WOODEN HEART – Elvis Presley (11 weeks)
I can’t say I have any specific memories of this Elvis singalong from G.I. Blues – I was too young for the film, though I might have caught it on TV a few years later – but it was one that was pretty well known during the 60’s (unlike some of Elvis’ other chart-toppers) – and a regular of Two-Way Family Favourites the weekly show for forces families living abroad which aired on Radio Two in the UK, I think. Other than that – obviously one to appeal to kids, what with the puppet theme, a German-styled song to fit in with Elvis in Germany, and a catchy-singalong for all the family.
HALFWAY TO PARADISE – Billy Fury (9 weeks)
Billy Fury was my fave male popstar when I was pre-school – mum and dad have always fondly-recalled me pronouncing his name Billy Floory – but I oddly recall few of his songs from the time, though some of them are very good indeed (Wondrous Place, for example). This song is by far his most-famous, and best, a cover of the Tony Orlando US-hit version of the Carole King-Gerry Goffin song which is better than the original, all sweeping strings supporting his unusual vocal-style. Again, no specific place-memories to it, just know it was the song of his that everyone seemed to love most. Dad bought one of his singles in 1966, amongst a batch of oldies, but sadly it wasn’t this one, it was the more-50’s-rocker-styled Collette. When Billy died far too young in 1983, I was saddened that he was having a revival of sorts, obviously aware how ill he was and making the best of things to stay occupied.
JOHNNY REMEMBER ME – John Leyton (8 weeks)
This Joe Meek brainchild chart-topper was an example of a record elevating itself from brilliant production, a death disc that was literally haunting, in lyric, and not so literally in sound. John Leyton was a TV star lucked-into a short pop career. I had no idea who the singer was or what his name was, but I knew and loved the song, not least because it was called Johnny – and my name is John. Kids love songs with their name in, it gives a sense of ownership and importance! Joe Meek records were ground-breaking for the UK pop scene of the time, and still impress nearly 60 years later in this case. One of those songs I still love, cos it’s still fab, but have never overdosed on from over-familiarity – always have heard it semi-regularly but never over and over and over again, which can take decades to get over sometimes when a song you love burns out. (Shhh don’t mention Bo Rap!)