Songs That Should Have Been #1… ‘Please Please Me’, by The Beatles

The Stargazers, Don Cornell, The Johnston Brothers, The Dream Weavers, Jerry Keller…? Nope, me neither. But they’ve all had the honour of topping the UK singles chart.

How well a single performs in the charts can be influenced by various things… promotion, star power, tastes and trends, time of year… pure luck. And that most fickle, unpredictable of  factors: the general public. Do enough of them like your song to make it a smash? Or will they ignore it, and let it fall by the wayside?

I’m taking a short break from the regular countdown to feature five discs that really should have topped the charts. Be it for their long-reaching influence, their enduring popularity or for the simple fact that, had they peaked a week earlier or later, they might have made it. (I’ll only be covering songs released before 1964, as that’s where I’m up to on the usual countdown.)

Next up… A record that changed the course of popular music?

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Please Please Me, by the Beatles

Reached #2 in February 1963

As with Elvis, I don’t need to go giving The Fab Four any extra number one singles. By the end of their chart careers, they’d had seventeen of them. And as much as I love this single (if it had been one of their #1s it would probably be in my Top 5) , and as much as I wish that this had been their first ever chart-topper, that isn’t why I’m including ‘Please Please Me’ in this mini-countdown.

I touched on it in my last post, on the mega-long running #2 hit ‘Stranger on the Shore’, but the charts of the 1950s and ’60s were a tad confused. There wasn’t just one of them, for a start. You had the ‘Melody Maker’ chart, the ‘NME’ chart, and the ‘Record Retailer’ chart. None of which offered a complete overview of a week’s sales – they all conducted ‘surveys’ of selected record stores over the phone…

‘Please Please Me’ hit #1 in the NME chart (which had the largest circulation) and ‘Melody Maker’ chart, but it only reached #2 in ‘Record Retailer’, which was the one that the UK Singles Chart chose to follow. So, it may well have been the biggest selling single at some point; we’ll just never know for sure… The history books record it as having stalled behind Frank Ifield’s dull-as-dishwater ‘The Wayward Wind’ for two weeks.

It’s far from the only single to have suffered this unfortunate fate – it wasn’t until 1969 that the UK charts were unified into one – but it’s a landmark single from the biggest pop group in history, with one of the very best middle-eights, ever… So enjoy.

Songs That Should Have Been #1… ‘Stranger on the Shore’, by Mr. Acker Bilk

The Stargazers, Don Cornell, The Johnston Brothers, The Dream Weavers, Jerry Keller…? Nope, me neither. But they’ve all had the honour of topping the UK singles chart.

How well a single performs in the charts can be influenced by various things… promotion, star power, tastes and trends, time of year… pure luck. And that most fickle, unpredictable of  factors: the general public. Do enough of them like your song to make it a smash? Or will they ignore it, and let it fall by the wayside?

I’m taking a short break from the regular countdown to feature five discs that really should have topped the charts. Be it for their long-reaching influence, their enduring popularity or for the simple fact that, had they peaked a week earlier or later, they might have made it. (I’ll only be covering songs released before 1964, as that’s where I’m up to on the usual countdown.)

Next up… a song that I have to admit I don’t know terribly well. In fact, I listened to it for the very first time just before typing these words…

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Stranger on the Shore, by Mr. Acker Bilk

reached #2 in January 1962

It’s a pleasant enough instrumental, by a clarinetist from Somerset… The theme to a TV programme of the same name. It sounds slightly dated, even for a record released in 1961. Not the type of song I’d usually rush to listen to… I’m including this disc in this mini-countdown for exactly the opposite reasons I included ‘Tutti Frutti’ and ‘Heartbreak Hotel’. ‘Stranger on the Shore’ isn’t revolutionary, or life-changing, or any of that…  But it was a bloody persistent record.

It entered the Top 10 in December of 1961, and it remained, with a couple of drops and re-entries, a Top 10 record in the following… July! Over six months! It remained in the charts for a year. It was the first British single to hit #1 in on the Billboard Hot 100, two years before the British Invasion. It was also the biggest selling hit of 1962 in Britain, and is the biggest selling instrumental record in chart history. It was played in Apollo 10, on its way to the moon…

All the figures suggest that this should have been massive chart-topping smash… except the one that matters most. It never got higher than number two, held off in the most part by Cliff & The Shadows, ‘The Young Ones’. It did top the NME chart, but that wasn’t the official chart, and a lot more on that tomorrow, in my next shoulda-been-number-one post…

Songs That Should Have Been #1… ‘Heartbreak Hotel’, by Elvis Presley

The Stargazers, Don Cornell, The Johnston Brothers, The Dream Weavers, Jerry Keller…? Nope, me neither. But they’ve all had the honour of topping the UK singles chart.

How well a single performs in the charts can be influenced by various things… promotion, star power, tastes and trends, time of year… pure luck. And that most fickle, unpredictable of  factors: the general public. Do enough of them like your song to make it a smash? Or will they ignore it, and let it fall by the wayside?

I’m taking a short break from the regular countdown to feature five discs that really should have topped the charts. Be it for their long-reaching influence, their enduring popularity or for the simple fact that, had they peaked a week earlier or later, they might have made it. (I’ll only be covering songs released before 1964, as that’s where I’m up to on the usual countdown.)

Next up…

Well since my baby left me…

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Heartbreak Hotel, by Elvis Presley

 reached #2 in June 1956

OK, OK, I know. Elvis doesn’t need any more number one singles. He’s had plenty. Back on my regular countdown, of actual #1s, we’re in 1964 and The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll is on fourteen (14!)

But… His dominance of the charts in the early 1960s is why I wish that this disc could have made the top. He had some brilliant, classic #1s – don’t get me wrong – but he also dragged a lot of crap to the top just through the power of his name. If only we could swap ‘Good Luck Charm’, or ‘Rock-A-Hula Baby’, or ‘Wooden Heart’, for this burst of primal energy.

This was Elvis the hip-swiveller, Elvis as Moral Panic, Elvis the Pelvis edited from the waist down… And it’s a really clever song, too. A broken heart imagined as a real place – a hotel where broken-hearted lovers cry in the gloom, and the desk-clerks are all dressed in black. It was inspired by a real-life suicide, which is some heavy shit for a pop song in 1956 (for comparison, it was kept off the top-spot in Britain by the banal, saccharine stylings of Pat Boone, with ‘I’ll Be Home’.) And when that guitar solo kicks in… Oh boy. The King was most definitely in the building.

Songs That Should Have Been #1… “Tutti Frutti”, by Little Richard

The Stargazers, Don Cornell, The Johnston Brothers, The Dream Weavers, Jerry Keller…? Nope, me neither. But they’ve all had the honour of topping the UK singles chart.

How well a single performs in the charts can be influenced by various things… promotion, star power, tastes and trends, time of year… pure luck. And that most fickle, unpredictable of  factors: the general public. Do enough of them like your song to make it a smash? Or will they ignore it, and let it fall by the wayside?

I’m taking a short break from the regular countdown to feature five discs that really should have topped the charts. Be it for their long-reaching influence, their enduring popularity or for the simple fact that, had they peaked a week earlier or later, they might have made it. (I’ll only be covering songs released before 1964, as that’s where I’m up to on the usual countdown.)

And first up… A-wop-bop-a-loo-mop-a-lop-bom-bom!

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Tutti Frutti, by Little Richard

Recorded in September 1955, peaked at #29 in February 1957

‘Tutti Frutti’ came nowhere near the top of the charts. One week at #29, a year and a half after it was originally recorded. That’s all. But this is the sound of the rock ‘n’ roll starters whistle. This is rock ‘n’ roll: the tempo, the frenzied piano, the orgasmic ‘ooooh’s, the wonderful nonsense of the lyrics… Imagine, for a second, a parallel universe in which this was a chart-topping hit.

In real life, rock ‘n’ roll was announced at the top of the UK charts by ‘Rock Around the Clock’ – which is fine. A classic. A seminal record. We all know it. But if this had been the disc to kick it all off in the autumn of ’55… A flamboyant black pianist, pounding out a song (allegedly) originally written with references to gay sex (Tutti Frutti, Good booty, If it don’t fit, Don’t force it…) All that had been eliminated by the time it came to be recorded properly, but the sanitised version was still saucy enough: Got a girl, Named Sue, She knows just what to do… Imagine that knocking Jimmy Young’s plodding ‘The Man From Laramie’ unceremoniously off the top!

Of the big four rock ‘n’ rollers – Elvis, Chuck, Buddy, and Little Richard – the latter is the only one never to have topped the UK charts. He is the only one still alive so… who knows – there might still be time! The closest he came was with his cover of ‘Baby Face’, which reached #2 in early 1959.

168. ‘Don’t Throw Your Love Away’, by The Searchers

The Searchers complete their hat-trick of #1s, with a very ‘Searchers’ record. Light as a feather guitar, restrained vocals, a hint of melancholy… Check, check, check.

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Don’t Throw Your Love Away, by The Searchers (their 3rd and final #1)

2 weeks, from 7th – 21st May 1964

If The Beatles were the popular kids, and Gerry & The Pacemakers the class clowns, The Searchers were the cool kids in the corner, planning out their next, more grown-up, hit record. ‘Don’t Throw Your Love Away’ is the sort of record your gran wouldn’t have minded; but she would definitely have told you to turn off The Dave Clark Five.

It’s another Beat-pop song with a less-than-positive message. A song about a man who has been burned in the past, and who now sits at the end of the bar doling out advice to anyone who’ll listen. Lovers of today, Just throw their dreams away, And play at love… They give their love away, To anyone who’ll say, I love you… He doesn’t refer to himself specifically; but you just know he’s had his heart broken. Don’t throw your love away… he counsels… For you, Might need it, Someday…

When I first listened to this record a few days ago – a record I was aware of but had never really listened to properly – I noted that I ‘couldn’t really get into it’, that it was a little bland and uninventive. I even jotted down the phrase ‘Landfill Merseybeat’, meaning it in the same way that anyone who wasn’t The Arctic Monkeys, Franz Ferdinand or The Libertines in 2006 was ‘Landfill Indie’. But I’d like to officially change my mind, having listened to it on repeat, and admit that what I mistook for a bland number is actually a very subtle song that simply takes a while to fully reveal itself. The vocal harmonies are cute, and the guitars chime very tightly (I especially like the little ‘Arabian Nights’ fill in the bridge.)

And all credit to The Searchers, for not chasing the ‘Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ of other Beat songs, for ploughing their own furrow and taking this forgotten little slice of sad-pop to number one. This is a very ‘Searchers’ record; and if that means it’s a little hard to get into at first, then fine. I think part of the reason I didn’t get into their first chart-topper, ‘Sweets For My Sweet’, is that that was a song that really needed an up-tempo, grinning approach, which The Searchers couldn’t provide.

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That’s not to say that they couldn’t do better than ‘Don’t Throw Your Love Away’. ‘Needles and Pins’ stands out clearly as the best of their three #1s, if not one of the best Merseybeat records, period. And their next single but one, the brilliant ‘When You Walk Into the Room’, would have made an even better final chart-topper for the group. It only reached number three…

I really could just cut and paste this next sentence… The Searchers (as with Gerry & The P’s, Billy J, Peter & Gordon et al) couldn’t keep the hits going much longer than this. Their final Top 20 hit came in 1965. Perhaps their biggest problem was that they didn’t write their own hits – all their #1s were covers (‘Don’t Throw Your Love Away’ was originally released, in the US at least, by The Orlons.) In the fifties that would have been fine, but all of a sudden, it seems, acts – especially guitar bands – needed to be writing their own stuff. They tried to move with the times, covering songs by The Stones and The Hollies, but nothing stuck. The line-up changed at an alarming rate, and they now tour as both Mike Pender’s Searchers and the ‘original’ group. But, we can remember them fondly as the band who gave us a breather, with their wistful melodies and hesitant vocals, from the relentless march of the Beat revolution.

167. ‘A World Without Love’, by Peter & Gordon

With Beatlemania at its scream-until-you-vomit height, it should come as no surprise to learn that one Fab Four song is replacing another at the top of the charts. Except, one glance at the act involved in this latest #1 gives the game away… There was neither a Peter nor a Gordon in The Beatles.

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A World Without Love, by Peter & Gordon (their 1st and only #1)

2 weeks, from 23rd April – 7th May 1964

For those keeping track, this is the 6th Lennon & McCartney composition to take the top spot in the UK: four recorded by The Beatles themselves; two covered by other artists. But even if you hadn’t been filled in beforehand, the second the needle drops on ‘A World Without Love’ you know it’s a L&M number.

Is it the chord progressions? The harmonies? The fact it’s a catchy song with a sad underbelly? Is it all those things; or none? I can’t put my finger on it – but it’s there throughout the song. That Lennon & McCartney fairy dust. At the same time, though, this disc doesn’t sound exactly like a Beatles’ number. They were still, at this point, a guitars and drums pop group; while this record is driven by a bass riff and an organ.

The voices are different too – softer, more Everly Brothers than Beatles. They’re nice, drenched in echo… Please, lock me away… And don’t allow the day… Here inside, Where I hide, With my loneliness… It’s a song about how awful the world looks after a break-up. And this particular break-up must have hit pretty darn hard… Birds sing out of tune, And rainclouds hide the moon… By the end, the duo are begging to be locked away, hidden from all, rather than staying in a world without love.

I’ve mentioned it before, but it is surprising just how melancholy and melodramatic some of these Beat #1s were. You think it’s all youthful exuberance and ‘Yeah Yeah Yeahs’, but when you sit down and listen intently you notice that songs like ‘Bad to Me’, ‘She Loves You’ and ‘Needles and Pins’ are more concerned with the downsides of love, and that it’s not all sweetness and light. Apparently this song was written by Paul McCartney aged just sixteen, and that makes complete sense. That line about ‘hiding with his loneliness’ is pure teen-angst; while the bridge – in which it is revealed that the singer still holds out hope of his beloved returning to him – is pure youthful optimism. Although the line When she does (come back) I lose… adds an ambiguous element into the mix. Does he want her to come back? Or is he enjoying his gloomy wallow a little too much?

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Peter Asher and Gordon Waller were school friends, and ‘A World Without Love’ was their debut hit. Asher was the brother of Paul McCartney’s girlfriend, Jane, and actually shared a room with Paul when he first moved to London, hence how he got to know him and was allowed to ‘borrow’ one of his songs. All the duo’s biggest hits were covers – ‘True Love Ways’ and a version of ‘To Know Him Is To Love Him’ followed – before, as with so many of the bands that broke through in the Beat explosion, their careers crumbled circa 1966/67.

McCartney was honest enough to admit that he thought ‘A World Without Love’ wasn’t good enough for his own band, and so they never recorded so much as a demo of it. I think that’s a little harsh – it’s a neat slice of pop that’s the equal of many Beatles’ album tracks. But I also get what he means. Nothing here matches the euphoric rush of ‘She Loves You’ or the guitar on ‘I Want to Hold Your Hand’. They may have had cute hairstyles and cheeky grins, but The Beatles, and Lennon & McCartney in particular, knew what they were doing, taking control of their careers from the off.

166. ‘Can’t Buy Me Love’, by The Beatles

Our next #1 is a record that wastes no time in getting to the heart of what it’s all about. The song is called ‘Can’t Buy Me Love’, and the intro goes:

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Can’t Buy Me Love, by The Beatles (their 4th of seventeen #1s)

3 weeks, from 2nd – 23rd April 1964

Can’t buy me love…. No-oh…. Can’t buy me lo-ve… It’s a jarring intro – a bit too in your face – but things improve a lot with the verses. I’ve always liked the swinging, bluesy rhythm on this record and today, listening to it for the first time in ages, I still do. Buy you a diamond ring my friend, If it makes you feel alright, I’ll get you anything my friend, If it makes you feel alright…

It’s a song about money not being everything; which is a topic that always sounds a bit off coming from hugely successful and completely loaded musicians. But I think The Beatles were young enough, and sufficiently green behind the ears, in early-’64, to get away with it. Actually, in a similar manner to ‘She Loves You’, Lennon & McCartney take a familiar theme here and add a layer or two. The lyrics aren’t about not needing money; they’re about having money and not really caring what you do with it. I don’t care too much for money, Money can’t buy me love…

It’s also a kind of contradictory message, as they then list the things they’ll give someone – as long as they love them back. Give you all I’ve got to give, If you say you’ll love me too… So money can buy you love…? I’m confused, guys. Perhaps we’re getting a first glimpse, four number #1s into their career, of The Fab Four’s disillusionment with fame and riches…? Especially in the final verse, where they hope that the girl wants the kind of things that money just can’t buy. Had they already been burned by gold-digging groupies…? It ends on what almost sounds like a wistful sigh… Ohhhhh….

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Musically, it’s a little basic. At least, it’s Beatles-basic (which means that most other bands would have bitten your hand off for a chance to record it.) The high points are the ear-splitting shriek before the solo, and the echoey, plucked guitar that follows. It’s never been one of my favourite Beatles songs – I guess I always overlooked it in favour of the ‘bigger’ hits – but it’s been nice to re-discover it for this post. For some reason I will always associate it with an episode of The Simpsons, in which Grandpa and his friends frolic in a meadow (I’m sure I’m not imagining that…)

‘Can’t Buy Me Love’ ensured that The Beatles joined both Elvis and Frank Ifield in scoring 4 #1s in a year (though only Elvis did it in a calendar year.) In fact, this record hit the top simultaneously in the UK and the US and pretty much marks the absolutely demented, scream your head off and throw your panties height of Beatlemania. It was #1 in the week of the famous all-Beatles Top 5 in the Billboard Hot 100, and followed directly on from ‘I Want to Hold Your Hand’ and ‘She Loves You’ in occupying pole position. These three discs hogged the top spot over there for a full fourteen consecutive weeks.

Back on the other side of the Atlantic, though, you could be forgiven for thinking that a three-week stint at the top of the charts seems a little short for a hot new single from The Biggest Band the World Had Ever Seen. Perhaps, but they were about to be replaced at #1 by one of their own songs… again…

Listen to all the #1s so far by following my playlist:

165. ‘Little Children’, by Billy J. Kramer with The Dakotas

One of the earliest stars of the Beat explosion, Billy J. Kramer, returns for one last go on top. And he starts this latest #1 off with an intro full of intrigue. An intriguing intro. It’s a little slow and shuffling, a little woozy, like a pub band that’ve had one too many warming up for their final encore of the night. All that’s missing is a harmonica…

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Little Children, by Billy J. Kramer with The Dakotas (their 2nd and final #1)

2 weeks, from 19th March – 2nd April 1964

Then the lyrics come in, and the intrigue grows ten-fold. Little children, You better not tell on me… I’m telling you… Little children, You better not tell what you see… It’s a song that tells a story – rather than the traditional ‘I love you, I’m in heaven, Hold my hand’ kind of songs that we’ve had a lot of recently – and that’s always a good thing. It makes them easier to write about for a start. But… And I’m sure you noticed it too… Those opening lines do sound kinda creepy.

It gets worse, too, before it gets better. I’ll give you candy, And a quarter, If you’re quiet, Like you oughta be, And keep the secret with me… Yep. I know. But, just as you reach for the phone to call ChildLine, all becomes clear. He wants the children to bugger off so that he can kiss and cuddle with their – presumably safely over-age – older sister. Nothing more sinister here than a spot of mild bribery. Phew.

Still, this is a strange little song. And not just because of those lyrics. I like it, the slightly seedy rhythm and the fact that it paints a picture of a very specific and believable scenario. Why does he not want his secret exposed? You saw me kissing your sister, You saw me holding her hand, But if you snitch to your mother, Your father won’t understand… Are her parents simply over-protective? Or has he got a reputation as a bit of a bounder? The best bits are the growled asides: I wish they would take a nap… And the simple, snide Go anywhere…! Add to this the fact that there isn’t really a chorus or a solo, just four ascending verses in which the singer grows more and more frustrated about not being left alone with his beau. I like it, even though it’s a strange song. I like it because it’s a strange song.

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Given all the American references littered throughout the song – ‘quarters’, ‘movies’, ‘going steady’ – I was convinced that this #1 was going to add to the list of Beat-hits-that-were-actually-covers, but no. It was written by two American songwriters – J. Leslie McFarland and Mort Shuman – but Billy J. and The Dakotas recorded the first and only version. Apparently Kramer had been offered another Lennon and McCartney song but turned it down for something quirkier. Kudos to him for that. Although it has to be said that, as fun as this record is, ‘Bad to Me’, their first, Beatles-written, chart-topper is the superior disc.

That was it for Billy J. and number one hits. In a similar fashion to Gerry & The Pacemakers, his career fell off a cliff in 1965 as the Beat movement split into all its different sub-factions. He would only have one further UK Top 10, and parted from The Dakotas in 1967. In the seventies he worked in cabaret and regional television, and to this day he still does a turn on the oldies circuits. He has also been married twice, and so he must have persuaded those pesky kids to clear off, eventually…

164. ‘Anyone Who Had a Heart’, by Cilla Black

Alright, chuck? What’s your name and where d’you come from? Me name’s Cilla, and I’m from Liverpool.

1962 and ’63 were barren years in terms of women reaching number one in the UK. 1963 had precisely zero female #1s, while 1962 had just the one – Wendy Richard popping up as the featured artist on Mike Sarne’s ‘Come Outside’ (and she didn’t even sing on that record!) No, if we are counting #1 discs sung solely by women we have to look all the way back to Helen Shapiro’s ‘Walkin’ Back to Happiness’ from October 1961! No pressure then, Cilla…

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Anyone Who Had a Heart, by Cilla Black (her 1st of two #1s)

3 weeks, from 27th February – 19th March 1964

This is a dramatic record. Right from the opening chords. Dun… Dun Dun… It’s the sort of song sung onstage, in a movie, while a murder is being committed in the wings. We’ve got a jabbing piano, cascading strings, and those rolling drums that are fast becoming the sound of the mid-sixties. Anyone who ever loved, Could look at me, And know that I love you…. It’s the song of a spurned lover. One who demands better. Knowing I love you… so, Anyone who had a heart, Would take me in his arms and, Love me too…

Writing the words out like that, though, cannot convey the brilliantly stop-start, woozy way that they come at the listener – loud then quiet, soft then angry. The pauses before the ‘so’ and the ‘who’ in the chorus are perfect, as is the whispered What am I to do… before the gorgeous horn solo.

It is a slice of supreme balladry – a seriously classy record. And when you discover, as I just did, that it was written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David, then that makes complete sense. It’s their 4th UK chart-topper so far. And the soaring ending – with the Anyone who had a heart would love me too… lines emphasised by drumbeats on each word, and Yeah Yeahs from the backing singers, is possibly the most sixties thing we’ve heard yet in this countdown.

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The only unconvincing thing about this record is… sorry Cilla… the voice. Technically, it’s great. But, for me, it sounds just a little young. Anyone who had a heart would love me too… is a difficult line to sell, and in the hands of a twenty-year old Cilla Black it sounds a little bratty. You don’t like me so you must have something wrong with you… My first instinct is to ask: Did Dusty ever sing this? Dusty would have done it justice. And she did. It’s not her finest effort, and I’m not sure about the guitars in place of the piano, but still… Nobody conveys stoic heartbreak like Ms. Springfield. On top of this, the song was originally recorded by Dionne Warwick, who also gave a more grown-up rendition.

But, still, this single launched Cilla Black as one of the biggest British female singers of the decade. Her take on ‘Anyone Who Had a Heart’ was the biggest selling song by a woman for the entirety of the 1960s! She was, as many people know (and as she kept reminding us for years to come), best mates with The Beatles, coming up through the same club circuit as they did. John Lennon introduced her to Brian Epstein, and the band even accompanied her during her audition for Parlophone.

Maybe what I’m mistaking for brattishness was actually the reason Cilla Black became so popular – her genuine girl-next-door, cheeky charm. She’ll top the charts again very soon and so we’ll hold off talking about what was to come for our Cilla for now. It is interesting to note, though, that both she and the last woman to top the charts, the aforementioned Wendy Richard, went to on to be better known for their TV work than their singing. More on that later…

Listen to every #1 so far with this handy playlist:

Remembering Doris Day

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With the sad news that Doris Day has passed away, at the grand old age of ninety-seven, I thought it would be fitting to remember her two UK chart-toppers. I covered them in my countdown last year, but they are always worth a re-listen (follow the links below to read the original posts…)

Her first was one of the longest running #1 hits in British chart history – ‘Secret Love’, from the soundtrack to her hit movie ‘Calamity Jane’, which spent a whole 9 weeks on top in the spring/summer of 1954.

She followed this up two years later, with possibly one of the best-known songs to ever  have topped the charts, ‘Whatever Will Be, Will Be (Que Sera, Sera)’

Of course, Day’s musical success went far beyond her two chart-toppers. She scored hits throughout the fifties, and she would have had several more had the charts begun before 1952. My favourite of hers, though, is her final UK Top 10, from 1964… ‘Move Over Darling’.

And it wouldn’t be right if I didn’t mention the fact that she got one of the most famous name-checks in one of the most successful movies ever… ‘Grease’ (which is probably where I first heard of her!) She most certainly was not brought up that way… Which was a big part of her charm, and her longevity. In 2011, for example, she became the oldest artist to score a UK Top 10 album featuring new material, aged eighty-nine.

RIP.