334. ‘Welcome Home’, by Peters and Lee

I know from the second I press play on our next number one that it is a song I’m going to enjoy. The intro alone is an example of such lavish, seventies, horns ‘n’ strings cheese that, despite knowing much, much better, I like it before the voices have even come in.

Welcome Home, by Peters & Lee (their 1st and only #1)

1 week, from 15th – 22nd July 1973

I’m so alone, My love, Without you… You’re part of everything I do… There’s a gentle, country and western twang in there too, adding to the sentimentality of it all. And then comes the chorus, and I’ve heard this song before. I know it, of course I do, because it’s the sort of chorus you’d know even if you’d never listened to music before. Welcome home, Wel-come… Come on in, And close the door…

‘Welcome Home’ makes the work of Tony Orlando – ‘Knock Three Times’, ‘Tie a Yellow Ribbon…’ and all that – seem subtle and understated. It is that cheesy. Listening to it, I immediately picture Elvis giving it the glitzy, jump-suited Vegas treatment. (Though to be honest, I can’t find any evidence of him ever singing it. Shame…)

Peters and Lee were a duo, obviously, but hearing this single it sounds more like a singer and his backing vocalist. The woman’s voice is much softer, and much further back in the mix. Lennie Peters had been a pianist and singer, travelling round pubs for gigs throughout the sixties. He was blind, having lost sight in one eye in a car crash aged five, and in the other aged sixteen, when a brick was thrown at him! He met Dianne Lee on the same pubs and clubs circuit. She was nearly twenty years younger, and dreamt of being a ballet dancer…

And if you were expecting a seedy story of exploitation and creepy age-gaps… You’ll have to wait (at least until our next #1…) For it seems that Peters and Lee were two people who simply enjoyed singing with one another. They entered a TV talent show called ‘Opportunity Knocks’, and the rest, as they say, is history. Two people for whom life might not have turned out quite as they’d hoped, but who suddenly found themselves at number one on the pop charts. Yes it’s sentimental, yes its ridiculously uncool, but it’s kind of lovely. As your nan would have said: “They don’t make ‘em like that anymore!”

I’m not quite sure what’s just happened. I should have approached this song much more cynically, but the more I listen to it the more I sway along. I better stop before I start claiming this is some kind of all-time classic. Peters & Lee had a few more hits, and kept intermittently recording and touring through to Peter’s death in 1992.

They also spent a good chunk of their time, in the later years, recording crappy karaoke-backing-track versions of their biggest hit. These are the only versions of ‘Welcome Home’ on Spotify; you have to go to YouTube, or your nearest record store, if you want it in all its original, schmaltzy glory. 1973 has truly been the year to ruin my #1s Blog Spotify playlist, and the situation probably won’t be helped by our next chart-topper…

13 thoughts on “334. ‘Welcome Home’, by Peters and Lee

  1. One of those records I hated at the time, but now readily admit that I rather like it – you can’t knock it. And it has two very respectable rock connections – or rather the singers do. Lennie was Charlie Watts’ uncle, while Dianne later married and formed a musical duo with Rick Price of Wizzard (I don’t think he wears roller skates or an angel costume on stage any more though).

  2. Same here. I couldnt stand it when I was 15, Opportunity Knocks was as cheesy as Britains Got Talent, and it was so old-fashioned. I find myself happily singing along to any of their hits these days, he had a good voice ol Lennie. This was right up my grandparents and parents street at the time. 🙂

    1. Yeah I can imagine that to a fifteen year old it would sound like one of the worst things ever committed to vinyl. I was 15 when The Millennium Prayer came out… except I still think that’s one of the worst things ever… ever.

      1. I was almost 42 when Millennium Prayer came out and I also think it’s still one of the worst records ever 🙂 When I do my list of Birth Day UK chart-toppers, it will rate only higher than the likes of Mr Blobby. Look forward to your review of that one! 🙂

      2. Are your birthday #1s also mainly the Xmas #1s? How awful… I’d say Mr Blobby is a better record, though, because Mr Blobby is fully aware that it is terrible, while Cliff takes it all very, very, very seriously.

      3. usually the Xmas number ones but not always – January 3rd 🙂 It’s difficult to pick the worst one there’s so many X Factor, novelty, and just plain bad songs to pick from that I’d have to torture myself and play them all to sort them, but point taken, at least kiddie songs are aimed at 5-year-olds as an excuse 🙂

  3. badfinger20 (Max)

    No…this one has that backup that I do not like. What’s that line by John Lennon? “The sound you make is Muzak to my ears”… yea it’s kind of sterile…too safe.

  4. Pingback: 358. ‘Sad Sweet Dreamer’, by Sweet Sensation – The UK Number Ones Blog

  5. Pingback: Recap: #331 – #360 – The UK Number Ones Blog

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