Chapters

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.