Guy Mitchell, born Albert George Cernik (February 22, 1927 – July 1, 1999) was an American pop singer, successful in his homeland, the U.K. and Australia. As an international recording star of the 1950s he achieved record sales in excess of 44 million units and this included six million-selling singles.
In the fall of 1957, Mitchell starred in his own ABC variety show, The Guy Mitchell Show. He also appeared as George Romack on the 1961 NBC western detective series Whispering Smith, with World War II hero Audie Murphy in the leading role.
Born of Croatian immigrants, in Detroit, Michigan, at the age of eleven he was signed by Warner Brothers Pictures, to be groomed as a child star, and he also performed on the radio on Station KFWB in Los Angeles, California. After leaving school, he worked as a saddlemaker, but supplemented his income by singing whenever he could. At this point in his life, Dude Martin, who had a country music broadcast in San Francisco, noticed him and hired him to perform with his band.
He served in the United States Navy for two years, and after leaving the service became a singer with Carmen Cavallaro's big band. In 1947 he made recordings for Decca with Cavallaro's band, but had to leave due to food poisoning. He eventually went to New York City, and made records for King Records under the name Al Grant (one in particular, "Cabaret", appeared in the Variety magazine charts). He won on the radio show Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts in 1949 as a soloist.
Mitch Miller, who was in charge of talent at Columbia Records, noticed Cernik in 1950, and he joined Columbia and got his new stage name at Miller's urging: Miller is supposed to have said, "my name is 'Mitchell' and you seem a nice 'guy', so we'll call you Guy Mitchell". Bob Merrill wrote a string of top hits for Mitchell.
In the 1950s and 1960s he acted in movies as well as singing. He starred with Rhonda Fleming, Gene Barry, Agnes Moorehead and Teresa Brewer in "Those Redheads From Seattle" (1953), a comedy about the Gold Rush, and with Rosemary Clooney and Jack Carson in "Red Garters" (1954), a musical western spoof, and appeared in "The Wild Westerners" (1962). He also sang in the Braemor Rooms, Churchtown, Dublin, Ireland.
His first hit was "My Heart Cries for You" (1951). Though he is a pre-rock pop singer, many of his songs have a decided rock beat to them, including "Heartaches by the Number", "Rock-a-Billy", "The Same Old Me" and his biggest hit, "Singing the Blues", which was number one for 10 weeks in 1956.
After being dropped from Columbia Records in 1962, Mitchell recorded sporadically for several labels and was a regular performer on the nostalgia circuit. By the mid-1970s, America’s one-time “Prince of Pop” had decided to go into semi-retirement concentrating on his ranching and love for the 'great outdoors'. The 1980s heralded a renaissance for the singer when an appearance on a television tribute to Mitch Miller spurred a new album.
In the early eighties Guy Mitchell appeared on a tribute television special devoted to the life and times of Mitch Miller who had been so much a part of his career. His well received performance on the show led to a return to the performing life and he was especially received in a number of concert dates in Western Europe. This renewed interest also sparked a barrage of re-releases of many of his earlier recordings for Columbia Records. From then on through the nineteen nineties Guy Mitchell traveled to Australia, New Zealand, England, Ireland, and a number of venues in the U.S. He became a mainstay in demand at hotels and casinos in Las Vegas.
In 1997, he was diagnosed as having Leukemia and started a course of treatment. The decade however closed on a very sad note when the much-loved singer, aged 72, passed away in a Las Vegas hospital after complications following surgery.
In 2007, to commemorate his musical legacy and what would have been his 80th birthday, the English division of SonyBMG released The Essential Collection CD.His song "Heartaches by the Number" was part of the soundtrack of the game Fallout: New Vegas. (Info mainly Wikipedia)
Here's a clip of Guy Mitchell with She Wears Red Feathers. One of the many hit records that Guy Mitchell enjoyed in the 1950s. The Columbia single made No.19 in the USA Billboard charts, and was a massive No.1 in the UK NME charts. It remains one of Guy's best remembered recordings, and was always a highlight of his stage and TV performances for the rest of his life. Notice the four guys dressed as cockney pearly kings. It's top American vocal group, The Hi-Lo's.