's XI - "Hoots Mon" (Decca 11059)
We know of no U.S. recordings of this saxy instrumental.

1959:

Shirley Bassey - "As I Love You" (Philips 845)
Cover of Carmen McRae's 1957 U.S. single (Decca 30540), that did not chart.

Russ Conway - "Roulette" (Columbia 4298)
Released in the U.S. by MGM (Cub 9034), but it didn't quite make the Top 100.

Craig Douglas - "Only Sixteen" (Top Rank 159)
Cover of Sam Cooke's Top 30 hit (Keen 2022).

Cliff Richard and the Shadows - "Travellin' Light" (Columbia 4351)
His U.S. release (ABC/Paramount 10066) credits only "Cliff Richard." As marketable as it seemed, and in the Ricky Nelson mold, it didn't chart here.

Adam Faith - "What Do You Want?" (Parlophone 4591)
Adam's U.S. issue (Cub 9061) did not chart, but in early 1960 "What Do You Want?" became the first of 45 chart hits for Bobby Vee (Liberty 55234).

Emile Ford and the Checkmates - "What Do You Want to Make Those Eyes at Me For?" (Pye Nixa 15225)
Many versions of this tune exist, beginning in 1917 with Ada Jones & Billy Murray (Victor 18224). Emile may have been inspired by any of the U.S. recordings, especially one by Marie Adams, with Johnny Otis and His Orchestra (Capitol 4108), issued about 10 months before Ford's.

IZ ZAT SO?

For the NME's first 19 weeks, the No. 1 hit was merely a British pressing of one of a top seller in the U.S.

Those artists, and their hits, topping those first UK charts were: Al Martino ("Here in My Heart"); Jo Stafford ("You Belong to Me"); Kay Starr ("Comes A-Long A-Love"); Eddie Fisher ("Outside of Heaven"); Perry Como ("Don't Let the Stars Get in Your Eyes"); and Guy Mitchell ("She Wears Red Feathers").

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