- Gosh! I must be falling in love by Leslie Sarony (originally released by Rex Records (8115) in 1934. Leslie Sarony has been on several previous podcasts and you can read more about him in the blog for the first podcast. This song and 39 others are available to stream/download on the 78Man albums “78Man Presents Leslie Sarony” Vols 1 and 2 on itunes, Spotify, etc. You can see the great man himself singing “Peggotty Leg” Here
- Under the sweetheart tree by Randolph Sutton (Released by Edison Bell Radio (1426) in 1931.) Randolph Sutton was born in 1888 in Bristol, and made his stage debut in 1913. He soon became a popular singer but only began recording in earnest in the late 1920s. His other recordings include “All by yourself in the moonlight”, “Oh! Arthur! (What have you done to Martha?)”, “Is Izzy Azzy Woz?”, “Drivin’ the geese to market” and “The sun has got his hat on (He’s coming out today)”. Sutton was a successful stage performer, appearing in many pantomimes and revues, as well as radio and TV appearances (he appeared on BBC TV’s “The Good old days” in 1954.) He continued working until his death, making his final stage appearance on 26th February 1969 in St. Albans, two days before he died. A month later, Radio 2 produced a tribute programme, introduced by George Martin. His influence was such that further tribute programmes were made by Radio 2 in 1980 and 1982. You can see him singing “On Mother Kelly’s doorstep” HERE
- Love is just like that by Malcolm Desmond (released by Eclipse (155) in 1932). Malcolm Desmond was a pseudonym used by Billy Scott-Coomber when he recorded for the Eclipse label. Other releases include “We’re all going in for hiking”, “Bathing in the sunshine” and “Wagon wheels”. Billy Scott-Coomber was Irish, and first found fame as the singer in Jack Payne’s band. He made a few records under his own name, such as “June in January” in 1935 and “There’ll always be an England” in 1939. In the 1950’s he was a regular on BBC Radio’s “Children’s Hour”, and was known for his “nursery sing-songs”. In the late ’50s he became a radio producer, (where he was an early champion of Les Dawson), then in the ’60s became the presenter of the radio show “A night at the music hall”. You can see him performing with his singing grenadiers HERE
- I’m in love with Susan by Frank Crumit (released by His Master’s Voice (B. 4331) in 1929.) Frank Crumit was born in 1889 in Jackson, Ohio, USA and made his first stage appearance at the age of 5 in a minstrel show. Although he attained a degree in electrical engineering at university, music was his first love and he concentrated on his stage career, first in a group then solo, singing and playing ukulele, appearing on Broadway in 1918 in “Betty be good”. The following year he began recording, some of his earliest recordings being “I’ve Got The Profiteering Blues”, “Good-Bye Dixie Good-Bye”, and “My Little Bimbo Down On The Bamboo Isle” (all released by Columbia in the US in 1920). In 1925 Crumit signed to the Victor label and it was here he recorded some of his best known songs, such as “I’m Sitting On Top Of The World” (1926), “Abdul Abulbul Amir” (1927), “A Gay Caballero” (1928) and “A High Silk Hat And A Walking Cane” (1929). In 1928 Crumit married Julia Sanderson, also a singer, and they started presenting radio shows, including from 1930 onwards, “The battle of the sexes”, which ran until 1943 when Crumit died of a heart attack.
- How to make love by Bud Billings (released by Zonophone (5399) in 1929) Bud Billings was the pseudonym of Frank Luther, see Blog for Podcast 9 (Sept 2016) for more info.
- You Always Hurt The One You Love by Spike Jones and his City Slickers (released by His Master’s Voice (B.D. 1139) in 1946) More info on Spike Jones can be found in the blog for Podcast 4 (April 2016). Here’s a clip of Spike Jones and his city slickers in action.
- Bubbling Over With Love by The Hottentots (released by Eclipse (59) in 1931. The Hottentots were a pseudonym of the Jay Wilbur band (see Podcast 13 blog-January 2017 for more info on Jay Wilbur.) As The Hottentots they recorded several records on Eclipse, including “Sweet Jennie Lee”, “In Geneva with Eva”, “Whistling In The Dark” and “When Yuba Plays The Rumba On The Tuba”. Eclipse Records was run by Woolworths, and provided cheap releases in competition with the major labels. The Woolworths museum site has more information on the label HERE
- Do You Love Me by Dick Haymes (released by Brunswick (3726) in 1946) Dick Haymes was born in Argentina in 1918 of British parents, and the family moved to the USA when Dick was a child. After briefly working as a teenage stunt double in films, Haymes began a singing career, becoming the singer for the Harry James Orchestra and in 1942 he replaced Frank Sinatra as the singer in the Tommy Dorsey band. In 1943 he began recording for Decca in the USA (these recordings being released on Brunswick in the UK), releasing songs such as “You’ll never know”, “Put Your Arms Around Me Honey”, and “In Love In Vain”
- Falling In Love Again by Al Vocale and his Orchestra (Released by Edison Bell Radio (1389) in 1930.) It would appear that Al Vocale may be a pseudonym for Al Bowlly; this record is mentioned in a couple of Bowlly discographies but details are sketchy. There was at least one other Al Vocale record on Edison Bell Radio, “Say A Little Prayer For Me”/”Waiting For That Thing Called Happiness”.
- Goodnight, Sweetheart by Henry Hall and his Gleneagles Hotel Bar Band (Released by Decca (F. 2330) in 1931). Henry Hall was born in London in 1898. He was interested in music from an early age, winning a scholarship to Trinity College of Music, where he studied trumpet, piano, harmony and counterpoint. He formed his own band and began a residency at the Gleneagles Hotel. During the early ’30s Hall’s band became a regular fixture on BBC Radio, broadcasting from Manchester, and in 1932 he took over from Jack Payne as leader of the BBC Dance Orchestra. As well as his radio appearances he made records for Columbia, including “Goodnight Everyone”, “The Man On The Flying Trapeze” and “Red Sails In The Sunset”. During World War 2 Hall entertained the troops both in radio broadcasts and concerts. During the ’50s he carried on broadcasting and playing live, as well as working as an agent and producer. He retired in 1964 and died in 1989.
Tracks on the podcast are :
1.We parted on the shore by Mr Harry Lauder (Released by Zonophone (X-42582) c.1908). Harry Lauder was born in 1870 in Edinburgh. His Father died when he was 11, and by the age of 14 he was working in a colliery, where he used to sing to his fellow workers. This led to engagements in local music halls, and in 1894 he turned professional. In 1900 he moved down to London where he became immediately successful. Over the next few years his fame grew and he toured America for the first time in 1907. He made his first recordings in 1905 and he recorded prolifically up until the early 1930s.
2.Daft Willy by Sandy Rowan(Released by Broadcast (484) in 1929.) Sandy Rowan was a Scottish comedian active during the late ’20s. His other recordings for Broadcast include “Just A Wee Deoch-an-Doris”, “I love a lassie”, “The cosy corner”, “Wanderin’ Willie”, and “All Scotch”. He first appeared on BBC radio in 1927 and was featured regularly for the next 5 years. After this he only appeared sporadically, for the last time in 1949. Apart from these few records for Broadcast, he doesn’t seem to have made any other recordings.
3. I‘ve got a lover up in Scotland by Mr Billy Williams (Released by Homophon (6851) c. 1913)
4. Jean from Aberdeen by Mr Billy Williams (Released by Cinch (5041) c. 1913 but probably a re-issue of the Zonophone recording from 1908) (For more information on Billy Williams see Podcast 11 Blog, from November 2016)
5. Grandfather’s bagpipes by Gracie Fields (Released by Rex Records (8617) in 1915.) (For more info on Gracie Fields see Podcast 1 blog). “Grandfather’s Bagpipes” was written by Jimmy Harper and Will Haines, who wrote or co-wrote some of Gracie Fields’ biggest hits such as “The Biggest Aspidistra in the world”, “Sally” and “Walter, Walter (lead me to the altar)” as well as the George Formby hit “In my little snapshot album.”
6. The Campbells are coming by The Two Leslies (Released by Regal Zonophone (MR 2225) in 1936.) (For more info on The Two Leslies, see Podcast 3 blog.)
7. When I get back tae Bonnie Scotland by Sandy Macgregor (Released by Regal (G 6481) in 1914.) This was a song written by Harry Lauder. Little is known about Sandy Macgregor, this seems to be his only record.
8. I’m the monster of Loch Ness by Leslie Holmes (Released by Rex Records (8094) in 1934.) Leslie Holmes was born in December 1901 in Newcastle upon Tyne, and died in December 1960. He was often billed as “Leslie Holmes (and his smiling voice)” and as well as a successful comedy singing career in the ’30s and ’40s (solo under his own name and as Roy Leslie and as part of The Two Leslies), he appeared in a couple of films-“Aunt Sally” in 1934 and “When you come home” in 1948.
9. Hoots Mon by Gordon Franks and his Orchestra (Released by Embassy (WB 312) in 1958.) “Hoots Mon” was a number 1 hit for Lord Rockingham’s XI in late 1958. This version was a cover version on Woolworth’s budget label, Embassy. Franks recorded regularly for the Embassy label, releasing tribute albums to Glenn Miller, Duke Ellington, Count Basie and Tommy Dorsey. He went on to record for Parlophone in the early ’60s, releasing singles of the theme tunes to TV series “The Rag Trade” and “Outbreak of Murder”. Composing music for TV shows became Franks’ main activity in the ’60s and ’70s, his credits including “Sykes”, “Father dear Father” and “Citizen James”.
10. The end of the road by Sir Harry Lauder. (Released by Zonophone (G.O. 64) in 1925.) Following his first flush of success (in 1911 he became the highest paid entertainer in the world), Lauder spent much of the Great War raising money for the war effort, for which he was knighted in 1919. The war held personal tragedy for Lauder; his son John was killed in December 1916 at Pozieres. John’s death inspired Lauder to write “The end of the road” which became one of his best known songs. Despite retiring in 1935, Lauder also entertained the troops during World War 2. He died in February 1950.
Tracks featured on the podcast are :
- Bells on Christmas day by David Clews (Released on HMV (POP 127) in 1955). David Clews was a child singer who appears to have had a very short career-this seems to be the only record he made! Released at the end of 1955, when vinyl 45s had started to be pressed for the better selling artists, this was only released on 78, so it seems HMV didn’t have much faith in its chances, and they were right as it wasn’t a hit. The flip side was another Christmas song, “Did Santa have a daddy?”
- Christmas Day at the Bugginses Part 1 by Mabel Constanduros assisted by Michael Hogan (Released on Broadcast (471) in 1929.) (See blog on Podcast 12 for more info).
- Davy Crockett is helping Santa Claus by Joe Lynch (Released on Beltona (BE 2668) in 1956.) Joe Lynch was an Irish actor, singer and songwriter, born in July 1925. He first found fame in Ireland in the ’50s with his radio show “Living with Lynch”. He began recording for the Beltona label in 1956, and over the next two decades he ran dual careers as singer, radio presenter and actor. He went on to appear in the TV comedy “Never mind the quality, feel the width” and as Elsie Tanner’s boyfriend in the soap opera “Coronation Street.” His film roles include “Loot” (1970), “The Outsider” (1980) and “Eat the peach” (1986). He died in August 2001. Davy Crockett was a 19th Century American folk hero and politician. In the 1950s Disney made a TV series based on him, and “The ballad of Davy Crockett” was a hit in 1955 for Bill Hayes, Tennessee Ernie Ford and Fess Parker. This song was an attempt to gain another hit from the Davy Crockett legend but sadly failed!
- Christmas questions by Joe Ward (Released by Parlophone (R 4110) in 1955.) This was the B side of “Nuttin’ for Christmas”, featured in the Christmas Eve Podcast-see Podcast 12 blog for more info.
- John Henry’s Christmas Eve parts 1 and 2 by John Henry and Company (Released by HMV (B 3665) in 1930.) Now largely forgotten, John Henry recorded several records from the early ’20s to the early ’30s, often with his side-kick “Blossom”. He began his recording career around 1924 for His Master’s Voice and his records included “John Henry Calling” (1924), “My wireless set” (1925) and “Going the pace that kills” (1928). His real name was Norman Clapham and he became one of the first radio stars, appearing on BBC radio for the first time in October 1923. He was a radio regular for a few years but by 1930 radio appearances had dried up, although he carried on making records into the early ’30s (having moved to Regal Records). Sadly, depressed by the death of his partner, he took his own life in May 1934.
- The Santa Claus Express by Jay Wilbur and his band (Released by Rex (8642) in 1935. Jay Wilbur was born (as Wilbur Blinco) in 1898. He learned piano and by 1928 he had his own band, which was resident at the Tricity Hotel in London. He made his first recordings for the Dominion label, where he became musical director-his records for Dominion included “Spread a little happiness”, “Button up your overcoat” and “When Niccolo plays the Piccolo”. He moved to the Imperial label in 1931, then onto Rex Records in 1933, where he continued to record for over a decade. His Rex releases include “The wedding of Mr. Mickey Mouse”, “Sweetmeat Joe, the candy man”, “The down and out blues” and “Someone’s rocking my dreamboat”. After a brief period with Decca, he stopped recording in the late ’40s. He was also a popular radio star, appearing on BBC radio from 1936 onwards, with the programmes “Melody from the sky” and “Hi Gang!”. In later years he lived in South Africa, and died there in 1968.
- White Christmas by Ambrose (Released by Decca (F. 8193) in 1942.) Ambrose was born in Russia in 1896, but his family moved to the UK when he was a child. As a teenager he moved to New York and it was there he played in his first band, before returning to the UK in 1922, where he formed a new band and began playing in London. He made his first record in 1930 and in the next few years recorded for His Master’s Voice, Regal Zonophone and Brunswick before signing to Decca where he made the bulk of his recordings. He spent the ’30s and ’40s playing residencies at various venues-The Mayfair Hotel, The Embassy Club and Ciro’s Club, which he co-owned with American bandleader Jack Harris, as well as pursuing a prolific recording career (he carried on recording at Decca until 1949). He also discovered Vera Lynn, who sang with his band from 1937-1940. His career waned during the ’50s but he discovered another female singer, Kathy Kirby, who he managed for the rest of his life. He died in 1971. “White Christmas” is one of the best known festive songs, the version by Bing Crosby being one of the biggest selling singles of all time (with an estimated 50 million sales).Total sales of all versions are estimated at over 100 million. It was written in 1942 by Irving Berlin and was used in the film “Holiday Inn”. The song has also been recorded by Frank Sinatra, Perry Como, The Drifters, Elvis Presley, Dean Martin, Ella Fitzgerald, Andy Williams, Smokey Robinson & The Miracles, The Beach Boys, The Supremes, Bob Marley and the Wailers, Otis Redding, Barbara Streisand, Neil Diamond, Destiny’s Child, Neil Sedaka, Erasure and many, many others!
- Christmas Melodies by the fireside Part 2 by Radio Melody Boys (Released by Edison Bell Radio (1267) in 1929) (See Christmas Eve podcast blog for more info)
- Christmas Day at the Bugginses Part 2 by Mabel Constanduros assisted by Michael Hogan (Released on Broadcast (471) in 1929.) (See blog on Podcast 12 for more info).
- Jolly Old Christmas Part 2 by Leslie Sarony (Originally released by Imperial (2779) in 1932.) (For more info on Leslie Sarony see blog for Podcast 1) If you like Leslie Sarony check out the 78Man albums “78Man Presents Leslie Sarony” and “78Man presents Leslie Sarony Vol. 2” on download and streaming services (not available in the US).
- At the old pig and whistle (Originally released on Imperial 2887, 1933)
- I’m Courtin’ Sairey Green (Rex 8309, 1934)
- Gorgonzola (Imperial 2379, 1930)
- Wheezy Anna’s wedding day (Rex 8069, 1933)
- Bashful Tom (Rex 8309, 1934)
- Skiddley Dumpty Di Do (Regal Zonophone MR 1922, 1935)
- Everybody loves the races (Eclipse 735, 1934)
- The Monkey on a string (Rex 8069, 1933)
- Funny Stories (Imperial 2686, 1932)
- Rhymes Part 1 (Eclipse 140, 1932)
- Rhymes Part 2 (Eclipse 140, 1932)
- How long has this been going on? (Imperial 1918, 1928)
- You can feel it doing you good (Imperial 1995, 1928)
- The Alpine Milkman (Imperial 2332, 1930)
- Why is the bacon so tough ? (Imperial 1995, 1928)
- I caught two cods cuddling (Imperial 1918, 1928)
- I like to jump upon a bike (Eclipse 735, 1934)
- Stories (Stop me if you’ve heard this one) (Imperial 2686, 1932)
- Leslie Sarony Memories Part 1 (Rex 8236, 1934)
- Leslie Sarony Memories Part 2 (Rex 8236, 1934)
(For copyright reasons this album is not available in the US)
The Podcasts are now being uploaded as videos to You Tube, with extra information about the records played. At the time of writing, the first three have been uploaded, and we aim to add them at the rate of one per week. The channel can be found HERE.
- I’m 21 Today by Jack Pleasants (Released by The Winner (2089) in 1912) Jack Pleasants was born in Bradford in 1874 and was a music hall star of the early 20th century, billed as “The Bashful Limit”. His other recordings include “Where do the flies go in Winter”, “Feeding the ducks on the pond”, “Watching the trains come in”, and “I deserve a good slapping”. He died in 1924.
- Always Jolly by Billy Whitlock (Released by Beka-Grand Record (203) in 1912) Billy Whilock was born Frederick Penna in 1874, in Cheltenham. He began his recording career in the early 1910s, and continued recording into the 1940s. Other recordings include “Chuckles” (1915),”Billy Whitlock’s Aeroplane” (1926), and “Scotch Hot” (1949). Whilock was, like Charles Penrose, a singer of “laughing” songs and he teamed up with Penrose for some recordings, including “The Yuletide Coach” (1925) and “Two old sports” (1920). Whitlock died in 1951.
- Squeeze her Ebeneezer by Billy Williams (Released by Zonophone (1012) in 1913) Billy Williams was born Richard Banks in Australia in 1878, but moved to the UK in 1899, becoming an entertainer and changing his name to Billy Williams. He made his first recordings in 1906 and over the next 9 years became a huge star and prolific recording artiste, making over 500 recordings. He died in March 1915 aged 37. Among his most famous records are “When Father papered the parlour”, “Little Willie’s Woodbines” and “John go and put your trousers on”.
- The Wibbly Wobbly Walk by Fred Elliott (Released by Scala (305) in 1913) Fred Elliott was actually a pseudonym for Jack Charman (see below). Other recordings under this name include “Hush! Here comes the dream man” and “You taught me how to love you”.
- Cohen on telephone deportment by Joe Hayman (Released in 1913) Joe Hayman was born Joseph Hyman in the US in 1876, and for a while partnered with a young Harry Houdini. After they split, Hyman added an a to his surname and shortened his first name to become Joe Hayman, and moved to the UK where he recorded “Cohen on the telephone” in 1913 for Regal Records. In the US it was released by Columbia and became the first record to sell a million copies. This success inevitably led to the recording of several sequels, including “Cohen calls his tailor on the phone” (1918), “Cohen ‘phones for a phone” (1923), and “Cohen phones the gas co.”. Hayman died in 1957.
- Hello, hello, who’s your lady friend by Jack Charman (Released by Coliseum (662) in 1914). Jack Charman was actively recording from around 1911-1924 and his other recordings include “He played on his fiddle-dee-dee”, “Hello old whats-a-name”, “Father went down to Southend”, and “Who were you with last night?”.
- Take me back to dear old Blighty by Florrie Forde (Released by Zonophone (1725) in 1916. For more information on Florrie Forde see blog for Podcast number 1 (March 2016).
- I had no mother to guide me by George Formby (Senior) (Released by Zonophone (1831) in 1917. For more information on George Formby Senior see blog for Podcast number 8 (September 2016).
- Sensation Rag by Original Dixieland Jazz Band.(Released by U.S. Victor 18483, 1918). The Original Dixieland Jass Band (as they were originally known) formed in 1916 and made their first recordings in 1917, when “Livery stable blues” became the first ever jazz record. Over the next few years the band made many recordings and were so successful they spawned a boom in jazz music. Other recordings include “Tiger Rag” (probably their best known record), “Skeleton Jangle”, “At the Jazz band ball”, and “I’m forever blowing bubbles”. The band broke up in the late ’20s but reformed in 1936 and carried on with varying line ups during the ’40s and ’50s.
- Please by The Blue Mountaineers (Released in 1932 by Broadcast Four Tune). “Please” was a hit for Bing Crosby in 1932, and it’s a song which made a big impression on the young John Lennon over a decade later. The first line of the song goes “Oh Please, lend your little ears to my pleas” and John, a big reader and interested in words, was fascinated by the double meaning of the words please/pleas. This influenced him later when he came to write the song “Please Please Me”. The Blue Mountaineers recorded quite a few records for the Broadcast labels from 1932-1934, and consisted mainly of musicians from Ambrose’s band, often with Nat Gonella or Sam Browne on vocals. Other Blue Mountaineers recordings include “Bahama Mama”, “Say to yourself I will be happy”, “Sweet Sixteen and never been kissed”, and “Is I in love? I Is!”.
- Ain’t she sweet by Eddie Sheldon (Released by Edison Bell Winner (4631) in 1927.) “Ain’t she sweet” was a popular song when it was first released in 1927, with multiple versions recorded. The song remained popular and was covered in 1956 by Gene Vincent, and it was this version that The Beatles covered in their early live sets, including when they played in Hamburg starting in 1960. In 1961 while still in Germany they scored a recording contract with Polydor, mainly as backing band for Tony Sheridan, but one of the songs recorded was their version of “Ain’t she sweet” with vocals by John Lennon. Unreleased at the time, it was released as a single in the UK in 1964, reaching number 29. Eddie Sheldon was active as a singer in the late ’20s but didn’t have a lasting career. Other recordings by him include “Let me call you sweetheart”,”Meet me at Twilight” and “Shepherd of the hills”.
- I wish I could shimmy like my sister Kate by Muggsy Spanier and his Ragtime Band (Released by His Master’s Voice (B 9047) in 1940). “I wish I could shimmy like my Sister Kate” was written in 1919 by Clarence Williams and Armand Piron. The song became a jazz standard and was revived in 1960 by The Olympics-it was probably this version that prompted The Beatles to start covering the song in their arduous Hamburg stage act, where they were expected to play for hours on end every night. They were still playing it when they were recorded live in Hamburg in December 1962, a recording subsequently released for the first time in 1977 (and many times since). Muggsy Spanier was born in Chicago in 1901 and went on to make his name as a cornet player in several Dixieland Jazz bands. During his career he worked with other legendary jazz musicians such as Earl Hines, Fats Waller, Sidney Bechet and Bob Crosby. He died in 1967.
- Falling in love again by Jack Leon’s Dance Band (Released by Piccadilly (617) in 1930. “Falling in love again” was written in 1930 by Friedrich Hollaender and originally had German lyrics. The English lyrics were written by Sammy Lerner. The song was famously sung by Marlene Dietrich in the film The Blue Angel, and became a standard. The Beatles played it in their Hamburg sets and it’s another song captured on their live Hamburg tape. Jack Leon made several records in the late ’20s and early ’30s, including “Pagan love song”, “On the sunny side of the street” and “I want to be bad”.
- Robin Hood by Dick James (Released by Parlophone (R 4117) in 1956). George Martin started working for EMI’s Parlophone label in 1950 and was responsible for producing many of the records released on the label from then on; in 1955 he was promoted to head of the label. One of his successes was this recording in 1956 by Dick James, born in 1920 and a professional singer since 1940. As his singing career petered out in the late ’50s, James turned to music publishing, starting his own Dick James Music publishing company in 1961.Through his friendship with Martin, he became involved with The Beatles’ publishing-their Northern Songs company was administered via Dick James Music, although the relationship soured towards the end of the ’60s. Dick James began his own record label (DJM) and had huge success with Elton John in the ’70s. He died in 1986.
- Raunchy by Billy Vaughan and his Orchestra (Released by London (HLD 8522) in 1957. “Raunchy” plays an important part in The Beatles story as it was the tune which George Harrison played to John Lennon when he was introduced to him by Paul McCartney. Despite George being more than 2 years younger than John he was invited to join the band because of how well he played this song. “Raunchy” was originally released by Bill Justus, who co-wrote the song with Sidney Manker.American Billy Vaughan was born in 1919 and learnt to play several instruments as a child but it was not until after the end of World War 2 that he decided to make a career as a musician. He had success in the early ’50s as a member of The Hilltoppers, then began working for Dot Records as music director and started his own orchestra, going on to have over 40 hits in the US, although he had little success in the UK. He died in 1991.
- In the middle of the house by Alma Cogan (Released by His Master’s Voice (POP 261) in 1956). Alma Cogan was born in 1932 in London. She began singing as a child, and at 14 was recommended by Vera Lynn for a variety show in Brighton. By the age of 20 she had been signed to HMV, and had her first hit with “Bell Bottom Blues” in 1954. Many UK hits followed, including the number 1 “Dreamboat” in 1955. “In the middle of the house” made number 20 in 1956. Her popularity began to wane in the UK in the early ’60s, although she remained popular overseas. Alma met The Beatles at a recording of the TV show “Ready Steady Go!” in 1964 and became friends with them, being especially close to John Lennon who it is alleged she had an affair with. Alma made her last recordings in 1965, which included a couple of Beatles covers, but failing health meant her career started to falter. She made a few public appearances in 1966 but died in October, aged just 34.
- I’m gonna sit right down and write myself a letter by Billy Williams. “I’m gonna sit right down and write myself a letter” was written in 1935 by Fred Ahlert and Joe Young and was an immediate hit when recorded by Fats Waller and again the following year when The Boswell Sisters recorded it. Later versions include those by Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole and Dean Martin. The version by Billy Williams was a major hit in 1957, and became a favourite of the young Paul McCartney, although it doesn’t seem to have been performed by The Beatles/Quarrymen at the time. (Bill Haley & The Comets also recorded a version around this time). Decades later, Paul McCartney finally recorded a version of the song for his 2012 album “Kisses on the bottom” (a title taken from the lyrics to the song). Billy Williams (not to be confued with the Australian Billy Williams of “Little Willie’s Woodbines” fame) was born in Texas in 1910 and was the lead singer of The Charioteers between 1930 and 1950, when he formed his own band. Although he had some smaller hits in the US, “I’m gonna…” was his biggest, and his only hit in the UK. He died in 1972.
- That’ll be the day by The Crickets (Released by Coral (Q 72279) in 1957). Buddy Holly and The Crickets were a big influence on John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison and when, as the Quarrymen, they made their first studio recording in 1958, they chose “That’ll be the day” as one side of the two sided acetate they recorded. (Their version was finally released on the “Anthology 1” album in 1995.) The Crickets hit version of the song was released in 1957, although Holly had recorded a version in 1956 with The Three Tunes. The song was written by Holly and Jerry Allison, although the Crickets version also credits producer Norman Petty, despite him having no hand in writing the song. Buddy Holly was born in 1936 in Lubbock, Texas and had his first hit with “That’ll be the day” in 1957. His career was short as he was killed in an air crash on Feb 3 1959 but in that time he wrote and recorded many classics (“Rave on”, “Peggy Sue”, “It doesn’t matter any more”, “Oh Boy”, “Maybe baby” etc.) and left a legacy which still resonates today.