MIKE SMITH’S HOT HUNDRED UK HITS
This year saw British acts having a stronger presence in the UK charts. For example, whilst in 1959, the top spot was shared equally between British and American acts, in 1960 the British had eleven number ones against six by Americans. Furthermore, the British number ones were not just covers of USA hits, by any means. Cliff Richard and his backing group, The Shadows both hit the top with original material, as did Lonnie Donegan, Adam Faith and Johnny Kidd. It was a very successful year for Cliff Richard, Adam Faith, Lonnie Donegan, Billy Fury and Anthony Newley, who all enjoyed three or more major hits. 1960 was also the debut year for Acker Bilk, who would become a major star of the Trad Jazz scene. British-born but Australia-raised Frank Ifield had his first hit, although it was 1962 before he hit the big time. The Shadows came out from Cliff's shadow to have massive instrumental success which included five number ones by the end of 1963. Matt Monro had his first hit at the end of this year, and went on to have great success, including in the USA as well.
Although the pure Rock 'n' Roll of the 1950's was mellowing, Elvis Presley, the Everly Brothers and Connie Francis continued their success by choosing more ballad-style releases which enthused the British public. 1960 also saw the arrival of Brenda Lee who had many hits for the first few years of the decade; Roy Orbison, who became a major international star; The Drifters who suffered from British covers in the UK charts; and two Americans who had a shorter period of success in Britain than at home: Brian Hyland and Bobby Rydell.
These are my personal favourite recordings from this particular year, listed in the order in which they entered the UK hit singles chart. You may not agree with my choices, but these were UK chart hits that had plenty of air play on the music radio stations of the day, such as Radio Luxemburg.
Michael Holliday (26 Nov 1924 - 29 Oct 1963) was born in Liverpool, England. After winning talent contests he was awarded a recording contract with EMI in 1955.
His first major hit came in 1958, and more hits followed until
1960. He became a major British singing star, and he enjoyed many appearances on radio, television and the stage.
This was his last significant hit; only two minor chart entries
would follow. He had a mental breakdown in 1961 and died from a suspected drug overdose in 1963.
Down Yonder In New Orleans
Freddy Cannon was born on
4 Dec 1940 in Massachusetts, USA. He is said by some to the
be last of the raw Rock 'n' Roll performers. He learned to
play guitar at a young age, and cut his first record in 1955 with
a group called The Spindrifts. His first solo success
("Tallahassee Lassie") came in 1959. That single was a success in the USA, reaching number 6 on the
charts and selling a million copies. Released in the UK on
the fledgling Top Rank label it peaked at number 17. This
follow-up recording did much better in the UK, and peaked at number
3 in the USA as well. Like many of his
contemporaries, he continues to perform on the nostalgia circuits
in the 21st century.
(24 Sep 1931 - 14 Apr 1999) was born in east London,
England. He started an acting career as a teenager, and made
several films during the 1950s. It was in one film,
"Idol On Parade", a 1959 comedy, that he sang a few
songs that launched him into a singing career, with a number of
chart hits during the early 1960s. He teamed up with Leslie Bricusse
in the early 1960s and they began writing stage musicals
together. The first was "Stop the World - I Want to Get Off" in which
Newley also performed, and which was a hit show in London and on
Broadway. This was followed by "The Roar of the
Greasepaint - the Smell of the Crowd" (1965) and Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971), based on the children's book by Roald Dahl.
He also continued his acting career in film and on television,
with some stage work through the 1970s and 1980s. He died in
Florida from cancer at age 67.
Title: Poor Me
Adam Faith (23
Jun 1940 - 8 Mar 2003) was born in west London, England.
After various jobs behind the scenes in the film and TV
industries, he cut his first record in 1958, but it made no impact
on the charts. Despite this he made a number of TV
appearances, and in late 1959 he was given the chance to record
the song "What Do You Want?", written by Les Vandyke, arranged by
John Barry and produced by John Burgess. This kicked off a
career that saw him rise to be one of the top British musical stars of the early 1960s. His first two hits went to number
1, and he had a further nine Top 10 hits by 1963, with a tally of
21 hits in all from 1959 to 1966. After the hits dried up he
moved into acting an became a popular actor in TV drama series
("Budgie" 1971-1972; "Love Hurts" 1992-1994),
also in several films, and stage plays from the late 1960s to his death.
He died in Stoke-on-Trent, England, whilst on tour with a stage
Title: A Voice
In The Wilderness
Cliff Richard was born on
14 Oct 1940 in
Lucknow, India, whilst his parents were working in that country. He returned to England with his family in
1948. He formed a band in 1957 and a year later he was chosen as a singer for the TV Rock 'n' Roll
show "Oh Boy!".
His first hit came in 1958, which started a career that continued into the 21st century, with more than 130 hit
singles and over 50 original albums, spanning 50 years plus.
In the early 1960s he also starred in several musical films,
notably "The Young Ones" and "Summer Holiday".
He also achieved a number one single in five different decades,
and is the most successful British recording artist of all time.
Clarinetist and jazz-band leader, Acker Bilk (28 Jan 1929 - 2 Nov 2014) was born in Somerset, England. He learned to play the clarinet in the army during his National Service. He formed his own jazz band in 1951, playing around his native West Country of England. Shortly after, he was booked for a six-month residency in Germany, where he developed his famous image of goatee beard, bowler hat and striped waistcoat. Billed as Mr Acker Bilk and His Paramount Jazz Band, his first UK hit was this track, culminating in the million-selling "Stranger on the Shore" in 1961-62. His hit records started a trend for traditional jazz in the UK charts during the early 1960s, with other jazz bands, notably Kenny Ball & His Jazzmen, scoring many hits. Bilk continued performing to enthusiastic fans until the early 2000s, when ill-health forced his retirement.
was born on 12 Aug 1941 on the Isle of Wight, England. He
was a milk delivery man (milkman) before he became a professional
singer. He had signed with the newly-launched Top Rank
record company, and his first release was a cover of "Teenager
in Love", but Marty Wilde had the bigger hit with that
song. His cover of Sam Cooke's song "Only Sixteen"
took him to the top of
the charts, and gave him instant stardom. He enjoyed seven
Top 10 chart entries from 1959 to 1962, with a tally of 11 hits overall -
mostly covers of American originals. He has continued to perform
in nostalgia shows and on cruise ships into the 21st century.
Bobby Darin (14 May 1936 - 20 Dec 1973) was born in
New York City, USA. Darin began writing songs in 1955, and wrote a few numbers for Connie Francis. He also
began arranging music for artists on Atlantic Records, with whom Darin had been signed.
His first hit came in 1958, starting a recording career that would
last through the 1960s, although he would change musical direction a few times. He had had a weak heart for most
of his life, and he died following heart surgery at the age of 37.
were formed in Los Angeles in 1952. By 1955 they had their first hits in the USA, quickly followed by hits in the UK. There were several personnel changes, even during their hits period. Subsequently, changes have been frequent, and ex-members have formed new groups also called The Platters, which led to various legal challenges. Such legal activity continued right up to 2014, even though most of the original members had died by then. The current line up has no original members. This recording was
their final hit in the UK.
was born on 30 Sep 1935 in Texas, USA, but his family moved to San
Francisco, where he grew up. His father encouraged him to
sing, and he was having voice lessons from the age of 13. He
began singing in clubs in 1955, and was soon given a recording
contract. His crooning style was very popular with
the older generation, and TV appearances increased his popularity.
He issued dozens of albums of ballads and standards, as well as
having some success in the singles market. He has continued
performing into the 21st century.
Title: On A
Slow Boat To China
Emile Ford ( 16 Oct 1937 - 11 Apr
2016) was born the island of St Lucia in the West Indies. His mother and grandfather were musicians in St
Lucia. In the mid-1950s, Emile and his family relocated to
the UK, and he attended a London technical college, where he
learned to play a number of musical instruments. He began singing
in 1958, and made a few TV appearances. He formed his
backing band, The Checkmates, and together they won the Soho Fair talent contest
in London during July 1959, which resulted in a deal with Pye
Records. From 1959 to 1962 he had eight hit singles. In 1969, he set up a recording studio in Barbados,
West Indies, with the help of his father, before moving to live in
Sweden, where he developed a new open-air playback system for stage
Got What It Takes
Johnson (15 Oct 1938 - 16 May 1993) was born in Detroit, USA.
He began his career singing with a doo-wop group called the Serenaders in the mid
1950s, and was spotted by Berry Gordy Jr who was about to form the
record label, Tamla Motown. Johnson's recording of "Come to Me" became the label's first single in May 1959.
"You've Got What
It Takes" was his first Top 10
hit on both sides of the Atlantic. In the UK he had two
minor hits in 1960 following this, but it was 1969 before he had
another British Top 10 entry. After that he took a back-room
job with Motown Records, but continued singing until his
death. He died from a stroke in South Carolina, USA at the
age of 54.
Title: The Big
Fisher (1931 - 12 Feb 1999)* was born in Los Angeles, USA. In 1949 she played a small, uncredited part in the musical "Make Believe Ballroom", a film starring
several major stars of the day, in cameo roles. In the early fifties she married composer,
arranger and producer Wayne Shanklin (1916-1970), who wrote most of her material, including
this hit. She spent most of the 1950s trying to make it as a singer, working small Los Angeles clubs.
Finally, in 1959, Shanklin wrote this song which Fisher recorded,
taking it to number 3 in the USA charts. She had a few
further hits in America, but this was her sole appearance in the
UK charts. She retired from the music business after the
death of Wayne Shanklin in 1970.
Title: Let It
These two brothers had roots in
American Country Music, but soon became major Rock 'n' Roll stars.
They were Don Everly (born 1 Feb 1937) and Phil Everly (19 Jan
1939 - 3 Jan 2014). They moved to Nashville in 1955 and made
a couple of recordings, but they did not enter the charts.
However, in early 1957 they signed with Cadence Records and
recorded "Bye Bye Love" which it is said had been turned
down by 30 other acts. The recording reached number two on
the USA pop charts and sold a million copies. "Bye Bye
Love" became their first hit in the UK too, peaking at number
six. After three years with Cadence they moved to Warner
Brothers records and the hits continued. They amassed 29 hit
singles by 1968, after which the hits stopped. They both
went solo in the 1970s after a falling out, and they did not speak
for some years. However, they reunited in 1983 with a
sell-out concert at the Royal Albert Hall in London, and they made
a number of concert tours into the 1990s.
Ifield was born on 30 Nov 1937 in Coventry, England. After
the war, he and his parents went to live near Sydney,
Australia. He enjoyed singing, and by his late teens he was
a popular performer in Australia. He decided to return to
the UK in 1959. This was his first recording, which did
reasonably well, but it was not until 1962 that he made a real
chart breakthrough with his million-selling number one hit, "I
Remember You". That record made him a star, and he followed it
with three further chart-toppers and a Top 10 hit by 1964.
After that the hits tailed off as musical trends changed in the
was still occasionally performing into the 21st century.
Title: Be Mine
Fortune was born on 4 Jan 1940 in Birkenhead, Merseyside,
England. He formed a Rock 'n' Roll group while he was still
at school, and they performed at a few local venues. Having left
school, he went to London and was spotted performing at the famous
coffee bar. A recording contract with Pye Records was set
up, and this song became a Top 5 hit for him. It was
produced by Joe Meek (1929-1967), who went on to produce several
major hits, notably for The Tornados and John Leyton.
However, only one minor hit followed for Fortune, and he soon
Could Be Bluer
Jerry Lordan (30 Apr 1934 - 24 July 1995) was born in London, England. He taught himself to play piano and guitar as a child, and began songwriting in 1958. An early success was "I've Waited So Long", which was a hit for Anthony Newley in 1959 (see year 1959, song 45 in these lists). Although his singing career was not a huge success, his composing certainly was. He wrote the number one hits "Apache" and "Wonderful Land", as well as other hits for the Shadows. He achieved a further number one, "Diamonds" for the ex-Shadows' Jet Harris and Tony Meehan in 1963; also hits for Cliff Richard and others.
Perry Como (18 May 1912 - 12 May 2001) was born in Pennsylvania, USA to Italian immigrants. In 1933 he took part in a
dance band's talent spot, and was immediately offered a job. By 1943 he had his own radio show, and a recording contract with RCA. The mid 1950s and 1960s saw him with hit records and his popular TV show that was broadcast in the UK as well. His first run of hits continued until 1962, but he returned in 1971 with another series of hit singles, when he was nearly 60 years of age! Como died in his sleep at his home in Jupiter Inlet Colony, Florida, USA, six days before his eighty-ninth birthday.
Title: Hit And
and arranger, John Barry (3 Nov 1933 - 30 Jan 2011) was born at
York, England. After National Service, he formed a band in
1957 which he called the John Barry Seven. He appeared on TV
with his band, and they gained a residency on the BBC TV music
series "Drumbeat" (1959). Barry soon developed an interest
in arranging music, and was employed by EMI to arrange music for
Adam Faith amongst others. Also in 1959 he was asked to compose the
theme music for the BBC TV's musical review panel show "Juke Box
Jury", which was hosted by David Jacobs. This resulted
in his first hit record "Hit And Miss". He
eventually became most famous for writing the scores for the James
Bond series of films. He went on to write scores for many
successful films and wrote numerous songs, frequently with
lyricist Don Black. He continued to compose into the 21st
century, but died from a heart attack at his home in Oyster Bay,
New York, USA, at age 77.
Ain't Wot They Used T'Be
Bygraves, (16 Oct 1922 - 31 Aug 2012) was an English entertainer,
comedian and singer, born in Rotherhithe, London, England.
After the second world war, he went into show business and was
pretty much an all-round entertainer. He had radio series
where he sang and acted, and began appearing in some comedy films.
His first hit record came in 1952, and during his long career, he
had 18 hit singles, plus 12 hit albums in his
"sing-along" series. A major comedy TV star in the
1960s and 1970s and TV game show host in the 1980s, he retired to
Australia in 2008 and died there in 2012.
from "A Summer Place"
Faith (7 Apr 1908 - 9 Feb 1976) was born in Toronto, Canada.
He became a professional musician, and had his own radio show in
Canada during the 1930s. He relocated to the USA in the
1940s and became an American citizen. He was an accomplished
arranger and conductor, and provided the orchestral backing for
major recording artists during the 1950s and 1960s. He also
made many albums of his own during the 1960s and 1970s.
Billy Fury (17 Apr 1940 - 28 Jan 1983) was born in Liverpool, England. He bought his first guitar at age 14, entered talent contests, and by 1958 was writing his own songs. He was spotted by impresario Larry Parnes, who put him on tour, and arranged a recording contract with Decca. He also appeared on the TV pop show "Oh Boy!", and released his first record in 1959. He went on to considerable success, and had amassed 26 hit singles by the end of 1966. Heart problems, which he suffered from childhood, led to surgery in the early 1970s. He did some touring and recording in the very early 1980s, but his heart problems worsened, and died in London in January 1983, aged just 42. On 19 April 2003 a bronze statue of Fury was unveiled at the National Museum of Liverpool Life.
Bobby Rydell was born on 26 Apr 1942 in Philadelphia, USA. In 1950, he won a talent show on the television series TV Teen Club and gained a place in the cast, where he remained for several years. He signed with Cameo Records in 1959, and had his first American hit that year. This was his first UK hit, which was a million-seller in the USA. He enjoyed several hits in the early 1960s, and even starred in a film ("Bye Bye Birdie"). Although he enjoyed some 34 Top 40 hits in the USA, in the UK he was eclipsed by the British beat groups of the mid-1960s. He has continued to tour and appear at various American venues, including Las Vegas, until the present, despite having a double organ transplant in 2012.
Jones (2 June 1937 - 2 Aug 2012) was born in Birmingham, Alabama,
USA. As a teenager, he joined a doo-wop group in 1954, and a
year later, wrote the song "Handy Man". He left that
group, and after working and recording with other groups, he went solo.
He enlisted the help of songwriter Otis Blackwell to rework the "Handy Man"
song which he recorded in early 1960. The song was a Top 3
hit on both sides of the Atlantic. He enjoyed a number one
hit in the UK a little later in 1960, and a few minor hits
following, but he faded away after that.
They were were an
Rock 'n' Roll band from Toledo, Ohio, USA. They were led by saxophonist Johnny Paris
(1940 - 2006), and included Paul Tesluk on Hammond organ. They signed
a recording contract and started live performances in early 1959.
After a small USA-only hit, they had their first Top 5 hit on both sides of the
Atlantic in October 1959. They enjoyed three Top 10 hits in
the UK during 1960, although those hits did not score as well in
their native USA. Johnny Paris, with different band
members, continued performing as Johnny
& The Hurricanes at
home and abroad until his death.
Title: My Old
Man's A Dustman
Lonnie Donegan (29 Apr 1931 - 3 Nov 2002) was born in Glasgow, Scotland. His first interest was jazz, and in 1952 he formed his own jazz band. He also performed with other jazz bands, notably Chris Barber's. He was interested also in Blues and created a jazz-blues hybrid called
Skiffle. His first hit came in 1956 - "Rock Island Line" - a fast version of the Lead Belly blues number. He became a mainstream performer, with many TV appearances in the UK, and became known as The King of
Skiffle. Between 1956 and 1962 he had 32 hit singles.
This was his third chart topper; the previous two were in 1957.
Title: Fall In
Love With You
This was Cliff's follow-up to "A Voice In The Wilderness" (song 5), from January 1960, which also peaked at number 2. For this, Cliff returned to the songwriting skills of Ian Samwell, who had provided him with his early hits. Samwell had been a guitarist in Cliff's backing band, The Drifters (later The Shadows). But he left early on to concentrate on songwriting.
Title: Do You
was Newley's follow-up to "Why" (song 3), from January 1960, which also
peaked at number one. It was Newley's second and final chart
topper, although he went on to have a further three Top 10 hits
was still into his "crooner" style songs with a big band
backing in Spring 1960. This was his second Top 10 hit of
1960, but his next release, the old song "Bill Bayley"
did not do as well, peaking at number 34, and spending just two
weeks on the UK charts. 1961, however, would see him back in
the Top 10 with two more classic songs in the big band style.
Canadian Paul Anka was born on 30 Jul 1941,
in Ottawa. He went to New York at the age of 14 to audition for a record deal. His first release,
the self-penned "Diana" was a world-wide smash, and his career grew from there. He wrote most
of his big hits which continued into the early 1960s. He also wrote songs for other performers including Buddy Holly,
Tom Jones and Frank
Sinatra. This classic Anka recording was a disappointment,
especially after his three Top 10 hits of 1959. Perhaps Anka
was falling in popularity in the UK - emphasized by the fact that
this record reached number two in the USA. Certainly, his further
releases in the UK sold poorly until 1974, when he returned to the
Top 10 for a final fling. He has continued recording and performing into the 21st century.
Have To Go
Country Music singer, Jim Reeves (20 Aug 1923 - 31 July 1964) was born in Texas, USA. After time as a semi-professional baseball player in the late 1940s, he became a radio announcer, and began singing on radio as well during the 1950s. A contract with RCA records soon followed, and he adopted a soft crooning style of singing on Country songs. This new approach to Country was a hit with fans, and his popularity grew. This style impressed British record buyers too, and he enjoyed numerous hit singles and albums during the 1960s. He was killed, aged 40, when a plane he was piloting crashed in Tennessee, USA, on 31st July 1964. His only number one hit came posthumously, in 1966. No less than 33 of his albums entered the UK charts up to 2004.
The King of Rock 'n' Roll
(8 Jan 1935 - 16 Aug 1977) was born in Tupelo, Mississippi, USA. He started his recording career at Sun Records
in Memphis, USA. After a move to RCA records in 1956, he rose to be arguably the biggest music star of the 20th
century, with world-wide record sales of over one billion.
He was also a movie star during the late 1950s and throughout the
1960s, making 31 films in total. His home in Memphis, "Graceland", is now a museum and major
tourist attraction. His recordings continue to be heard throughout the world.
Lee was born on 11 Dec 1944 in Atlanta, Georgia, USA. She
began singing at a very young age, and by the time she was 10 she
was singing on local radio and TV, and at various events. In
1955 she made her first national TV appearance, and a recording
contract followed in 1956. Her early recordings did not sell
very well, but after some minor hits in the USA, her career took
off in 1960 with this song, which was a Top 10 hit on both sides
of the Atlantic. She went on to have numerous hits
- mostly in a Country-ballad style. After the pop hits
dried up at the end of the 1960s, she successfully moved into
mainstream Country Music, and had 33 entries on the USA Country
charts. She is still occasionally recording and performing.
This was Adam's follow-up to his number one hit "Poor Me" (song 4). After two consecutive chart toppers this one reached a very respectable number two. He had no more number ones, but his tally of a dozen Top 10 hits is good by any standards. More hits were to come in 1960.
was born on 13 Mar 1939 in Brooklyn, New York, USA. He is an American
pop singer, pianist, composer and record producer. Since his music career began in 1957, he has sold millions of records as an artist and has written or co-written over 500 songs for himself and others, collaborating mostly with lyricists Howard Greenfield and Phil Cody.
When Sedaka was 13, a neighbour heard him playing piano and introduced him to her 16-year-old son, Howard Greenfield, an aspiring poet and lyricist. They became two of the legendary Brill Building's
composers in New York City. Sedaka co-wrote several hit
songs for Connie Francis as well as others, and began his own
singing career in 1958. His first UK hit came in 1959,
which led to a run of Top 20 hits in the early 1960s. After
his Rock 'n' Roll style went out of fashion, he reinvented himself
in the early 1970s with a series of ballads which charted between
1972 and 1975. He continues to perform in concert in the USA
and overseas in the 21st century.
was the brother's follow-up to "Let It Be Me", which
peaked at number 13 in February 1960 (song 14). It was
written by the brothers, and was their first number one since May
1958. They had four chart-toppers in total between 1958 and
1961. This recording spent seven weeks at the top of the UK
charts, and was the biggest-selling record of 1960. It sold eight million copies
worldwide, and became the Everly Brothers' biggest hit single.
On The Corner
King Brothers were genuine brothers, born in Essex, England
between 1935 and 1939. They first performed professionally in the 1950s on the children's television show
"All Your Own". They appeared on the BBC Television
music series "Six-Five Special" in 1957, and were named "top vocal group" in the reader's poll of
the New Musical Express in the same year. Their first hit was
a cover of "A White Sport Coat" which reached number 6 in
June 1957. Three smallish hits followed until this recording
reached number 4 - their highest position on the charts.
Their popularity dropped off after 1961, although they continued
recording, without success, until 1967. The youngest
brother, Denis, later became an award-winning composer for television, film, and
musicals. Among other things, he wrote the theme music for
the TV shows "The Adventures of Black Beauty" and
Lawrence was born on 8 July 1935 in New York, USA. He began
recording in the early 1950s, but his run of hit records began in
1957 with his recording of "Party Doll" which was a
number 5 hit in the USA. Many more American hits followed,
but in the UK, most of his output was covered by British singers,
restricting his chart appearances, until this
song finally got him into the Top 10. As for "Party
Doll", the hit version in the UK was by fellow American, Buddy
Knox. Lawrence was mostly a cabaret and supper-club singer,
and frequently performed with his wife, Eydie Gormé, who also had
her own solo career. From the 1970s he was also an actor,
and appeared in several films and TV shows.
Johnny Preston (18 Aug 1939 - 4 Mar 2011) was born in Texas, USA. He formed a band at high school, and in 1958 he recorded what turned out to be a trans-Atlantic number one, "Running Bear". That recording was his first UK hit and only number one. This follow-up was his only other Top 10 hit. Three minor hits followed in 1960, but he then disappeared from the charts.
Of A Teenage Girl
This was Craig's follow-up to "Pretty Blue Eyes". After three hits with covers of American originals, he released this track composed by British songwriters. The song was, in turn, covered by American actor and singer, George Chakiris. His version of the song made a minor appearance in the UK charts in June 1960, peaking at number 49. Douglas followed this hit with a recording that only reached number 43, but he returned in 1961 with two more Top 10 entries.
Duane Eddy was born on 26 Apr 1938 in Corning, New York, USA. His family moved to Arizona when he was a young teen, and he started playing guitar with a friend when he was 16. They got a few gigs on a local radio station, where Duane met Lee
Hazlewood, who would help develop the "twangy" guitar sound that was Eddy's trademark. He began recording in 1957, and his recording of "Rebel Rouser" became an international hit in 1958. Eddy enjoyed numerous hit singles and albums during the 1960s, and
has continued making live appearances into the 21st century.
Connie Stevens was born in New York City, USA on 8 Aug 1938. She is primarily an actress who appeared in various American TV series from 1958 to 2005, and in many low-budget films from 1957 to 2014. Notably, she featured in the US TV crime dramas "77 Sunset Strip" and "Hawaiian Eye" (latter not shown in the UK). Her recording career began in 1959 and continued into the early 1970s, but this recording was the only one to reach the Top 10 on either side of the Atlantic. She was briefly married to American crooner, Eddie Fisher from 1967 to 1969, and she is the mother of film actress Joely Fisher, half-sister to "Star Wars" actress Carrie Fisher.
Steps To Heaven
(3 Oct 1938 - 17 Apr 1960) was born in Minnesota, USA, but moved with his family to California in the early 1950s.
He began playing music at high school, and writing songs with Jerry
Capehart, who became his manager. His first success came when he performed the song "Twenty Flight Rock"
in the 1956 film "The Girl Can't Help It", prompting Liberty Records to offer him a recording
contract. More hits followed, but his career was cut short when he was killed in a road accident whilst on tour
Title: Let The
Little Girl Dance
Soul and R&B singer, Billy Bland (5 Apr 1932 - 22 Mar 2017) was born in Wilmington, North Carolina, USA. He was the youngest of 19 children, and first sang professionally during 1947 in New York. He was in a group called the Four Bees in the 1950s, but left the group for a solo career in 1955. This recording reached number 7 in the USA charts, but further releases performed badly, and he quit the music industry in 1963. In the 1980s, he ran a soul food restaurant in Harlem, New York. He was reported on Facebook as having died, aged 84, in March 2017.
Connie Francis was born
on 12 Dec 1938 in Newark, New Jersey, USA. She entered talent contests as a young teenager, and even made some
records, but did not score her first hit until 1958. She often recorded older
ballads, but usually put a modern Rock 'n' Roll number on the B-side of the discs. Her record success
continued into the early 1960s, but she has continued performing live, with some long breaks, into the 21st
(16 July 1937 - 10 July 2006) was born in east London,
England. He grew up in an orphanage, and later began working
as a market porter. He became friends with his neighbour, songwriter Barry
Mason, who suggested he record a version of the song "Ain't
Misbehavin'". Produced by Norrie Paramor, Bruce's recording rose to number 3 in the UK Singles Chart in 1960.
He had no musical training, and described his own "sandpaper and gravel" singing voice with a strong London accent
His subsequent releases did not do as well, but from 1963 he became a regular performer on the
TV variety show "Stars and Garters", acting in comedy routines as well as singing.
After that he largely made a living in cabaret, much of it in Spain and Malta,
with some appearances on the 1960s nostalgia circuit. He died in
2006 from stomach cancer, at the age of 68.
Title: I Wanna
Go Home (The Wreck of The Sloop 'John B')
was Donegan's follow-up to his number one hit "My Old Man's A
Dustman" (song 26). This song took him away from music hall-style
comic numbers, and back to his original folksy, blues songs.
This was not Skiffle, however, it was produced as a ballad with an
After breaching the Top 10 with his previous hit, "Colette" (song 22), this follow-up performed disappointingly on the UK charts. It was another of his own songs, and pointedly, he would not return to the Top 10 until 1961, and that was with a cover of an American song. Meanwhile in 1960 he issued his first album "The Sound of Fury" on which all ten tracks were written by Fury. It reached number 18 in the album chart.
Buddy Holly is one of the
legendary early Rock 'n' Roll stars. He was born in Lubbock, Texas, USA on 7 Sep 1936, and died on 3 Feb
1959. He was highly influential to immerging musicians of the time, and his records are still widely played on
radio stations throughout the world.
He had learned to play guitar whilst at school, and he formed a
band after graduation. The band played on local radio, and
even provided the opening act for stars performing in Lubbock,
including Elvis Presley. He and his band moved to Nashville
in 1956, and began making demo recordings, which led to a record
contract. Unusually for the time, his debut single was
self-penned, and most of his output was written by Holly with
contributions from band members and manager Norman Petty.
His career flourished with hit records and TV appearances during
1957 and 1958. He died in a plane crash whilst on a tour of the USA, along with two other stars of the
Cox was born on 19 Mar 1940 in Liverpool, England. He was
given a chance to audition for the TV pop show "Oh
Boy!", and made his first appearance on the show in April 1959.
Performances on other TV shows brought him to the attention of
record producer Joe Meek (1929-1967) who was setting up his own
record label called Triumph. Cox's first record for Triumph was "Angela Jones", a song written by
American, John D. Loudermilk. A follow-up single made the
Top 50, but that was it. Cox continued to record under Joe
Meek for a few years, for different labels, but none of the output
reached the charts. In 1966 Cox decided to give up singing
and go to drama school. This resulted in a few film and TV
drama roles during the late 1960s and early 1970s. He
emigrated to New Zealand in 1979, where he continued his acting
This was Jones' follow up to his number 3 hit "Handy Man" (song 24). It was his second and last Top 10 hit in the UK. Three minor hits followed, and then he disappeared from the UK charts. See song 24 in this list for info about Jimmy Jones.
Johnny Kidd (23 Dec 1935 - 7 Oct 1966) was born in north-west London, England. He formed a Skiffle group in the mid-1950s, and began writing songs. He managed to get a recording test with HMV, and he was rewarded with a contract. His first hit came in June 1959, "Please Don't Touch", which reached number 25 in the UK charts. With his backing band, The Pirates, he dressed as a pirate on stage, complete with eye patch. This hit was his big breakthrough, reaching number one in the UK, and selling well in Europe. In the USA, the song was covered by a Canadian band. Kidd went on to have just one more Top 10 hit, in 1963. Sadly, Kidd died in a car accident in 1966 at age 30.
was the band's follow-up to their previous hit, "Beatnik
Fly" (song 25), and was their fourth consecutive Top 20
hit. One final UK Top 10 hit followed later in the year.
Gene Vincent (11 Feb 1935 - 12 Oct 1971) was born
in Norfolk, Virginia, USA. He joined the US Navy in 1952, but after a motoring accident that broke his leg, he left
the navy. Following that he formed a group and began playing around Norfolk, Virginia. He was spotted and was
given a recording contract with Capital records. His first release, "Be-Bop-A-Lula", reached number 5 in the
USA, and number 16 in the UK during 1956. He made many more records, but none made the Top 10 on either side of the
Atlantic. Nevertheless he recorded and toured throughout the 1960s, mainly in the UK and other parts of Europe.
He died from a ruptured stomach ulcer in California during 1971.
Title: Johnny Comes Marching Home
was Faith's follow-up to "Someone Else's Baby" which had
been a number two hit in April 1960. For this release,
he moved away from newly-written songs to one which was about 100
years old (see below). Nevertheless, his fans were happy
with it, taking it into the Top 5 of the UK charts.
was a double A-side with song 55 above. The flip side was a
(very) old song, but this was new, co-written by Faith's musical
arranger, John Barry. Faith had two further Top 5 hits later
Back at the top of the charts, after his two previous releases of 1960 only reached number two! This was also a slightly more up-tempo number than his offerings since "Living Doll" started a more mellow series of recordings. Interestingly, it was co-written by Bruce Welsh of Cliff's backing band, The Shadows. Welsh would write a few more hits for Cliff over the following years. Co-writer, Peter Chester was the son of veteran comedian Charlie Chester. Peter had become involved in various aspects of the music industry, and had once formed a band that included a young Bruce Welch.
This was Lee's follow-up to her debut Top 10 hit "Sweet Nuthin's", which was also written by Ronnie Self. This was an out-and-out ballad, albeit with a Country Music feel. The recording was a number one hit in the USA, where Lee was arguably more popular than in the UK. Plenty more hits came along for her, but she didn't hit the UK Top 10 again until spring 1962.
Sam Cooke (22 Jan 1931 - 11 Dec
1964) was born in Mississippi, USA, but he moved with his family
to Chicago when he was two.. He started singing with his
siblings at a young age, and by his late teens he was singing with
a local Gospel group called the Soul Stirrers who made a number of
Gospel records. In 1957 he signed a recording contract and
began his career as a Soul singer. His first hit was
"You Send Me", which topped the charts in the USA. It
was less successful in the UK, but later releases confirmed him as
an international star. His 1959 recording of "Only Sixteen", which he also wrote
himself, was out-sold by the Craig Douglas cover version.
This recording was not up against any covers, but still only
managed to just enter the Top 30. However, he started a run
of three Top 10 hits later in 1960. He was shot dead at a motel in Los Angeles in December 1964.
Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka Dot Bikini
Hyland was born on 12 Nov 1943 in New York City, USA. He
learned to play guitar at a young age, and formed a group when he
was 14. He signed a record deal as a solo artist in 1959,
and although his first two releases didn't do so well, this third
recording went all the way to number one in the USA. A few
more hits followed including two UK Top 10s in 1962. As his
popularity waned in the wake of the British beat groups of the
mid-1960s, he turned towards Country-flavoured songs, with some
success in the USA. In the 1990s and 2000s, he toured the
USA and UK in Sixties package shows.
Will I Be Loved
The Everly Bothers had left their original record company, Cadence, and signed with Warner Brothers, with whom they enjoyed their number one hit "Cathy's Clown" in spring 1960. However, Cadence still had the brother's earlier recordings, and they released this to cash in. It was a Top 10 hit on both sides of the Atlantic.
Title: If She
Should Come To You
This was his follow-up to "Do You Mind" (song 28). This was a straight ballad of Italian origin, with English lyrics added by American Alec Wilder. Newley continued with hits for a couple of years, some of them being novelty songs. For info about Newley, see song 3 in this list.
Hollywood Argyles were a studio band comprising Gary Paxton on
lead vocals, who also produced the recording, plus various session
musicians which included drummer Sandy Nelson and the song's
writer, Dallas Frazier. The recording was a number one hit
in the USA. They released a few more singles, but none
entered the UK charts.
instrumental recording peaked at number two, which was the highest
position Eddy reached in the UK charts. His single "Pepe",
in 1961, also peaked at number two, but he
never managed to climb to the top of the charts in the UK.
To New Orleans
Fats Domino ( 26 Feb 1928 - 24
Oct 2017) was born in New Orleans, USA. His
father and uncle were musicians and Domino learned to play piano at a young age. He was seen by a band leader who
invited Domino to join the band, and a recording contract followed in 1950. Fats Domino (given the nickname Fats
after Fats Waller) soon had a number of hits in the US R&B chart. His records started appearing on the US pop
chart from about 1956, and hits continued into the mid 1960s. He continued performing and recording until the
early 1980s, when he chose to retire to New Orleans. His
house was badly damaged by Hurricane Katrina in 2005 when he was
77, following which he performed at a few benefit concerts to raise
money for rebuilding the parts of New Orleans that were devastated
by the hurricane. He died of natural causes at age 89.
Shadows were Cliff Richard's backing band, who were at first
called The Drifters. All of Cliff's hits from 1958 to
mid-1959 were credited to Cliff Richard and The Drifters.
However, there was an American vocal group called The Drifters, so
the band's name was changed. At the time of this hit, The
Shadows were Hank B Marvin (born 28 Oct 1941), lead guitar, Bruce
Welch (born 2 Nov 1941), rhythm guitar, Jet Harris (6 July 1939 -
18 Mar 2011), bass guitar, and Tony Meehan (2 Mar 1943 - 28 Nov
2005), drums. A number of personnel changes occurred during
the following years, but Hank and Bruce remained a constant.
Title: Mess Of
was his follow-up to "Stuck On You" (song 32) which had been a
number three hit in April 1960. Written by the classic Rock
'n' Roll songwriters Pomus & Shuman, it confirmed that
Presley's two years away in the US Army had not diminished his
popularity in the UK. The record peaked at a lowly number 32
on the American charts, but that was because the song was only a
B-side to "It's Now Or Never" - number one in the USA
and later in the UK as well.
Title: As Long
As He Needs Me
Bassey was born on 8 Jan 1937 in Tiger Bay, Cardiff, Wales. She
went on to become an international star with countless hit singles
and albums throughout the world. She began singing
professionally in 1953, and performed up and down the
UK. She signed a recording contract in 1956, and had her
first Top 10 hit in 1957 ("Banana Boat Song"). She
enjoyed a string of hits during the 1960s, and recorded three
James Bond movie themes. She had her own TV series during
the 1970s, and continued performing into the 21st century.
By 2015 she had scored 33 hit singles and 39 hit albums. She
was honoured with a Damehood in 2000, and was back in the
recording studios in 2014.
Roy Orbison (23 Apr 1936 - 6 Dec 1988) was born in Vernon, Texas, USA. He started playing guitar as a child, and formed a high school band, playing mostly Country Music. The band remained together and, called The Teen Kings", they began playing on local radio stations. At one of those broadcasts, Johnny Cash was in the radio station, and suggested the group approached Sam Phillips at Sun Records in Memphis, Tennessee. They duly went, and recorded a song called "Ooby Dooby" which reached number 59 in the USA charts. He struggled with hits after that, and concentrated on songwriting. In 1960 he signed for Monument Records, and very soon recorded his classic hit "Only The Lonely". More major hits followed during the 1960s, and he continued to tour during the 1970s and 1980s. He died from a heart attack in 1988, following which recordings made earlier in the 1980s began reaching the charts, including two Top 10 entries from 1989 to 1992.
Help Me I'm Falling
Hank Locklin (15 Feb 1918 - 8 Mar 2009) was born in Florida, USA. He was an old-style Country Music singer, who had his first hit in 1949, and was a member of the Grand Ole Opry for almost fifty years, making his final appearance there in 2007. He amassed some 70 hit records on the USA Country Music charts during his long career.
was Connie's third hit of the year, and her first American number
one. She had had two chart toppers in the UK during 1958,
but it took another two years for her the replicate the feat in
her homeland. She had a further Top 10 hit later in 1960.
was Donegan's follow-up to "I Wanna Go Home" (song 47),
and was his third Top 10 hit of the year. He had a further
two hits in 1960, making it a very successful year for "The King
followed his Top 10 hit "Wild One" (song 23), with a
song that had been a hit only two years previously. Dean
Martin had been at number two in the UK during September 1958 with
the song, and
that is generally considered to be the definitive version.
Rydell's cover was more up tempo with a Rock 'n' Roll-style beat,
and was a good solid production. However, the then recent
version by Dean Martin may have put off the record-buying public,
consigning it to only a Top 30 position in the charts. No
such problem existed in the USA where it climbed to number four.
Ford continued his trend of reviving songs from the 1920s and
1930s. However, it seemed that the fans were maybe growing a
little tired of hearing songs that their parents remembered.
Sensing this, perhaps, Ford recorded a new song later in 1960
which propelled him back into the Top 10.
Have A Party
Jackson was born on 20 Oct 1937 in Oklahoma, USA. She began
performing on local radio stations while still at high school, and
signed a record deal in 1956. Her style was a mix of
Country, Rockabilly, and Rock 'n' Roll. As her style
declined in popularity during the 1960s, she moved into mainstream
Country Music, and enjoyed many hits during the 1970s on the
Country charts. After a flirtation with Gospel music, she
returned to Rockabilly in the 1980s, and is still performing and
recording in the 21st century.
Think About Living
Country Music singer Bob Luman (15 Apr 1937 - 27 Dec 1978) was born in Texas, USA. His father was a musician, and Bob got his first guitar at age 13. He formed a band at high school, and was soon entering talent contests. This led to appearances on local radio and TV during 1956. The following year he signed a record contract, but eventually moved to Warner Bros records. This track was issued In 1960 whilst he was in army service. Following his stint in the army, he toured extensively and recorded several albums during the rest of the 1960s and 1970s. He had numerous hits on the American Country charts, but he died from pneumonia in 1978, at the age of 41.
The Ventures are an American instrumental
formed in 1958 in Tacoma,
Washington, USA, by members Don Wilson (born 10 Feb 1933) and Bob
Bogle (16 Jan 1934 - 14 June 2009). As well as by the composer,
"Walk Don't Run"
had been recorded for an album by legendary American guitarist
Chet Atkins. The Ventures heard the Atkins track and decided
to record it as a single. It went on to sell a million
copies. They recorded many albums over the years that
followed, and are still touring and making records in the 21st
century. They did not enjoy as much success in the UK as in
America, mainly because Britain had their own guitar group - The
This was Faith's follow-up to his double A-side hit "Johnny Comes Marching Home"/"Made You" (songs 55/56). This climbed one place higher than those songs, and was written by the composer who provided Faith's first three hits. The hits kept coming for Adam Faith at this time, and he went on to put his only Christmas song ("Lonely Pup") into the Top 5 for December 1960, making five Top 5 hits for the year. In addition, his first album, "Adam", entered the album chart in November, eventually reaching number 6.
Having written most of his previous hits himself, Fury decided to record a song by other composers. The American original was made by Jimmy Jones who had enjoyed two Top 3 hits earlier in 1960, but his version failed to take off. Fury's cover did, at least, chart, but the peak of number 25 was somewhat disappointing. 1961 would see an upturn in his fortunes, however.
Times Out Of Ten
Cliff's fourth Top 3 hit of the year saw him back in a Rock 'n' Roll groove. After several mellow hits, he was back at his rocking best, He mellowed again, however, in December 1960 with his fourth number one hit
Title: So Sad
(To Watch Good Love Go Bad)
Another big hit for the Everly Brothers who were now, arguably, at their peak. It was also another song written by Don Everly, showcasing his talent as a composer as well as a performer. This recording was a double A-side with song 82 below.
was a cover of a song made famous by Little Richard, who reached
number 10 in the UK charts with it during the summer of
1957. The brothers' version, however, was less raw Rock 'n'
Roll and more vocal harmony, as would be expected from them.
It was a double A-side with song 81 above.
Checker was born on 3 Oct 1941 in South Carolina, USA, but he grew
up in Philadelphia, USA. He began singing for
customers in a street market, and came to the attention of a
songwriter who worked for a record company. Checker's first
release was a medium-sized hit in the USA, and then along came
"The Twist", which topped the American charts twice, in
1960 and 1962. This was followed by more releases which were
based on The Twist. He has continued performing in oldies
revival shows for several decades, and even had an American chart
entry in 2008.
After three Top 30 hits on the UK charts, Sam Cooke finally made it to the Top 10. Unusually at the time, this was not a love song, but it was about prisoners working as part of a chain gang. This was Cooke's last hit of 1960, but he had two Top 10 hits over the following two years.
Burnette (25 Mar 1934 - 14 Aug 1964) was born in Memphis,
Tennessee, USA. During the early 1950s, Burnette was living
in the same neighbourhood
This was the last of a run of five Top 20 hits, for the American instrumental group, four of which made the Top 10. Two smaller hits followed in 1961, but then they were gone from the UK charts. Strangely, this track only reached number 60 on the USA charts. For info about Johnny & The Hurricanes see song 25 in this list.
Title: My Love
Mathis had only enjoyed two Top 10 hits previously, one each in 1958 and 1959, and it was 1975 before he was back in the UK Top 10 again. In fact, he was absent from the British singles charts from April 1963 to January 1975. During that period, however, he did have entries in the UK albums chart. For more info about Mathis, see song 10 in this list.
Don Costa (10 June 1925 - 19 Jan 1983) was an American
orchestra leader, musical arranger, and record producer. He
was born in Boston, Massachusetts, USA. He had an interest
in music from an early age, and by his teens he was a member of
the CBS Radio Orchestra. In the late 1940s he began writing
musical arrangements, and offered them to various bands of the
day. This led to a position with ABC-Paramount Records as chief
arranger and producer during 1955. In the early 1960s, he
arranged and produced Frank Sinatra's new album, and later did the same
for other major stars such as Sarah Vaughan and Tony
Bennett. In the 1970s he worked with some new acts including The
Osmonds. He continued in the record industry until his death
from a heart attack in New York at age 57.
This was Orbison's follow-up to his number one hit "Only The Lonely". It had a very similar sound to the chart topper, and was by the same songwriting team, but just missed the Top 10. Perhaps that was the problem - a little too samey! Orbison was back in the Top 10 in the spring of 1961, though.
The Last Dance For Me
The Drifters are an American vocal group, formed in the early 1950s, and with a constant rotation of members. A recent count indicates that some 60 individuals have performed under the band name at one time or another. At the time of this particular hit, the lead singer was Ben E King (28 Sep 1938 - 30 Apr 2015), who went on to have a successful solo career. In the 1970s, The Drifters, with lead singer Johnny Moore (14 Dec 1934 - 30 Dec 1998), based themselves in the UK and enjoyed several UK-only hits, including eight Top 10s from 1972 to 1976. The band has continued performing in the 21st century, but there have been numerous lawsuits over the use of the group name. No members of the hits-making versions of the band are in the current lineup.
Heart Has A Mind Of Its Own
Back with her third Top 10 entry since May, this was from the same songwriting team as her previous hit, "Everybody's Somebody's Fool" (song 71). It was her second consecutive number one hit in the USA.
Now Or Never
was Presley's first UK number one hit for 18 months, but the first
of a run of four chart toppers. The lyrics for this song
were written especially for him. Unusually for the time, it
entered the UK chart at number one where it stayed for eight
weeks, and went on to sell well over a million copies.
Worldwide, it sold over 25 million copies, and is one of Presley's
Title: Man Of
was the instrumental guitar group's follow-up to their debut hit
"Apache". That hit had reached the top of the
charts, but a Top 5 position for a second hit is pretty
good. No need to worry, they added a further four Number One
hits to their tally by the middle of 1963.
Duane Eddy followed his big hit "Because They're Young" with this tune, which Eddy wrote together with his record producer, Lee Hazlewood. The single only got as high as number 78 in the USA, but it was taken from Eddy's album "$1,000,000.00 Worth of Twang", so many American record buyers probably already had the track.
Title: I Love
This was Cliff's fifth hit of 1960 and his second number one of the year. It was back to his more mellow style, following his rocker "Nine Times Out Of Ten" (song 80). This song was written by Bruce Welch, the rhythm guitarist in Cliff's backing band, The Shadows. It was the Christmas Number One that year, Cliff's first Christmas hit - something for which he became fabled in the 1980s and 1990s.
Johnny Tillotson was born on 20 Apr 1939 in Jacksonville, Florida, USA. He is primarily a Country Music singer, who began appearing on local TV in Jacksonville in the mid-1950s. He entered a talent contest in Nashville during 1957, and this led to a record deal with Cadence Records, who had the Everly Brothers on their books at that time. He had a few moderate hits in the USA in the late 1950s, but his big breakthrough came in 1960 with the recording "Poetry In Motion" - his first success in the UK. Further releases were Country Music slanted, a genre of music that was not particularly popular in Britain. As a result, he had no further Top 20 entries in the UK, although he enjoyed three more Top 10 hits in the USA. He continued to be successful in the Country Music field, and had hits in the 1980s in the American Country charts.
reviving old songs for most of his previous hits, Emile Ford
released a new song, which turned out to be his final Top 10 appearance
in the UK charts. He had three more Top 30 hits, and then he
was finished with the UK singles charts. A compilation
double CD containing 61 of his his recordings, released in 2001,
was given the album title "Counting Teardrops".
For more info about Emile Ford, see song 11 in this list.
was Acker Bilk's second Top 10 hit, but there had been a
couple of smaller hits in between. Although he is primarily
a clarinetist, he often sang a vocal refrain, as he does on this
recording. He enjoyed a few more hits over next couple of
years, but remained immensely popular as a live act into the 21st
century. For more info about Acker
Bilk, see song 6 in this list.
follow-up to his recording of Dean Martin's "Volare" (song
73) was a revival of "Sway" which had been a hit for Dean Martin
in the early 1950s. Rydell was nowhere near as popular in
the UK as he was in the USA, where he enjoyed 17 Top 30 hits. After this he had a minor hit
in 1961 and a Top 20 hit in 1963 which was his final visit to the British
charts. For more info about Bobby Rydell, see song 23
in this list.
Of My Love
Monro (1 Dec 1930 – 7 Feb 1985) was born in London,
England. He began singing on talent shows while in the
British Army in the early 1950s. He made some records in the
mid-1950s, but none met with any success. In 1959 he was
asked to record a demo record for EMI, and when producer, George
Martin heard the track, he arranged for Monro to record a new
song, "Portrait Of My Love". It reached number three
on the UK charts and started his international career. He
recorded several film themes including "From Russia With
Love" for the James Bond movie. He spent some time in
America during the mid-1960s, making albums of standards and new
ballads, and was hailed as the new Frank Sinatra. He toured
the world extensively, especially during the 1970s and early
1980s. He died from liver cancer at age 54.
Acts with most appearances in this list:
Composers with most appearances in this list:
Greenfield: 4 (1 with Neil Sedaka; 1 with Barry
Mann; 2 with Jack Keller)
Names in 1960
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