12 April 2021

Song

Do you know what the best selling single was on the day that you were born? In other words, what was "top of the pops"? British people born after 1947 will be able to find out here. American visitors will be able to find out here. By the way, the US billboard dates back to 1940. My apologies to citizens of other countries such as Canada, Germany, New Zealand, Australia and Bhutan. Perhaps you will be able to use your googling expertise to track down your national hit single on the day you were born

More apologies to senior bloggers and visitors whose birth dates preceded the popular music charts.

Investigating the charts I was hoping that the hit single on the day of my birth would be a deep and meaningful song like "We Shall Overcome" or even "I Believe" but instead, I discovered that it was a superficial and forgettable number by a crooning American pop singer called Guy Mitchell. It was "Look at That Girl". This formulaic song was top of the pops in Britain from September 11th 1953 to October 23rd. Mitchell had had another big hit earlier that year with "She Wears Red Feathers".

Guy Mitchell ((born Albert George Cernik;) 1927 – 1999

Here are the (cough...cough) poetic lyrics of "Look At That Girl":-

Look at the girl, she's like a dream come true
Ah look at that girl, can blue eyes be so blue
Look at the way she walks, listen when she talks
With each word my heart just skips
Oh if I could kiss those lips
Mmmm
Look at that girl, you see what I see
Oh look at that girl, she's walking straight to me
That's right, last night I held her tight
Ho ho it happens all the time
I look at that girl, and I can't believe she's mine

(Look at the girl, she's like a dream come true)
I don't believe it they're making it up
(Look at that girl can blue eyes be so blue)
But if I'm dreaming please don't wake me up
Just look at the way she walks
Listen when she talks
With each word my heart just flips
Oh if I could kiss those lips
Look at that girl, do you see what I see
Look at that girl
She's walking straight to me
That's right, last night I held her tight
It happens all the time
I look at that girl, and I can't believe she's mine

The song was created by a talented pop songwriter called Bob Merrill who was also responsible for "How Much Is That Doggie in The Window?" and "If I Knew You Were Coming I'd Have Baked A Cake". Where would we be without such aural masterpieces?

What was number one on the day you were born?

I leave you with Mr Guy Mitchell singing my  own birthday song. Take it away Guy:-

41 comments:

  1. All Shook Up, by Elvis Presley. LOL.

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  2. "Rose Garden" Lynn Anderson

    There were a number of great songs at #1 in 1971 but I happened to be born in the week of a pretty forgettable song

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    1. I remember that song well!

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    2. I'm glad you do! I'd rather have been born in the week of "Eagle Rock"

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  3. I was born in the good old days before pop charts. I kind of liked Guy Mitchell.

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    1. I remember you mentioning him before Red.

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  4. "My Prayer" by the Platters was number one on August 12, 1956. I've never heard of it, but will give it a listen. :)

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    1. Tonight while our hearts are aglow
      Oh tell me the words that I'm longing to know

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  5. August 11th 1953 and the top song in NZ was Vaya Con Dios from Les Paul and Mary Ford. Beautiful voice and guitar. My father loved to sing this to us although he was also keen on Merrill's other 2 songs and would change that doggy to"baby in the window?" as he sang to his latest child lined up for viewing behind the hospital nursery window . No hands on presence at the birth for Dads in those days.
    Thanks for the memory, back to the knitting!

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    1. You are very old compared with me Adele! You were born a full two months before me.

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  6. Strangely enough, your links only take me back to my own reading list here on blogger. Maybe check them again?

    It's alright to have a bit of silly, mindless pop song lyrics every now and then - just like watching a very foreseeable film or reading a very easy-going, light book. A bit of escapism doesn't harm anyone.

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    1. Thanks for that Meike. Strange aberration. Now (hopefully) fixed.

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    2. Shouldn't Meike's have been "A Walk in the Black Forest"?

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    3. Same here. I thought it was just me and blamed my computer, as I always tend to do. :)

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  7. I remember the song 'she wears red feathers and a hula, hula skirt, she lives on just coconut and fish from the sea'. Which my brother and I sang with great gusto. I think in the 'olden days' as children we sang more, and told stories as well.

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  8. 'Dominique' - The Singing Nun.

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    1. So appropriate for a God-fearing Catholic lad.

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  9. You were lucky it wasn't one of his previous releases from that year such as: "she wears red feathers and a hula hula skirt". I see Thelma remembers it too. I'll be singing it for the rest of the day now.

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  10. Sixteen Tons by Tennesee Ernie Ford!

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  11. Helen Shapiro with "don't you know'. Well actually I didn't, but now I do. Nice idea for a fun post.

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  12. Just Walking in the Rain by Johnnie Ray. Quite apt really.

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    1. People come to their windows
      They always stare at me
      And they're shaking their heads in sorrow
      Saying: "Who can that fool be?"

      I know the feeling.

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  13. Not sure which is worse...US version is Phil Harris singing The Thing or the Brit version of Bing Crosby singing Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer.

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  14. I'm at work so I can't listen to the song now, but I'm very intrigued as I've never heard of Guy Mitchell or the tune. I will definitely listen when I get home!

    No. 1 in the UK on the date of my birth was apparently "Reach Out I'll Be There" by the Four Tops (according to your linked web site). But in the states it was "96 Tears" by ? and the Mysterians, which is a pretty good name for a band.

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  15. He looks so gay in the photo. I have some memory of the red feathers song. For my 60th birthday someone gave me a cd of the music of the year I was born. I looked at the play list and thought I don't like any of these much and I've never listened to it.

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  16. My great uncle started his record collection back in the early 40's before the war and collected the top 5 singles from the Hit 100 every week. His mom bought the necessary records while he was away at war and he continued it until his death some decade ago. One of his things was to ask for ones birthday and he would pull out the appropriate record and play your birthday song. After it died, it took the largest rental truck money could rent to haul that collection off.

    Mine is "Brother Louie" which is a song about an interracial relationship. Thirty years later, I married someone from a different race.

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  17. Some song I've never heard of.
    Can I say that Guy Mitchell looks like the very devil himself?

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  18. When did rock'n'roll start in England? When did the Guy Mitchell years end?

    Decades ago I had lunch at the Kentish Town (London) home of Hunter Davies, who wrote the authorised biography of the Beatles.
    I wondered if Hunter asked the Lads that question about the birth of British rock. Yes, of course he had, having spent weeks and months interviewing them.

    Rock scholars go for 29 August 1958, when Cliff Richard and the Shadows (then known as The Drifters) recorded their single *Move* at EMI studios.
    *Move* was written by Ian Samwell. TV producer Jack Good was a kind of midwife at the birth of British rock. I was seven years old in 1958.

    Just weeks before Cliff's hit I was sitting in an Italian cafe with my father listening to Santo and Johnny's *Sleepwalk* (YouTube) on the jukebox, thinking that only America had a sound like that.
    As John Lennon said, 'Before Elvis there was nothing.'

    In 1960 The Shadows released *Apache* (YouTube) an instrumental marvel that took everyone by surprise.
    In 1962 The Tornados gave us their own instrumental gem - *Telstar* (YouTube) thanks to the tragic genius of Joe Meek. In 1967 Meek shot his landlady Violet Shenton and then himself. He did it on the eighth anniversary of Buddy Holly's death.

    On a happier note, watch *The Shadows at Sixty BBC4* 2020 (YouTube).
    Lead guitarist Hank Marvin has been living quietly in Perth, Australia for 22 years.
    Haggerty

    P.S. The 1973 film *That'll Be the Day* will give younger readers a glimpse of early rock'n'roll, and what it meant to young people everywhere.
    David Essex who starred in the film is one of the great musical survivors; a good actor too; and there's a cameo by Ringo Starr. It's on DVD.

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    1. Surely rock'n'roll started with Bill Haley and the Comets "Rock Around the Clock", in the mid/late 50's? Those were the days when UK singers and musicians "covered" anything from the US, who led the world in pop music. The Beatles were the first true home-grown revolutionary pop group - something we could call our own, and a phenomenon throughout the world. They stormed America - something that had never happened before.

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    2. You are a better historian than I, Coppa's girl.
      There was rock before Elvis as there was dancing before Strauss and the waltz. Elvis shook everything up as the waltz shook the Austria-Hungarian Empire.

      Rock Around the Clock: Bill Haley's hit single and the music track of
      The Blackboard Jungle, the 1955 film of the novel by Evan Hunter.
      (See *Evan Hunter/ Ed McBain left art because there's no frame in writing* YouTube.)

      1946. The Ravens, an R&B black vocal group with a bass vocalist and a falsetto tenor hit the scene with their single, Honey. They used a jive routine.
      1948. Muddy Waters climbs the R&B charts with I Can't Be Satisfied.
      1948. The Orioles release It's Too Soon To Know, a big R&B hit.
      1951. Ike Turner's Rocket 88, maybe the first *true* rock recording with Turner on saxophone and Jackie Brenston lead vocal.
      1951. Little Richard makes his first recording in Atlanta for RCA.
      1952. Ray Charles releases The Sun's Gonna Shine Again. Soul.
      1952. The great Chuck Berry and Johnnie Johnson, Too Much Monkey Business.
      1953. Bill Haley and the Comets, Crazy Man Crazy. A mix of R&B and Country Western.
      1954. Bill Haley's Rock Around the Clock the first chart-topping rock record.

      Haley never became King because he looked middle-aged. Young record buyers wanted to sing like Elvis not Haley.
      Rock'n'roll was the new name that powerful DJ Alan Freed gave to Rhythm and Blues, but the *birth* of rock is as hard to pin down as the *birth* of jazz.

      Little Richard spoke for the multitudes when he described Elvis in 1956 as *electrifying*.
      In 1955-56 American radio stations just didn't play a lot of black artists, it was racism both blatant and subtle. There was a great space to be filled and Elvis filled it when he burst on to the scene.

      Yet great black artists such as B.B. King and Rufus Thomas paid tribute to the Elvis phenomenon.
      Elvis was R&B, Country and Western and Gospel, white pop and a lot more.
      Buddy Holly epitomised white pop with his release of Rave On (January 1958) and with his second appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show, but died in that plane crash in Iowa in 1959.

      In some way Elvis gave the illusion of transcending race, though it was only an illusion, and he was managed by one of the most ruthless players in the scene, Colonel Tom Parker.
      Somewhere in Liverpool John Lennon heard Elvis sing Blue Suede Shoes and the rest is legend, another name for history.
      Haggerty



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    3. Hunter Davies - didn't he get to go walking with Wainwright? Mr. ÓEigeartaigh never fails to impress me.

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  19. Oh goodness - I can just about remember "She wears red feathers" too! Can't recall many of the words, but it was a catchy tune and I probably hummed along to it. Reading the cringe-worthy lyrics of your "hit" YP, I've no desire to find out what was a hit when I was born, but probably something pretty awful!

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  20. On your new link, it says "Whatever will be, will be" by Doris Day. I do remember that song. Que sera, sera.

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  21. Now there's a question I never considered even though I enjoy music, I'm sort of stuck from the Beetles era.. love them to this day.
    The song playing in Australia for me was 'Rambling Rose' sung by Perry Como

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  22. Auf Wiederseh'n Sweetheart by Vera Lynn. Actually I have never heard of that song but of course I am familiar with Vera Lynn. It was number one for nine weeks so apparently a popular song.

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    1. And by Britain's wartime sweetheart.

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  23. Heartaches by Ted Weems

    And, I am know that I was a heartache to my mother!

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    1. The percussion in that number is brilliant but I was waiting for a singer to come in with lyrics about an aching heart.

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  24. If you like your Vintage Rock in Living Colour, then please watch:

    *NEW - Helen Shapiro Walkin' Back To Happiness (Stereo).*
    September 23, 2019.
    Classics Hit Stereo. YouTube.

    *Dusty Springfield - I Only Want To Be With You (1964).*
    July 23, 2018.
    Classic Hits (Stereo). YouTube.
    Haggerty




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  25. Vintage Rock in Living Colour:

    *Scandal clip (The Shadows - Apache).*
    YouTube.
    A moment from the 1989 film, Scandal.
    The two gals glamming up are Joanne Whalley and Bridget Fonda.

    Haggerty

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  26. Apparently I'm just a little too old to play this game - Canada didn't start having a top singles chart until nearly a month after I was born. So, no song for me. Wah. I will steal the US top single - Elvis' "I'm All Shook Up" which I happen to really like. Fun post, YP; thanks.

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Mr Pudding welcomes all genuine comments - even those with which he disagrees. However, puerile or abusive comments from anonymous contributors will continue to be given the short shrift they deserve. Any spam comments that get through Google/Blogger defences will also be quickly deleted.

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