The Argus | CommuniGate | The Dynamic Duo in Derbyshire Feedback
The Argus -  CommuniGate
Content * * *










Mail Form



This was typical of the scene when record stars visited venues in the 1950; hundred's of screaming fans, both male and female, who were waiting to get a glimpse or autograph of their favourite star.

Crowds flock to see Frankie Vaughan:

Frankie Vaughan was at the height of his singing career when this photograph was taken.

Frankie Vaughan's singing career began during the late 1940s in the Variety theatre. His song and dance routines became a popular stage act and he became renowned for his sexy image and stylish clothes- tail suit, bow tie, top hat and cane. During the 1950s he extended his audience through records.

His singles sold well being especially popular with female record buyers. In 1955 he recorded the song that was to become his trademark and theme, 'Give Me The Moonlight' which he generally sang at the end of his high stepping stage act.

Frankie had a very long recording career and could be relied on to reach the chart in most years up to the end of the 1960s. He was also recognised as a fine ambassador for his home city, Liverpool long before the Beatles. He also gave of his efforts freely in aid of his most favoured charity, the 'National Association Of Boys Clubs' for which he was eventually awarded an OBE.

He appeared in several movies and starred alongside Marylin Monroe in 'Let's Make Love' during 1960. However, press stories that have tried to concoct a romantic link between him and the actress are apochryphal in nature.

Frankie Vaughan was one of the greatest British performers of the mid-20th century. He successfully made the transition from the variety stage to films and television and has one of the most enviable histories of record making of the era

Yorkshire's Favourite:

David Whitfield had a style closer to light opera than that of a popular crooner, and commanded the respect of an admiring older generation through a period in which teenagers, not adults, would become the dominant record buyers. It was a style that he never changed despite the vagaries of fashion and the transient nature of the music industry of the time. He first came to wide public attention during 1950 after appearing in the Hughie Green hosted 'Opportunity Knocks' on Radio Luxembourg- a station that would become the focus for rock and roll music in the UK a few years later.

David's own chart career began less than a year after a proper chart, showing the relative sales of recorded music, had begun. He had previously joined the Royal Navy while still in his teens and became a popular performer with his fellow seamen whenever he was given the chance to sing. Although he took a job as a labourer after his demobilisation, he began entering talent contests- including the one for Hughie Green's radio show. It was from this that he found himself in demand nationally and was able to switch from carrying cement bags to singing in the West End of London.

Adulation of a Star:

Here the star is mobbed by a crowd of fans - all wanting to hear him sing.

It was then a short step to his recording career with Decca. His first big successes were with 'Bridge Of Sighs' and the controversial 'Answer Me'. His greatest success however was with his powerful rendition of 'Cara Mia'- the lyrics of which he claimed to have contributed to himself. This song was so successful that it became the first major US hit for a British artist- an extraordinary feat for 1954.

Man Bites Dog on Record Label:

He had a 'gimmick' - 'Tiddles' his cat, which featured on each show.

Born in Horsley, Derbyshire, in 1906, Jack Jackson was affectionately known as the 'Daddy of all Disc Jockeys' during his brief spell (9 months) on Radio 1.

He was formerly a dance band leader, playing regularly at London's Dorchester Hotel with his band which was formed in 1933. He was a very famous trumpeter in the UK during the 1940's.
Jack became a disc jockey in 1948 on the BBC Light Programme, ‘Record Round Up’, and later spells on Housewives' Choice.

Record Roundabout (formerly broadcast on BBC Light) was broadcast on both Radio 1 & 2 from the launch in 1967 until June 1968. His shows included comedy clips and music of the day.

Jack moved to Tenerife in 1960, where he had installed a radio studio in his house, to record his BBC radio shows but he moved back to the UK in 1973 as the climate contributed to health problems.

He broadcast on Radio 2 from 1971 to 1977, but sadly passed away in 1978.

(Jackson's lightning cutting between comedy extracts and music in 'Record Roundabout' has been described as an inspiration to succeeding generations of disc jockeys who have used advanced production techniques to 'mix' music, speech and sound).

Special Angel - Special Singer:

Malcolm Vaughan was one half of the Music Hall Comedy act called Earle and Vaughan. He was 'discovered' by Jack Jackson, who bought him to the attention of HMV's Wally Ridley.

His fine tenor voice described as one of the best of 1955, and he was always popular in the music charts.

The Lyons Share:

Barbara Lyon - the daughter of Bebe Daniels and Ben Lyon - found fame by recording 'The Pendulum Song'.

Along with her perents and brother Richard, they were well known on British radir in 'Life With the Lyons'.

Columbia Star:

Confrey Phillips, the son of an Indian society band leader,and played the piano when he attracted the eye of a Columbia talent scout, while singing in a night club.

Joan Reagan:

A right royal line up!

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II meets Frankie Vaughan,Joan Regan,and shakes hands with Mario Lanza at 'The Royal Variety Performance'.

A popular singer in the UK during the 50s and early 60s, with a particularly glamorous image, it was after working at various jobs, including one as a photographer's re-toucher, that Regan first made an impression on the music scene in 1953. Her private recordings of 'Too Young' and 'I'll Walk Alone' gained her a contract with Decca Records, partly because she was thought to have a 'Vera Lynn sound'. Her first releases, "Till I Waltz Again With You' and 'I'll Always Be Thinking Of You', were followed by 'Ricochet', on which she was backed by Ronnie Aldrich's Squadronaires. It made the UK Top 10, and led to the nationwide fame she achieved when she became the resident singer on producer Richard Afton's television series 'Quite Contrary', followed later by four series of her own 'Be My Guest' programmes.

After being knocked out by a descending safety curtain during her first appearance in variety, she developed her act to include effective impressions of artists such as Gracie Fields, Judy Garland, and actress Anna Neagle, to whom Regan bore a remarkable facial resemblance. During the late 50s and early 60s, Regan appeared in several shows at the London Palladium, including We're Having A Ball with Max Bygraves; Stars In Your Eyes with Russ Conway, Cliff Richard, Edmund Hockridge and Billy Dainty; in pantomime with Frankie Vaughan and Jimmy Edwards; and several Royal Command Performances.

Her other record hits, through to 1961, included 'Someone Else's Roses', 'If I Give My Heart To You', 'Prize Of Gold', 'Open Up Your Heart', 'May You Always', 'Happy Anniversary', 'Papa Loves Mama', 'One Of The Lucky Ones', 'Must Be Santa' and 'Wait For Me' (with the Johnston Brothers) She also recorded several duets, such as 'Seven And A Half Cents’ “Good Evening Friends' with Max Bygraves, 'Cleo And Me-O' with Dickie Valentine, and 'Open Up Your Heart' with her son, Rusty. In July 1957 Regan married Harry Claff the joint general manager and box office manager of the London Palladium.

In November, the Daily Herald reported that she was to have a baby in February of the following year - seven months after the wedding. After receiving 'abusive and wounding letters from people who were personally unknown to her', Regan successfully sued the newspaper for libel, and her daughter was born in April. In 1963, she was involved in a far more serious court case, when her husband was sentenced to five years' imprisonment for 'frauds on his employers involving £62,000'. Regan, who had known nothing about the deceptions, suffered a nervous breakdown, and divorced him later on the grounds of adultery. She resumed work later, and in 1968 married a doctor, Martin Cowan, eventually settling in Florida, USA. In 1984 she slipped in the shower, hit her head on the tiles, and suffered a brain hemorrhage.

After an emergency operation she was left paralyzed and speechless. Her recovery, which entailed much physical and speech therapy, was aided by her miming to her old records. In 1987, some of those tracks, together with others by various 'Stars Of The Fifties', including Dickie Valentine, Lita Roza and Jimmy Young, were issued on the double album Unchained Melodies. In the same year, while on holiday in the UK, Regan was invited by her old accompanist, Russ Conway, to sing on stage again. Such was the response that she has become a familiar figure in UK shows in the 90s.

You Got Style:

For Edna Savage they said she was mouled in in the style of Ruby Murray, and the record buying public of the 50s loved her.

The Busking Gypsy Singer:

Danny Purches was snatched from the streets of London's Soho.

This busking gypsy singer found fame with fans who loved his gentle manner.

A Gold Record - A Million Copies:

What is a gold record? An award of recording success, which first began as a publicity stunt by a record company to honour bandleader Glenn Miller in 1941.

Late in the year 1941, the Glenn Miller Orchestra, fronted by feature vocalist and saxophonist Gordon 'Tex' Beneke, performed the song 'Chattanooga Choo Choo' in the movie Sun Valley Serenade. The movie faded away but the song exploded. In less than three months more than one million copies of the record were sold.

In an effort to reward Glenn Miller - and call attention to its own success as well - RCA Victor took one of the master copies of 'Chattanooga Choo Choo', and sprayed it with gold lacquer.

On February 10, 1942 the music company surprised Miller during a live radio broadcast with the 'gold record.' It was the first gold record ever awarded to a recording artist. The actual award recognized today as a Gold Record was not initiated for another decade or so when the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) borrowed the publicity stunt and trademarked the Gold Record.
The first Gold Record single was awarded to Perry Como in 1958 for his recording of 'Catch A Falling Star.' The first Gold Record album was earned by Gordon McRae and the cast of Oklahoma for its soundtrack release.

The RIAA has established the benchmark for a Gold Record as the sale of 500,000 units. Units are defined as sales through retail outlets, record clubs, rack jobbers, and all ancillary markets that legally distribute music. Sales of a million units is recognized by a Platinum Record and, if appropriate, a Multi-Platinum Record. In 1998 the RIAA initiated the Diamond Record awards which honor sales of 10 million copies of an album or single. To be certified with a Gold Record the record label must request an independent sales audit for each title.

An accounting firm employed by the RIAA then calculates the number of records or albums shipped for sale versus those distributed free for promotional purposes and then begins tracking sales and store returns for the life of the release. When a title’s sales reach the requisite number of 500,000 sales, a Gold Record is awarded.

The actual Gold Record was originally an off-white linen plaque displayed in a wood frame. A mini-cover of the album or replica of the record was mounted next to the certification of dedication. In 1985 a hologram was added to prevent unauthorized duplication of the coveted Gold Record. After the hologram was introduced the traditional style of the awards was altered to allow record companies to customize its awards.

For the Diamond Record, designer Wayne Yenawine crafted a 12” high lead crystal award.
To date, 58 artists and 78 titles representing nearly one billion sales of albums have been awarded a Diamond Record. The top selling album of all time is The Eagles’ Greatest Hits 1971-1975 with 26 million copies sold to date. The only other albums to surpass 20 million in sales are Thriller by Michael Jackson, The Wall by Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin IV by Led Zeppelin and Billy Joel’s collection of Greatest Hits.

The RIAA also tracks career sales which enabled them to declare the top selling artists of the 20th century. The Beatles rank as the most successful recording act of all time with sales of 106 million albums (in the United States only, other countries have their own measuring standards).

*The RIAA® Gold® and Platinum® Awards program was launched in 1958 in an effort to create a standard by which to measure sales of a sound recording. In the beginning, there was only a Gold® album award for the sale of 500,000 copies. As the industry grew, other awards were developed. The Platinum® award (1,000,000 sold) was created in 1976 and with the advent of the compact disc and the subsequent increase in sales, the Multi-Platinum™ award was created in 1984. On March 16, 1999, the RIAA® launched the Diamond® Awards, honoring sales of 10 million copies or more of an album or single.

RIAA = Recording Industry Association of America

Copyright of article © Written by Doug Gelbert

Ronnie Hilton - A Nice Guy:

Ronnie Hilton was one of Britain’s biggest stars of the fifties, He was First Discovered in the early 50's by Walter J.Ridley, He was at that time working in Leeds on a machine lathe job which he left and began making his first recordings for EMI.

His first chart hit was ‘I Still Believe’ which was a british number 3 hit in 1953, the hits continued A blossom fell, Young and foolish and then came his biggest hit ‘No Other Love’, a Rodgers and Hammerstein song from the musical "Me and Juliet" which was a British number 1 in 1956, his other major hits were who are we, I may never pass this way again and Magic Moments.

When in the sixties pop and rock came Ronnie’s chart career phased out , with his high Eddie Fisher style voice he still made TV appearances, and numerous albums.

Then in 1963 perhaps the biggest shock to everyone was his comeback with the kid’s song ‘A Windmill in Amsterdam’, but it was short lived and Ronnie vanished from the charts once again.

Remembering Ronnie:

Ronnie Hilton seems to be almost forgotten by today's music industry, but he was one of Britain's most popular singers of the 1950s. He started singing professionally under his adopted name during 1954 after leaving his safe job in a Leeds engineering factory. A true Yorkshire man, Ronnie Hilton always remained loyal to his roots- especially to Leeds United. He has composed, sung and recorded several anthems as tribute to the football club he loved.

'No Other Love' was an enormous smash in Britain, but it never had any luck in the United States. He will also be remembered well for his very last chart entry in 1965.

Towards the end of his career he made only infrequent UK television appearances, but he was often on BBC radio programmes as a DJ where his experience and encyclopedic knowledge of the music and performers of the 1950s were put to great effect.

Ruby Murray:

Born 29 March 1935, Belfast, Northern Ireland, died 17 December 1996.

One of the most popular singers in the UK during the 50s, Murray toured Ulster as a child singer in various variety shows, and, after being spotted by producer Richard Afton, made her television debut at the age of 12. Stringent Irish laws regarding child performers held her back for two years, and she returned to school in Belfast until she was 14.

In 1954 she travelled to London in comedian Tommy Morgan's touring revue, Mrs. Mulligan's Hotel, and was again seen by Afton, at the famous Metropolitan Theatre, Edgware Road. He offered her a position as resident singer on BBC Television's Quite Contrary, replacing Joan Regan who was about to leave. Signed to UK Columbia by recording manager and musical director Ray Martin, Murray's first release, 'Heartbeat', made the UK Top 5 in 1954, and was followed by 'Softly, Softly'. The latter reached number 1 in 1955, and became an ideal theme song, reflecting her shy image. In the early part of 1955 Murray had five singles in the Top 20 at the same time, an extraordinary record that lasted until the emergence of Madonna in the 80s. Murray's hits included 'Happy Days And Lonely Nights', 'Let Me Go Lover', 'If Anyone Finds This, I Love You' (with Anne Warren), 'Evermore', 'I'll Come When You Call', 'Real Love', 'Goodbye Jimmy, Goodbye' and 'You Are My First Love'. She sang the last number over the opening titles of the film musical It's Great To Be Young. Murray's own film appearances included the comedy, A Touch Of The Sun, with Frankie Howerd and Dennis Price.

During a hectic period in the mid-50s, she had her own television show, starred at the London Palladium in 'Painting The Town' with Norman Wisdom, appeared in a Royal Command Performance, and toured the USA, Malta and North Africa.

In 1957, while appearing in a summer season at Blackpool, she met Bernie Burgess, a member of the vocal group the Jones Boys. They married in secret 10 days later. Burgess became her personal manager and, during the early 60s, they toured as a double act. In 1970 Murray had some success with 'Change Your Mind', and released an album with the same title, which included contemporary songs such as 'Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head', and revamped some of her hits. In 1989 Ruby Murray's EMI Years included other songs regularly featured in her act such as 'Mr. Wonderful', 'Scarlet Ribbons' and 'It's The Irish In Me'. In the 90s, based in Torquay, Devon, with her second husband, impresario Ray Lamar, she was still performing in cabaret and in nostalgia shows with other stars of the 50s right up to her death in 1996.

Remembering Ruby:

Ruby Murray, singing star of the 1950s visits a friend at her old home.

A few stars of the 50s:

Winifred Atwell, Matt Monroe, and Alma Cogan
Here are photographs of stars of the 1950s era:


The lovely Suzi Miller. More popular in the States than in the U.K.


Lita Roza. Recorded dozens of popular songs on the Decca label.


Adam Faith had several hits in the 1950s.


Betty Driver began her career as a singer, before entering the television soap 'Coronation Street' for Granada television.


Singer Danny Williams earned the nickname "Britain's Johnny Mathis" for his smooth and stylish way with a ballad. All of his hits occurred in the U.K., with the exception of one, "White on White." The single landed in the Top 10 in the U.S. in 1964, but ironically it bombed in the U.K. A native of South Africa, the vocalist stepped to the forefront of his church choir at the age of six, when he was tapped as a soloist. By the age of 14, he competed for a spot in a production called Golden City Dixies, which was based in Johannesburg but set to tour England and other countries.

Williams took top honors in the competition and started touring with the company. His next break came in 1959, when his performance caught the attention of Norman Newell, a producer. Before the year was over, Williams was part of the stable of artists at HMV Records and had put out "Tall a Tree," his debut single. He also appeared on television's Drumbeat. Several singles followed before Williams scored in a big way with "Moon River." His version of the song, which was crafted by Henry Mancini and Johnny Mercer, soared to the top of the charts just two years after he started recording. The following year in the U.S., crooner Andy Williams put out his rendition of "Moon River," the theme to Breakfast at Tiffany's, and it was forever after identified with him.

In 1962, Danny Williams continued to do well in the U.K., climbing into the Top 10 with "Jeannie" and "Wonderful World of the Young." The latter was originally recorded by Andy Williams. During the 1970s, the British singer continued to record, but his Philips and Deram releases didn't make much of a splash. He also played the club circuit during this time. He got another taste of chart success in 1977 with the Ensign release "Dancing Easy," which landed in the O.K. Top 40. Recordings followed on EMI/Columbia and Piccadilly. He began recording for Prestige Records in the early '90s. He went on to perform in the Nat King Cole Tribute Show, starting in 1994.


Gracie Fields was still turning out hits in the fifties. Possibly the favourite, (not counting Vera Lynn), of Britain's female singers for over 30 years!


The fabulous Mario Lanza, who was a big hit on records, and in the movies.


Doris Day and Johnnie Ray, which Philips Records teamed together when ever they could. A dynamic pair who were successful with many songs.


The Batchelors, the Irish trio who possibly had more hits than hot dinners!!

An excellent Irish harmony trio.

Best known for their biggest hit, Diane - it was number one in Britain and was also their biggest American hit, the Bachelors tackled a diverse range of material, always stamping their own identity on whatever they chose to record.

Their hits, included Charmaine, Diane, I Believe and Sound of Silence, and their misses - Faraway places, Whispering, Long Time Ago (a Christmas song), but they had a wide sample of their varied repertoire.

In some ways, their music was a relic of a bygone age even while they were recording it, but they brought a freshness and a charm to the old songs that allowed them to appeal to all ages. They recorded the occasional contemporary song - besides Sound of Silence, you will find two other Paul Simon songs here (Punky's Dilemma and Homeward bound) - but mostly they recorded songs of an earlier vintage. Many of those songs remain popular even now.


The Tanner Sisters - ok they didn't have a number one hit but - they found plenty of work on radio and television.


From the days of the old breakable 78 rpm discs, to these new flexable microgrove records, (not forgetting the smaller 2 or 4 track 45 rpm and extended discs), our collections expanded fast............


and finally, the luxury of portable radios,which we could take anywhere. I recall how, in Summer, aunty B.B.C. would broadcast requests, that we turn the volume control down, so as not to disturb our neighbours!

We hope that you have enjoyed this look back to the 1950s era; an era of stars with talent, and real music.

Please choose another page............

This page has been visited times.

Email Email page
Feedback Feedback
Home Home