The King was at Number One in the US with ‘It’s Now or Never’ fifty years ago today, a song based on the old Neapolitan song, ‘O sole mio’. It would spend five weeks there in all. Elvis would enjoy further success across the pond; the track spent more than two months atop the UK chart equivalent later on in the year and also did well, as you’d expect, across Europe. It was his biggest-selling international hit single, in fact.
In the UK on this day in 1960, the guitar of Hank Marvin was likely being heard just about wherever you went, as The Shadows’ classic instrumental, ‘Apache’, was Britain’s top-selling single. It would stay at the top of the charts for five weeks in all after displacing ‘Please Don’t Tease’ by… Cliff Richard and The Shadows.
Analogous to The Shadows, this was Australia’s chart-topper fifty years ago to the day: instrumental surf rock before anyone could label it so, ‘Walk, Don’t Run’ by The Ventures.
Three hugely influential acts, I think it fair to say, to the majority of musicians we most enjoy here at a little part of the web that’s reserved for fans of David Gilmour, who himself admired all three greatly. I hope you do, too.
This is a period where it would be easier for me to pick ten tunes that I don’t like, but here are ten of my favourites from 1960 (bearing in mind that some songs charted later, if they weren’t released or even re-released on a different label later, outside the US; such as Motown’s songwriter extraordinaire Barrett Strong, whose sentiments about the pursuit of wealth seem so appropriate for today):
- Chubby Checker, ‘The Twist’
- Jimmy Clanton, ‘Go Jimmy, Go’
- Eddie Cochran, ‘Three Steps To Heaven’
- Paul Evans, ‘Happy-Go-Lucky Me’
- Everly Brothers, ‘Cathy’s Clown’
- Johnny Kidd and the Pirates, ‘Shakin’ All Over’
- Roy Orbison, ‘Only the Lonely’
- Frank Sinatra, ‘Ol’ MacDonald’
- Barrett Strong, ‘Money (That’s What I Want)’
- Maurice Williams & The Zodiacs, ‘Stay’
How about you and yours?
The chatroom will be open at 2pm (UK) today. If you’d like to talk about this fine year, or pretty much anything else, do call in. As it’s Labor Day in the States, feel free to march in and hail the workers of the world, or just celebrate the start of the football season. Perhaps you’d rather mourn the end of summer, which is something some of us have been doing for quite a while now. Whatever the day means to you, I hope it’s a good one.
Lastly, if you’re curious, crossed out below are the years we’ve looked at already, should you need some inspiration today and 1960 can’t quite cut it. Let me know which you think we should scrutinise next. It should probably be one from the Nineties, but the initial thought leaves me feeling thoroughly unfulfilled.
1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969
Seventies: 1970, 1971,
1972, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1979
Eighties: 1980, 1981,
1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989
Nineties: 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999
Noughties: 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005,
2006, 2007, 2008, 2009