Wednesday, 20 February 2013

The Summer Of '62

I must start by apologising to Chic (of Charity Chic fame). I had sort of promised him some Swamp Dogg this time out. It hasn't worked out like that, but it will do soon (honest).

The thing is, I got distracted by a wonderful new compilation called simply "The 1962 British Hit Parade". It comes in two parts, one for each half of the year, and it contains every song to debut in the Record Retailer Top 50 that year - which means over 300 songs in total. You can download the whole lot on Amazon for £15, which works out about 5p a song.

Part of the appeal for me is that I am very rapidly approaching what is euphemistically called a "big birthday". Listening to all of this gives me a good idea of what my Mum and Dad would have heard while partaking of whatever passed for nightlife in Bromley in 1962, the last time they were able to enjoy themselves unencumbered by children for many, many years. So this one's for them.

Bringing together every song that made the charts in the order they appeared is a simple and really rather brilliant idea. You go from sublime to ridiculous stopping at every point in between. Of course there is a lot of dross on there but, in between that and the big hits we all know, there are some long-forgotten gems.

All of these tracks apart from the Vernons Girls fall into that category. I particularly like the Brooks Brothers, billed as the English Everly Brothers but sounding more like two Adam Faiths. And I was very pleased to discover "Steel Men", an implausibly chirpy song about the real-life collapse of the Second Narrows Bridge near Vancouver which cost 18 men their lives. I have inherited a fondness for Roger Whittaker from my Dad, and had no idea that in his early days he - Roger, not my Dad - was being promoted as the new Lonnie Donegan (with a bit of Frankie Vaughan chucked in for good measure).

"Your Ma Said You Cried in Your Sleep Last Night" - Doug Sheldon

"He's Old Enough To Know Better" - The Brook Brothers

"He Got What He Wanted (But He Lost What He Had)" - Litle Richard

"Steel Men" - Roger Whittaker

"Break It To Me Gently" - Brenda Lee

"You Know What I Mean" - The Vernons Girls

The Beatles turned up towards the end of 1962, but Elvis was still undisputably the "King of the Whole Wide World" (to quote one of his hits from that year). While it perhaps wasn't a vintage year for him, he still had his moments. Here's one of them.

1 comment:

  1. I'm happy to wait for Swamp Dogg Ernie particularly if the alternative is as good as this.
    I'm one year ahead of you so probably boogied to these in my cot
    John Prine was excellent in Glasgow