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Friday, 7 September 2012

Craig Douglas - Only Sixteen

On this day the 7th September 1959, Craig Douglas was at No.1 on the UK singles chart with his version of the Sam Cooke hit 'Only Sixteen'. Terence Perkins was employed as a milkman before becoming a professional singer and was known as the 'Singing Milkman'.

Craig Douglas (born Terence Perkins, 12 August 1941, Newport, Isle of Wight) was one of Britain's first 'Pop' singers. His achievement was really remarkable because he'd found a musical niche that appealed to teenagers and to their mums and dads too- sadly, it couldn't last. He was too lightweight to be considered rock and roll and yet nor was he a 1950s style crooner. He had still been a milkman when he got an opportunity to appear on TV's 'Six-5 Special' by winning a talent contest. Through this he secured a recording contract with Decca, but the two singles they issued were ignored. Luckily he was given a second chance by the new 'Top Rank' record label. His early songs were, almost without exception, covers of carefully selected material from American artists of the time. He was extremely successful, and even reached #1 with Sam Cooke's 'Only Sixteen' when the great man could only struggle to #23 with the original.

It was recorded at EMI's Abbey Road studios, with whistling by Mike Sammes, and released through Top Rank records.

Craig Douglas' pleasant singing voice maintained its appeal until the onset of 'Merseybeat'. By this time he was singing more original songs, but had not sufficiently changed his 'sound' to gain new fans. He made one belated attempt at updating his style with 'Come Closer' in 1964 which he recorded with a group calling themselves 'The Tridents', but by early 1963 his chart career was over. However, Craig had by then built up a sufficient repertoire of material to fuel an act on the cabaret and nostalgia scene for many years to come.

(Info from thisdayinmusic & 45-rpm)

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