By 1960 the US domination of the UK charts had started to wane somewhat, with British homegrown talent starting to compete for record sales and the number 1 position.
However, it was a sure thing that some American artists like Elvis Presley, The Everly Brothers and Roy Orbison would always be heading for the number one spot. With Elvis in the army and sadly the untimely demise of the legendary Buddy Holly in 1959, the British Rock’n’Rollers like Cliff Richard and the Shadows, Marty Wilde, Billy Fury and Adam Faith grabbed the opportunity to make their mark on the UK Charts. The Shadows were to spend some 65 weeks on the charts in 1960 with and without Cliff Richard.
What were you doing in 1960?
Did you regularly go out and buy a single or an album every week? For the first time ever the ‘teenager’ was becoming an entity to be wooed by the retailers.
Vinyl sales were on the increase and records could be found everywhere from your local corner shop to the big retailers like Woolworths and WHSmith. Specialist record shops like HMV and independent shops were popping up on high streets up and down the land.
It wasn’t only records, fashions and trends started to attract the teenage pound from sharp Italian fitting suits to winkle pickers, the choices just kept coming, no longer did you have to dress like your Dad!
1960’s Top 10 UK singles.
#1. Cathy’s Clown by The Everly Brothers.
The Everly Brothers’ ‘Cathy’s Clown’ spent 8 weeks at the number 1 spot, between May and June 1960. The Everly Brothers were to have a total of 4 UK number 1 singles including All I Have To Do Is Dream, Walk Right Back, Temptation
and Cathy’s Clown in the UK Charts.
#2. Apache by The Shadows.
The Shadows were to spend a total of 65 weeks on the charts during 1960 which included their number 1 single, ‘Apache’. They were also to have a total of 8 entries in the top 10 during 1960 more than any other artist that year.
#3. Please Don’t Tease by Cliff Richard and The Shadows.
‘Please Don’t Tease’ was in the charts for some 13 weeks and hit the top spot on 13th July 1960. The song was co-written by Shadow’s rhythm guitarist Bruce Welch. The single went on to sell 1.59million singles worldwide.
#4. Why by Anthony Newley.
Anthony Newley took this cover version of a Frankie Avalon song to the number 1 spot in February 1960. Newley was in the charts on a regular basis in the early ’60s before his talent was to lead him to the West End stage. Newley was a hugely talented entertainer and songwriter responsible for penning ‘What Kind Of Fool Am I‘ and ‘Goldfinger‘ for the title song of the James Bond film as well as ‘Feeling Good‘ for Nina Simone and who could forget the ’60s series he created for ATV ‘The Strange World of Gurney Slade.
#5. As Long As He Needs Me by Shirley Bassey.
The incredible Shirley Bassey takes this standard from ‘Oliver’, written by Lionel Bart and makes it her own, this single stayed in the charts for 30 weeks.
#6. Only The Lonely by Roy Orbison.
‘Only The Lonely’ was The Big ‘O’s first UK number 1, getting to the number 1 spot on 20th October 1960, it was to remain in the charts for some 24 weeks in total. Roy Orbison’s popularity in the UK grew and grew throughout the ’60s, even more so than in the US and he was a frequent visitor to these shores throughout his career.
#7. It’s Now Or Never by Elvis Presley.
The King Of Rock and Roll, Elvis Presley had been in the US army since 1958, upon his release he charted with ‘It’s Now or Never’ showing a slightly different side to the Memphis Flash. It’s Now Or Never was to become one of Elvis’ biggest worldwide hits, selling in excess of 25 million copies worldwide.
#8. Handy Man by Jimmy Jones.
R&B singer Jimmy Jones along with songwriter Otis Blackwell took this catchy tune into the UK charts where it remained for 24 weeks peaking at the number 3 spot. Jones had further chart success with another catchy tune called ‘Good Timin’ getting to the number 1 spot later in 1960.
#9. A Mess of Blues by Elvis Presley.
Elvis Presley’s version of this Doc Pomus song was the flipside to ‘It’s Now or Never’ and what was most commonly referred to as a double A-sided single. A Mess of Blues peaked at number 2 and spent another 18 weeks in the charts for the King of Rock and Roll, Elvis Presley, putting him right back in the swing of things after his recent release from the US Army earlier in 1960.
#10. Good Timin’ by Jimmy Jones.
R&B star Jimmy Jones had his second success of the year with ‘Good Timin’ getting him a UK number 1 hit single and another 15 weeks on the UK charts.
Languishing just outside the top 10 sellers for 1960 were great British artists such as Adam Faith, Lonnie Donegan and the brilliant Rock’n’Roll band Johnny Kidd and the Pirates. Contrary to popular legend there was real British music before the Beatles came on the scene.