Web Page No 2244
11th March 2016
Next meeting in The George at Noon onThursday April 7th. Both June Blitz and Peter Sexton have confirmed their attendance.
Top Picture: Craig Douglas in the early 1960’s
Second Picture: Tour Poster
Third Picture: Craig Douglas today
Craig Douglas was born Terence Perkins on 12th August 1941, one of a pair of twins, in Newport, Isle of Wight, and those twins were one of three sets among nine children. His mother sang well, one of Douglas' sisters performed on the Isle of Wight, and Craig reportedly begun trying to sing while still in the crib. An indifferent student, he preferred athletics and being outdoors, which led to his volunteering during a school holiday to help the milkman make his deliveries.
So as most people know as Terence Perkins he was employed as a milkman before becoming a professional singer and was known to many as the 'Singing Milkman'. At 16, his mother entered him in a local talent contest and he won by singing "Love Letters in the Sand." He got to a final round, where he specifically avoided doing the standard Elvis Presley imitations that his competitors presented. This led to an appearance at a variety show on the island, where he was seen by London agent Bunny Lewis, whose wife was performing on the same bill. She, in turn, was impressed with the boy's poise and professionalism. Lewis arranged for singing lessons for the 16-year-old and began grooming him for a career on the stage in London.
Bunny Lewis became his manager and it was he who gave him the name Craig Douglas, saw the name outside a house in Scotland. There were a number of Terry's around at the time, and that was one of the reasons his name was changed.
He was voted 'Best New Singer' in 1959 in the New Musical Express and he went on to record eight cover versions of American hit songs, in his total of nine Top 40 UK singles.
His breakthrough came on The Six-Five Special, then the only real showcase for rock & roll on British television. He was booked on the show the same week that Cliff Richard and Joe Brown appeared, but he made an impression even in their company: A few days later, he was presented with two huge sacks of fan mail from the performance. The Six-Five Special led him to a recording contract and a string of successes. Much of his career was spent at EMI, for which he had a number one hit with his version of "Only Sixteen," but also charted very high with "A Teenager in Love," "The Heart of a Teenage Girl," "Pretty Blue Eyes," and "When My Little Girl Is Smiling."
"Only Sixteen"easily outsold Sam Cooke's original version in the UK. It was recorded at EMI's Abbey Road studios, with whistling by Mike Sammes, and released through Top Rank records.
He wasn't really a rock & roll singer, his diction being too good and his delivery too straight-ahead for that designation. His early records call up images of Ricky Nelson but, like a lot of young British singers of his era, he quickly aimed for a more mature audience. His singing was very emotive but also very clean. He was obviously more comfortable with dignified pop music, such as "Time," than with the more rocking numbers like "Ring-A-Ding" that he was occasionally called upon to record.
In 1961 he entered the A Song For Europe contest with his song "The Girl Next Door", but did not do well, he also made a cameo appearance in the 1962 film It's Trad, Dad!
He topped the bill on the Beatles' first major stage show, although their style eventually spelt the end of his chart career. His final chart entry came in February 1963, when "Town Crier" flopped at Number 36.
He still continues to perform, with bookings at night clubs and on cruise ships. Until 2010 he undertook tours of venues across the UK, including the Medina Theatre on the Isle of Wight. He appeared at the Amersham Rock 'n' Roll Club on 11th December 2010, an event in his benefit. John Leyton, Mike Berry and the Flames all took part, while Jet Harris and other celebrities attended. Craig sang three songs from his wheelchair at the close of the concert. He suffers from a rare condition that affects his legs. Sky News filmed the event.
On 18th April 2011, a rare recording, saw a limited 7" vinyl reissue of "Don't Mind If I Cry", on the UK-based Spoke Records label.
In England during the late 1850s we had our equivalents of the American stars such as Frankie Avalon and Fabian, teenage boy singers whose sounds were specifically tailored to appeal to the most romantic sides of the young female psyche and not offend their parents. Craig Douglas was one of the better of these and has proved one of the most enduring. His time in the English charts may have ended in 1962 and his major recording career came to a halt a year later with the advent of the Liverpool sound, but he is still remembered as a talented exponent of England's early flirtation with rock & roll.
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News and Views:
On this day 11th March 1960-1965
On 11/03/1960 the number one single was Why - Anthony Newley and the number one album was South Pacific Soundtrack. The top rated TV show was The Larkins (ATV) and the box office smash was Psycho. A pound of today's money was worth £13.68 and Burnley were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.
On 11/03/1961 the number one single was Walk Right Back/Ebony Eyes - Everly Brothers and the number one album was South Pacific Soundtrack. The top rated TV show was No Hiding Place (AR) and the box office smash was One Hundred and One Dalmations. A pound of today's money was worth £13.25 and Tottenham Hotspur were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.
On 11/03/1962 the number one single was Rock-a-Hula Baby/Can't Help Falling In Love - Elvis Presley and the number one album was Blue Hawaii - Elvis Presley. The top rated TV show was Coronation Street (Granada) and the box office smash was Lawrence of Arabia. A pound of today's money was worth £12.89 and Ipswich Town were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.
On 11/03/1963 the number one single was The Wayward Wind - Frank Ifield and the number one album was Summer Holiday - Cliff Richard & the Shadows. The top rated TV show was Coronation Street (Granada) and the box office smash was The Great Escape. A pound of today's money was worth £12.64 and Everton were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions. The big news story of the day was International direct dialling introduced.
On 11/03/1964 the number one single was Anyone Who Had a Heart -Cilla Black and the number one album was With the Beatles - The Beatles. The top rated TV show was Coronation Street (Granada) and the box office smash was Dr Strangelove. A pound of today's money was worth £12.24 and Liverpool were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.The big news story of the day was Malcolm X breaks with Nation of Islam.
On 11/03/1965 the number one single was I'll Never Find Another You - Seekers and the number one album was Rolling Stones Number 2 - The Rolling Stones. The top rated TV show was Coronation Street (Granada) and the box office smash was The Sound of Music. A pound of today's money was worth £11.69 and Manchester United were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.