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Marty Wilde

Music Icons of the 1950s

The 1950s

Frank Sinatra once sang 'they all laughed when Edison recorded sound'. It's unlikely that they did laugh at Thomas Alva Edison when he patented the phonograph on Christmas Eve, 1877, but it's equally unlikely that they ever envisioned a time when a single song recorded onto a 12-ich wax-coated zinc disc (which later replaced Edison's cylinder) would sell around the world in its millions.
 
The first artiste accredited with reaching the magic million mark is the famous operatic tenor Enrico Caruso, whose recording of Vesti La Giubba (On With The Motley) from the opera Pagliacci was recorded by Victor (USA) in 1903, although Caruso had made an earlier recording in Milan (in 1901) for the Gramaphone Co. of London.
 
In 1951 the recording was re-released, (the original recording made clearer by modern equipment), after the release of the feature film 'The Great Caruso', starring Mario Lanza.
 
Million sellers in the first half of the 1900's were not as uncommon as one might think, although they increased greatly after the introduction of talking movies as fans clamoured to take home with them the soundtrack of their favourite Hollywood musical. However, it was only after the war, in 1946, that they became more commonplace. The man with the golden touch in that year was undoubtedly Al Jolson (the first person to be heard in a commercially released talking movie), with no fewer than 5 million sellers.
 
On the pages that follow we'll look at the million selling records and recording artistes from 1950 to 1959. Use the navigation menu to view each year individually.


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Ames Brothers - 'Rag Mop'. The Ames Brothers were Joe, Gene, Vic and Ed and came from Boston, Ma. They made many TV appearances and this recording, backed with 'Sentimental Me' was a No 1 seller in the USA for 1 week and spent 14 weeks on the bestseller chart.

Gene Autry - 'Frosty The Snowman'. Autry's fifth million seller (although it didn't reach that height until the following year) was a seasonal hit even though it only reached No 7 in the bestselling chart.

Eileen Barton - 'If I Knew You Were Coming I'd Have Baked A Cake'. The only million seller for Barton was purchased by Maurice Wells, a publisher of Hymns in Chicago. It was written by Al Hoffman, Bob Merrill and Clem Watts and Wells paid $300 for the rights. He got some friends to sing it on the 'Breakfast Club Radio Show' one morning at 7am. By the evening no fewer than seven top New York publishers flew out to Chicago and began outbidding each other. Wells sold the song for a huge profit and within a week the song was a worldwide hit.

Teresa Brewer - Music, Music, Music. Brewer's first million seller made her an international star. No 1 for four weeks in the USA and 17 weeks in the bestsellers.

Roy Brown - Hard Luck Blues. Brown was one of the first rhythm and blues songwriter/vocalists and had previously recorded his own composition, 'Good Rocking Tonight', which became a hit for Elvis Presley.

Nat 'King' Cole - Mona Lisa. Cole's third million seller was from the movie 'Captain Carey, U.S.A.' for which it won an Academy Award. Years later a British movie named after the song was released, giving this recording a whole new lease of life.

Don Cornell with the Sammy Kaye orchestra - It Isn't Fair. First million seller for Cornell. It stayed on the bestsellers for 22 weeks. 

Bing and Gary Crosby - Sam's Song. First duet for Crosby and son was Bing's 21st million seller.

Billy Ekstine - My Foolish Heart. Billy's sixth million seller written in 1949 for the film of the same title.

Red (Clyde Julian) Foley - Chatanoogie Shoe-Shine Boy. Kentucky born Foley was a huge country-and-western star who later hosted his own ABC-TV series 'Country Jubilee'. He had two other million sellers this year - Steal Away and Just A Closer Walk With Thee for which he was accompanied by the Jordanaires. In 1967, the year before he died, he was elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame. His daughter married singing star Pat Boone.

Tennessee Ernie Ford - The Shot Gun Boogie. Born on a farm outside Bristol, Tennessee, in 1919, Ford was a singer in a quartet when, in 1949, he was heard by a representative of Capitol records. Three days later Ford was signed to an exclusive contract. This, his first hit was self-penned and was also a Number One country-and-western hit.

Phil Harris - The Thing. The only million seller for the man best remembered for supplying the voice of Baloo the bear in Disney's 'The Jungle Book'. Sold 400,000 copies in ten days and at that time became the all-time hit for Victor (USA).

Ivory Joe Hunter - I Almost Lost My Mind. Self penned hit for the man who was the first R&B; artiste to record Hank Williams' songs Commercially. He also proved his longevity by making a comeback in 1971 with an album entitled 'The Return of Ivory Joe Hunter'.

Gordon Jenkins and orchestra with the Weavers - Good Night, Irene. Second million seller for Jenkins.

Al Jolson - Songs He Made Famous. Following the success of 'Jolson Sings Again' the sequel to the bio-pic 'The Jolson Story, this 45 rpm EP release was a collection of Jolie's greatest hits.

Anton Karas - Harry Lime (The Third Man) Theme. Karas was discovered by film maker Carol Reed who wanted traditional sounding Viennese music for his movie (but not a waltz). He heard 43-year old Karas playing a zither in a wine garden in Vienna one night and whisked him off to London, England, where he composed the theme by re-arranging a melody he had remembered from a zither study book. By 1963 the collective disc sales of this track were estimated to have reached 40 million.

Frankie Laine - Cry Of The Wild Goose. - Fifth million seller for Laine.

Mario Lanza - Be My Love. - Written by Sammy Cahn and Nicholas Brodszky for the film 'Toast of New Orleans', this was Mario's (real name Alfredo Arnold Cocozza) first million seller.

Joe Liggins - Pink Champagne - I Gotta Right To Cry. First and second million seller for singer songwriter Liggins.

Guy Lombardo - Third Man (Harry Lime) Theme. Slight change of title for the US release of the Karas theme.

Guy Mitchell - My Heart Cries For You. First million seller for the man born Al Cernik in Detroit in 1927.

Moon Mullican - I'll Sail My Ship Alone. Second million seller for the country-and-western singer.

Patti Page - Tennessee Waltz. The sheet music for this reached one million sales and was the last to do so before disc sales overtook the printed matter. The recording was the first to be double-tracked and became the top selling disc ever by a female singer with estimated sales over the years in excess of ten million. Page had another million seller release in this year - All My Love.

Edith Piaf - La Vie En Rose. Regarded as one of the world's greatest cabaret and music-hall artists, Piaf (born Edith Giovanna Gassion) was born on 19th December, 1915, at 72 Rue de Belleville, a working-class district of Paris. She was already a star by the time she arrived in the USA in 1947 and made return visits in 48, 49 and in 1950 she appeared on television there and sang La Vie En Rose which became a subsequent hit. It was written by Piaf and Louiguy in 1946.

Merv Shiner - Peter Cottontail. Second time that this song reached the magic million mark, the first being in 1949 by Gene Autry.

Hank Snow - I'm Movin' On. Self penned hit for country-and-western singer Snow.

Bill Snyder and his orchestra - Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered. Written by Lorenz Hart and Richard Rodgers in 1940 for their stage musical Pal Joey.

The Three Suns - Twilight Time. This song was written in 1944 by Buck Ram, Morty Nevins, Al Nevins and Artie Dunn ain 1944. Al formed Aldon Music in the late 50s with Don Kirschner and the company, part of Nevins-Kirschner, became one of the biggest music organisations in the USA boasting writers like Carole King, Gerry Goffin and Neil Sedaka to name a few. Twilight Time was also a hit for The Platters in 1958.

Hank Williams with his Drifting Cowboys - Long Gone Lonesome Blues & Moanin' The Blues. Third and fourth million sellers for the country-and-western star.

Florian Zabach - Hot Canary. Hit for the violinist who played his first concert at the age of 12 before touring the USA and Europe.  


Ames Brothers with Les Brown and his orchestra - Undecided. Second million seller for the Ames Brothers.

Leroy Anderson and his Pops concert orchestra - The Syncopated Clock. Became known in the USA as the theme to 'The Late Show'.

Eddy Arnold - I Wanna Play House With You. Eddy's fifth million seller.

Fred Astaire and Jane Powell - How Could You Believe Me When I Said I Loved You When You Know I've Been A Liar All My Life? Written by Alan Jay Lerner and Burton Lane in 1950 for the movie Royal Wedding (released in 1951).

Tony Bennett - Because of You. First of many million sellers for the man born Anthony Dominick Benedetto on 3rd August 1926. The song, written by Arthur Hammerstein (uncle of famed lyricist Oscar) and Dudley Wilkinson was first heard in the movie 'I Was An American Spy'. Bennett had his second million seller in the same year - Cold, Cold, Heart which topped the charts in the USA for six weeks.

Rosemary Clooney - Come-On-A My House. First million seller for the girl from Mayville, Kentucky who began her singing career as half of the Clooney Sisters singing duo. Described as the first pop song with an Armenian folk song flavour this recording rocketed Clooney to fame spending six weeks in the No 1 slot on the bestseller list.

Nat 'King' Cole - Too Young. Fifth million seller for Cole.

Perry Como - If. Ninth million seller for Como.

Doris Day - A Guy Is A Guy. Fourth million seller for Day.

Billy Ekstine - I Apologize. Seventh million seller for Ekstine.

Eddie Fisher - Anytime. First million seller for the man discovered by Eddie Cantor.

Red Foley - Peace In The Valley. Fourth million seller for Foley.

The Four Aces - Tell Me Why. First million seller for the vocal group put together by Al Alberts (who also featured on this release). By 1970 the group had sold over 22 million discs worldwide. Another hit for them (sans Alberts) recorded the same year was Sin (It's No Sin), which they cut for an independent label (Victoria Records) before signing for Decca. It was released on the strength of 'Tell Me Why' and also sold a million.

Eddy Howard - Sin (It's No Sin). Another case of a different artist recording the same song. This version provided Howard with his second million seller.

Pee Wee King and his Golden West Cowboys - Slow Poke. Released in the UK as Slow Coach, this was the group's only million seller.

Frankie Laine - Jezebel. First of three million sellers for Laine released in 1951. The second was Jalousie and the third was Rose, Rose I Love You, which took his tally to 8 million selling records.

Mario Lanza - The Lovliest Night Of The Year. Lanza's second million seller was the hit song from from the film 'The Great Caruso'.

Mantovani and his Orchestra - Charmaine. The first million seller for the man who became the first musician to sell a million stereo LPs. Another million seller for 'Monty' was also recorded in 1951: - Wyoming.

Percy Mayfield - Please Send Me Someone To Love. Only million seller for the R&B; artist.

Guy Mitchell - The Roving Kind. Second million seller for Mitchell was followed by his third million seller My Truly, Truly Fair.

Patti Page - Mockin' Bird Hill. This was the first of four million selling discs cut by Page in 1951. The others were Would I Love You; Detour; Mister and Mississippi.

Les Paul & Mary Ford - Mockin' Bird Hill. The multi-track electric-guitar technique of Les Paul was worked out while the Wisconsin born musician lay in a hospital bed recovering from a car accident. It proved successful enough for he and his wife to enjoy three million sellers recorded in 1951, the other two being How High The Moon and The World Is Waiting For The Sunrise.

Johnny Ray - Cry. Ray cried his way to a two million plus seller with a song written by Churchill Kohlman, a watchman at a dry-cleaning establishment at Werners, Pittsburgh. The song was written as an entry for an amateur song-writing contest and got nowhere. Ray recorded it in 1951 and it went to the top of the American hit parade and stayed there for eleven weeks. The first of 2 one million plus sellers for the crying crooner recorded in 1951, the other being Here I Am Broken Hearted.
Debbie Reynolds and Carlton Carpenter - Ada Daba Honeymoon. Not as it sounds the wedding-night song of Fred Flintstone, but a million seller disc taken from the film soundtrack of 'Two Weeks with Love' in which this singing duo starred.

Jo Stafford - Shrimp Boats. Stafford, who had her first million seller in 1947, was born in Coainga, California and studied voice from early childhood. It paid off. By 1955 she had sold an estimated 25 million discs for the Columbia label alone, and was awarded a specially made diamond-studded disc.

Joe Turner - Chains of Love. First million seller for the R&B; artist.

The Weavers and Terry Gilkson - On Top Of Old Smokey. Second million seller for the folk group that included Pete Seeger.

Slim Whitman - Indian Love Call. First million seller for the country-and-western star born in Tampa, Florida in 1924, as Otis Dewey Whitman Junior. He was the first C&W; star to tour England on his own and play the London Palladium.

Hank Williams - Cold, Cold Heart. Second outing in 1952 for this song, this time given the country-and-western style of Williams.

Hank Williams with his Drifting Cowboys - Hey, Good Lookin'. Written by Williams, this song had already been cookin' on the country-and-western charts before turning gold in 1952. Williams wrote and recorded another million seller this year called Ramblin' Man.

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Del Wood - Down Yonder. Known as the 'Down Yonder Girl', Del Wood was probably the first female C&W; solo instrumentalist (she played the piano) to become a star.  


 
Winifred Atwell - Black and White Rag. First million seller for the pianist who came from Tunapuna, Trinidad with a degree in chemistry. After studying music at Britain's Royal Academy she became a concert pianist, but was still undecided on which career she wished to pursue. Then, in 1947 she played at a charity concert at the London Casino and became an overnight sensation. Star billing at the London Palladium and her own Radio Luxembourg show followed as did a succession of hits.
 
Earl Bostic and his orchestra - Flamingo. Bostic's only million seller.
 
Jimmy Boyd - I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus. Jimmy's only milion seller came shortly before his 13th birthday. The disc broke all records for Columbia when it sold 248,000 copies in one day, reached 700,000 in ten days and had sold a million before Christmas 1952. Total sales to date exceed 2,500,000 but combined with later versions by other artists has by far surpassed the 11 million mark.
 
Teresa Brewer - Till I Waltz Again With You. Second million seller for this artist.
 
Ruth Brown - Five, Ten, Fifteen Hours. Second million seller by the artist whose career was almost finished by a terrible car crash.
 
Karen Chandler - Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me. Only million seller for Chandler.
 
Rosemary Clooney - Tenderly. Second million seller for this artist who enjoyed further seven-figure selling recordings in the same year; Botch-A-Me and Half As Much.
 
Perry Como - Don't Let The Stars Get In Your Eyes. Tenth million seller for Como.
 
Don Cornell - I'm Yours. Second million seller for Cornell.
 
Fats Domino - Goin' Home. Second million seller for the R&B; artist.
 
Eddie Fisher - Tell Me Why - Lady of Spain - Wish You Were Here. Three more million sellers for Fisher taking his tally to four.
 
Georgia Gibbs - Kiss of Fire. First million seller for Gibbs.
 
Don Howard - Oh Happy Day. Overheard by Howard on the Ohio State campus, he altered it a little and changed the words then copyrighted it. After it had become a hit the original author, Nancy Binns Reed, claimed ownership. Howard agreed to share royalties and Reed became credited as co-writer.
 
Joni James - Why Don't You Believe Me? James' third release but her first million seller.
 
Frankie Laine - High Noon. (aka Do Not Foresake Me, Oh My Darling) this was Laine's ninth million seller. It was also awarded the 1952 Academy Award for Best Film Song.
 
Frankie Laine and Doris Day - Sugarbush. Top ten hit on both sides of the Atlantic.
 
Peggy Lee - Lover. Second million seller for Lee. This one was written by Rogers and Hart.
 
Vera Lynn - Auf Wiederseh'n Sweatheart. The distinction of having the first disc to top the hit parade on both sides of the Atlantic went to 'The Forces Sweatheart', whose 'Sincerely Yours' radio series became immensely popular with the troops during World War Two.
 
Mantovani and his Orchestra - Greensleeves. Allegedly written by Henry Vlll, this surely has to be the most enduring tune of all time. Third million seller for 'Monty'.
 
Ralph Marterie and his Orchestra - Caravan. This song, composed by Duke Ellington and Juan Tizol, with words by Irving Mills gave Marterie his first million seller.

Al Martino - Here In My Heart. This was the first million seller for the man born Alfred Cini.

The Mills Brothers - Glow Worm. Fifth million seller for the Mills Brothers.

Guy Mitchell - Pitsburgh, Pennsylvania. Fourth million seller for Mitchell.

George Morgan - Almost. Second million seller for the C&W; singer.

Ella May Morse - Blacksmith Blues. Accompanied by an orchestra conducted by Nelson Riddle.

Patti Page - I Went To Your Wedding. Eighth million seller for Page.

Lloyd Price - Lawdy, Miss Clawdy. Self penned hit gave Price his first million seller after he had learned his trade by writing jingles for station break commercials. This hit R&B number was later recorded by Elvis Presley and regularly featured in his stage act.

Jo Stafford - You Belong To Me and Early Autumn. Fifth and sixth million sellers for Stafford.

Johny Standley - It's In The Book. Standley's only million seller.

Kay Starr - Wheel Of Fortune. First million seller for Starr and the song that established her as a top performer. Born Katherine Starks on an Indian reservation in Dougherty, Oklahoma in 1922 she first performed on local radio at the age of 13. She made her major radio debut alongside Bing Crosby and also made some records with Glen Miller. This song stayed at Number One in the USA for nine weeks.

Hank Thompson and his Brazos Valley Boys - The Wild Side of Life. Top C&W; disc of 1952 and the second million seller for Thompson.

Kitty Wells - It Wasn't God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels. Born Muriel Deason in Nashville, Tennessee she took her stage name from the title of a song I Could Mary Kitty Wells, which had been heard at the 'Grand Ole Opry'. She went on to become known as the 'Queen of Country Music' in an era when C&W; was dominated by men.

Hank Williams and his Drifting Cowboys - Jambalaya, Your Cheatin' Heart, Honky Tonk Blues and I'll Never Get Out Of This World Alive. All four discs were recorded in 1952 but became posthumous million sellers for Williams who died in a car crash on 1 January 1953. They took his total to eleven million-selling discs. 
 
 

Faye Adams - Shake A Hand. First million seller for the Herald label.

Rex Allen - Crying In The Chapel. Written by Artie Glenn for his son Darrell, who had the first hit with it. But this was the first time it became a million seller. Not the last, though -Elvis Presley hit gold with it in 1965.

The Ames Brothers - You, You, You. Third million seller for the brothers.

Winifred Atwell - Let's Have A Party. Second million seller for the lady on the ivories.

Tony Bennett with the Percy Faith Orchestra - Rags To Riches. Third million seller for Tony. The fourth, also recorded in 1953 was Stranger IN Paradise, although it didn't become a hit in Britain until 1955.

Teresa Brewer - Ricochet. Third million seller for Teresa

Ruth Brown and her Rythm-Makers - Mama, He Treats Your Daughter Mean. Second million seller for rythm and blues artist Brown. Released on the Atlantic label.

Eddie Calvert with Norrie Paramor and his Orchestra - O Mein Papa. The one and only million seller for Eddie, recorded in 1953 but not topping the UK charts until January 1954 where it stayed for nine weeks. It was the first British instrumental (Calvert played the trumpet) to reach 3 million sales. Calvert was originally from Preston in Lancashire.

Leslie Caron and Mel Ferrer - Hi-Lili, Hi-Lo. From the MGM movie 'Lili'.

Frank Chacksfield and his Orchestra - Limelight Theme. Theme written by Charlie Chaplin became a first million seller for the man from Battle in Sussex. His second gold disc that year was Ebb Tide.

Fats Domino - Going To The River. Third million seller for Domino was followed in quick succession by numbers four, five and six. You Said You Loved Me - Please Don't Leave Me - I Lived My Life.

Rusty Draper - Gambler's Guitar. First million seller for Rusty.

The Drifters - Money, Honey. First million seller for the newly formed group, who were so named because each member had 'drifted' from one group to another. Lead singer on this release was Clyde McPhatter.

Percy Faith and his Orchestra - Theme Song From 'Moulin Rouge'. First million seller for the Toronto born conductor.

Eddie Fisher - I'm Walking Behind You. Fifth million seller soon followed by his sixth: Oh Mein Papa -a vocal version of Eddie Calvert's earlier release. 

Frankie Laine and Doris Day - Sugarbush. Top ten hit on both sides of the Atlantic.

Stan Freberg - St George and the Dragonet. Only million seller for Freberg- a parody of the legend of George and the Dragon. It sold 400,000 copies in it's first week and caused traffic jams in front of several New York shops, where people were lining up to buy the disc.

The Gaylords - Tell Me Your Mine. Only million seller for the duo from Detroit.

Jackie Gleason and his orchestra - Melancholy Serenade. Only million seller for early TV star Gleason was a self penned composition which also became the theme song for his TV show.

The Hilltoppers - P.S. I Love You. Only million seller for the group was an 'oldie' from 1934.

Pee Wee Hunt and his Orchestra - Oh. Second million seller -another oldie- originally from 1919.

Joni James - Your Cheatin' Heart. Second million seller for the US vocalist. She followed this up with another gold - Have You Heard?.

Frankie Laine - I Believe. With 18 weeks at number one in the UK charts (the longest for any disc) the record easily passed the million mark and went on to achieve over 3 million sales. Also a big hit in the UK in 1964 for The Bachelors. Laine then teamed up with Jimmy Boyd to produce gold again with Tell Me A Story.

Julius La Rosa - Eh, Campari. Only million seller for this artist.

Sylvana Mangano - Anna. Only million seller for Mangano.

Mantovani and his Orchestra - Song from Moulin Rouge. Another million seller for 'Monty' followed by gold again with Swedish Rhapsody.

Ralph Marterie - Pretend. Second million seller for the artist.

Dean Martin - That's Amore. First million seller for Martin and probably his best known. Written by Jack Brooks and Harry Warren and sung in the film The Caddy in which Martin co-starred with Jerry Lewis. Born Dino Crocetti in Steubenville, Ohio on 17th June 1917, he worked in a gas station, as a steel worker and a prize fighter before entering showbiz as a vocalist in Cleveland. In 1942, having already changed his name twice, before settling on Dean Martin, he teamed up with Jerry Lewis. An engagement at the 500 Club in Atlantic City was such a flop that the pair slipped into a riotous slap-stick routine. Within months they were earning a reported $15,00 a week. This disc had achieved over 4 million sales by 1964.

The Orioles featuring Sonny Til - Crying in the Chapel. The only million seller for this rythm and blues group.

Patti Page - That Doggie In The Window. One of the best known children's songs of the 1950s, sung to every toddler on both sides of the Atlantic. This was Page's ninth million seller. Her tenth, later this year was Changing Partners.

Les Paul and Mary Ford - Vaya Con Dios. Or May God Be With You -fourth million seller for the duo.

Jim Reeves - Mexican Joe. Reeves first million seller penned by Mitchell Torok. Reeves came from Panola County, Texas and was born on 20th August 1924. After leaving college he played professional baseball, but was forced to quit due to an injury. He began recording in 1945 and having been a full-time radio announcer, decided to invest in two radio stations. He went on to become one of the biggest ever country and western stars and in 1961, the citizens of Henderson, Texas, honoured him with 'Jim Reeves Day'. He was killed in a plane crash on 31st July 1964. Following his forst million seller he struck gold again this year with Bimbo.

Frank Sinatra - Young At Heart and I'll Never Get Out Of This World Alive. Third million seller for Sinatra and one of his most enduring recordings.

Joe Turner - Honey Hush. Turner's second gold disc.

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Winifred Atwell - Let's Have Another Party. A medley of piano favourites which made Atwell the first British artist with three million sellers.
The Ames Brothers - Naughty Lady of Shady Lane. Fourth million seller for this group which spent 15 weeks on the U.S. bestsellers list.
Hank Ballard and the Midnighters - Work With Me, Annie. Ballard and the Midnighters (who were originally called 'The Royals'), came from Detroit and began as a rhythm and blues outfit before entering the pop charts with a string of million selling hits. They recorded the first version of 'The Twist', made famous by Chubby Checker and helped by the dance sensation that swept the USA and Britain at the turn of the decade. The group followed this classic track with two more million sellers in the same year - Sexy Ways and Annie Had A Baby.

The Chordettes - Mister Sandman. Former college students Jimmy Lochard, Carol Bushman, Nancy Overton and Lynn Evans were originally organised into a group for an impromptu folk festival. They proved successful enough to stay together for four years touring the USA at talent shows, appearing in nightclubs and making regular TV appearances. This song was number one in the USA for seven weeks and spent twenty weeks in the bestsellers chart.

Rosemary Clooney - Hey There!. Fifth million seller for Clooney -a hit song from the Richard Adler/Jerry Ross musical The Pyjama Game. Number one for 6 weeks in the USA with 20 weeks on the bestsellers. But Clooney had two more hits this year which proved far more enduring. The first was This Ole House which has an interesting story behind it and it's worth repeating here. Stuart Hamblen was out hunting mountain lions in Texas one day with a friend when they discovered a dilapidated hunter's hut about twenty miles from the nearest road. Inside the hut they discovered the body of a man, who they assumed was the owner. The cabin was in a shocking state and had they not stumbled across it the body would have remained there undiscovered for goodness knows how long. Hamblen was so moved by this that he wrote his song on the back of a sandwich bag he had with him. Unable to find a suitable publisher, Hamblen published the song himself. Clooney's disc sold over two million copies in the USA alone and topped the charts on both sides of the Atlantic. Clooney's third million seller this year was Mambo Italiano, which was still selling in 1999!

Nat King Cole - Answer Me, My Love. Released in 1954, this song was also a big seller for Frankie Laine in Britain.

Perry Como - Papa Loves Mambo. Mambo style songs were very popular in the mid 1950s and this one provided Como with his eleventh million seller. His twelfth was Wanted.

The Crew Cuts - Sh-Boom (Life Could Be A Dream). The only million seller for the group comprised of Rudi Maugeri, Pat Barrett, Roy Perkins and Johnnie Perkins who all came from the Toronto Cathedral Choir School in Canada. The song was written and first recorded by James Keyes, Claude and Carl Feaster, Floyd F. McRae and James Edwards -a black group who called themselves The Chords. The song was allegedly written as it was being recorded and the label, Atlantic Records didn't know what to do with it. Eventually the released it on the Cat label, which may have been created just for this one release as it doesn't appear to have had any other releases on it. It became a number 1 bestseller in Los Angeles. The Crew Cuts version then appeared on the Mercury Label and is today considered by many rock historians as the first rock and roll hit! They see it as the beginning of the transition period in which white artists made hit song versions of black artistes rhythm and blues songs.

Doris Day - Secret Love. The sixth million seller for my (allegedly) distant cousin. Written for the film Calamity Jane starring Doris Day and Howard Keel, it became a number one hit on both sides of the Atlantic.

Eddie Fisher - I Need To Know. 7th million seller for this artist.

The Four Aces - Three Coins In A Fountain. Third million seller for this group, written by Sammy Cahn (words) and Jules Styne (music) for the film of the same title -an Academy Award nominated song which spent 18 weeks on the bestsellers list. The quartet's fourth million seller was Stranger In Paradise, from the musical Kismet.

The Four Tunes - I Understand (Just How You Feel). First million seller for this new group. The song was revived by Freddie and the Dreamers in 1964. The Four Tunes, alas, only managed two tunes but both had the same success. Marie also hit the million mark.

Judy Garland - The Man That Got Away. The hit song from A Star Is Born, written by Ira Gershwin and Harold Arlen and performed by one of the greatest singing stars of all time. Judy Garland was born Frances Gumm on 10th June 1922 in Grand Rapids, South Dakota. From the age of three she toured vaudeville with her sisters and at the age of twelve she was signed to MGM pictures. Her first film was a 'short' with Deanna Durbin (One Sunday Afternoon - 1935). Four years later she was immortalised in movie history for ever more by playing the part of Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz and singing 'Over The Rainbow' -arguably her greatest triumph, even though legend has it that the song was almost dropped from the movie before shooting commenced. But the toll of being a child prodigy weighed heavy on Judy's tender shoulders and constant battles with her weight and over-enthusiastic studio chiefs, happy to prescribe slimming tablets and anti-depressants began to have an effect as early as 1950 when she pulled out of the movie Annie Get Your Gun due to a nervous collapse. However, she revived her movie career with a number of hit films and continued to be a powerhouse on stage, even though her private life was far from happy. Judy Garland embodied the spirit of show business and the old adage ‘the show must go on’ and go on it did. She was performing right up until her tragically early death on 22 June 1969, in London, England.
Bill Haley and his Comets - Shake Rattle and Roll. The first million seller for Haley although for many, not the song that is forever synonymous with the birth of Rock and Roll. William John Clifton Haley was born on 6th July 1925 at Highland Park, a suburb of Detroit, Michigan. Coming from a musical background it was not surprising that by the age of 13 he became a professional guitar player and vocalist with a country-and-western troupe. In 1940, at the age of 15 he formed his own group to play at local events. In 1951 he made his first recordings (Rocket 88 and Rock The Joint) for a small American label before switching from country-and-western to a more rhythm and blues based sound in 1952 with Crazy Man, Crazy. This first million selling disc for Haley followed in 1954 but it was his second disc of this year Rock Around The Clock -recorded on 12th April, that became Rock and Roll's anthem. Written by Max C. Freedman and Jimmy De Knight (real name James Myers) Rock Around The Clock became one of the most enduring songs of all time having sold in excess of 22 million records. It was this song more than any other that helped launch the frenzy of Rock and Roll that swept through America and Britain in the 1950s. Social commentators will have their own theories about why this first ever wave of ‘youth culture’ swept through both countries like wildfire, but suffice to say that the facts speak for themselves. Rock Around The Clock has been featured in at least 14 different films, been recorded in 35 different languages and there are over 140 versions of it worldwide. It topped the charts for 7 weeks in the USA in 1955 and for 5 weeks in the UK, and it wasn’t finished there. It spent 22 weeks in the bestsellers list and reappeared for another 14 weeks when it was reissued twenty years later in 1974. The chances are we have not heard its last.

Kitty Kallen - Little Things Mean A Lot. First solo million seller for Kitty that spent nine weeks in the number one slot in the USA as well as topping the UK charts. She followed this million seller with another -In The Chapel In The Moonlight.

Glenn Miller and his Orchestra - The Glen Miller Story. Released in various forms (10 inch LP / 12 inch LP) to coincide with the Glenn Miller Story biopic starring James Stewart.

Patti Page - Cross Over The Bridge. 11th million seller for Patti.

Hank Snow - I Don't Hurt Any More. Second million seller for 'The Singing Ranger'.

Jo Stafford - Make Love To Me. 7th million seller for Jo.

Joan Webber - Let Me Go, Lover. 18 year-old Joan's only million seller. The producer of TV's 'Studio One' was talked into plugging this song in a play about a disc jockey involved in a murder. TV viewers heard snatches of the record no fewer than six times during the broadcast and as a result the record buying public placed no fewer than 500,000 orders from Columbia records within a fortnight. Thought to be the first million seller influenced by concentrated TV 'plugging'.

David Whitfield/Mantovani - Cara Mia. The first British male singer to have a million selling disc in the USA with 18 weeks on the bestseller list.

Slim Whitman - Secret Love. Slim's version of the Doris Day hit. This was followed by Rose Marie, which became a million seller in 1955 when it also topped the charts for 11 consecutive weeks in the UK.

Link Wray and his Ray Men - Rumble. Instrumental group that sold a million records with their first recording. Wray then disappeared for four years before resurfacing for a massive hit with 'Rawhide' and then vanished from sight yet again, this time for considerably longer. But the world hadn't heard the last of Link Wray and in 1971 he made his first album called, appropriately: 'Link Wray'.

Les Baxter - Unchained Melody. The first million seller for Les Baxter was written for the film Unchained in which it was sung by Todd Duncan.

Chuck Berry - Maybellene. The first big hit for Charles Edward Berry was co-written with Alan Freed and Russ Fratto. Born on 15 January 1931 in San Jose, California, Berry spent most of his youth in St Louis where he first performed at the age of 16. His co-writer Freed is the man who is credited as having invented the term Rock n' Roll. After releasing this single on the Chess label, Berry toured the United States with Bill Haley and Little Richard as well as appearing on TV and Rock n' Roll movies. The song is also known as 'Mabelline'.

Pat Boone - Ain't That A Shame. The first of Boone's many million sellers was written by Dave Bartholomew and Fats Domino. Pat Boone was born Charles Eugene Boone on 1st June 1934 in Jacksonville, Florida. He first came to notice in 1954 after winning a talent contest for the prize of a professional recording contract. This led to several network TV shows of his own and a million-dollar film contract. On record he became one of America's hottest properties rivalled only by Elvis Presley. He graduated from Columbia University three years after this hit with a B.S. degree in speech and English.

Don Cherry - Band of Gold. Reached number 6 in the UK charts in 1956 and 22 weeks in the US bestsellers.

Fats Domino - Thinking Of You. This was a good year for Domino with no fewer than five of his releases eventually going gold taking him up to 13 million sellers. The other records were: Ain't That A Shame; All By Myself; I Can't Let Go and Poor Me.

Lonnie Donegan and his Skiffle Group - Rock Island Line. The King of Skiffle was how Lonnie Donegan was billed and it was no idle boast. Born in Glasgow, Scotland on 29 April 1932, Anthony Donegan showed an early interest in folklore and folk music. At 17 he bought his first guitar and also discovered jazz music. After doing his National Service he joined the Ken Colyer Band, which is credited with introducing skiffle into the UK -the sound being based on making music out of homemade instruments, developed by black American's who wanted to play but couldn't afford to buy professionally made equipment. In 1951 Donegan formed his own group before joining forces with jazz musician Chris Barber on the album 'New Orleans Joys' (1953), for which Donegan received a fee of £2.10s (£2.50 in today's money). Donegan began building a reputation for himself and eventually found himself booked at the Royal Festival Hall on the same bill as US blues artist Lonnie Johnson. Donegan soon changed his first name to that of his idol's. Rock Island Line was Donegan's first big hit, having previously appeared on the Barber LP and played by Donegan at the Festival Hall gig. It came to the attention of the US record buying public in 1954 and was reissued as a single in 1955 when it became a hit on both sides of the Atlantic. In 1956 Donegan left Barber to go solo and by 1959 won the unique distinction of being the first Briton to earn three US gold discs for million sellers. His style of music was copied up and down both countries by anyone and everyone who couldn't afford to buy their own instruments and his influence on future musicians, and therefore music itself is incalculable -although it should be noted that around this time in Liverpool a young lad, named John Lennon, with a desire to play music formed a skiffle group of his own...

Rusty Draper - Shifting, Whispering Sands. Second million seller for Rusty

The Dream Weavers - It's Almost Tomorrow. The only million seller for this group.

Tennessee Ernie Ford - Sixteen Tons. Born on a farm outside Bristol, Tennessee on 13th February 1919, Ford worked as a disc jockey in Pasadena before entering the Airforce in 1941. In 1949 he joined the 'Hometown Jamboree' show as a singer where one night he was heard by a Capitol representative. Three days later he was signed to a contract. This single, his first million seller was written in 1947 by Merle Travis, a Kentucky coal-miners son from Beech Creek who wanted to record some coal-miners songs but discovered to his dismay that there were precious little about. So -he wrote some himself and the pithy cynicism of his lyrics ('you move sixteen tons and what do you get, another day older and deeper in debt') were appreciated by many American's who all 'owed their soul to the company store' a reference to living on credit. The single, recorded by Ford, was released in October 1955 and sold over 400,000 copies in it's first eleven days.

The Four Aces - Love Is A Many-Splendored Thing. 5th million seller for this quartet. From the film of the same name and the 1955 Best Film Song Oscar winner.

The Four Lads - Moments To Remember. Like The Crew Cuts before them, The Four Lads attended the Cathedral Choir School in Toronto. They also backed Johnny Ray on his single 'Cry'.

Bill Hayes - The Ballad of Davy Crockett. Hayes only million seller recorded as the theme tune to Disney's TV series for ABC-TV in the USA. A hit on both sides of the Atlantic.

Al Hibbler - Unchained Melody. Born in Little Rock, Arkansas on 16th August 1915, Hibbler was blind from birth and became interested in music at Little Rock's school for the blind, where he joined the choir. He was later 'discovered' by Duke Ellington and toured the world with 'the Duke' and his band for 8 years.
B.B. King - Every Day. Riley B. King was born on 16th September 1925 in Itta Bona, Mississippi. He was raised on a plantation in the heart of the cotton producing bottomlands of the Mississippi Delta where some of the greatest blues artistes have come from. He spent his early youth like the rest of his family, working in the fields, learning to play guitar and singing in the gospel choir. From such humble beginnings B.B. King became the undisputed 'King of the Blues' but it wasn't until the late 1960s when English stars such as Eric Clapton began performing polished blues numbers that King and his music reached an appreciative white audience. Until 1968 he had still been playing one-night performances in dirtwater roadhouses and big-city ghetto clubs. The following year he performed in front of a 6,000 strong audience at London's Royal Albert Hall.

Little Richard - Tutti Frutti. Richard Penniman was born on Christmas Day 1935 in Macon, Georgia and started as a soloist in his local church at the age of 14. Determined to make a showbiz career for himself he sung, danced and sold a herbal tonic at a medicine show before winning a talent contest in Atlanta, Georgia. His first recording contract with Victor Records didn't reap the success he hoped for and he returned home dejected, but soon joined the Temple Toppers group, who made discs for another company. Once more his career seemed to be going nowhere so he made a private tape and sent it to Specialty Records. Among the records was a collaboration between D La Bostrie, R Penniman (Richard) and Joe Lubin;- Tutti Frutti. He was immediately offered a five year contract and the song, arriving in the record stores just in time for the birth of Rock n' Roll, establishing Little Richard as one of the genre's founding father's. By 1968 his total disc sales exceeded 32 million.

Julie London - Cry Me A River. Actress/singer Julie London was born June Webb in Santa Rosa, California and worked as a lift attendant in a department store before being discovered by Sue Carol. This haunting song, covered many times since -but never with the same degree of sultriness, is her only million seller, written by Arthur Hamilton in 1953 and featured superbly and with great atmosphere a year after its release in the movie The Girl Can't Help It.
Mitch Miller - Yellow Rose of Texas. U.S. Civil War song from around 1864 when it was known as 'The Gallant Hood of Texas', a favourite with the soldiers under the command of General John B. Hood. Adapted here by Don George.

The Platters - Only You. First million seller for the four boys; Tony Williams, David Lynch, Paul Robi, Herbert Reed and one girl; Zola Taylor. Reputedly the first disc to sell a million copies in France, 'Only You' catapulted The Platters from obscurity (the boys were all working as parking lot attendants in Los Angeles) to the very pinnacle of success. By 1965 they had achieved nine gold discs.

Perez Prado - Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White. No, not an advertisement for a household cleaner, but an adapted French hit ('Cerisier Rose et Pommer Blanc') to become the first million seller for Prado aka 'King of the Mambo'.

Frank Sinatra - Love and Marriage. 17 weeks on the bestseller chart for 'Ole Blue Eyes'.

Cyril Stapleton and his Orchestra - Blue Star. Theme tune for the U.S. TV series 'Medic'.

Gale Storm - I Hear You Knocking. Gale Storm was an actress who starred in the U.S. TV series 'My Little Margie'. This was her only million seller.

Joe Turner - Flip Flop and Fly. Standard rhythm and blues number that sold a million for Joe and became a part of Elvis Presley's later stage repertoire.

Caterina Valente - The Breeze and I. Valente was a popular singer born in Paris of Italian parents who established herself in the USA. She was a popular star in Britain, too.

Roger Williams - Autumn Leaves. First million seller for Williams and the Kapp label. Williams was voted (in 1962) as 'the most played' and 'favourite solo instrumentalist' by a poll of U.S. disc jockey's.

Chuck Berry - Roll Over Beethoven. Self penned second million seller for Chuck, although it was some years before it achieved it's millionth sale. Became popular again in 1964 when it was covered by The Beatles and later still (1973) by ELO.

Pat Boone - I'll Be Home. Second million seller for Pat was also a chart topper in the UK. His third, fourth and fifth gold discs followed in 1956; I Almost Lost My Mind; Friendly Persuasion; Remember You're Mine.

Teresa Brewer - A Tear Fell. Sixth million seller for this artist.

James Brown and the Famous Flames - Please, Please, Please. Born on 17 June 1928 in Pulaski, Tennessee, James Brown boosted the family income as a youngster by working as a shoeshine and newspaper boy in Augusta, Georgia. After leaving school he turned down the options of being a professional baseball player or a boxer and went on the road to sing gospel with his own group, 'The Famous Flames'. In 1956 Brown co-wrote 'Please, Please, Please' with John Terry, which was then recorded at a local radio station. After a friendly DJ agreed to give the record some airtime Brown was signed to King Records within a week. Success followed immediately and Brown became one of the biggest stars in the USA, his dynamic stage act being produced; (songs, costumes, lighting and choreography) almost single handed. He was proud to be known as 'Mr Dynamite', 'Mr Showbusiness', and 'The Biggest Negro Cat' and by 1968 he was considered by many to be a new leader of the black people in America. After Martin Luther King's assassination he appeared on U.S. TV telling people to 'Cool it. Don't do anything you'll regret tomorrow." People cleared the streets and a lot of violent confrontation was avoided. Brown was invited to the White House and made two subsequent visits. His records had a political message, too, especially his hit "Say It Loud, I'm Black And Proud." Over the years he has sold in excess of 50 million records, 24 of which were single releases.

Johnny Cash - I Walk The Line. Self penned first million seller for one of the most successful country-and-western stars of all time. Cash was born in Kingsland, Arkansas on 26 February 1932 and was taught to play guitar by his mother. By the age of 12 he was writing songs but it wasn't until he enlisted in the U.S.A.F. at the age of 22 that he realised he could command an audience of his own. On leaving the Air Force he became a salesman by day for electrical goods and sang in the evenings for extra money. In 1954 he tried out for Sun Records and joined by two of his friends, Johnny Cash and the Tennessee Two cut 'Cry, Cry, Cry', which became a hit. He then switched to Columbia Records where hit upon hit followed. From 1956 to 1959 every single he released made the top 10 in the country-and-western charts. Nationally this single stayed 22 weeks in the bestsellers.

Perry Como - Hot Diggity. 13th million seller for Como, soon followed by his 14th; More.

Bing Crosby and Grace Kelly - True Love. 22nd million seller for Bing but a first for Grace Kelly, soon after to become Princess Grace of Monaco. The song is one of many outstanding hits from the movie 'High Society', and all of them were written by Cole Porter.

Alan Dale - Sweet And Gentle. First million seller for the singer born Aldo Sigismondi. He followed with a second, his version of Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White.

Vic Damone - On The Street Where You Live. Third million seller for Damone.
Doris Day - Whatever Will Be Will BE (Que Sera, Sera). 6th million seller for Doris. From the Hitchcock movie The Man Who Knew Too Much in which she co-starred with James Stewart.
The Dells - Oh, What A Night. Biggest seller for this group that came from Harvey, Illinois.

Bill Doggett - Honky Tonk. Only million seller for this artist was a self penned composition that made number two in the U.S. charts.

Fats Domino - Bo Weevil. 14th million seller for Fats, followed by I'm In Love Again -and then his best remembered of all (thanks largely to the huge success of the U.S. TV series 'Happy Days') -Blueberry Hill and his 17th million seller; Blue Monday, which also featured in the movie 'The Girl Can't Help It'.

Five Satins - In The Still Of The Night. 24 weeks on the bestsellers for this Cole Porter composition.

Four Lads - No, Not Much. Second Million seller for this quartet.

Freddy (Quinn) - Heimweh (Memories Are Made Of This). Double gold winning song having sold two million by 1958 but these days better remembered for Dean Martin's version the year before. Freddy (real name Manfred Petz) went on to become one of Germany's bestselling artists of all time and starred in 11 movies. By 1969 he had reportedly sold over 20 million records.

Gogi Grant - The Wayward Wind. Second million seller for this artist.

Bill Haley and his Comets - See You Later, Alligator. 3rd million seller for Haley.

Dick Hyman - Moritat (theme from The Threepenny Opera. 20 weeks in the USA bestseller.

Dick Jacobs and his Orchestra - Man With The Golden Arm. Written by the prolific Elmer Bernstein for the film of the same name starring Frank Sinatra.

Jerry Lewis - Rock-a-Bye Your Baby With A Dixie Melody. Only million seller for Joseph Levitch of Newark, New Jersey who went on to become a major film star in Hollywood. This song was written in 1918 and was a favourite of Al Jolson.

Little Richard - Long Tall Sally. The disc that firmly established the star and will forever be associated with him. It was covered by The Beatles in the 1960s and his next million seller Rip It Up also appeared on John Lennon's solo album 'Rock n' Roll'.

Little Willie John - Fever. First million seller for this artist. Peggy Lee's later version of this song is the better known.

Jim Lowe with the High Fives - The Green Door. Written by Marvin Moore and Bob Davie, this much covered hit was inspired by the door of an artists club in Dallas, and the young men who used to hang around outside because they didn't have a union card to get in. The door was actually yellow -but that wouldn't have fitted the tune.

The McGuire Sisters - Moonglow. Theme from 'Picnic' gave the sisters their third million seller.

Clyde McPhatter - Treasure Of Love. First solo disc for the artist who was a former member of The Drifters.

Johnny Mathis with the Ray Conniff Orchestra - Wonderful, Wonderful. First million seller for Johnny, born in San Francisco on 30 September 1935. He may have become a professional athlete or a physical education teacher; at his college he set a local high-jump record. But his father, a former vaudeville artist probably pointed the way for Johnny, teaching him songs from the age of ten, before a local music teacher took him on for 7 years without taking a fee. Johnny was heard singing at the Black Hawk Nightclub in San Francisco by the owner, Helen Noga, who introduced him to George Avakian of Columbia Records. He didn't make his recording debut with a single but with an entire album!

Mickey and Sylvia - Love Is Strange. This million seller has a chequered history. It was subject of a copyright infringement suit that went on for four years before a judge and jury decided that it was substantially different from 'Billy Blues', from which the plaintiff's claimed it had been copied.

Guy Mitchell with the Ray Coniff Orchestra - Singing The Blues. Guy Mitchell's fifth million seller was written by polio victim Melvin Endsley, who from the age of three was confined to a wheelchair.

Carl Perkins - Blue Suede Shoes. Written and recorded by Perkins in country-and-western style and given the rock n' roll treatment by Elvis Presley, 'Blue Suede Shoes' is ranked with 'Rock Around The Clock' and 'Heartbreak Hotel' as one of the most famous rock n' roll songs of all time. It was the only million seller for Perkins and was originally written on a potato sack on a Jackson housing project.

The Platters - The Great Pretender. Second million seller for the group. They followed this with their third; My Prayer.

Elvis Presley - Heartbreak Hotel. The undoubted King of rock n' roll arrived on the international music scene with a song that he co-wrote with Mae Boren Axton and Tommy Durden. Elvis Aaron Presley was born on 8 January 1935 and was much doted on by his mother who had to suffer the heartache of losing Elvis' twin at birth. The story goes that one day Elvis turned up at the Sun Records studio to make a record for his mother as a birthday present. A secretary overheard him and told Sun Records boss Sam Phillips that she thought the kid 'may have something'. Phillips invited Elvis back and after trying out a number of different tunes and music styles they settled on 'That's All Right, Mama.' The first night it was played on local radio station Memphis WHBQ they received 14 telegrams and 47 phone calls in three hours and DJ Dewy Phillips had to play the disc seven times that evening. By the end of the first week the single had sold over 7,000 copies in Memphis alone. RCA Victor A&R chief Steve Sholes heard about the new singing sensation and bought Elvis' contract from Sun Records for £35,000 to include his original recordings and four other discs. Recorded on 10 February 1956 in Nashville, 'Heartbreak Hotel' was to change the face of music forever. John Lennon once said; "Before there was Elvis there was nothing." And it was this record that inspired Lennon, and probably countless others like him, to pick up a guitar and play. The song, with it's 'b' side "I Was The One" achieved two gold discs and spent eight weeks at number one in the USA, although it failed to reach the top spot in Britain. Before the year was out Elvis was celebrating his seventh million seller, number three was "I Want You, I Need You, I Love You", the sixth and seventh were the double 'a' sided "Love Me Tender" and "Any Way You Want Me". But it was his forth and fifth million seller that firmly established him as a major star. "Don't Be Cruel" and "Hound Dog" (recorded on 2 July 1956) was a colossal hit for Elvis, selling over six million copies worldwide. 'Heartbreak Hotel' was the first of 50 discs to sell a million during Elvis' lifetime, and since his death on 16 August 1977 there has been no sign of his appeal diminishing in any way. The 'King' may be dead, but his legend lives on.

Johnny Ray - Just Walking In The Rain. Third million seller for Ray, also a chart topper in the UK.

Don Robertson - The Happy Whistler. Robertson was an accomplished songwriter who wrote 12 songs for Elvis Presley and provided hits for many others. He experimented with guitar configuration and in 1959 came up with a whole tone which he used as a grace note instead of the usual half tone. This gave birth to the Nashville piano style.

Shirley and Lee - Let The Good Times Roll. Only million seller for this duo.

Kay Starr - Rock And Roll Waltz. Second million seller for Starr.

Sylvia Syms - I Could Have Danced All Night. From 'My Fair Lady'. Syms came from The Bronx, New York.

The Teenagers with Frankie Lyman - Why Do Fools Fall In Love? The only million seller for this group. Lyman was, at 14, the youngest star ever to top the bill at the famous London Palladium.

Gene Vincent and his Bluecaps - Be-Bop-A-Lula. First million seller for Vincent was written by himself and Sheriff T. Davis. Another great rock n' roll classic. His second gold disc this year was Bluejean Bop. He was a constant visitor to Great Britain where he had a massive following and toured the country making appearances at (amongst others) The Cavern in Liverpool on the same bill as The Beatles whom he'd become friendly with in Hamburg.

Paul Anka - Diana. What would most fourteen year olds do if they had a teenage crush on an older woman? Well, if that teenager was called Paul Anka he might just sit down and write a song which in turn becomes a multi-million selling single around the world with 320 different recordings in 32 countries. Born on 30 July 1941 In Ottawa, Canada, Paul Anka showed an early interest in music and had already formed his own musical trio by the age of twelve. Encouraged by the amount of bookings the trio were attracting, Paul convinced his father to send him to Hollywood where he had connections in the movie business. His first song sold 300,000 copies, a contract with ABC-Paramount followed and the release of his song 'Diana' and an appearance on the prestigious 'Ed Sullivan Show' rocketed him to stardom. By 1970 he had sold over 40 million discs worldwide and remains to this day one of the leading lights in the record industry.

Harry Belafonte - Banana Boat Song (Day-O). 3rd million seller for this artist which was followed by his 5th and 6th; Mama Looka Boo Boo and the seasonal Mary's Boy Child.

Chuck Berry - School Days. Third million seller for Chuck, the music would be re-used for the later hit 'No Particular Place To Go'. His fourth gold hit was yet another that would later be covered by The Beatles; Rock And Roll Music.

Billie and Lillie - Lah Dee Dah. Only gold record for this duo.

Pat Boone - Love Letters In The Sand. Sixth gold record for Boone, selling over 3 and-a-half million copies. He had three more gold discs this year; Don't Forbid Me; Why, Baby Why?; April Love backed with When The Swallows Come Back To Capistrano.

Ruth Brown - Lucky Lips. Ruth's third million seller was written by the prolific Leiber and Stoller. Cliff Richard had a hit with it in 1963.

The Coasters - Searchin'. First million seller for this rhythm and blues outfit who formed in 1955 and called themselves The Coasters because they all lived in Los Angeles on the West Coast. Written by the Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller who provided a number of hits for the group.

Eddie Cochran - Sittin' In The Balcony. Oddly enough this is the only single from Cochran that is confirmed as a million-seller. Eddie Cochran was born on 3 October 1938 in Oklahoma City and was a self taught musician. He could play bass drums, piano and saxophone and entered showbiz in his teens. This release was his first for the record label Liberty and it was followed by three other massive hits; '20 Flight Rock' (1957); 'C'Mon Everybody' and 'Summertime Blues' (1958), and although unconfirmed it is quite likely that each achieved gold status, but a gold record has never been presented for any of them. In 1960 he began a successful tour of Britain but on 17 April, whilst travelling through Chippenham in Wiltshire the car he was in (along with his fiancé, Sharon Sheeley, and fellow 'rocker' Gene Vincent and his agent) crashed and Eddie Cochran was killed. His last public appearance was at the Empire, Bristol.

Sam Cooke - You Send Me. First million seller for Cooke was written by his brother, Charles L. Cooke and it was Sam's debut release. He had previously recorded I'll Come Running Back To You but his record company didn't have much faith in it and released this, his second track. On the success of 'You Send Me' the company released his first recording and it went gold. In 1960 he switched to the RCA Victor label and by 1964 he had sold over 15 million discs. On December 11 1964 he was shot dead by a hotel manager after an altercation involving an unknown female who he had in his room.

The Crickets - That'll Be The Day. Yet another rock n' roll classic and the record that shot Buddy Holly to super stardom. Holly was born Charles Hardin Holley on 7 September 1938 and learned to play his first instruments (violin and piano) at the age of four. At 7 he took up the guitar. He formed his group in 1955 and played with them until 1958 when he joined up with two disc session men and called this group the Crickets, too. He pioneered double-tracking and the standard four-man rock group line-up. The gold disc wasn't awarded until 1969 by which time Holly had been dead for ten years, his life lost in a tragic air disaster, which also claimed the lives of Richie Valens and J.P. 'Big Bopper' Richardson. February 3 1959 was 'the day the music died.' (See later entry under Buddy Holly and The Crickets).

Danny and the Juniors - At The Hop. The only million seller for this group -but a classic.

The Del-Vikings - Come Go With Me. Only gold disc for this group.

The Diamonds - Little Darlin'. First million seller for this quartet quickly followed by their second - Silhouettes.

Fats Domino - I'm Walking. 18 million seller for Fats, followed by It's You I Love and I Still Love You.

The Everly Brothers - Bye Bye Love. Don (born 1 February 1937) and Phil (born 19 January 1939) Everly were born into a showbiz family, their parents, Ike and Margaret having already established themselves as well-known country artists. The boys joined them from the age of 8 and 6 and the family stayed together until the boys left high school and their parents decided to retire. Soon after they were signed to a recording contract and this hit was the first of many written for them by the husband and wife team of Felice and Boudleaux Bryant. The brothers have gone on to sell more than 18 million discs worldwide. Their second gold disc of 1957 was Wake Up Little Susie.

The Four Preps - Twenty Six Miles. The group hailed from Hollywood and got their first big break with a guest slot on the 'Tennessee Ernie Ford TV Show'.

Buddy Holly and The Crickets - Peggy Sue/Every Day. Second million seller for Holly, written by Jerry Allison and Norman Petty, drummer and recording engineer for the Crickets. Holly claimed to be heavily influenced by Elvis Presley, even though their styles were distinctly different. It's said that the Beatles took their name because they wanted something similar to 'Crickets', although this was probably as result of a throw-away line by John Lennon. The four Liverpudlians paid tribute to Holly by including one of his compositions; 'Words Of Love' on their 'Beatles For Sale' album and the Lennon and McCartney penned 'I'll Follow The Sun' from the same LP is very similar to Holly's style. Paul McCartney eventually purchased the rights to all of Holly's music.

Tab Hunter - Young Love. Gold disc for the former champion ice skater turned movie and pop star. His real name is Arthur Gelien.

Sonny James - Young Love. This version was the second time an artist went gold with 'Young Love'.

Bill Justis - Raunchy. This instrumental was originally called 'Backwoods' before being released.

Buddy Knox - Party Doll. First million seller for Knox, which he co-wrote.

Frankie Laine - Moonlight Gambler. Ninth million seller for Laine.

Jerry Lee Lewis - Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On. The song once described by John Lennon as the greatest rock n' roll song of all time was written in 1957 by Dave Williams and Sunny David. This disc has sold in excess of 3 million copies and was recorded by Jerry Lee Lewis who was born in Ferriday, Louisiana on 29 September 1935. He was a self taught musician who entered the music business in 1947 and joined the famous Sun Records label in 1955. His trademark was his frantic piano playing and on-stage energy, which made him the ideal rock n' roll performer. He followed this gold disc with another million seller in 1957, Great Balls Of Fire is also reputed to have sold more than 3 million copies.

Little Richard - Lucille. Energy charged rock n' roller gave Richard his fourth million seller. Jenny, Jenny gave him his fifth and Keep A-Knockin' his sixth.

Johnny Mathis - Chances Are. Second million seller for the artist, which was followed by his third; It's Not For Me To Say.

Mitch Miller and his Orchestra - March From 'Bridge On The River Kwai'. Sold a million in the USA alone. This theme was written by British composer Malcolm Arnold who won an Academy Award for Best Dramatic Film Score of 1957. Arnold's arrangement included the famous 'Colonel Bogey March' composed in 1914 by Kenneth J. Alford.

Sal Mineo - Start Movin'. The only million seller for this New York born actor who was murdered in Los Angeles on 12 February 1976.

Jane Morgan with the Troubadours - Fascination. This release reached the million mark by 1958 and by 1965 it reached 3 million sales.

Ricky Nelson - A Teenagers Romance/I'm Walkin'. Double A side release for Eric Hilliard Nelson born on May 8, 1940 in Teaneck, New Jersey. Ricky was the son of showbiz couple Ozzie Nelson and Harriet Hilliard and made his first professional appearance in his parents long running TV show 'The Adventures Of Ozzie And Harriet' at the age of eight. At the age of sixteen he went solo and turned out hit after hit (many of which were double-a sided). Be-Bop Baby, also released this year, sold a million records as did Stood Up b/w Waitin' In The School.

Elvis Presley - Too Much b/w Playin' For Keeps. 8th and 9th million seller for Elvis. His next single All Shook Up b/w That's When Your Heartaches Begin was the bestselling record of 1957 and gave Elvis his first UK number one. Loving You b/w Teddy Bear made it twelve and thirteen for 'The King', both songs coming from his first movie 'Loving You' and it was two more movie takes; Jailhouse Rock b/w Treat Me Nice that provided his 14th and 15th million sellers in this year.

Marvin Rainwater and Connie Francis - Majesty Of Love. Second million seller for Marvin, first for Connie.

The Rays - Silhouettes. The Rays were a male quartet. Three members from Brooklyn and one from Lexington, Kentucky.

Jim Reeves - Four Walls. Third million seller for Jim.

Debbie Reynolds - Tammy. Second million seller for Debbie. The first as a solo artist.

Marty Robbins - A White Sports Coat And A Pink Carnation. First million seller for country-and-western artist Robbins who was born on 26 September 1925 in Glendale, Arizona.

Jimmy Rodgers - Honeycomb. First recording and million seller for Jimmy. Followed by Kisses Sweeter Than Wine and Oh I'm Falling In Love Again.
Don Rondo - White Silver Sands. Second million seller for Don.

David Rose - Calypso Melody. Second million seller for this bandleader.

Tommy Sands - Teenage Crush. First Million Seller for Tommy.

Frank Sinatra - All The Way b/w Chicago. Sinatra's sixth million seller comes (both tracks) from the film 'The Joker is Wild'. Chicago was originally written by Fred Fisher in 1922 and sold a million in sheet music form that year. It is probably the better known of Sinatra's two songs listed here.

Huey Smith with The Clowns - Rockin' Pneumonia And The Boogie Woogie Flu. This combo had two million sellers in 1957, the second was Don't You Just Know It.

Art and Dotty Todd - Chanson D'Amour. Only million seller for this duo. A 1977 cover of this song by Manhattan Transfer was an international hit.

Billy Vaughan - Sail Along Silvery Moon. Second million seller for this artist.

Gene Vincent and his Blue Caps - Wear My Ring. Third million seller for Vincent. Written by Don Kirschner and Bobby Darin.

Billy Ward and the Dominoes - Stardust. Only million seller for this group.

Nancy Whiskey and Chas McDevitt - Freight Train. The original version of this adapted song was written by the American Elizabeth Cotten, who worked most of her life in domestic service. She originated the unique guitar playing style known today as 'Cotten Picking.'

Andy Williams - Butterfly. Howard Andrew Williams was born on 3 December 1928 in Wall Lake, Iowa, and began his singing career when he teamed up with his three brothers and his parents to organise a church choir. In 1944 Andy made his first recording with his brothers as backing group to Bing Crosby on 'Swinging On A Star'. The four brothers were eventually given their own radio show before the family moved to California and teamed up with comedienne Kay Thompson to form a successful nightclub act. Six years later, Andy decided to go solo and landed a TV appearance on Steve Allen's 'Tonight' show, where he soon became a regular. By 1959 he had his own TV show on CBS and was voted 'Personality of the Year' by the Variety Clubs of America, putting him in the same company as Steve Allen and Al Jolson. His TV show was also a great success in the UK and his name and voice proved just as popular on this side of the Atlantic.

Billy Williams - I'm Gonna Sit Right Down And Write Myself A Letter. This song had already been a big hit for Fats Waller way back in 1935. Williams was one of the first black artists to appear regularly on US television, but later fell on hard times. The Rev. Clarence Cobbs found him living in squalid conditions in 1965, having lost his voice due to diabetes. He went to live with the minister and worked on the 'Model Cities' project helping alcoholics, after returning to college in 1971 to finish his degree. He died in a Chicago hospital on October 12 1972.

Larry Williams - Short Fat Fanny. First million seller for this rhythm and blues vocalist who originally played piano for Lloyd Price's band. His second million seller, also written by him is probably better remembered; Bony Moronie.

Paul Anka - You Are My Destiny. Second million seller for this artist.

Toni Arden - Padre. Only million seller for this female vocalist.

Frankie Avalon - Dede Dinah. First mill
ion seller for Avalon born Frank Avallone on 18 September 1940 in Philadelphia. Avalon first appeared on TV as a child prodigy on Jackie Gleason's TV show.
Chuck Berry - Sweet Little Sixteen. Fifth million seller for Berry was followed by another rock n' roll all-time classic Johnny B. Goode.

Big Bopper - Chantilly Lace. Born J.P. Richardson on 24 October 1930 in Sabine Pass, Texas, Big Bopper first became a disc jockey whilst at school. In 1954 he started writing songs and as a professional DJ he broke the record for marathon broadcasting spending a continuous 122 hours and 8 minutes in front of the microphone. He was heard by a talent scout for the Starrite Publishing company who signed him to a contract and after listening to an audition tape asked him to record his own composition, 'Chantilly Lace.' Released in August 1958 it sold a million before the end of the year. The following year Big Bopper went on tour with Ritchie Valens and Buddy Holly and all three (the father, son and the holy ghost as Don McLean referred to them in his tribute song 'American Pie') were tragically killed in an air crash near Fargo, North Dakota on February 9 1959.

Pat Boone - A Wonderful Time Up There b/w It's Too Soon To Know. Tenth gold for Boone, followed by his eleventh Cherie, I Love You.
James Brown and The Famous Flames - Try Me (I Need You). Second million seller for Brown.

The Champs - Tequila. This enduring instrumental spent five weeks at number one in the USA. Grammy Award winner for best rhythm and blues recording of 1958.

The Chantels - Maybe. Achieved gold years after the group split up.

The Chordettes - Lollipop. Second million seller for this group.

Jimmy Clanton - Just A Dream. First million seller for Jimmy but not the last for 1958. A Letter To An Angel also went gold.

The Coasters - Yakety Yak. Another Lieber and Stoller composition that went gold for this group.

Cozy Cole - Topsy. William 'Cozy' Cole is universally considered to be one of the most perfect drummers jazz has ever produced.

Perry Como - Catch A Falling Star b/w Magic Moments. 16th million seller for Perry who went on to have two other gold discs in 1958; Kewpie Doll and I May Never Pass This Way Again.

Warren Covington and the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra - Tea For Two Cha Cha. A bestseller on both sides of the Atlantic.

The Crescendos - Oh, Julie. Only million seller for this group.

The Crests - Sixteen Candles. Only million seller for this group.

The Crickets - Maybe Baby. Second million seller for The Crickets.

Bobby Darin - Splish Splash. First million seller for Bobby, born on 14 May 1936 in The Bronx. His father died a few months before he was born and he was raised by his mother and elder sister. At school he graduated with honours and won a scholarship to college, by which time he could play piano, drums, guitar, bass and vibraphone. He soon began playing local nightclubs and in 1956 wrote his first composition 'My First Love' with Don Kirschner. A contract with Decca followed but nothing materialised for two years until he wrote 'Splish Splash' with Jean Murray. In 1960 he married the actress Sandra Dee and by now he was one of the highest paid performers in the USA making and writing records, appearing on TV and acting in the movies. This song won him 'The Best New Singer' and 'The Best Record' awards for the year 1958. He sold over seven million records in his lifetime, which ended prematurely on 20 December 1973 at the age of 37.

Bobby Day - Rockin' Robin. Only million seller for this artist born Robert Byrd.

The Diamonds - The Stroll. Third million seller for this group.

Fats Domino - Whole Lotta Lovin'. 21st million seller for Fats.

Duane Eddy with The Rebels - Rebel Rouser. First million seller for the man with the 'twangy' guitar sound.

Tommy Edwards - It's All In The Game. Originally written in 1912 by Gen. Charles Gates Dawes who went on to become Vice President of the United States under the Coolidge Administration (1925-29). He called his simple melody 'Melody In A Major' and it was in 1951 that lyricist Carl Sigman wrote words for it under the title 'It's All In The Game'.

The Elegants - Little Star. Only million seller for this group.

Everly Brothers - All I Have To Do Is Dream b/w Claudette. Third million seller for the Everly's was the timeless classic 'All I Have To Do Is Dream' which was written by Boudleaux Bryant. The double-a sided composition was written by Roy Orbison. The next Everly's release was another double-a; Bird Dog b/w Devoted To You, and the single that gave them no trouble in becoming their fifth million seller was Problems.

Connie Francis - Who's Sorry Know. The first (solo) gold disc for Connie who's real name is Constance Franconero from New Jersey, born on 12 December 1938. From the age of four she played accordion and appeared on vaudeville theatre and local radio shows. By the age of 11 she was on juvenile TV in 'Startime' which led to a four year engagement. At the age of 17 she was signed to MGM Records before having this, her first big hit. Through the 1950s and 1960s she became the biggest female recording artist selling no fewer than 35 million records worldwide and was a major star not just in the USA and the UK but also in France, Germany, Spain, Italy and Japan where she recorded records in their native tongue. She is the only recording artist in history with 10 solo discs which sold a million apiece within two years. This record topped the UK charts for 6 weeks.

Don Gibson - Oh Lonesome Me b/w I Can't Stop Loving You. Both songs were self-penned compositions and a chain of country hits followed.

Billy Grammer - Gotta Travel On. Only million seller for this artist who is the founder of the Grammer Guitar, considered one of the finest examples of this instrument on the market.

Bobby Helms - Jingle Bell Rock. Seasonal song which took five years to achieve gold status.

Buddy Holly - It Doesn't Matter Any More. Second million seller for Holly. Written by Bobby Darin.

Mahalia Jackson - He's Got The Whole World In His Hands b/w I Believe. Born in New Orleans, Louisiana, on 26 October 1911, Mahalia Jackson would come to be known as the 'Queen of Gospel.' She began singing in her father's church at the age of 5 and at the age of 16 her parents moved to Chicago where she was put to work as a maid, nurse and laundress. She continued singing in churches and was offered a job with the Earl Hines band but declined to join them on religious grounds. Instead she joined the Greater Salem Baptist Church Choir where a gospel quintet was immediately formed round her. Together, the choir went on tour and when not touring Mahalia continued to work and save until she eventually could afford to open a beauty salon and later still a flower shop as well as branching out into real estate. She recorded her first gospel songs in 1935 and by 1949 she had her first gold record, becoming famous in black religious circles throughout the world. She sang 'He's Got The Whole World In His Hands' at the Newport Festival on Rhode Island in 1958 and in March the recording was released as a double-a sided single with 'I Believe'. The (first) song is a traditional gospel number and this arrangement was adapted by British band-leader Geoff Love. In the 1960s she allied herself with the civil rights leader Dr Martin Luther King Jr. and was present on 28 August 1963 when 200,000 people marched through Washington in the biggest ever demonstration for the cause of freedom. Mahalia sang in front of them. She also sang, most poignantly, 'Precious Lord' at King's funeral in 1968 after he had been struck by an assassin's bullet. In the last few years of her life a series of heart attacks robbed her of her fine voice, although she still continued to perform but with less power. Even though she never made a pop song and refused to perform at nightclubs, when she died on 27 January 1972 her estate was estimated at $1 million.

The Kalin Twins - When. Only million seller for the twins.

The Kingston Trio - Tom Dooley. Grammy Award winner for Best Country-And-Western Recording 1958.

Brenda Lee - Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree. First million seller for the artist known as 'Little Miss Dynamite'.

Peggy Lee - Fever. Sultry rendition of this song gave Lee her third gold disc.

Jerry Lee Lewis - Breathless. A good title for Lewis and one that best described his act. He followed it with High School Confidential.

Little Anthony and The Imperials - Tears On My Pillow. Sole million seller for this combo.

Little Richard - Good Golly, Miss Molly. Another classic rocker and Richard's seventh million seller.

Laurie London with Geoff Love and his Orchestra. - He's Got The Whole World In His Hands. Young Laurie London was 13 when he recorded this Geoff Love adaptation of an old gospel song.

Robin Luke - Susie Darlin'. Only million seller for this artist.

McGuire Sisters - Sugartime. Second million seller for the sisters.

Clyde McPhatter - A Lover's Question. Second million seller for this artist.

Dean Martin - Return To Me. Third million seller for Dean and quickly followed by Volare.

The Monotones - Book Of Love. Only million seller for this group.

Ricky Nelson - Believe What You Say. Ricky's fourth gold which was followed by his fifth Poor Little Fool and sixth Lonesome Town.

Patti Page - Left Right Out Of Your Heart. 14th million seller for Patti.

The Platters - Twilight Time. Fourth million seller for The Platters, followed by Smoke Gets In Your Eyes, which was written by famed composer Jerome Kern.

The Playmates - Beep, Beep. Novelty song about a small car trying to overtake a bigger one!

Elvis Presley - Don't b/w I Beg Of You. Big year for Elvis kicked off with this double-a side and continued with; Wear My Ring Around Your Neck; King Creole (EP); Hard Headed Woman; and his 22nd million seller I got Stung -he'd only been around for two years!

Ray Price - City Lights. Second million seller for Price.

Louis Prima with his band and Keely Smith - That Old Black Magic. Louis Prima and Keely Smith were husband and wife at the time this recording was made and went gold.

Jimmy Rodgers - Secretly. Fourth million seller for Jimmy.

Jack Scott - My True Love b/w Leroy. First million seller for Scott with two songs written by him.

David Seville and his Orchestra. - Witch Doctor. First million seller for David but by no means the last. Born Ross Bagdasarian in Fresno, California on 27 January 1919 David started his showbiz career as an actor. In 1958 he wrote this novelty song having been inspired by the title of a book 'Duel With The Witch Doctor'. (Having previously co-written a hit record for Rosemary Clooney -'Come On-A My House'). He recorded an orchestral track at half speed and played it back at full speed doing likewise with the word 'Witch Doctor' to get a distinctive sound. He took the tape to Liberty Records who were so impressed that they had it out in the shops within 24 hours of hearing it. It sold one-and-a-half million! For Christmas, David went back into the recording studio and wrote a song, making the singers animals. He played around with various distorted speeds until he was happy with the sound. When it was finished he decided that the vocal track sounded as though it were being sung by Chipmunks. So, titling it The Chipmunk Song he put the record out and it became the fastest selling record of all time, selling three-and-a-half million in five weeks! The Chipmunks names; Theodore, Simon and Alvin were taken from three of Liberty Records chiefs.

The Silhouettes - Get A Job. Only million seller for this group was one that they wrote themselves. Revived in the 1980s and used in an advertisement promoting employment.

Dodie Stevens - Pink Shoelaces. This million seller for Dodie was recorded when she was 11 years old.

The Teddy Bears - To Know Him Is To Love Him. This sole million seller for the trio consisting of Annette Bard, Marshall Lieb and Phil Spector was written by Spector who was inspired by an engraving on his father's tombstone which read 'To Know Him Was To Love Him'. Spector was only nine-years old when his father died and in 1953 the family moved to California. It wasn't until 1958 that Spector one day found himself humming a tune and quite naturally put the words to it, substituting the 'Was' on the gravestone to the 'Is' that finally became the title. Spector later became a record producer and owner of his own label where he discovered numerous other groups including The Ronettes. In 1969 he was employed by The Beatles to mix their album 'Let It Be', although not to the approval of Paul McCartney who has since been very critical of the resulting LP. John Lennon stayed loyal to Spector until the mid 1970s when he and Spector allegedly fell out over Lennon's 'Rock n' Roll' album. On November 22 2004 Spector was charged with and found guilty of second degree murder and sentenced to 19 years to life in the California state prison system.

Ritchie Valens - Donna b/w La Bamba. Donna was Valen's own composition like his first song, 'Come On, Let's Go', which sold 750,000 copies. This double-a sided disc was his sole million seller, his young life being taken away the very next year in the same plane crash that took Big Bopper and Buddy Holly. A film of his life La Bamba was made in 1987.

Roger Williams - Till. Second million seller for Williams.

Chuck Willis - What Am I Living For? The only million seller for this artist. Voted the best rhythm and blues disc of 1958.

Sheb Wooley - The Purple People Eater. Sole million seller for Sheb who went on to appear in over 50 movies as well as play the role of Pete Nolan in the U.S. TV series 'Rawhide.. '


Paul Anka - Lonely Boy. Third million seller for Paul. Followed by Put Your Head On My Shoulder.

Frankie Avalon - Venus. Second million seller for Avalon which was followed by his third and fourth; Just Ask Your Heart and Why. The latter of these was subject to litigation after it was claimed to be similar to another song. The claim was denied by the court.

LaVern Baker - I Cried A Tear. Third million seller for Baker.

Chris Barber and his Jazz Band - Petite Fleur (Little Flower). Only million seller for jazz trombonist Barber who was born on 17th April 1930 in Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire. His was the first British band to be televised live in the USA on the 'Ed Sullivan Show'. Although taken from his album 'Chris Barber Plays, Vol 3' Barber didn't actually play on this track at all -the clarinet solo was by Monty Sunshine.

Brook Benton - It's Just A Matter Of Time b/w So Many Ways. First million seller for the star whose real name was Benjamin Franklin Peay.

Edd Byrnes and Connie Stevens - Kookie, Kookie, Lend Me Your Comb. Sole million seller for the duo recreating their characters from the hit U.S. TV show '77 Sunset Strip'.

Freddy Cannon - Tallahassie Lassie. First million seller for Freddy Picariello from Lynn, Massachusetts. He followed this gold disc with another; Way Down Yonder In New Orleans.
 
Ray Charles - What'd I Say (Parts 1 and 2). The first million seller for Ray Charles Robinson born in Albany, Georgia on 23 September 1932. Ray lost his sight at the age of six and was orphaned at 15. At 17 he formed his own trio (in which he played piano) that toured the USA before he settled down for a while in Seattle. Here he played piano in a style very similar to Nat 'King' Cole and it proved popular enough to land him his own (local) TV show. But he was uncomfortable with the type of music he was playing and eventually adopted the style that would propel him to huge success and worldwide acclaim. He began singing and playing a mixture of rhythm and blues, jazz and gospel -or as it became known- soul music. He signed for Atlantic Records and soon rose to legendary status. One of the most respected musicians in the music industry he was also accomplished on the alto sax, clarinet and organ and was one of the few black singers to have a big hit in country-and-western music. He earned the tag of 'The Genius' and it was well-deserved. Ray died following a period of ill-health in 2004.

The Coasters - Charlie Brown. Third million seller for this group was quickly followed by their fourth gold platter; Poison Ivy -once again both hits were Leiber and Stoller compositions.

Russ Conway - Side Saddle. Trevor H. Stanford was born on 2 September 1927 in Bristol and entered showbusiness at the age of ten playing in an accordion band. However, after leaving school he joined the Merchant Navy as a galley boy for two years and then became a signalman in the Royal Navy for a further three. An accident in the Navy cost him the first joint of the third finger of his right hand, however this didn't deter him from re-signing for a further two years and winning the Distinguished Service Medal. An accomplished musician and able to play several instruments (all self-taught) Russ was heard playing in a band in 1957 and this led to him being signed by EMI. 'Side Saddle', which he played on the piano, was his own composition.

Bobby Darin - Dream Lover. Third million seller for Darin was another self penned composition but his next gold disc Mack The Knife, had been around a lot longer, originating from Berthold Brecht and Kurt Weill's 'Threepenny Opera'.

Tommy Dee and Carol Kay - Three Stars. Dee, who wrote this song as a tribute to Buddy Holly, Richie Valens and The Big Bopper, was a country-and-western DJ.

Dion and the Belmonts - Teenager In Love. First million seller for this quartet led by Dion Di Mucci, born 18 July 1939 in The Bronx. He started singing at the age of five and made his first TV appearance in 1954. The Belmonts were created by his record label, Mohawk, and they were; Fred Milano (second tenor), Carlo Mastangelo (baritone), and Angelo d'Aelo (first tenor). They stayed together until 1960 at which time Dion went solo before taking up a stage career in 1963.
Carl Dobkins - My Heart Is An Open Book. Only million seller for this Cincinnati born singer.

Fats Domino - Be My Guest. 22nd million seller for Fats.

Lonnie Donegan - Does Your Chewing Gum Lose It's Flavour? (On The Bed-Post Every Night). Written in 1924 by Billy Rose and Marty Bloom and discovered by Donegan in an old Boy Scouts song book. He altered the title slightly from 'Does Your Spearmint Lose It's Flavour on the Bed Post Over Night?' to avoid any tradename conflicts.

Dicky Doo and the Dont's - Tear Drops Will Fall. They did achieve gold for this single. They didn't for any other.

The Drifters - There Goes My Baby. Second million seller for this group who over the years have had many line-up changes. The original lead singer, Clyde McPhatter had now left and the group were made up of Ben E. King, Elsberry Hobbs, Doc Green Jr., Charlie Thomas and Reggie Kimber. King (real name Beanjamin Earl Sloman) left the group in 1960.

Paul Evans and the Curls - Seven Little Girls (Sitting In The Back Seat). What were they doing there? Well, according to the song they were hugging and kissing with Fred. This was the era of the novelty song and comedy ditty and this U.S. example sold a million copies.

Everly Brothers - Take A Message To Mary. Sixth million seller for the brothers, which was followed by ('Til) I Kissed You

Fabian - Tiger. Only million seller for Fabian.

The Falcons - You're So Fine. Top Detroit group consisting of Eddie Floyd, Mack Rice, Lance Finney, Willie Schofield, Bob West and Joe Stubbs (brother of Levi Stubbs of Four Tops fame). The group later included Wilson Pickett. This was their only million seller.

The Fleetwoods - Come Softly To Me. First million seller for this trio playing their own composition. They followed it with Mister Blue.

Emile Ford and The Checkmates - What Do You Want To Make Those Eyes At Me For? Only million seller for Ford who sailed to Britain with his family from Nassau, in the Bahamas. He learned to play the guitar at school and later graduated from Paddington Technical College. He was signed by Pye Records after winning a talent contest at Soho Fair. The Checkmates included his three brothers.

Frankie Ford - Sea Cruise. Only million seller for this artist.

Connie Francis - My Happiness. Third million seller for Connie followed by one of her best remembered hits Lipstick On Your Collar b/w Frankie. Her fifth million seller released in 1959 was Among My Souvenirs, which also sold a million in sheet music when it was first published in 1927.

Willie Harrison - Kansas City. Only million seller for this artist. A classic song written by Leiber and Stoller and covered by The Beatles on 'Beatles For Sale'.

Johnny Horton - Battle Of New Orleans. The top country-and-western disc of 1959 by Texas born Horton who had gone to university and majored in petroleum engineering. At uni he began writing and won a talent contest and later became the star of 'Louisiana Hayride' the top country-and-western show. He was killed in a car crash on November 5 1960.

The Impalas - Sorry (I Ran All The Way Home). Only gold record for this rock n' roll group.

The Isley Brothers - Shout. The Isley Brothers wrote this song after they were performing 'Lonely Teardrops' live at the Howard Theatre in Washington D.C. and their lead singer, purely on the spur of the moment, yelled at the audience 'You know, you make me want to shout!' The remark so excited the audience that pandemonium ensued. RCA promotion's representative Howard Argie Bloom soon after ushered the group into a studio and with the lead-in line, the brothers wrote the rest of the song which went on to sell in excess of a million copies. It proved a smash hit for Lulu in the 1960s and was the record that set her of on the road to a hugely successful career.

Stonewall Jackson - Waterloo. Only million seller for Jackson.

Johnny and the Hurricanes - Red River Rock. Only million seller for this rock n' roll instrumental group was this 'beat' version of a classic American cowboy song, 'Red River Valley'.

Marv Johnson - You Got What It Takes. Marv Johnson was born on 15 October 1938 in Detroit, Michigan. At 13 he formed his own group 'The Serenaders' and was discovered in 1959 by Berry Gordy Jr. who wrote Johnson's first release, 'Come to Me' -the first Tamla Records release. Although Tamla was not a label, Gordy got United Artists to release the song, as was the case with 'You Got What It Takes'. This was the start of Tamla-Motown.

Jerry Keller - Here Comes Summer. Jerry's only million seller, which he wrote himself.

Wink Martindale - Deck Of Cards. Only million seller for Martindale who later became a game-show host on national TV in the USA.

Johnny Mathis - Misty. Fifth million seller for Mathis was a version of this classic jazz number introduced as an instrumental in 1954 by Eroll Gardner.

Guy Mitchell - Heartaches By The Number. Sixth million seller for Mitchell.

Ricky Nelson - Never Be Anyone Else But You b/w It's Late. Seventh million seller for Nelson. His eighth was Just A little Too Much.

Sandy Nelson - Teen Beat. First million seller for drummer Nelson.

Phil Phillips - Sea Of Love. Only million seller for Phillips.

Elvis Presley - A Fool Such As I b/w I Need Your Love Tonight. 23rd million seller for Elvis. His 24th was A Big Hunk O' Love b/w My Wish Came True.

Lloyd Price - Stagerlee. Price had heard an old American folk song called 'The Ballad of Stack-O-Lee' and with Harold Logan rewrote it in modern style. The song is the story of two gamblers who meet a tragic end. Not so for Price, who had two more million sellers released in this year; I'm Gonna Get Married and Personality.

Marvin Rainwater - My Love Is Real. Third million seller for Marvin, followed by My Brand Of Blues and Half Breed.

Della Reese - Don't You Know. Dellareese Taliaferro was born in Detroit on 6 July 1932 and sang, at 6 years of age, in the same gospel group as the great Mahalia Jackson. This was her only million seller.

Jim Reeves - He'll Have To Go. Fourth million seller for Reeves.

Cliff Richard and The Drifters - Living Doll. First million seller for the Britain's top recording artist of all time bar none. The song was written by Lionel Bart, who later wrote the musical 'Oliver!'. Born on 14 October 1940 in Lucknow, India, Harry Webb was educated in Carshalton and later in Hertfordshire. After leaving school he became an office clerk and learned to play guitar before making his first public appearance with a vocal group called The Drifters. The group became very popular locally and later appeared at the '2 I's' coffee club in Soho where Webb, now named Cliff Richard, met Jet Harris, Tony Meehan, Bruce Welch and Hank Marvin all of whom became part of The Drifters. In 1958 the group were spotted by agent George Canjou at the Shepherd's Bush Gaumont theatre and invited them for a recording audition. Cliff's first disc was 'Move It' and he soon found himself being billed as the 'English Elvis Presley'. He quickly shook off this tag and went on to be one of the most famous performers in the world, having a number one hit in every decade from the 1950s to the 1990s. The Drifters changed their name to The Shadows to avoid confusion with the US group with the same name and although always associated with Cliff, they have had a string of instrumental hits in their own right.

Marty Robins - El Paso. Second million seller for Robins. The song won a Grammy Award for 'Best Country and Western Performance' 1960.

Bobby Rydell - We Got Love. First million seller for the singer born Robert Louis Ridarelli, who came from Philadelphia where he went to the same boys club as Fabian and Frankie Avalon. Like his friends, Rydell presented a clean-cut image in stark contrast to the earlier pioneers of rock n' roll. He followed this gold record with another; the double-a sided Wild One and Little Bitty Girl.

Santo and Johnny - Sleep Walk. Only gold record for the brothers Farina.

Neil Sedaka - I Go Ape. The title was 1950s teenage slang for going wild, crazy or losing your head and it presented Sedaka, born on 13 March 1939 with the first of many gold discs. Born in Brooklyn of Turkish decent, Neil Sedaka wanted to be a concert pianist. At school he illustrated a flair for writing pop songs and after graduating from the famous Julliard School of Music he was chosen by Arthur Rubenstein to play on radio. Collaborating with neighbour Howard Greenfield he built up a repertoire of pop songs which were recorded by the likes of Connie Francis, LaVern Baker and Clyde McPhatter. In 1958 he made his own recording and took it to a publishers who sent the demo disc to RCA Victor's Steve Sholes, the man who snapped up Elvis Presley from Sun Records. Sedaka was immediately signed up to a contract and by the time 'I Go Ape' was released in 1959 Sedaka had composed nearly 400 songs (many with Greenfield). In 1961 the duo wrote the score for the MGM musical 'Where The Boys Are'. In front of the microphone or behind it, Neil Sedaka is one of the greatest talents in the pop music industry, turning out hit after hit in a career that has spanned 6 decades. His second million seller released in 1959 is one of many that he will always be associated with: Oh Carol!.

David Seville and The Chipmunks - Alvin's Harmonica. David Seville's Chipmunks were now big enough to get equal billing on this comedy record which was Seville's third million seller. There was more gold in 'them thar hills' before the year was out when a song, originally written in 1912, was given the Seville treatment; Ragtime Cowboy Joe.

Harry Simeone Chorale - Little Drummer Boy. Written by Harry Simeone, Henry Onorati and Katherine Davis in 1958 and taken from the tune of a Spanish song 'Tabolilleros', this religious song tells the story of a poor boy who can't afford to bring a gift to the Nativity, except for his drum. By 1970 the 150 plus different versions of 'Little Drummer Boy' had sold over 25 million copies worldwide.

Nina Simone - I Loves You Porgy. Only million seller for the modern jazz vocalist born Eunice Waymon in Tryon, North Carolina. Taken from the Gershwin musical 'Porgy and Bess'.

Cyril Stapleton and his Orchestra - Children's Marching Song. More commonly known as 'This Old Man' or 'Nick Nack Paddy Whack' the original words and music of which were adapted for the movie 'Inn of the Sixth Happiness' about English missionary Gladys Aylward (played by Ingrid Bergman), who took a band of orphans to safety over rugged terrain during the Japanese invasion of China before World War II.

Barrett Strong - Money (That's What I Want). Born on 5 February 1941, Strong joined the Berry Gordy disc company soon after it was formed in 1959 and recorded this song, written by Gordy and Janie Bradford, which then became the first million seller for the new independent label, Motown Records and it's affiliates. 'Money' was the first song that had the distinctive Motown sound which, within a few short years would dominate the US charts.

Sarah Vaughan - Broken Hearted Melody. First million seller for Sarah, born on 27 March 1924 in Newark, New Jersey. She began singing in a child choir before winning a music contest at New York's Apollo Theatre. Her prize was a week's engagement with Earl Hines band, but that week became a permanent job and whilst there she met and began performing with Billy Ekstine. When Ekstine formed his own orchestra, Sarah joined him as vocalist. Over the years she played with all the jazz greats, and recorded some of the most memorable jazz songs ever recorded.

Jerry Wallace - Primrose Lane. Only million seller for Kansas born Wallace.

Thomas Wayne - Tragedy. Only million seller for this artist.

Andy Williams - Hawaiian Wedding Song. Andy's second million seller.

Jackie Wilson - Lonely Teardrops. First million seller for Jackie. Written by Berry Gordy Jr., Gwen Gordy and Tyran Carlo in 1958. Berry Gordy Jr. was a former auto-assembly worker in Detroit who started his own record label, Gordy Records, in 1959 with a loan of $800.00. He went on to become the biggest independent producer of 45 r.p.m. discs in America, introducing to the world the 'Motown Sound' (Motown was made up of the words 'motor town' as Detroit was the major car manufacturing city of the USA). Jackie "Sonny" Wilson was born June 9 1934 in Detroit, Michigan and grew up in Highland Park, Michigan. The only child of Jack and Eliza Mae Wilson from Columbus, Mississippi. Eliza Mae, who had earlier lost two children, doted on Wilson and was a powerful influence on his life. Wilson turned to music after his mother made him give up a promising career as a boxer (he was a welterweight champion at 16 years of age, having lied about his age), and in 1953 joined Billy Ward's Dominoes as lead singer. In 1957 he went solo and was soon signed by Brunswick Records. Top nightclub, theatre and TV appearances followed. In 1961 Wilson became involved with Harlean Harris, a former girlfriend of Sam Cooke whilst at the same time he was having a relationship with a Juanita Jones. On February 15 1961, Jones shot Wilson twice as he returned with Harris to his Manhattan apartment. Wilson survived this attempt on his life but lost a kidney as a result. In September 1970 Wilson's oldest son, 16-year-old Jackie Jr., was shot and killed during a confrontation on the porch of a Detroit neighbours' home. Jackie Wilson himself died on January 21, 1984, aged 49.

Link Wray and his Ray Men - Rawhide. Second instrumental million selling disc for this group.

 
The 1960s
 
The era began with a number of novelty records making the top ten and it wasn't unusual to see novelty titles like 'Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka Dot Bikini', 'Tie Me Kangaroo Down Sport', and 'My Boomerang Won't Come Back' riding up the charts. By the early 1960s the public were buying more records than ever before and the record charts expanded to illustrate this. In March 1960 the trade magazine Record Retailer published the first top 50.
 
Perhaps as a backlash to Rock n' Roll the USA began producing 'clean-cut' image pop stars such as Bobby Vee, Mark Wynter and Johnny Tillotson. But there were also new sounds just around the corner and boats arriving at Liverpool were bringing with them the sounds of Phil Spector and groups such as The Ronnettes and The Crystals.
I
t was very hard to hear this type of music on BBC Radio (there was no commercial radio in those days) and even the popular tunes of the day got very limited airtime. Radio Luxembourg became immensely popular at this time. The station, which had been founded in 1951 on its famous 208 metres wavelength used British disc jockeys in programmes that were recorded in Britain on wax discs and transported to Luxembourg for transmission.
 
Influenced by Rock n' Roll and the new sounds that were arriving from the US something of a musical revolution began, very gradually, in Liverpool. But in 1963 the Mersey Sound exploded onto the pop scene and changed the course of popular music for ever.
 
The biggest and most influential group of all time were The Beatles, who were John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr. But The Beatles were not the only Liverpool chart toppers and fellow scousers Gerry and the Pacemakers made pop history when their first three singles went to Number One. Many other Liverpool bands and artistes also scaled the dizzy heights of success.
 
The arrival of new talent in the pop charts meant farewells for many of the stars of the fifties. After 1960 Frankie Laine never appeared in the charts again. Duane Eddy also disappeared from the charts although he made a minor comeback with a single hit in the 1970s. 1962 also saw the end of Lonnie Donegan's 28 hit run which included three Number One records, and six others in the Top Five. That same year Craig Douglas also ended his run of nine chart hits.
 
The influence of television was also showing on the charts with several hits from TV shows including 'Stranger On The Shore', 'The Theme From Z Cars', and the Dr. Kildare Theme to name a few.
 
With many of the popular songs of the day still getting limited airtime a number of pirate radio stations, led by Radio Caroline began broadcasting pop music in 1964 from ships moored off the east coast.
 
It wasn't until 1967 that BBC Radio began its own dedicated pop music station, Radio One, when they convinced many of the pirate radio DJs such as Tony Blackburn to go 'legal'. It would be another five years before the Sound Broadcasting Act would legalise commercial radio.
The Beatles and Lennon & McCartney compositions dominated the pop charts around the world. In the USA in one week the group held all top five chart places.
 
Four songs entered the charts at Number One: It's Now Or Never (1960), Surrender (1961) both by Elvis Presley, The Young Ones (1962) by Cliff Richard and Get Back (1969) by The Beatles.
 
Record buying was at its peak. But just as the birth of The Beatles signalled the start of Britain's domination of the pop charts and defined so much of the swinging sixties, so their break-up was representative of the end of that era. The 1970s was to see the birth of a more showbiz style of pop star...

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