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1961 saw a change in musical style from the raw Rock 'n' Roll of the 1950s to a mellower sound emanating from America.  Often referred to as Rock 'n' Roll love songs, this slower music was spearheaded by American vocalist Bobby Vee.  Several of his songs were written by the husband and wife team of Gerry Goffin and Carole King, who worked out of the famous Brill Building in New York City, which included others such as Neil Sedaka and Jack Keller.  The songs they pumped out were easy-on-the-ear love songs with orchestra backing.  Even Elvis Presley slowed things down in this year.  The change in the USA was reflected by the British singers such as Cliff Richard who had several mellower hits in 1961.  Adam Faith and Billy Fury continued with their easier styles, and guitar group The Shadows had four instrumental Top 10 hits in 1961.  Existing British stars were joined by newcomers Helen Shapiro, Eden Kane and John Leyton.  Kenny Ball, along with Acker Bilk established the Trad Jazz scene in the UK which was very popular for a couple of years.

As well as Bobby Vee, American Del Shannon began a string of hits in the UK, which worked out better than in his homeland.  Elvis continued his run of chart entries with no less than four number ones.  The Everly Bothers had two chart toppers, whilst 1960 newcomer, Brenda Lee had less success in this year, but would return strongly in 1962.  Neil Sedaka became an established chart visitor, and Roy Orbison was building up to his major successes in 1963 and 1964.

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.
Two recordings not a hit in the UK.



Title: You're Sixteen
Artist: Johnny Burnett
Writer(s): Robert B. Sherman & Richard M. Sherman
Entered chart 12 Jan 1961; Highest Position 3; Weeks on chart: 12.

Johnny Burnette (25 Mar 1934 - 14 Aug 1964) was born in Memphis, Tennessee, USA.  During the early 1950s, Burnette was living in the same neighbourhood of Memphis as Elvis Presley.  Johnny with his brother Dorsey and other personnel, began performing in local bars in Memphis in the early 1950s.  In 1956 they moved to New York where they won a talent contest, and gained a recording deal.  No hit records resulted, and the band broke up in 1957.  The two brothers then moved to Los Angeles where they wrote several songs, some of which were taken up and recorded by Ricky Nelson.  Finally, in 1959 Johnny signed a solo record deal with Liberty Records, and his first major hit, "Dreamin'", released in 1960 sold over a million copies.  A few more hits followed until 1962, but recordings made with other record companies after that failed to enter charts on either side of the Atlantic.  He was killed in a boating accident on Clear Lake, California at age 30.
# This recording was his follow-up to his Top 5 debut single "Dreamin'".  These two were the only Top 10 hits that he had in the UK.


Title: Pepe
Artist: Duane Eddy
Writer(s): Hans Wittstatt & Dory Previn
Producer:  Lee Hazlewood & Lester Sill
Entered chart 12 Jan 1961; Highest Position 2; Weeks on chart: 14.

Guitarist, 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.
# This was Eddy's first hit of 1961, and he was back in the Top 10 during the spring.  Further releases in 1961 did not do so well, but he had two more Top 10s in 1962.
# The music is from the musical comedy film "Pepe", starring Mexican actor Mario Moreno.  The film version of the song was a vocal by co-star Shirley Jones.  In the UK, pianist Russ Conway released an instrumental version which reached number 19 on the British charts in early 1961.


Title: A Thousand Stars
Artist: Billy Fury
Writer(s): Eugene Pearson
Entered chart 19 Jan 1961; Highest Position 14; Weeks on chart: 10.

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.
# Having a break from writing his own material, Fury chose an American song for this release which had been a hit for Californian performers Kathy Young with the Innocents. It had reached number three on the USA charts during 1960.
# In May 1961, Fury started a run of three Top 10 hits.


Title: New Orleans
Artist: Gary U S Bonds
Writers: Frank Guida & Joseph Royster
Entered chart 19 Jan 1961; Highest Position 16; Weeks on chart: 11.

Gary U S Bonds, was born on 6 Jun 1939 in Jacksonville, Florida USA.  However, he moved to Norfolk, Virginia, USA in the 1950s.  His real name was Gary Anderson, but was given the name U S Bonds by Frank Guida, the producer and co-writer of his first record.  This led to the public thinking the name applied to a group, so his real first name was added later to clarify that he was a solo artist.  Although he is best known for his hits in the 1960s, he has continued composing, performing and recording.  He issued two albums in the 1980s in collaboration with Bruce Springsteen.  He also issued new albums in 2004 and 2009.
# The song has been covered by British bands who have entered the UK charts as follows: Bern Elliott & The Fenmen (1964, number 24), the band Harley Quinne (1972, number 19), Gillan (1981, number 17).
# New Orleans is a city in Louisiana, USA, on the Mississippi River, close to the Gulf of Mexico.  It is noted for its Cajun and Creole foods, and is regarded as the birth place of Jazz.


Title: Are You Lonesome Tonight
Artist: Elvis Presley
Writer(s): Roy Turk and Lou Handman
Entered chart 19 Jan 1961; Highest Position 1; Weeks on chart: 15.

The King of Rock 'n' Roll (8 Jan 1935 - 16 Aug 1977) was born in Tupelo, Mississippi, USA.  He and his family moved to Memphis, Tennessee when he was 13 years old.  Soon afterwards he acquired his first guitar and began playing and singing.  He started his recording career at Sun Records in Memphis, USA.  It took several attempts to get Sun owner Sam Phillips to let Presley record, but eventually a session was arranged with guitarist Scotty Moore and upright bass player Bill Black providing backing.  The resultant track "That's Alright" was soon on local radio in Memphis, and it became a local hit.  Public performances followed, including numerous appearances on the "Louisiana Hayride" radio show which was broadcast to half the USA.  Eventually he became famous enough for RCA records to buy out his Sun contract and take him to Nashville, in 1956.  He rose to be arguably the biggest music star of the 20th century, with world-wide record sales of over one billion.  Also in 1956 Elvis made his movie debut in the film "Love Me Tender".  By the end of 1969 he had completed 31 films.  He made no more movies after that, instead concentrating on live concert performances, including many in Las Vegas.  His home in Memphis, "Graceland", is now a museum and major tourist attraction, and his recordings continue to be heard throughout the world.
# The song was written 1926, and was recorded several times in 1927.  In 1950 the Blue Barron Orchestra reached the USA Top 20 with their version.
# The song includes a spoken passage beginning "You know someone said that the world's a stage, and each must play a part".  This refers to "All the world's a stage" from William Shakespeare's play "As You Like It".
# A version of the song, recorded live in Las Vegas on 26 August 1969  has Presley reciting altered words in the narration and laughing through the rest of the song.  The recording was issued in 1980 as part of the Elvis Aaron Presley box set.  In 1982, this so-called laughing version of "Are You Lonesome Tonight" became a radio hit in the UK, and reached number 25 on the British charts.


Title: Let's Jump The Broomstick
Artist: Brenda Lee
Writer(s): Charles Robins
Entered chart 19 Jan 1961; Highest Position 12; Weeks on chart: 15.

Brenda 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 the song "Sweet Nuthins" (her first UK hit), 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 song was recorded first by Nashville group, Alvin Gaines & The Themes, in 1959, then covered that year by Brenda Lee.  The Lee version was not released in the UK until after she had her first British hit.
# The British band Coast To Coast recorded the song in 1981 when it peaked at number 28 on the UK charts.
# Brenda Lee is known by people of all generations as her recording of "Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree" is heard on radio and in shopping centres every December.  It was a number 6 hit in 1962.
# Jumping the broomstick is a tradition in some cultures where a bride and groom jump over a broomstick during a marriage ceremony.  Such marriages might be unofficial according to local laws.  However, the ritual might be performed as part of a legal wedding ceremony.


Title: Rubber Ball
Artist: Bobby Vee
Writer(s): Gene Pitney & Aaron Schroeder
Entered chart 19 Jan 1961; Highest Position 4; Weeks on chart: 11.

Bobby Vee (30 Apr 1943 - 24 Oct 2016) was born in North Dakota, USA.  His father was a musician, as were his two older brothers.  He was in a high school band in 1959, and following the death of Buddy Holly that year, Vee was asked to replace Holly on the remainder of the tour.  This obviously brought him to the attention of record companies, and he signed a deal with Liberty Records later in 1959.  He had a couple of USA-only hits in 1960, but it was his recording of "Rubber Ball" that made him an international star.  He achieved a total of seven Top 10 hits and a further three Top 30 chart entries in the UK by the end of 1963.  He continued recording and performing, and was touring the UK in the 1990s.  In 2012 he retired from the music business due to health problems, and died in 2016, aged 73.
# This song was covered by Marty Wilde in the UK, where he reached number 9 - his last Top 10 hit. It was also covered by UK group The Avons, who peaked at number 30 in the UK.
# Writer Gene Pitney would soon start a highly-successful recording career, with his first Top 10 hit in the UK coming in 1963.


Title: Sailor
Artist: Petula Clark
Writer(s): Werner Scharfenberger with English lyrics by Norman Newell
Entered chart 26 Jan 1961; Highest Position 1; Weeks on chart: 15.

Petula Clark was born on 15 Nov 1932 in Surrey, England.  She became a child star at the age of nine when she broadcast on radio for the first time.  This led to numerous singing opportunities on wartime radio.  In 1944 she was given her first film role, and she had appeared in 14 films by 1950.  In the early 1950s she began making records, and her first hit came in the summer of 1954 when she was 21 years old.  Clark went on to become a major international star with numerous world-wide hits, particularly in the 1960s with songs written and produced by Tony Hatch.  In the 1990s and 2000s she went into stage musicals, both in the UK and America.  She  was still recording and performing in the 2010s, and issued a new album in 2016.
# This German song was Clark's first hit since early 1958, but the 1960s would be her defining decade with numerous UK hits and success in the USA as well, including two American chart toppers. 
# This song was also recorded by Anne Shelton who had entertained the British forces on radio and with personal appearances, during World War II, and had a few chart hits in the 1950s.  She took her version to number 10 in the UK charts.


Title: Calendar Girl
Artist: Neil Sedaka
Writer(s): Neil Sedaka & Howard Greenfield
Entered chart 2 Feb 1961; Highest Position 8; Weeks on chart: 14.

Neil Sedaka 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.
# Sedaka wrote this song with his lyricist partner Howard Greenfield, and several more of their hits were to follow.


Title: Will You Love Me Tomorrow
Artist: Shirelles
Writer(s): Gerry Goffin & Carole King
Entered chart 9 Feb 1961; Highest Position 4; Weeks on chart: 15.

The Shirelles were an African-American girl group from New Jersey, USA, who achieved popularity in the early 1960s.  They were four high school friends who got together for a school talent contest in 1957, and were later signed by a local record company.  Their first single, "I Met Him on a Sunday", was released by Tiara Records and licensed by Decca Records in 1958. After a few more small hits they recorded this song which became a major hit on both sides of the Atlantic, reaching Number One in the USA.  It was the first American Number One for a black girl group, predating the Crystals by a year, and the Supremes by three years.  The Shirelles went on to have five more Top 10 hits in the USA, one of which became their second chart topper.  In the UK they had two further Top 40 hits only.
# The song was written by husband and wife team
Gerry Goffin & Carole King.  King went on to record a slower version of the song in 1971 for her acclaimed album "Tapestry".  Many other artists have recorded the song.  Versions which have entered the UK charts are by: Melanie (1974, number 37), Brian Ferry (1993, Number 23), and Amy Winehouse (2011, number 62).


Title: This Is It
Artist: Adam Faith
Writer(s): Johnny Worth (under pseudonym of Les Vandyke)
Entered chart 9 Feb 1961; Highest Position 5; Weeks on chart: 14.

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 One, 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 play.
# Adam chose another song from his regular composer, and was rewarded with another Top 5 hit, which was also a double A-side.  (See song 12 below).


Title: Who Am I
Artist: Adam Faith
Writer(s): Johnny Worth (under pseudonym of Les Vandyke)
Entered chart 9 Feb 1961; Highest Position 5; Weeks on chart: 14.

This was a double A-side with song 11 above.  Both tracks were by the same composer.  Faith went on to have a further three Top 12 hits in 1961.


Title: Walk Right Back
Artist: Everly Brothers
Writer(s): Sonny Curtis
Entered chart 9 Feb 1961; Highest Position 1; Weeks on chart: 16.

These two brothers had roots in American Country Music, but soon became major Rock 'n' Roll stars.  They were Don Everly (1 Feb 1937 - 21 Aug 2021) 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 to each other 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.
# This was their third Number One hit in the UK and there was another to follow later in the year.
# Writer, Sonny Curtis wrote some songs for Buddy Holly, and joined his band, The Crickets, after Holly's death.


Title: F.B.I.
Artist: Shadows
Writer(s): Peter Gormley
Entered chart 9 Feb 1961; Highest Position 6; Weeks on chart: 19.

The 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.
Despite continuing to be Cliff Richard's backing band for several years, The Shadows enjoyed considerable success in their own right, and in the early to mid-1960s, were Britain's top instrumental group, achieving five Number One hits plus an additional nine Top 10 entries out of 24 hits in total during the 1960s.  Not content with that, they had more hits in the 1970s and early 1980s.
# This was their third hit and their third Top 10, with three more to come in 1961.
# The title of the track refers to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the country-wide crime investigation service of the United States.


Title: Are You Sure
Artist: Allisons
Writer(s): John Alford & Bob Day
Entered chart 23 Feb 1961; Highest Position 2; Weeks on chart: 16.

The Allisons shot to fame when they represented the United Kingdom in the 1961 Eurovision Song Contest.  They came second in the contest, and peaked at number 2 in the UK charts.  They were presented as brothers - John and Bob Allison, but were not brothers.  They were John Alford (born 31 Dec 1939), and Bob Day (2 Feb 1941 - 25 Nov 2013).  They wrote the song themselves - very unusual at that time for British entries in the contest.  They had met as singers in a church choir, and formed their duo, changing their names to Allison in the process.  They sang in local London coffee bars during 1959 and 1960, and then entered a national talent competition which they won.  This introduced them to Fontana Records, who liked the song "Are You Sure", so the company submitted it to the to the UK heats for Britain's entry to the Eurovision song contest, and the song was selected as Britain's entry.
They found follow-up hits difficult, and gained only two further Top 40 hits.  They broke up in the mid 1960s, but reunited in the 1980s and 1990s for oldies tours.


Title: Samantha
Artist: Kenny Ball and his Jazzmen
Writer(s): Cole Porter
Entered chart 23 Feb 1961; Highest Position 13; Weeks on chart: 15.

Kenny Ball (22 May 1930 - 7 Mar 2013) was born in Ilford, east London, England.  He began learning to play trumpet when he was 14, turning professional in 1953.  He played with a number of bands, before forming his own in 1958.  Traditional Jazz (Trad-Jazz) became very popular in the early 1960s, with band leader Acker Bilk having scored a few hits in 1960.  Ball was ready to take advantage of this popularity, and his first record release "Samantha" reached number 13 in the UK.  He went on to have 14 hits in the singles charts, four of which made the Top 10.  He continued performing into the 21st century, often together with Acker Bilk and Chris Barber, billed as Barber, Ball and Bilk.
# The song "Samantha", often titled "I Love You Samantha", was written by legendary composer Cole Porter for the 1956 musical film "High Society" starring Bing Crosby, Grace Kelly and Frank Sinatra.  It was sung by Crosby in the film.


Title: African Waltz
Artist: Johnny Dankworth & His Orchestra
Writer(s): Galt MacDermot (went on to write the musical "Hair")
Entered chart 23 Feb 1961; Highest Position 9; Weeks on chart: 21.

Johnny Dankworth (20 Sep 1927 - 6 Feb 2010) was an English jazz composer, saxophonist and clarinetist, and was the husband of jazz singer Cleo Laine.   He was born in Woodford, Essex, England.  He learned to play musical instruments as a youngster and studied at the Royal Academy of Music.  He began playing professionally in the late 1940s, and formed a (small) band in 1950.  He formed a big band in 1953 and toured the UK and the USA.  Cleo Laine became the band's singer, and Dankworth married her in 1958.  They remained married and performing together until his death.  He was honoured with a knighthood in 2006, Cleo Laine having been made a Dame in 1997.
# This recording was not his only entry in the UK singles charts, having reached number seven in 1956 with a single titled "Experiments With Mice".  This was a recording of the nursery rhyme "Three Blind Mice" in the style of various other big bands with a narrative to explain what was being performed.


Title: Theme For A Dream
Artist: Cliff Richard
Writer(s): Earl Shuman & Mort Garson
Entered chart 2 Mar 1961; Highest Position 3; Weeks on chart: 14.

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.
# This light-weight song was his first hit of 1961, and a further three Top 10 hits came his way during the year.


Title: Wooden Heart
Artist: Elvis Presley
Writer(s): Fred Wise, Ben Weisman, Kay Twomey & Bert Kaempfert
Entered chart 9 Mar 1961; Highest Position 1; Weeks on chart: 27.

This was his follow-up to "Are You Lonesome Tonight".  "Wooden Heart", composed by Fred Wise, Ben Weisman, Kay Twomey and German bandleader Bert Kaempfert, was based on a German folk song by Friedrich Silcher, called "Muss i denn".  There is a story that Presley first heard the song whilst he was in the US Army in Germany, but in any case, it was featured in his highly-successful film "G.I. Blues".  For some reason his record company decided not to release the recording as a single in the USA, which enabled unknown singer Joe Dowell to record it and reach Number One in America.
# Presley's version features two sections sung in German.  The first part is the first four lines of the original German song; the second being a translation of the English lyrics into German!  
# The 27 weeks in the UK chart is the longest ever by any Presley single in the British charts.


Title: Theme from Exodus
Artist: Ferrante & Teicher
Writer(s): Ernest Gold
Entered chart 9 Mar 1961; Highest Position 6; Weeks on chart: 17.

Ferrante & Teicher were a duo of American piano players, known for their arrangements of familiar classical pieces, movie soundtracks, and show tunes.  Arthur Ferranti (7 Sep 1921 - 19 Sep 2009) and Louis Teicher (24 Aug 1924 - 3 Aug 2008) met while studying music in New York, USA.  In 1947, they launched a full-time concert career, at first playing nightclubs, then quickly moving up to playing classical music with orchestral backing.  Between 1950 and 1980, they were a major American easy listening act, playing classics as well as tunes from the legendary popular music composers such as  George Gershwin, Jerome Kern, Cole Porter, etc.
# This music is from the epic 1960 film "Exodus", for which composer Ernest Gold wrote the entire score, and was honoured with an "Oscar" for Best Original Score.  Popular singer of the day, Pat Boone wrote lyrics to the music, and vocal versions have been recorded by several artists.


Title: My Kind Of Girl
Artist: Matt Monro
Writer(s): Leslie Bricusse (wrote hit musicals with Anthony Newley)
Producer: George Martin
Entered chart 9 Mar 1961; Highest Position 5; Weeks on chart: 12.

Matt 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.
# This recording was Monro's follow-up to his debut hit "Portrait Of My Love", and it charted in the USA as well, peaking at number 18.
# The song was recorded a little later by Frank Sinatra, and his version charted in the UK during 1963, peaking at number 35.


Title: Lazy River
Artist: Bobby Darin
Writer(s): Hoagy Carmichael & Sidney Arodin
Entered chart 16 Mar 1961; Highest Position 2; Weeks on chart: 13.

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, which started a career that lasted through the 1960s, although he would change musical direction a few times.  He made a number of successful recordings for a couple of years from 1959, featuring old songs with a big band backing.  In 1962 he joined Capitol Records to replace Frank Sinatra who had left to form his own record label.  This resulted in a few albums from Darin of standards and new ballads in a pseudo-Sinatra style.  However, in 1966 he returned to mainstream pop.  He had had a weak heart for most of his life, and he died following heart surgery at the age of 37.
# Darin continued his fascination with big-band arrangements on this release.  The record-buying public obviously liked it, taking to number two in the UK charts.  It only reached number 14 in the USA, however.
# The song was published in 1930, and it has been recorded by large numbers of artists since that time.  No other version has entered the UK singles charts.


Title: Where The Boys Are
Artist: Connie Francis
Writer(s): Neil Sedaka & Howard Greenfield
Entered chart 16 Mar 1961; Highest Position 5; Weeks on chart: 14.

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 century.
# This song was written by Sedaka and Greenfield for the film of the same title.  Featuring Connie Francis, and shot at Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA, the film was aimed firmly at the teen market, featuring sun, sand and romance. 
# The recording was Francis' eighth Top 10 hit, with two more to come before her chart residency was over.


Title: Don't Treat Me Like A Child
Artist: Helen Shapiro
Writer(s): John Schroeder & Mike Hawker
Entered chart 23 Mar 1961; Highest Position 3; Weeks on chart: 20.

Helen Shapiro was born on 28 Sep 1946 in east London, England.  She became a singing sensation when this debut single was issued because of her deep voice and being only 14 years old.  She took up singing at a young age and was part of a group at the age of ten.  She had singing lessons when 13, and various connections leaded her to an A&R man at EMI studios.  This song was written for her, and so began a career as a major pop star, but only for a couple of years.  She only had minor hits in 1963, and rapidly changing musical trends left her without hits after February 1964.  She then went into cabaret and stage musicals.  In the 1980s she moved into Jazz and toured with Humphrey Littleton's band, and she has also been prominent during recent decades on the Gospel music scene.


Title: You're Driving Me Crazy
Artist: Temperance Seven
Writer(s): Walter Donaldson
Producer: George Martin
Entered chart 30 Mar 1961; Highest Position 1; Weeks on chart: 16.

The Temperance Seven were formed in 1955 by students at the Chelsea School of Art.  The three founder members were Paul McDowell (who sings the vocal refrain), Philip Harrison and Brian Innes.  They expanded to a nine-piece band and specialised in a 1920s and 1930s style of playing, which also fitted with the Traditional Jazz boom in the early 1960s.  They only had four hits, however, and broke up in the mid-60s, but reformed later in the decade with some personnel changes.  The band has continued performing, with a changing line up, around the world up to the present time.
# The song was written in 1930 and was recorded by various acts of the day.  Subsequently it has been recorded by numerous vocalists, but the Temperance Seven version is the only one to enter the UK singles charts.


Title: Gee Whiz It's You
Artist: Cliff Richard
Writer(s): Hank Marvin & Ian Samwell
Entered chart 30 Mar 1961; Highest Position 4; Weeks on chart: 14.

This was an unusual chart entry for Cliff.  It was a track on his third album "Me And My Shadows".  There was no plan to issue any singles from the album in the UK, but this song was issued as a single in overseas markets.  However, the recording started getting UK radio airplay and British record shops began re-importing the singles (or buying direct from UK manufacturers) and it eventually reached number four in the UK charts.  Not bad for a record not officially released in the UK.
# The song was co-written by Hank Marvin, lead guitarist in The Shadows, and Ian Samwell who had written several of Cliff's early hits including "Move It".


Title: Asia Minor
Artist: Kokomo
Writer(s): Jimmy Wisner
Entered chart 13 Apr 1961; Highest Position 35; Weeks on chart: 7.

This instrumental recording was a Rock 'n' Roll adaptation of Edvard Grieg's "Piano Concerto in A Minor".   It was written and performed by Jazz pianist Jimmy Wisner under the pseudonym of Kokomo.  Although he had issued Jazz albums previously, after this hit, he moved more into the pop market as a songwriter, producer, and composer for film and television.  Amongst other songs, he wrote "Don't Throw Your Love Away", a Number One hit for the Searchers in 1964.
# The song reached number eight on the USA charts, but it was banned by the BBC who, at that time, refused to play recordings that were pop arrangements of classical music.
# Ko-Ko-Mo (1775–1838), known as "Chief Kokomo" was a member of the native American Miami tribe in Florida, USA.  The town of Kokomo in Indiana, USA was named after him.
# In 1988 the Beach Boys recorded a new song called "Kokomo" for the movie "Cocktail", staring Tom Cruise.  The single reached
Number One in the USA, but a more modest number 25 in the UK.  It is completely unrelated to "Asia Minor".


Title: Blue Moon
Artist: Marcels
Writer(s): Richard Rodgers & Lorenz Hart
Entered chart 13 Apr 1961; Highest Position 1; Weeks on chart: 13.

The Marcels were an American doo-wop group formed during 1959 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA.  They shot to fame in 1961 with this Rock 'n' Roll arrangement of the standard song "Blue Moon", that began with the bass vocalist singing, "bomp-baba-bomp-baba-bomp-bomp-bomp".   The record sold over one million copies, reaching Number One in the UK and USA.  Follow-ups proved to be a problem, however.  Their recording of another standard, "Summertime", only got as far as number 46 on the UK charts.  They had no more hits in the UK and only a couple more in the USA.
# The song was written in 1934 by Rodgers & Hart who were famous for their stage musicals, although this song did not come from a musical.  The song was an American hit twice in 1949 in recordings by Billy Eckstine and Mel Tormé.  Elvis Presley recorded it in 1956 as a straight ballad, peaking at number nine in the UK.  Since the Marcels hit, it has charted in the UK for Showaddywaddy who reached number 32 in 1980, and for John Alford who rose to number 9 with it in 1996.


Title: More Than I Can Say
Artist: Bobby Vee
Writer(s): Sonny Curtis & Jerry Allison  (both members of Buddy Holly's band, the Crickets)
Entered chart 13 Apr 1961; Highest Position 4; Weeks on chart: 16.

This follow-up to his debut single, "Rubber Ball" (song 7) established Vee as a regular chart performer of Rock 'n' Roll love songs.  A further three Top 10 hits came his way in 1961.
The Crickets recorded this song in 1959 soon after Holly's death and released it in 1960, when it reached number 42 on the UK charts.  In 1980 British singer Leo Sayer recorded the song and took his version to number two in both the UK and USA. 


Title: On The Rebound
Artist: Floyd Cramer
Writer(s): Floyd Cramer
Entered chart 13 Apr 1961; Highest Position 1; Weeks on chart: 14.

Floyd Cramer (27 Oct 1933 - 31 Dec 1997) was an American Country Music pianist who backed many of RCA's artists at their studios in Nashville, Tennessee, USA, including Elvis Presley, during the 1950s and 1960s.  Cramer was born in Shreveport, Louisiana, USA, but grew up Arkansas, USA.  He taught himself to play piano, and after he completed his school education, he returned to Shreveport, where he worked as a pianist for the Louisiana Hayride radio show.  He moved to Nashville in 1955 and became a busy pianist in the recording studios.  In 1960 he recorded his first single which charted in the USA.  This was followed by "On The Rebound" which was a Top 5 hit on both sides of the Atlantic.  He developed a playing style called "slip-note" where an out-of-key note slides into the correct note.  Throughout the following years he worked as a session musician, recorded his own albums, and toured with other Country Music instrumentalists.  He died of lung cancer in 1997 at the age of 64.
# He only had two further minor hits in the UK singles charts.


Title: A Hundred Pounds Of Clay
Artist: Craig Douglas
Writer(s): Kay Rogers, Luther Dixon, & Bob Elgin
Entered chart 20 Apr 1961; Highest Position 9; Weeks on chart: 9.

Craig Douglas 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.
# This was Douglas' first hit of 1961, and his fourth Top 10 hit.  It was also the first of a run of four consecutive hits that peaked at number nine - a unique achievement.
# This American song, which Douglas covered, was a hit in the USA for Gene McDaniels who reached number three with it on the USA charts.  His version did not chart in the UK.


Title: Easy Going Me
Artist: Adam Faith
Writer(s): Lionel Bart
Entered chart 27 Apr 1961; Highest Position 12; Weeks on chart: 10.

This was Faith's second hit of the year after his double A-side "This Is It"/"Who Am I" (songs 11 and 12) charted in February.  He had a break from his usual songwriter, Les Van Dyke, by picking this song from prolific songwriter and show tune composer, Lionel Bart.  Unfortunately it was his first release since his debut hit in 1959 to miss out on a Top 10 placing.


Title: Runaway
Artist: Del Shannon
Writer(s): Del Shannon & Max Crook
Entered chart 27 Apr 1961; Highest Position 1; Weeks on chart: 22.

Del Shannon (30 Dec 1934 - 8 Feb 1990) was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA.  After army service in the mid-1950s he joined a band which played in local venues.  The lead singer was sacked in 1958 and Shannon took over vocal duties.  In 1959 the band was joined by keyboardist Max Crook (2 Nov 1936 - 1 Jul 2020), who played the Musitron (an early synthesizer).  A record contract followed and in early 1961 Shannon and Crook recorded "Runaway" which they had written a couple of years earlier.  There is little doubt that the wild Musitron sound from Max Crook played a  big part in the recording's success.  Shannon went on to have seven Top 10 hits in the UK by 1963, and after some smaller chart entries, had one final Top 10 hit in 1965.  His hits tailed off after that, so he moved into music production with Liberty Records.  He made a few albums in the 1970s, and 1980s but sales figures were not great.  Suffering from depression, Shannon committed suicide on 8th February 1990.


Title: But I Do
Artist: Clarence "Frogman" Henry
Writer(s): Paul Gayten & Bobby Charles (American Country singer)
Entered chart 4 May 1961; Highest Position 3; Weeks on chart: 19.

Clarence "Frogman" Henry (19 Mar 1937 - 7 Apr 2024) was born in New Orleans, USA.  His nickname "Frogman" is said to come from his trademark croak, first heard on his 1956 debut single "Ain't Got No Home".  That recording did not chart in the UK, but in 1961 he hit the British Top 10 with "But I Do".  This was actually a cover of the recording made a year earlier by the co-composer and Country Music singer Bobby Charles.  Henry turned the song into a soul-sounding rendition which peaked at number four in the USA.  He opened concerts for the Beatles in the USA and Canada during 1964.  Subsequently he was a regular live performer in New Orleans, and continued to perform at special events well into the 21st century.  He had been scheduled to appear at the 2024 New Orleans Jazz Festival, but died in April 2024 at the age of 87. 
#  The American release of the record was titled "I Don't Know Why".  In the UK and Australia it was titled "But I Do".  The recording is now usually quoted as "(I Don't Know Why) But I Do", which was how the UK re-release in 1993 was titled.  It reached number 65 in that year.


Title: Have A Drink On Me
Artist: Lonnie Donegan
Writer(s): Lead Belly, Alan Lomax, Lonnie Donegan
Entered chart 11 May 1961; Highest Position 8; Weeks on chart: 15.

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 first hit of 1961, and there was an indication that things were slowing down as far as chart entries were concerned.  He had just two hits in 1961, although both were Top 10 entries.


Title: Half Way To Paradise
Artist: Billy Fury
Writer(s): Gerry Goffin & Carole King
Entered chart 11 May 1961; Highest Position 3; Weeks on chart: 23.

Sticking with American songs for the time being, this recording gave Fury his first Top 10 hit in more than a year.  The song came from the American husband and wife songwriting team who were having enormous success in the USA with their catchy pop songs.  Based in the famous Brill Building in New York City, they were churning out masses of hits and this was no exception.  It had been recorded in the USA by Tony Orlando, who would find success in the 1970s as lead singer of the group Dawn.  Orlando's version peaked at number 39 in America, and failed to chart in the UK.
#  The stay of 23 weeks on the UK charts is Fury's longest reign by one of his singles by far.  His next best was 16 weeks in 1962 with "Last Night Was Made For Love".


Title: The Frightened City
Artist: Shadows
Writer(s): Norrie Paramor
Entered chart 11 May 1961; Highest Position 3; Weeks on chart: 20.

The Shadows enjoyed their fourth Top 10 hit with this theme written by their record producer, Norrie Paramor.  Also in 1961 the band released their first album, titled "The Shadows", which went to Number One in the albums chart, and remained on the chart for 57 weeks.
# The music was the theme to a 1961 British film of the same title, about gang warfare in the West End of London, featuring one Sean Connery before he took on the role of James Bond.


Title: You'll Never Know
Artist: Shirley Bassey
Writer(s): Harry Warren & Mack Gordon
Entered chart 11 May 1961; Highest Position 6; Weeks on chart: 17.

Shirley 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.
This was Bassey's first hit of 1961, and two more came later in the same year.
The song was written in 1943 for the movie "Hello, Frisco, Hello", where it was sung by Alice Faye.  The song won the 1943 Academy Award ("Oscar") for Best Original Song.  It was recorded that year by Frank Sinatra and Dick Haymes.  The Haymes version went to Number One for four weeks on the USA charts.  Many other artists have recorded the song, mostly as album tracks.


Title: Little Devil
Artist: Neil Sedaka
Writer(s): Neil Sedaka & Howard Greenfield
Entered chart 18 May 1961; Highest Position 9; Weeks on chart: 12.

The songwriting partnership worked again with another Top 10 hit for Neil Sedaka.  The song was the title track of his 1961 album "Neil Sedaka Sings Little Devil and His Other Hits", which reached number 11 in the American album chart.  In fact 1961 was a good year for him, achieving three Top 10 hits in the UK as well as success in the USA.


Title: I've Told Every Little Star
Artist: Linda Scott
Writer(s): Jerome Kern & Oscar Hammerstein II
Entered chart 18 May 1961; Highest Position 7; Weeks on chart: 13.

Linda Scott was born on 1 Jun 1945 in New York City, USA.  She auditioned for a place on a CBS radio show in 1959 when she was 14.  She became a regular on the show, and in 1961 got the chance to record this song.  The recording reached number 3 in America, and sold a million copies.  She had two further Top 10 entries in the USA, but in the UK only one minor hit followed.  She joined another American TV pop show in 1965 and issued more singles, but with no success.  She decided to quit the music business in the early 1970s.
# This song was written in 1932 by the two legendary composers for the musical play "Music In The Air" which opened on Broadway that year, and in London in 1933.


Title: Running Scared
Artist: Roy Orbison
Writer(s): Roy Orbison & Joe Melson
Entered chart 25 May 1961; Highest Position 9; Weeks on chart: 15.

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.
# The B-side of this hit was "Love Hurts".  In Australia, the record was marketed as a double A-side.


Title: Surrender
Artist: Elvis Presley
Writer(s): Doc Pomus & Mort Shuman
Entered chart 25 May 1961; Highest Position 1; Weeks on chart: 15.

Presley followed his "Wooden Heart" hit with this reworking of an Italian song written in 1902.  It was recorded at the same session in late 1960 that included the songs for his gospel album “His Hand in Mine".  The recording was a Number One in the USA as well.
# "Surrender" uses the melody of an Italian ballad of 1902, written by Giambattista and Ernesto de Curtis entitled "Torna a Surriento" ("Come Back to Sorrento").  That song has been recorded by many artists but no versions have been in the UK singles charts.  


Title: Well I Ask You
Artist: Eden Kane
Writer(s): Johnny Worth (under pseudonym of Les Vandyke)
Entered chart 1 Jun 1961; Highest Position 1; Weeks on chart: 21.

Eden Kane was born on 29 Mar 1940 in New Delhi, India, where his British parents were working as civil servants.  His father died in 1954, so his mother took the whole family back to England.  Based in Croydon, on the southern border of London, he began entering talent contests during the late 1950s.  He was given a contract with Decca Records in early 1961, and this was his debut release for the company.  It rose to Number One after two months on the charts.  He had a further four Top 10 hits, but then no more.  Unusually, he had only a total of five hits, but all were Top 10 entries.  After his chart success in Britain dried up, he moved to live in California, working as a record producer.  He still lives in Los Angeles and is married to journalist Charlene Groman, the sister of actress Stefanie Powers.  However, he still occasionally performs in sixties nostalgia shows in the UK.
# The song was written by Adam Faith's regular composer.
# In 1969 Kane's brother, Peter Sarstedt had a Number One hit, and in 1976, his younger brother Robin Sarstedt reached number three on the charts.  


Title: Hello Mary Lou
Artist: Ricky Nelson
Writer(s): Gene Pitney & Cayet Mangiaracina
Entered chart 1 Jun 1961; Highest Position 2; Weeks on chart: 18.

Ricky Nelson (8 May 1940 - 31 Dec 1985) was born in New Jersey, USA.  After a one-off recording in 1956, he signed a deal with Imperial Records and the hits started.  He also began TV appearances, and with Elvis Presley in the army from 1958 to 1960, Nelson had the opportunity to build a strong fan-base.  He was immensely popular in the USA, but only managed four Top 10 hits in the UK.  He died in a plane crash whilst on tour in the USA.
# This was Nelson's first Top 10 hit since the spring of 1959.  A number of smaller hits continued until the beginning of 1964, and he made an unexpected return to the UK charts with a minor one-off hit in 1972.
# Writer Gene Pitney would soon start a highly-successful recording career, with his first Top 10 hit in the UK coming in 1963.


Title: Pasadena
Artist: Temperance Seven
Writer(s): Harry Warren, Edgar Leslie & Grant Clarke
Entered chart 15 Jun 1961; Highest Position 4; Weeks on chart: 17.

This was the group's follow-up to their debut Number One hit "You're Driving Me Crazy" (song 25).  Reaching number four for a follow-up is impressive, but they only had two Top 30 hits after that.  For info about the Temperance Seven see song 25.
# This song was originally titled "Home In Pasadena".  Written in 1923, it was a hit the following year for Al Jolson.
# Pasadena is a city in California, USA, close to Los Angeles and part of Los Angeles County.  During the 1920s, when this song was written, Pasadena was becoming a fashionable resort, especially for people travelling from the eastern USA, who shunned Los Angeles for being noisy and brash.


Title: Temptation
Artist: Everly Brothers
Writer(s): Nacio Herb Brown & Arthur Freed
Entered chart 15 Jun 1961; Highest Position 1; Weeks on chart: 15.

This was the Everly Brothers' fourth and final Number One hit in the UK.  Strangely it peaked at a lowly number 27 in the USA.  They had several more hits, but struggled to get high placings during the British beat boom of the mid-1960s until they made it to number two in 1965 with "The Price Of Love".
# The song was written in 1933 for the film "Going Hollywood" which starred Bing Crosby, who made the original recording.  It was recorded by Perry Como in 1945, and many others later.


Title: A Girl Like You
Artist: Cliff Richard
Writer(s): Jerry Lordan
Entered chart 22 Jun 1961; Highest Position 3; Weeks on chart: 14.

1961 was a very successful year for Cliff Richard, having four Top 10 hits in the singles charts, and two Top 2 LPs in the album charts.  Also his hit film "The Young Ones" was released in December 1961.
# Songwriter, Jerry Lordan wrote instrumental hits for Cliff's backing band, The Shadows, including their debut hit "Apache".


Title: Marcheta
Artist: Karl Denver
Writer(s): Victor Schertzinger
Entered chart 22 Jun 1961; Highest Position 8; Weeks on chart: 20.

Karl Denver (16 Dec 1931 - 21 Dec 1998) was born in Glasgow, Scotland.  He worked at sea for some years, then lived in Nashville, USA, where he sang on local radio.  Returning to the UK he began performing at venues in the north of England.  This led to a contract with Decca Records, and this debut hit came along in 1961.  He had a unique style involving much falsetto yodelling.  He achieved four Top 10 hits into 1962, and several smaller hits until mid-1964.  He performed in cabaret after that and made a few albums right up to 1993.  He died from a brain tumour in December 1998, at the age of 67.
# The song dates from 1913 and was recorded by various bands and singers in the 1920s.  The title is pronounced Mar-kee-ta.


Title: Stand By Me
Artist: Ben E King
Writer(s): Ben E King, Jerry Leiber & Mike Stoller
Entered chart 22 Jun 1961; Highest Position 27; Weeks on chart: 7.

Ben E King (28 Sep 1938 - 30 Apr 2015) was born in North Carolina, USA, but he moved to New York City when he was nine.  He sang at school and in church choirs, and in 1958 became a member of the vocal group The Drifters.  He sang lead on several Drifters hits including "Save The Last Dance For Me".  He went solo in 1960 and enjoyed several big hits in the USA.  Things were quieter in the UK, and even this hit which is now regarded as a major classic only just breached the Top 30 until it was re-released (see below).  He continued performing into the 21st century and toured the UK in 2013.  He died in New Jersey, USA from heart-related problems.
# In 1986, a film titled "Stand By Me", and which featured this recording at the beginning and end of the movie was released.  Additionally, the song was featured in a Levi jeans TV advert.  As a result, the single was reissued and rose to Number One for three weeks in the UK during February 1987.
# The song has been in the UK charts for other artists as follows: Kenny Lynch (1964, number 39), John Lennon, (1975, number 30), and USA band 4 The Cause, (1998, number 12).


Title: Wheels Cha Cha
Artist: Joe Loss Orchestra
Writer(s): Richard Stephens, Jimmy Torres & Norman Petty
Entered chart 29 Jun 1961; Highest Position 21; Weeks on chart: 21.

Joe Loss (22 Jun 1909 - 6 Jun 1990) was born in the east end of London, England.  He started playing the violin as a child, and in his teens, attended the London College of Music.  In the 1920s he played violin at the Tower Ballroom, Blackpool and worked with the Oscar Rabin Band.  When just 20, he formed his own band which played at the Astoria Ballroom and he was soon breaking into variety at the Kit-Cat Club.  In 1934 he topped the bill at the Holborn Empire but in the same year moved back to the Astoria Ballroom where he led a twelve piece band.  With broadcasting, recording and annual tours in addition to the resident work, the band became highly popular over several decades.  In the 1950s and early 1960's, Loss was resident band leader at the Hammersmith Palais in west London.  He did not register any chart hits in the 1950s, but in the early 1960s he clocked up five hits, including this one, his chart debut.  He continued performing until the late 1980s, when the leadership of the band was taken over by Todd Miller.  The band still tours in the 21st century as The Joe Loss Orchestra.
# The song was written in 1961 by two members of the American guitar group The String-A-Longs, and record producer Norman Petty.  The String-A-Longs version, simply titled "Wheels", charted in the UK in February 1961, peaking at number eight.  Joe Loss added a Cha-Cha beat for his big band version.


Title: You Don't Know
Artist: Helen Shapiro
Writer(s): John Schroeder & Mike Hawker
Entered chart 29 Jun 1961; Highest Position 1; Weeks on chart: 23.

Shapiro's follow-up to her debut hit "Don't Treat Me Like A Child" (song 24) took her right to the top of the charts.  This was the first of her two Number Ones.  This hit was written by the same team that penned her first hit, and this time they gave her a ballad.  She was back at the top in the autumn with an upbeat song from the same composers.


Title: Time
Artist: Craig Douglas
Writer(s): Buddy Kaye & Philip Springer
Entered chart 29 Jun 1961; Highest Position 9; Weeks on chart: 14.

This was his follow-up to his recording "A Hundred Pounds Of Clay" (song 31), and was his last hit of 1961.  He was back in the Top 10, however, in 1962.  During 1961 he was busy filming the movie "It's Trad Dad" with Helen Shapiro.  The film featured Pop and Trad Jazz stars from the UK and USA.  It was released in March 1962, and was a box office success.
# This was Douglas' second in a run of four consecutive hits that peaked at number nine - a unique achievement.


Title: Moody River
Artist: Pat Boone
Writer(s): Chase Webster
Entered chart 6 Jul 1961; Highest Position 18; Weeks on chart: 10.

Pat Boone was born on 1 Jun 1934 in Jacksonville, Florida, USA, but he grew up in Nashville, Tennessee - his parents having moved there when Boone was only two years old.  He began recording in 1955, mostly covering black R&B hits by the likes of Fats Domino and Little Richard for the white American market, but he soon turned to original material - mostly love songs.  He cultivated a clean, wholesome image, which was appreciated by parents who thought Elvis Presley was too sexual in performance.  His popularity earned him a TV series, "The Pat Boone Chevy Showroom" (obviously sponsored by Chevrolet cars), which ran from 1957 to 1960.  Boone became something of a teenage heart-throb on both sides of the Atlantic, and his good looks took him into the film industry.  He made numerous films in the late 1950s and through the 1960s, all for family viewing.  The hits dried up in the early 1960s, and being a committed Christian, Boone toured with his wife and four daughters as Gospel singers during the second half of the 1960s and through the 1970s, 
# This recording made Number One in the USA, and was his first American chart topper since December 1957.  His previous Top 10 hit in the UK had been in January 1958.  However, he had two more Top 10s, one later in 1961, and his final one in 1962.


Title: You Always Hurt The One You Love
Artist: Clarence "Frogman" Henry
Writer(s): Allan Roberts & Doris Fisher.
Entered chart 13 Jul 1961; Highest Position 6; Weeks on chart: 12.

This was his follow-up to his hit "But I Do" (song 34).  He continued recording until 1964, and then concentrated on live shows, mostly in his home town of New Orleans, USA.  See song 34 for more details.
# This song was originally a hit for the Mills Brothers in 1944, when it reached Number One in the USA charts.  It was also a hit for Connie Francis in 1959, who peaked at number 13 in the UK charts with it. (See year 1959, song 8 in these lists).


Title: That's My Home
Artist: Acker Bilk
Writer(s): D. Ellison, L. Rene, O. Rene
Entered chart 13 Jul 1961; Highest Position 7; Weeks on chart: 17.

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 hits came in 1960, 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.
# This was his first hit of 1961, and later in that year, his massive hit "Stranger On The Shore" entered the charts.


Title: Romeo
Artist: Petula Clark
Writer(s): Robert Stolz with English lyrics by Jimmy Kennedy
Entered chart 13 Jul 1961; Highest Position 3; Weeks on chart: 15.

In real terms, this was Petula's follow up to her chart-topping hit "Sailor" in January 1961. (There had been a very minor hit in between).  Strangely, like "Sailor", "Romeo" was a German song to which English lyrics had been added.  It proved to be very popular, and with another Top 10 hit later in 1961, it was a very successful year for her.  It was also the year she married her husband Claude Wolff with whom she had three children.
#  The song was written in 1919 by Robert Stolz, and was titled "Salome".  The original German lyrics were by Arthur Rebner - the English lyrics were newly written.


Title: Don't You Know It
Artist: Adam Faith
Writer(s): Johnny Worth (under pseudonym of Les Vandyke)
Entered chart 20 Jul 1961; Highest Position 12; Weeks on chart: 10.

For this record he was back with his usual songwriter, after recording a Lionel Bart song previously.  It did no better, however.  For the second time in a row, his recording peaked at number 12.  No need for panic though - his follow-up in autumn 1961 took him back into the Top 5.  The autumn of 1961 also saw the release of another film in which he starred.  This one was called "What A Whopper", a comedy about the Loch Ness Monster, and which additionally featured Sid James and Clive Dunn.  


Title: Cupid
Artist: Sam Cooke
Writer(s): Sam Cooke
Entered chart 27 Jul 1961; Highest Position 7; Weeks on chart: 14.

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 recording of "Only Sixteen", which he also wrote himself, was out-sold by the Craig Douglas cover version.  His follow-up recording of "Wonderful World" was not up against any covers, but still only managed to just enter the Top 30.  However, things changed in September 1960 when he began a run of three Top 10 hits through to 1962.  He was shot dead at a motel in Los Angeles in December 1964.
# This was his highest UK chart placing so far, but his final Top 10 hit, "Twistin' The Night Away" reached number six in spring 1962.
#  In 1969, American singer Johnny Nash took his version to number six in the UK charts.  In 1980, American vocal group The Detroit Spinners saw their medley of "Cupid" and "I've Loved You For A Long Time" peak at number four in the British charts.


Title: It Keeps Raining
Artist: Fats Domino
Writer(s): Fats Domino, Dave Bartholomew & Bobby Charles
Entered chart 27 Jul 1961; Highest Position 49; Weeks on chart: 1.

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.
# Although Domino had 20 hits in the UK from 1956 to 1963, he only enjoyed one Top 10 entry, and that was back in 1956.  His style of R&B never seemed to be totally popular in the UK, although he is regarded as an important contributor to popular music of the 1950s, in particular Rhythm & Blues.
#  In 1993, British performer, Bitty McLean recorded the song and took it up to number two in the UK charts that year.


Title: Reach For The Stars
Artist: Shirley Bassey
Writer(s): Udo Jürgens, with English lyrics by Norman Newell
Entered chart 27 Jul 1961; Highest Position 1; Weeks on chart: 18.

This was Bassey's follow-up to her number six hit "You'll Never Know" (song 38).  This was also her second and final Number One in the UK singles chart.  The flip-side of the recording was "Climb Ev'ry Mountain" from the 1959 Rodgers & Hammerstein musical "The Sound of Music".  The record was promoted as a double A-side, and with two outstanding songs on one disc it easily sailed up to the top of the charts.  With a third Top 10 hit coming later, 1961 was very successful for her.  It was also in 1961 that Shirley Bassey was asked to sing at the Royal Variety Performance in London, for the very first time.


Title: Johnny Remember Me
Artist: John Leyton
Writer(s): Geoff Goddard
Producer: Joe Meek
Entered chart 3 Aug 1961; Highest Position 1; Weeks on chart: 15.

John Leyton was born on 17 Feb 1936 in Essex, England.  After his National Service in the early 1950s, he went to drama school, and this enabled him to get a number of bit-parts in films and TV dramas.  His big break-through came in 1961 when he landed a part in the television series "Harpers West One".  Leyton played the part of a singer named Johnny Saint Cyr, and in one episode he performed the song "Johnny Remember Me".  The song raced up to Number One, and started his career as a singer, as well as an actor.  He enjoyed a total of nine hits, although only two reached the Top 10.  His recordings were produced by the legendary Joe Meek.  His acting continued, with appearances in several major films during the 1960s and 1970s.  In the 1990s and 2000s he toured in 1960s nostalgia shows.


Title: How Many Tears
Artist: Bobby Vee
Writer(s): Gerry Goffin & Carole King
Entered chart 3 Aug 1961; Highest Position 10; Weeks on chart: 13

His third hit and his third Top 10 entry.  This song was from the husband and wife hit-making team.  They must have been disappointed that the recording peaked at a lowly 63 in the USA.  However, they would write his next release too, and that went to Number One in the USA; number 3 in the UK.


Title: Who Put The Bomp (In The Bomp, Bomp, Bomp)
Artist: Barry Mann
Writer(s): Barry Mann & Gerry Goffin
Entered chart 7 Aug 1961; Highest Position 7 (USA info, not a UK hit)

Barry Mann, born 9 Feb 1939 in New York City, is an American singer and songwriter, and part of a successful songwriting partnership with his wife, Cynthia Weil (see song 76).  He wrote numerous pop songs in the late 1950s and throughout the 1960s.  In later decades he wrote music for films and won several awards.
# This song, which he wrote with Gerry Goffin, pokes fun at the nonsense lyrics in many Doo-Wop songs of the era.  Examples of the type of song referred to include the Marcels' version of "Blue Moon" (in which they sing "Bomp bomp ba bomp, ba bomp ba bomp bomp" and "dip-de-dip-de-dip"), and the Edsels' "Rama-Lama-Ding-Dong", both of which charted earlier in 1961.  "Boogidy Boogidy Shoo" can be found in the lyrics to "Pony Time" by Chubby Checker, released earlier the same year.  It was a fun bit of nonsense, but it failed to excite record buyers in the UK.
# The bass voice on this novelty recording is by Ronnie Bright (1938-2015), who also features on Johnny Cymbal's single "Mr Bass Man" (year 1963, song 23).
# Although this original version was not a UK hit, in 1982 it was recorded by British band Showaddywaddy, whose version reached number 37 in the UK charts that year.


Title: Lumbered
Artist: Lonnie Donegan
Writer(s): Leslie Bricusse & Anthony Newley
Entered chart 31 Aug 1961; Highest Position 6; Weeks on chart: 11. 

This recording was a double A-side with Donegan's cover of the American song "Michael (Row The Boat Ashore)" by The Highwaymen (song 65).  The USA group made it to Number One in the UK, but Donegan had to be content with a number six placing.  This was his penultimate year in the UK charts, with one more Top 10 hit to come in 1962.
# This song comes from the
Bricusse & Newley stage musical
"Stop The World, I Want To Get Off" which opened in London in 1961, and on Broadway, New York in 1962. 


Title: Michael (Row The Boat Ashore)
Artist: The Highwaymen
Writer(s): Traditional, published 1867.
Entered chart 7 Sep 1961; Highest Position 1; Weeks on chart: 14. 

The Highwaymen were five American college friends who attended Wesleyan University in Connecticut, USA.  They came to prominence when their recording of the African-American work song "Michael, Row the Boat Ashore" reached Number One on both sides of the Atlantic.  After they graduated in 1964 they went their separate ways with most members going into business and law.  One member however, Dave Fisher, moved to Hollywood where he composed and arranged music for films and television and worked as a studio singer and musician.  He wrote more than a thousand songs, many of which have been used in movie and television productions.  Fisher died on 7 May 2010 at the age of 69.
# "Michael, Row the Boat Ashore" is an African-American spiritual.  It was first noted during the American Civil War at St. Helena Island, off the coast of South Carolina.  It was sung by former slaves whose owners had abandoned the island before the Union navy arrived during that war.  The song was first published in "Slave Songs of the United States", by Allen, Ware, and Lucy McKim Garrison, in 1867, just after the American slaves were freed.


Title: Jealousy
Artist: Billy Fury
Writer(s): Jacob Gade & Winifred May
Entered chart 7 Sep 1961; Highest Position 2; Weeks on chart: 12. 

This was the second in a run of three Top 10 hits for Fury in 1961.  This was also his highest placing on the UK charts.  Despite enjoying 26 hit singles in the UK between 1959 and 1966, he never managed to have a Number One.
This song was written in 1926, and was recorded by many artists after that time.  Most notable is the version by American vocalist Frankie Laine, whose 1951 recording reached number three in the USA charts.  This predated the first UK singles chart (November 1952).


Title: Kon-Tiki
Artist: The Shadows
Writer(s): Michael Carr
Entered chart 7 Sep 1961; Highest Position 1; Weeks on chart: 12. 

Back at the top again, and they were continuing their run of consecutive Top 10 hits.  The band members at the time this was recorded remained as before.  However, by the time the record reached Number One, drummer Tony Meehan had left the Shadows, being replaced by the drummer from Marty Wilde's Wildcats, Brian Bennett (born 9 Feb 1940 in north London, England).  Brian would remain with the band throughout the following years and well into the 21st century.  His son Warren Bennett joined the Shadows as keyboardist in 2004.
The Kon-Tiki expedition was a 1947 journey by raft across the Pacific Ocean from South America to the Polynesian islands, led by Norwegian explorer and writer Thor Heyerdahl.  The raft was named Kon-Tiki after the Inca sun god.  There have been several recreations of the original journey.  One was in 1958 which may have inspired this instrumental, and the most recent was in 2011, although that was across the Atlantic Ocean.


Title: Hurt
Artist: Timi Yuro
Writer(s): Jimmie Crane & Al Jacobs
Entered chart 11 Sep 1961; Highest Position 7; (USA info, not a UK hit) 

Timi Yuro (4 Aug 1940 - 30 Mar 2004) was born in Chicago, USA, but moved with her family to Los Angeles in 1952.  She sang in her parents' Italian restaurant as a teenager, and later in local nightclubs.  She was spotted by talent scout Sonny Knight, and signed to Liberty Records in 1959.  "Hurt" was her breakthrough hit, and she continued with American chart entries until 1964, although none reached the UK charts.  She remained a popular live performer, and in 1981 moved to the Netherlands where she recorded and had several hits in the Dutch record charts.  She returned to the USA in the late 1980s but ill health overtook her in the 1990s, causing her retirement from singing.
The song was written in 1954 and a few versions were recorded prior to Yuro's hit.  It has also been recorded since then by several artists, including Elvis Presley who took his version to number 37 in the UK charts in 1976.  In that same year, American vocal group the Manhattans, saw their recording of the song reach number 4 in the British charts.


Title: Hats Off To Larry
Artist: Del Shannon
Writer(s): Del Shannon
Entered chart 14 Sep 1961; Highest Position 6; Weeks on chart: 12.  

This follow-up to Shannon's debut hit has a similar structure and again features Max Crook's Musitron (an early synthesizer).  It was the second of a series of Top 10 hits for the American, with the next one coming towards the end of 1961.


Title: Get Lost
Artist: Eden Kane
Johnny Worth (under pseudonym of Les Vandyke)
Entered chart 14 Sep 1961; Highest Position 10; Weeks on chart: 11.  

Eden Kane followed his debut Number One with this song written by the same composer - the man who had also written several hits for Adam Faith.  This release only just scraped into the Top 10, but his next hit (in 1962) hit the Top 3.


Title: Cryin'
Artist: Roy Orbison
Roy Orbison & Joe Melson
Entered chart 21 Sep 1961; Highest Position 25; Weeks on chart: 9.  

This was his follow-up to "Running Scared" (song 41) which had reached number nine in mid summer.  Although "Cryin'" is now regarded as an Orbison classic, it clearly did not excite British record buyers at the time.  Things were different in the USA, where the fans pushed the record up to number two in the American charts.  However, his next hit, in spring 1962, made it to number two in the UK.
# In 1980 American singer-songwriter, Don McLean hit
Number One in the UK with his version of the song.  
In 1987, Orbison recorded the song again, but this time as a duet with Canadian singer k d lang.  The recording did not enter the UK charts until lang had achieved her first British hit in early 1992.  The duet peaked at number 13 in the UK during late summer 1992.


Title: Walking Back To Happiness
Artist: Helen Shapiro
John Schroeder & Mike Hawker
Entered chart 28 Sep 1961; Highest Position 1; Weeks on chart: 19.  

This was her second and final Number One, and her last hit of 1961.  Nevertheless, it had been a very successful year for her with three major hits and a film ("It's Trad Dad") in production.  1962 would be her second and final year as a star - she was eclipsed by the Beatles and other beat groups in 1963.


Title: Sucu Sucu
Artist: Laurie Johnson Orchestra
Tarateño Rojas (Bolivian composer)
Entered chart 28 Sep 1961; Highest Position 9; Weeks on chart: 12.  

Laurie Johnson was born on 7 Feb 1927 in London, England.  He studied at the London College of Music, and after a stint in the army, he made a career in composing and performing music for film and TV.  Over some 30 years he composed dozens of themes for popular TV drama series including "The Avengers" and "The Professionals".  He toured with his band in the late 1990s, and was awarded an MBE for services to music in 2014.
# This music was written in 1959 and was chosen as the theme music for the TV spy-drama series "Top Secret" (1961-62) starring William Franklyn.  The drama was set in South America, and location shots were filmed in Argentina.
# The song was covered by four other acts in 1961.  Instrumental versions were issued by the Ted Heath Orchestra (peaked at number 36), and the Joe Loss Orchestra (peaked at number 48).  There were also two vocal versions by Nina & Frederick, (reached number 23); and Belgian duo Ping Ping & Al Verlaine (reached number 41).


Title: Wild Wind
Artist: John Leyton
Geoff Goddard
Producer: Joe Meek
Entered chart 5 Oct 1961; Highest Position 2; Weeks on chart: 10.  

Leyton's follow-up to "Johnny Remember Me" (song 61) was from the same songwriting and production team.  Whilst the previous hit had gone all the way to Number One, "Wild Wind" stalled at number two.  Leyton went on to have several more hits, but with lower and lower peak positions.


Title: Don't Blame Me
Artist: Everly Brothers
Jimmy McHugh & Dorothy Fields
Entered chart 5 Oct 1961; Highest Position 20; Weeks on chart: 6.

After their fourth Number One in the summer of 1961, this release had a disappointing performance on the UK charts.  It was promoted as a double A-side with "Muskrat", but neither song really took off.  They were back in the Top 10, however, in early 1962.
# This song by Jimmy McHugh (1894-1969) with lyrics by Dorothy Fields (1905-1974) was part of the 1932 show "Clowns in Clover".  It became a USA hit for Nat King Cole in 1948.  A version of the song by Frank Ifield reached number 8 in the UK charts during early 1964 (year 1964, song 2).


Title: Bless You
Artist: Tony Orlando
Writer(s): Barry Mann &
Cynthia Weil
Entered chart 5 Oct 1961; Highest Position 5; Weeks on chart: 11.

Tony Orlando was born on 3 Apr 1944 in New York City.  He started singing with a group when in his early teens.  He recorded this song when he was only 17.  Despite Top 5 status in the UK, the recording peaked at number 15 in the USA.  He continued recording through the 1960s, but with diminishing returns.  He hit the big time in the 1970s, however, when he formed the group Dawn, comprising himself and two female singers.  Together they enjoyed two chart toppers in the UK, namely "Knock Three Times" (1971) and "Tie A Yellow Ribbon Round The Ole Oak Tree" (1973).  He continues performing as a solo artist in Las Vegas, at corporate events, and other venues.


Title: You Must Have Been A Beautiful Baby
Artist: Bobby Darin
Writer(s): Harry Warren & Johnny Mercer

Entered chart 12 Oct 1961; Highest Position 10; Weeks on chart: 11.

With this recording Darin finally moved away from his big band arrangements to a small-combo backing on this revival of a standard song.  This represented his sixth Top 10 hit in the UK, with three more to come by the end of 1966.
# The song was published in 1938, and featured in the movie "Hard to Get" in the same year, where it was sung by Dick Powell.  The song was recorded by Bing Crosby who had the biggest-selling hit version.  It has been recorded by numerous artists since then, mostly as album tracks.


Title: When The Girl In Your Arms
Artist: Cliff Richard
Sid Tepper & Roy C Bennett (American songwriters who composed several Elvis Presley hits and an earlier one for Cliff)
Entered chart 19 Oct 1961; Highest Position 3; Weeks on chart: 15.

This sensitive ballad gave Cliff his tenth Top 10 hit, and was featured in Cliff's film "The Young Ones".  For the first time on one of his hit singles, he was not backed by The Shadows (formerly Drifters).  There was an orchestral backing provided by the Norrie Paramor Orchestra, with vocal support from the Mike Sammes Singers.  The Shadows were backing Cliff on the B-side of the disc however, and they were present on most of his releases over the next two or three years.  His next hit came in early 1962 - one of his best-loved songs, "The Young Ones".  That was the title track from his film of the same title, which premiered in December 1961.


Title: Hit The Road Jack
Artist: Ray Charles
Writer(s): Percy Mayfield

Entered chart 19 Oct 1961; Highest Position 6; Weeks on chart: 12.

Ray Charles was a R&B and Soul singer (23 Sep 1930 - 10 Jun 2004) who was born in Albany, Georgia, USA, but grew up in Florida.  Charles started to lose his sight as a youngster, and was completely blind by the age of seven, apparently as a result of glaucoma.  He attended a school for deaf and blind children and took an interest in music.  He was taught to play piano, and became most interested in Blues and Jazz music which he heard on radio.  He decided to become a professional piano player in the mid 1940s, but found work hard to come by in Florida, so moved to Seattle in Washington state, USA.  By the early 1950s he was making a few records, and in 1952 signed with Atlantic Records.  His first big hit was "I Got A Woman" which reached number two on the American R&B chart.  His first pop hit came in 1959 when "What'd I Say" peaked at number six on the USA charts.  This led to numerous hits on both sides of the Atlantic during the 1960s.  He continued making albums into the 21st century, and remained a popular live performer almost until his death at age 73.


Title: Big Bad John
Artist: Jimmy Dean
Writer(s): Jimmy Dean & Roy Acuff

Entered chart 26 Oct 1961; Highest Position 2; Weeks on chart: 13.

Jimmy Dean was Country Music singer (10 Aug 1928 - 13 Jun 2010) who was born in Texas USA.  He dropped out of high school and became a professional entertainer after serving in the United States Air Force in the late 1940s.  He had his first hit in the early 1950s and went on to present radio and TV Country Music shows.  This hit in 1961 went to Number One in the USA, and he was awarded a Grammy for best Country Music record in 1962.  He made a couple of follow-up records which continued the story but they did not chart in the UK.  He remained very popular in America and in 1969 he founded the Jimmy Dean sausage company which still operates, but under a different ownership.  Jimmy Dean food products are still advertised on American TV.  A Virginia resident since 1990, Dean was inducted into the Virginia Country Music Hall of Fame in 1997.  He died in Virginia at age 81.
# The song tells the story of a mysterious and quiet miner who earned the nickname Big John because of his height, weight, and muscular physique.  He supposedly came from New Orleans, where he killed a man over a Cajun Queen.  He went on to save twenty men from a mine collapse, although he lost his life in the process.


Title: The Time Has Come
Artist: Adam Faith
Johnny Worth (under pseudonym of Les Vandyke)
Entered chart 26 Oct 1961; Highest Position 4; Weeks on chart: 14.

After the disappointment of missing the Top 10 on his previous two releases, Faith reached number four with this song from his regular songwriter.  This song was featured in Faith's film of 1961, "What A Whopper".  The film was a comedy about the Loch Ness Monster, and as well as Faith, the cast included many comedy stars of the time.


Title: Take Good Care Of My Baby
Artist: Bobby Vee
Writer(s): Gerry Goffin & Carole King

Entered chart 26 Oct 1961; Highest Position 3; Weeks on chart: 16.

Back in the Top 10 with another hit from the husband and wife songwriting team.  This recording is Vee's joint highest position in the UK charts (he never made it to Number One), but this release did make it all the way to the top of the charts in the USA.  Also in late 1961, Vee engaged on a concert tour of Britain along with The Crickets.


Title: Moon River
Artist: Danny Williams
Writer(s): Henry Mancini & Johnny Mercer

Entered chart 2 Nov 1961; Highest Position 1; Weeks on chart: 19.

Danny Williams (7 Jan 1942 - 6 Dec 2005) was born in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.  He won a talent contest at the age of 14 and joined a touring show that played throughout South Africa.  In 1959, the show came to London where Williams impressed an EMI executive who signed the young singer to a recording contract.  He went on to spend most of his life in the UK, where he made a few moderately successful singles, before scoring a chart topper with this version of "Moon River".  In the following year he made the Top 10 for the last time, although he reached the American Top 10 in 1964 with a song called "White On White".  He continued recording and performing in night clubs through the 1960s.  After health and financial problems, he resumed his career in the 1970s, and had one final hit in 1977.  He died in 2005 from lung cancer at the age of 63.
# The song is from the 1961 film "Breakfast at Tiffany's", starring Audrey Hepburn who performed the song in the movie.  The writers received an Academy Award ("Oscar") for Best Original Song.  The co-writer, Henry Mancini, took his version with his orchestra and chorus to number 44 in the British charts during December 1961.
# In January 1972, Jamaican band Greyhound reached number 12 in the UK charts with their Reggae version of the song.


Title: Runaround Sue
Artist: Dion
Writer(s): Dion & Ernie Maresca

Entered chart 2 Nov 1961; Highest Position 11; Weeks on chart: 9.

Dion (surname DiMucci) was born on 18 Jul 1939 in New York City, USA.  As a child, he accompanied his father, Pasquale DiMucci, a vaudeville entertainer, on tour, and developed a love of music.  He was asked to make a record in 1957 and the record company teamed him up with an existing group, The Belmonts, to back him.  As Dion and the Belmonts he had a few hits including "Teenager In Love" in 1959, which was only a minor hit in the UK, as it was covered by Marty Wilde.  In the USA it reached number 5.  He went solo in late 1960, and in 1961 had his first big solo hit "Runaround Sue", which he co-wrote.  That recording went to Number One in the USA.  He enjoyed a Top 10 hit in the UK in 1962 ("The Wanderer"), but the hits dried up after that.  He is still recording in the 21st century.
# In 1976, this recording was re-released in the UK when it reached number 16.  In 1980, British band Racey recorded the song, and they saw it peak at number 13 in the UK charts.


Title: His Latest Flame
Artist: Elvis Presley
Doc Pomus & Mort Shuman
Entered chart 2 Nov 1961; Highest Position 1; Weeks on chart: 13.

Another great song from the Pomus & Shuman team gave Elvis a further chart topper in the UK - his ninth in total.  This was his last hit of the year, but he had four Number Ones in 1962.  Also in November 1961, his album "Something For Everybody" entered the album chart, peaking at number two, and remaining on the chart for 18 weeks.  This was quickly followed by the soundtrack album from Presley's film "Blue Hawaii".  That album first charted in December 1961, although the film was not released in the UK until February 1962.  The album went to Number One and spent no less than 65 weeks on the album chart.  


Title: Tower Of Strength
Artist: Frankie Vaughan
Burt Bacharach & Bob Hilliard
Entered chart 9 Nov 1961; Highest Position 1; Weeks on chart: 13.

Frankie Vaughan (3 Feb 1928 - 17 Sep 1999) was born in Liverpool, England.  He attended art college after leaving school, but prefered a career as a singer.  He moved to London in the late 1940s, and got work performing song and dance routines in a 1930s style - complete with top hat, bow tie and cane.  He started making records in the mid 1950s, and in 1955 he recorded what was to become his trademark song, "Give Me the Moonlight, Give Me the Girl".  Like other artists in the 1950s, he mostly recorded covers of American hits, and he had quite a bit of success in the charts through to the late 1960s.  But, he was foremost a very popular live entertainer on stage and TV, continuing as such into the 1980s.  He died from heart failure in 1999, aged 71.
# In the USA, the song was a hit for Gene McDaniels, where it reached number five on the charts.


Title: Midnight In Moscow
Artist: Kenny Ball
Vasily Solovyov-Sedoi & Mikhail Matusovsky
Entered chart 9 Nov 1961; Highest Position 2; Weeks on chart: 21.

After a couple of smaller hits since his debut chart entry in February, Kenny Ball & His Jazzmen reached the Top 10 with the instrumental "Midnight In Moscow" - the track for which he is probably best known.  The recording also reached number two in the USA; and that was a couple of years before the so-called "British Invasion" of the American charts by the Beatles etc.  Ball enjoyed more hits through to 1967.  More info about Kenny Ball is with song 16.
# The song was written in 1955 by the two Russians when the Soviet government was ruling.  The title was "Moscow Nights", and the song won a music contest in Moscow during 1957.  The original is played quite slowly, but Ball arranged it into a fast Trad-Jazz instrumental, and changed the title.


Title: I Love How You Love Me
Artist: Jimmy Crawford
Barry Mann & Larry Kolber
Entered chart 16 Nov 1961; Highest Position 18; Weeks on chart: 10.

Jimmy Crawford was born on 18 Nov 1937 in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, England.  After army service he formed a band and played in local venues around South Yorkshire.  He signed a recording contract as a solo artist, and had a minor hit in mid 1961.  This recording was his only other chart entry.  He continued performing with various backing bands for several years.
# The song was an American hit for the Paris Sisters who reached number five in the USA charts during 1961.  It was also recorded by Maureen Evans a bit later in 1964, and her version peaked at number 34 in the UK charts.  Two years after that, in 1966, Paul & Barry Ryan recorded the song, and they reached number 21 in the British charts.  Not to be outdone, Bobby Vinton recorded a version in 1968 which peaked at number nine in the USA.  So there were five hit versions of the song, mostly in different years, during the 1960s.


Title: The Savage
Artist: The Shadows
Norrie Paramor & Ronald Cass
Entered chart 16 Nov 1961; Highest Position 10; Weeks on chart: 8.

This was their sixth hit and sixth Top 10 entry.  It was the follow-up to their Number One hit "Kon-Tiki" (song 67), and was featured in Cliff Richard's film "The Young Ones".  Although this only just made the Top 10, they were back at Number One with their next hit in March 1962.  Whilst this recording was in the singles charts, their debut album, "The Shadows", was riding high in the album chart.


Title: My Friend The Sea
Artist: Petula Clark
Ron Goodwin & Jack Fishman
Entered chart 16 Nov 1961; Highest Position 7; Weeks on chart: 13.

This was her second Top 10 entry of 1961.  However, she was not destined to have another Top 10 until November 1964 when she began working with songwriter and producer Tony Hatch.  That song, "Downtown", led to a series of hits both in the UK and in the USA where she enjoyed six Top 10 hits between 1965 and 1967.


Title: I'll Get By
Artist: Shirley Bassey
Fred Ahlert & Roy Turk
Entered chart 23 Nov 1961; Highest Position 10; Weeks on chart: 8.

Shirley Bassey had enjoyed a successful 1961, and this Top 10 hit rounded it off nicely.  More hits came along in 1962, although only one made the Top 10.  Nevertheless, she remained an immensely popular live performer and album artist.  For info about Shirley Bassey, see song 38 in this list.
# This song was written in 1928, and it was recorded by several artists during the 1930s and 1940s.  In 1958 it was recorded by Connie Francis as a Rock 'n' Roll ballad, and she reached number 19 on the UK charts with her version.


Title: Stranger On The Shore
Artist: Acker Bilk
Acker Bilk
Entered chart 30 Nov 1961; Highest Position 2; Weeks on chart: 55.

This is Acker Bilk's big hit for which he is best remembered.  Although he was primarily a jazz performer, this is a slow  clarinet piece with an orchestral backing.  He had written the song for his daughter, and called the tune "Jenny".  However, it was later chosen as the theme to a 1961 BBC TV series called "Stranger On The Shore", so the music was renamed.  The recording went all the way to Number One in the USA, although official statistics in the UK show it as having peaked at number two (see below).  Regardless of chart position, it spent an amazing 55 weeks on the charts, and became the best-selling record of 1962.  The recording continues to be aired on radio stations worldwide, and Acker once described it as his pension - referring to the royalties income.  Bilk had three more hits during the 1960s, but none went higher than number 14.  He unexpectedly appeared in the Top 10 during 1976 with a piece called "Aria".  For more info about Acker Bilk, see song 55.
# CONTROVERSY:  This recording was listed at Number One by the British music papers NME and Record Mirror.  However, official chart listing books (and the Official Charts Company) use the Record Retailer charts and they insisted it only reached number two, so that is the official historic chart placing.
#  In 1962 English lyricist Robert Mellin wrote words for the instrumental, and several vocalists made recordings of it.  One of those was Andy Williams whose vocal version reached number 30 in the UK charts during 1962.


Title: Johnny Will
Artist: Pat Boone
Frederick Tobias & Paul Evans
Entered chart 7 Dec 1961; Highest Position 4; Weeks on chart 13.

This was Boone's last hit of 1961, and a Top 5 placing was commendable for an artist who had their first UK hit in 1955.  The following year, 1962, was to be his last year in the British charts, however.  Still, there were to be four hits in that final year, with one getting as high as number two.  Pat Boone was also making films at this time, and his movie of 1961 was "All Hands On Deck" - a musical romantic comedy in which he starred.


Title: So Long Baby
Artist: Del Shannon
Writer(s): Del Shannon

Entered chart 7 Dec 1961; Highest Position 10; Weeks on chart 11.

Del Shannon kept the hits coming with his third Top 10 entry of the year.  Once again, he had written the song himself, and more hits came over the next couple of years.  Interestingly, Shannon was having greater success in the UK than in his homeland.  This hit only reached number 28 Stateside, and whilst he had a total of eight Top 10 hits in Britain, he only entered the American Top 10 three times.


Title: Let There Be Drums
Artist: Sandy Nelson
Writer(s): Sandy Nelson & Richard Podolor

Entered chart 14 Dec 1961; Highest Position 3; Weeks on chart 16.

Sandy Nelson (1 Dec 1938 - 14 Feb 2022) was a drummer, born in Santa Monica, California, USA.  He began playing drums at high school, and later joined a band called The Renegades who made a record in 1957.  It did not sell, and Nelson opted to become a session drummer.  He went on to perform on a number of hits for numerous artists, mostly in California.  He released his first solo recording, "Teen Beat", in 1959, which was a hit in both the USA and UK.  "Let There Be Drums" was his biggest hit in the UK, but success was short lived.  A couple of minor hits followed but then he never reached the UK charts again.  Despite the loss of a foot in a motor cycle accident, he continued drumming, and issued several albums in the 1960s and 1970s.  As recently as 2008, he made a new album of original material.  He moved to Boulder City, Nevada, USA in 1988, where he died in 2022 at the age of 83.
# The guitarist on the recording is Richard Podolor, the co-writer of the track.  He went on to become a successful record producer, mostly working with rock band Three Dog Night.


Title: I'd Never Find Another You
Artist: Billy Fury
Writer(s): Gerry Goffin & Carole King

Entered chart 14 Dec 1961; Highest Position 5; Weeks on chart 15.

Billy's last hit and third Top 10 of the year.  It was also his tenth hit record - the first being in February 1959.  He was now established as one of the top performers in the UK, and that would continue until the beat groups got the upper hand in the mid 1960s.  He was also in the album chart during the autumn of 1961 with his LP "Halfway To Paradise", which reached number five.


Title: Multiplication
Artist: Bobby Darin
Bobby Darin
Entered chart 21 Dec 1961; Highest Position 5; Weeks on chart 13.

Darin's seventh Top 10 hit was one he wrote himself.  He had now waved goodbye to the big band arrangements and had returned to straight forward pop music - at least as far as singles were concerned.  Although this recording was popular in the UK, it only rose to a meager number 30 in his American homeland.  More info about Darin is with song 22.
# The song was featured in a romantic comedy film called "Come September", which starred Bobby Darin along with Rock Hudson, Gina Lollobrigida and Sandra Dee.  The instrumental theme to the movie was written by Darin, and the recording was credited to The Bobby Darin Orchestra, although that would have been a collection of session musicians.  The record peaked at number 50 in the UK charts.  
# A romance brewed off-screen for Darin and Sandra Dee during the filming of "Come September" in 1960.  They married that year, had a son in December 1961, but divorced in 1967.  Darin died from heart failure in 1973, and Dee never remarried.  She died in 2005, aged 62.


Title: Image (Parts 1 & 2)
Artist: Hank Levine Orchestra
Joe Glenn & Robert L Sande
Entered chart 21 Dec 1961; Highest Position 45; Weeks on chart 4.

Hank Levine was an American orchestra leader and arranger.  He arranged music on the recordings of many artists, but it seems that none were major hits.
# This haunting instrumental by the Hank Levine Orchestra began life as a station identity theme for Los Angeles radio station KFWB.  It was developed into a full-blown instrumental featuring Plas Johnson on alto sax, pianist Gene Garf, vibist Emil Richards, and drummer Earl Palmer.  It reached number 45 in the British charts and number 98 in the USA.  Part 1 is a slow, easy-listening jazz-style arrangement.  Part 2 is an up tempo Rock 'n' Roll arrangement with rasping saxophone.  These were the A and B sides of the same disc.


Title: Happy Birthday Sweet Sixteen
Artist: Neil Sedaka
Neil Sedaka & Howard Greenfield
Entered chart 21 Dec 1961; Highest Position 3; Weeks on chart 18.

Neil Sedaka's third and final Top 10 hit released in 1961.  It was another happy-go-lucky pop song written with his usual lyricist, Howard Greenfield.  The following year would see him with just one Top 10 entry, before he was swept aside by the British beat bands.  He was destined to return in the early 1970s with a new style that provided more single and album hits.  For more info on Neil Sedaka, see song 9.


Title: Run To Him
Artist: Bobby Vee
Gerry Goffin & Jack Keller
Entered chart 21 Dec 1961; Highest Position 6; Weeks on chart 15.

This was Vee's fifth consecutive Top 10 hit of 1961 - his first year in the UK charts, and his most successful year.  The next two years would be thinner chart-wise, his final UK hit coming in the summer of 1963.  For info about Bobby Vee, see song number 7.


Acts with most appearances in this list:

Adam Faith: 5
Bobby Vee:  5
Cliff Richard: 4
The Shadows: 4
Elvis Presley: 4
Billy Fury: 4

Composers with most appearances in this list:

Johnny Worth (under pseudonym of Les Vandyke): 6
Gerry Goffin & Carole King: 5  (plus an additional 2 for Gerry Goffin - 1 with Barry Mann and 1 with Jack Keller)
Neil Sedaka & Howard Greenfield: 4
John Schroeder & Mike Hawker: 3 (all for Helen Shapiro)
Del Shannon: 3 (all for himself)
Barry Mann: 3  (1 with Gerry Goffin; 1 with Cynthia Weil; 1 with Larry Kolber)
Harry Warren (1893-1981): 3  (1 with Mack Gordon; 1 with Edgar Leslie & Grant Clarke; 1 with Johnny Mercer)
Warren's 3 songs in this list were written in 1943, 1923, and 1938, thus being revivals of old songs.

New Names in 1961
To qualify, new acts must have had at least three entries in these lists.  One-hit Wonders do not qualify.

Bobby Vee
Kenny Ball
Helen Shapiro
Del Shannon
Eden Kane
John Leyton

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Comments and corrections to: mjs@onlineweb.com

Compiled March 2016.
Updated 11/04/2024