Chapters

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.