Sunday, April 22, 2018

The British Invasion, 1956-1963

Lonnie Donegan

The British Invasion, 1956-1963

This is a list of UK artists who appeared on the US charts from the beginning of the rock 'n' roll era until the chart debut of The Beatles' #1 hit "I Want to Hold Your Hand" in January 1964.

The Beatles' actual US chart debut was "From Me To You" in 1963, but it barely registered on the charts, so it can't be considered the catalyst for the British Invasion that "I Want to Hold Your Hand" was.

Although the British Invasion marked an explosion of interest in and commercial success for British artists in the United States, British artists had already begun to have an increasing presence on the US charts since the mid '50s, as seen below.

The British hit-makers, like their American counterparts at that time, were wide ranging in style, from easy listening to rock 'n' roll and from sophisticated pop to rootsy folk and skiffle.

As for firsts, the first British artist to have a #1 hit in the US was Vera Lynn with "Auf Wiederseh'n Sweetheart" in 1952, and the first British group to have a #1 hit in the US was The Tornados with "Telstar" in 1962.

If I've forgotten anyone (and I'm sure I have), let me know and I'll add them to the list.

Note: All chart positions are from the Billboard Hot 100 or "Bubbling Under" charts unless otherwise indicated. Artists are listed in chronological order by their first hit.

Lonnie Donegan
  • “Rock Island Line” (#8, 1956; again in 1961 in Music Vendor and Cash Box)
  • “Lost John” (#58, 1956)
  • "My Old Man's a Dustman" (#118 in Music Vendor, 1960)
  • “Does Your Chewing Gum Lose Its Flavor (On the Bedpost Over Night)” (#5, 1961)

The Beverly Sisters
  • “Greensleeves” (#41, 1956)

Anne Shelton
  • "Lay Down Your Arms" (#59, 1956)

Vera Lynn
(also had US hits in the 1940s and early '50s)
  • “Such A Day” (#96, 1956)
  • “Don’t Cry My Love (The Faithful Hussar)” (#55, 1957)

Cyril Stapleton
  • “The Italian Theme” (#25, 1956)
  • "Forgotten Dreams" (#43 in Cash Box, #45 in Music Vendor, 1957)
  • “The Children’s Marching Song” (#13, 1959)

Russ Hamilton
  • “Rainbow” (#3, 1957)
  • "Wedding Ring" (#81 in Music Vendor, 1957)
  • "My Mother's Eyes" (#83 in Music Vendor, 1958)

Laurie London
  • “He’s Got The Whole World (In His Hands)” (#1, 1958)
  • "I Gotta Robe" (#80 in Music Vendor, 1958)
  • "Pretty Eyed Baby" (#106 in Music Vendor, 1959)

Frankie Vaughan
  • “Judy” (#22, 1958)
  • "Hercules" (#118 in Music Vendor, #141 in Cash Box, 1962)

Reg Owen
  • “Manhattan Spiritual” (#10, 1958)
  • "Down by the Riverside" (#111 in Music Vendor, 1959)

Mike Preston
  • "A House, A Car and a Wedding Ring" (#93, but #57 in Cash Box, 1958)

Cliff Richard
  • “Living Doll” (#30, 1959)
  • "Dynamite" (#115 in Cash Box, 1959)
  • "Travellin' Light" (#107 in Music Vendor, 1959)
  • "Theme for a Dream" (#112 in Cash Box, 1961)
  • "Wonderful to Be Young" (#135 in Music Vendor, 1962)
  • "Lucky Lips" (#62, 1963) (debuted the same week as The Beatles' "From Me to You")
  • "It's All in the Game" (#25, 1963)

Chris Barber's Jazz Band
  • “Petite Fleur” (#5, 1959)

Marty Wilde
  • “Bad Boy” (#45, 1960)

Helen Shapiro
  • "You Don't Know" (#88 in Music Vendor, #147 in Cash Box, 1961)
  • “Walkin’ Back To Happiness” (#100, 1961)

Matt Monro
  • “My Kind Of Girl” (#18, 1961)
  • "Why Not Now" (#92, 1961)
  • "Softly As I Leave You" (#116, 1962; charted again in 1964)
  • "The Girl I Love" (#146 in Music Vendor, 1963)

Eden Kane
  • “Well, I Ask You” (#119, 1961)

Hayley Mills
  • "Let's Get Together” (#8, 1961)
  • “Johnny Jingo” (#21, 1962)
  • "Ching-Ching and a Ding Ding Ding" (#118, 1962)
  • "Castaway" (#110 in Music Vendor, #111 in Cash Box, 1963)

Shirley Bassey
  • "You'll Never Know" (#89 in Music Vendor, #110 in Cash Box, 1961)
  • “Reach For The Stars” (#120, 1961)

Mr. Acker Bilk
  • "Summer Set" (#104, 1960)
  • "Stranger on the Shore” (#1, 1962)
  • “Dardanella (Part 1)" (#105, 1962)
  • “Above The Stars” (#59, 1962)
  • "Limelight" (#92, 1962)
  • "Underneath the Arches" (#120 in Music Vendor, #129 in Cash Box, 1963)

David Rose
  • "Holiday for Trombones" (#84, 1957)
  • "Calypso Melody" (#42, 1957)
  • "Swinging Shepherd Blues" (#47, 1958)
  • "How High the Moon" (#81 in Music Vendor, 1958)
  • "Like Young" (#46, 1959)
  • "Young and Tender" (#113 in Music Vendor, 1959)
  • “The Stripper” (#1, 1962)
  • “Black and Tan Fantasy" (#96 in Music Vendor, 1962)
  • "The Theme from 'The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm'" (#100 in Music Vendor, 1962)
  • "The Runway" (#95 in Music Vendor, 1963)
  • "How the West Was Won" (#120 in Music Vendor, 1963)

The Tornados
  • “Telstar” (#1, 1962)
  • "Ridin' the Wind" (#63, 1963)
  • "Globetrottin'" (#87 in Music Vendor, #93 in Cash Box, 1963)
  • "Like Locomotion" (#119, 1963)
  • "Robot" (#115 in Music Vendor, 1963)
  • "The Ice Cream Man" (#103 in both Cash Box and Music Vendor, 1963)

Victor Feldman Quartet
  • “A Taste Of Honey” (#88, 1962)

Kenny Ball and His Jazzmen
  • “Midnight In Moscow” (#2, 1962)
  • "March of the Siamese Children" (#88, 1962)
  • "The Green Leaves of Summer" (#87, 1962)
  • "Heartaches" (#119, 1963)

Charlie Drake
  • “My Boomerang Won’t Come Back” (#21, 1962)

Frank Ifield
  • “I Remember You” (#5, 1962)
  • “Lovesick Blues” (#44, 1962)
  • "The Wayward Wind" (#104, 1963)
  • "I'm Smiling Now" (#132 in Music Vendor, 1963)
  • "Nobody's Darlin' but Mine" (#142 in Music Vendor, 1963)
  • "I'm Confessin' That I Love You" (#58, 1963)
  • "Please" (#71, 1963)

The Springfields
  • “Silver Threads And Golden Needles” (#20, 1962)
  • “Dear Hearts And Gentle People” (#95, 1962)
  • "Gotta Travel On" (#114, 1962)
  • "Waf-Woof" (#149 in Music Vendor, 1963)
  • "Island of Dreams" (#129, 1963)

The Caravelles
  • “You Don’t Have To Be A Baby To Cry” (#3, 1963)

Thursday, April 5, 2018

The rarest Go-Betweens CD?

As a longtime Go-Betweens collector and discographer, I've seen practically every Go-Betweens release go up for sale at one time or another, including the ultra-rare 5 New Songs split cassette from 1981.

But there's one Go-Betweens release I've never seen listed in any discography, sold on any auction site, listed on any record retail site, or even mentioned in any fan forum. It's not a very exciting release, but I'm prepared—on the basis of my years of collecting—to declare it the rarest of all mass-produced Go-Betweens CDs.

It's the "Was There Anything I Could Do?" one-track promotional CD single that was released by Capitol/Beggars Banquet to US radio stations in 1988. 

I never heard this song on the radio back then, but I saw the music video on MTV two or three times, and the song spent seven weeks on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart in late 1988-early 1989, peaking at #16, so it enjoyed some college-radio success.

Even though a lot of college stations must have received this promo CD, I've seen a copy of it only once. It was in 1989 in the bargain bin of a used record store, and I didn't buy it because it had the call letters of WQAX (an FM radio station that broadcast from Bloomington, Indiana, until 1993) scrawled across the face of the disc in black permanent marker. Even though I was avidly collecting everything Go-Betweens at that time, I thought that the writing ruined the CD's value as a collectible and that I'd find a pristine copy later. I never did. 

These one-track promo CDs that were sent to radio stations for airplay were widely thought to be junk after they'd served their purpose. Promo CDs that had exclusive tracks and artwork were collectible, but one-track promo CDs that didn't contain a unique radio mix or radio edit and had a generic inlay card (or no inlay card at all) were usually seen as worthless unless the artist was a highly collectible one like Bob Dylan. 

As a result, radio stations routinely pitched these one-track promo CDs in the trash. The discs would sometimes end up in a used record store in the dollar or 25¢ bin for a while, but they often didn't sell, and then they'd be discarded, perhaps having their jewel cases recycled to replace the broken cases of more desirable CDs.

So, even though the "Was There Anything I Could Do?" promo CD was a replicated disc and therefore must have been manufactured in a quantity of at least 500, it's likely that almost all of them now reside in landfills. The fact that the most ardent Go-Betweens collectors I know have never located a single copy certainly suggests as much. Or maybe a few copies are floating around out there but people still see them as worthless and never try to sell them.

I've tried without success to figure out the catalog number of this CD single. The one-track US promo 12" single is SPRO-79427. The promo CD would have the prefix DPRO, but DPRO-79427 is Capitol's 1992 one-track promo CD for the Cages' "Too Tired." The Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart listed Beggars Banquet 91230 as the catalog number, but that's the catalog number for the 16 Lovers Lane album, not a single. Wikipedia has an article about "Was There Anything I Could Do?" that mentions the promo 12" single but not the promo CD single.

I'm hoping that someone who has a copy of the CD will see this post and provide some info in the comments.

Here are a couple examples of Capitol one-track promo CDs from 1988-89. Neither one appears to have been packaged with an inlay card.