Back in the days when 45’s were the dominant force in record buying,
chart watching was among my favorite pastimes.
Being British and living in the UK until 1976,
I’d compare chart entries each week in the UK’s
New Musical Express with the Billboard Hot 100.
What always fascinated me were American-produced recordings
which ended up having greater success in the UK than in their native land.
For instance, Sonny James’ self-penned 1956 country hit
THE CAT CAME BACK never crossed over to Billboard’s Hot 100, but
in the UK, it reached a very respectable #30 chart success later that year.
An even more spectacular example was soul titan Jackie Wilson’s 1957
minor Hot 100 hit REET PETITE (The Finest Girl You Ever Want To Meet)
(written by Berry Gordy Jr. & Roquel Billy Davis) which climbed to UK #6 in late ’57
but then 29 years after that in December ‘86, it catapulted to UK’s #1 spot after
the track was used in an animated video of plasticine figures that had become
wildly popular on TV.
Over the years, there have been many other instances where American
recordings (singles and album tracks) have enjoyed more success in the UK.
Below is a list of just 26 of them…
THREE STEPS TO HEAVEN
(Eddie Cochran/Bob Cochran)
by Eddie Cochran
Pro: Eddie Cochran & Jerry Capehart
Both Jerry Allison & Sonny Curtis of The Crickets were also on the session.
Released in the year that Eddie died while on tour in the UK,
THREE STEPS TO HEAVEN hit #1 there in June 1960
but failed to chart on the Billboard Hot 100.
(Hank Mizell/Ralph Simonton)
by Hank Mizell
An obscure rockabilly single unearthed and released by Charly Records
in the UK in ’76 where it rocketed up to #3.
TAKE ME TO THE MARDI GRAS
by Paul Simon
Pro: Paul Simon
Co-Pro: The Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section
Featured on Paul’s album “There Goes Rhymin’ Simon”,
this single climbed to #7 on the UK chart in July ’73.
(William Robinson/Ronald White)
by Otis Redding
Pro: Jim Stewart
Engineer: Tom Dowd
The Temptations’ original recording charted in the UK in ’65, but so
did this version by Otis Redding (from his album “Otis Blue: Otis Redding Sings Soul”)
which climbed to #11 on the UK singles chart in January ’66.
BEHIND A PAINTED SMILE
(Ivy Hunter/Beatrice Verdi)
by The Isley Brothers
Pro: Ivy Hunter
The Isleys had more success in the UK with two of their Motown tracks
namely BEHIND A PAINTED SMILE (#5 over there in ’69) and also
PUT YOURSELF IN MY PLACE (#13 there the same year).
THERE’S A GHOST IN MY HOUSE
(Brian Holland/Lamont Dozier/Eddie Holland/R. Dean Taylor)
by R. Dean Taylor
Pro: Holland & Dozier
Reached #3 in the UK in June ’74.
IT’S WONDERFUL (To Be Loved By You)
(James Dean/William Weatherspoon)
by Jimmy Ruffin
From Jimmy’s second Motown album ‘Ruff’n Ready’,
this single climbed to #6 in the UK in November ’70.
TOO GOOD TO BE FORGOTTEN
(Eugene Record/Barbara Acklin)
by The Chi-Lites
Pro: Eugene Record
Arr: Eugene Record & Sonny Sanders
Dir: Quinton Joseph
Issued as a B-side here but as an A-side in the UK,
it reached #10 there in November ’74.
by Miami Sound Machine
Pro: Emilio Estefan
Group was led by Gloria Estefan which she founded with her husband Emilio.
DR. BEAT didn’t make the Hot 100 but in the UK, it hit #6 in September ’84.
LOCO IN ACAPULCO
(Phil Collins/Lamont Dozier)
by The Four Tops
Pro: Phil Collins & Lamont Dozier
Reached #7 in the UK in January ’89. F
Featured on the soundtrack of the 1988 film “Buster”
which starred Phil Collins.
MY OLD PIANO
(Bernard Edwards/Nile Rodgers)
by Diana Ross
Pro & Arr: Bernard Edwards & Nile Rodgers
Chic founders Bernard & Nile struck worldwide gold in 1980
for Miss Ross with their composition “Upside Down”.
MY OLD PIANO followed in the UK, hitting #5 that October.
THE PRICE OF LOVE
(Don Everly/Phil Everly)
by The Everly Brothers
Pro: Dick Glasser
(Warner Bros: 1965)
The Everlys always enjoyed a large UK fanbase
and this 45 made it up to #2 there in June ’65.
(Bob Gaudio/Al Ruzicka)
by Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons
Pro: Bob Gaudio
A track from Frankie & The Seasons’ album “Chameleon”.
It reached #7 in the UK in May ’75.
HERE COME THE GIRLS
by Ernie K-Doe
Pro: Allen Toussaint & Marshall Sehorn
Arr: Allen Toussaint
After being featured in a UK TV commercial,
this single was revived and settled at #43 on the local chart in 2007.
BREAKIN’ DOWN THE WALLS OF HEARTACHE
(Sandy Linzer & Denny Randell)
by Johnny Johnson & The Bandwagon
Pro: Denny Randell & Sandy Linzer
Arr & Cond: Charles Calello
This New York soul group enjoyed greater success in the UK where this single
(originally credited to just ‘The Bandwagon’) reached #4 in November ’68.
DON’T EVER CHANGE
(Gerry Goffin/Carole King)
by The Crickets
Pro: Snuff Garrett
This post-Buddy Holly line-up included Jerry Naylor, Sonny Curtis, Jerry Allison and Glen D. Hardin. They toured the UK in ’62 and this single hit #5 there in August that year.
THE TIMES THEY ARE A-CHANGIN’
by Bob Dylan
Pro: Tom Wilson
The title song from Bob Dylan’s second charted album.
Released as a single in the UK, it rose to #9 in there in April ’65.
MY BABY JUST CARES FOR ME
(Gus Kahn/Walter Donaldson)
by Nina Simone
Issued by in the UK in late ’87 when it reached #5
on the local chart, propelled there by its use in a TV commercial.
LET THERE BE LOVE
(Lionel Rand/Ian Grant)
by Nat King Cole & The George Shearing Quintet
String Choir Cond: Ralph Carmichael
Culled from the Lee Gillette/Tom Morgan-produced LP
“Nat King Cole Plays, The George Shearing Quintet Plays”.
The single reached #11 in the UK in August ’62.
YES MY DARLING DAUGHTER
by Eydie Gormé
Arr & Cond: Don Costa
This song was copyrighted in 1939 and was a hit parade success in ’41
for both Glenn Miller & His Orchestra (with Marion Hutton) and for Dinah Shore.
Eydie’s revival didn’t ring many cash registers here in ’62 but in the UK, her single
reached #10 in July ’62.
NOBODY NEEDS YOUR LOVE
by Gene Pitney
Pro: Gene Pitney
Arr: Garry Sherman
Singer/songwriter Gene Pitney was particularly popular with audiences
in Britain where he regularly promoted his releases. This track was not issued
as a single here but released as a 45 on EMI’s UK Stateside label
and it hit UK #2 in July ’66.
by Ruby Winters
An S.J. Production
Pro: Stan Shulman & Dean Mathis
Song was initially successful here by both Vic Dana and Dean Martin
and a cover by Billy Fury was a Top Ten UK success in ’64. In '77,
a remix of Ruby’s earlier version climbed to UK#4 in December.
GIVE ME YOUR WORD
(George Wyle/Irving Taylor)
by Tennessee Ernie Ford
Pro: Lee Gillette
Orchestra conducted by Billy May
Released here as the B side of Tennessee’s 1954 hit RIVER OF NO RETURN
which he sang on the soundtrack of the 1954 Robert Mitchum/Marilyn Monroe
movie of that name. GIVE ME YOUR WORD hit #1 in the UK in March ’55.
(Haven Gillespie/Lionel Newman)
by Dean Martin
Orch cond: Dick Stabile
Song sung by Marilyn Monroe in her 1953 movie “Niagara”.
Dean’s single version reached UK #5 in ’53.
(Alan Jay Lerner/Frederik Loewe)
by Lee Marvin
Pro: Tom Mack
From the soundtrack of the ’59 film musical “Paint Your Wagon”
in which Lee starred with Clint Eastwood and Jean Seberg.
Surprising many chart analysts, ‘Wand’rin’ Star’ made it
all the way to #1 in the UK in March 1970.
MEAN, MEAN MAN
by Wanda Jackson
Pro: Ken Nelson
To end this selection, here’s rockabilly favorite Wanda Jackson
and a song included on her “Rockin’ With Wanda” album.
Her single registered at #40 in the UK in early ’61.
As in all my postings, the recordings listed and
referenced above are in no way intended as definitive collections.
Please send any comments or suggestions to
© Alan Warner, 2020.
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