Single of the week

Almaz (Randy Crawford)

This week’s suggestion features a singer with one of the most pure and distinctive voices of the 20th century. “I started singing in nightclubs when I was just 15,” explained Randy Crawford. “I actually started singing a little bit earlier than that at school and various youth clubs of course.” But this week’s choice is her only hit that she wrote herself.

Randy, who was born Veronica Crawford in Macon, Georgia but grew up in Cincinnati, actually got her break in 1972 when she was a backing singer for George Benson and then opened for him on tour later that year. Her debut single was a cover of Knock on Wood which failed to chart. In 1976, she’d signed a deal with Warner Brothers records and recorded the album Everything Must Change which contained her original version of I’ve Never Been To Me. It was recorded the following year by Charlene but failed to make any impact. It was only when a radio DJ in America found it, started playing it that it became a hit. By that time Charlene had retired, moved to the UK and was working in a sweet shop in Ilford when she got the call to say she was in the chart and went back into the music business. It eventually got to number one in 1982.

In 1978 former Genesis guitarist, Steve Hackett, invited her to add vocals on Hoping Love Will Last, the opening track on his second solo album Please Don’t Touch! but then, in 1979, Wilton Felder of the Crusaders invited her to sing on their hit Street Life and although she was uncredited, it was a big chart hit on both sides of the Atlantic.

In 1980, she launched a solo career with hits like Last Night At Danceland and One Day I’ll fly Away which were both co-written by Joe Sample and produced by Wilton Felder of the Crusaders. Her next single, Tender Falls The Rain, was written by Crawford but failed to chart. Then came covers of Turley Richards’ You Might Need Somebody and Brook Benton’s Rainy Night In Georgia and in 1981, I was lucky enough to see Randy in concert where she showcased her version of Imagine and whole place was in tears following the recent news of Lennon’s death. That recording was released as a live single in 1982.

Four years later, she was back in the top 10 with Almaz (which means diamond in Arabic). Randy tells the story, “I had some new neighbours moved in and they were from Eritrea, the woman’s name was Almaz and her husband was in the fabric industry and when they moved into my neighbourhood they said they were political refugees and he asked me if I could write a song about his wife. I said, ‘OK, I’ll do my best’. They had knocked on my door and wanted to invite their new neighbour to dinner. Of course I went but the African food they served wasn’t to my taste. But I witnessed this perfect love affair between them, although she was considerably younger than him. This beautiful couple with their baby, but before the song was ever completed and recorded they had moved out of the neighbourhood and I didn’t know how to find them anymore. But the thing I like about the song the most is it talks about love surviving, ‘born in a world where love survives’ and that why I like that song so much. As refugees they were looking for ‘a world where love survives'”

Success died off in the late eighties, but in mid-nineties she recorded the acclaimed album Naked and True which featured a cover of George Benson’s Give Me the Night that reached number 60 in 1997. Seven months previous R&B singer Shola Ama made her debut with a cover of Crawford’s You Might Need Somebody which peaked seven places higher than the original hit .

In 2007, she recorded a live album with Joe Sample at Abbey Road, and in 2018, she announced that she was retiring once she’d finished a The Farewell South Africa tour in both Pretoria and Cape Town but she suffered a stroke and the tour was cancelled.

Everything I Own (Bread)

This week’s suggested song has been covered by so many people it’s hard to keep track of exactly how many. In all fairness, the person who asked for it didn’t specify a version, just the song itself. To me, a story song, especially a real-life true tale, as told by the songwriter will always be the definitive version which is why when I tell people I hate the Whitney Houston version of I Will Always Love You, they can’t understand why until I explain. Apart from the fact I don’t think Whitney sings it very well, more importantly it’s a song written by a woman who loved her man but had to let him go. That woman was Dolly Party and it was written about the country singer Porter Wagoner. Dolly disliked the way the split developed into legal wrangles and she wrote a song to tell Porter how she felt about him. No one can tell that story with the meaning other than her. This week’s song has that similarity.

Everything I Own was written by David Gates and first recorded by his group Bread in 1972. It didn’t make the UK top 30 but did get to number five in the States. It deserved to get higher and it did when covered in a soft reggae style in 1974 by Ken Boothe and again in 1987 by Boy George. Both of their versions got to number one.

David Gates, who was born in 1940 and whose father was a band director and mother a piano teacher, once explained, “My father was kind and gentle and revered by everyone. People will do what you do, not what you say. He always had time for me and taught me to read and write music, play various instruments and introduced me to classical music, my foundation. One year I sent my mom an orchid for her birthday, she was so touched that my dad wrote to tell me I could have had ‘anything she owned’ in return. My father died in 1963 and I wanted to write a song in memory of him. He did live to see some of my early progress towards success, but not the major songs or stardom with Bread. As with all my songs, the music led and the words tried to keep up, but they came pretty quickly. I wrote the lyrics, ‘I would give everything I own just to have you back again’ so that they could be interpreted as a love song, but when I played it for my wife, she knew right away that it was about my father. She cried.”

Once Gates began to show interest in music his father said to him, “You can do music as a hobby, but it is hard to make a living from it.” It was 19621 and he was determined to prove his dad wrong. Gates explained, “I made a deal with my dad that if I didn’t make any progress in the business within two years, I would return and finish college.”

David’s girlfriend was the sister of singer/songwriter Leon Russell. Once he’d heard Leon’s material, he was inspired to write songs himself. He became a session musician and played on Jackie De Shannon demos. Six months had passed and he wasn’t making much headway until Johnny Burnette recorded his song The Fool Of The Year in 1962 and that was enough for him to keep writing.

In 1963, two years after making the deal, at his father’s funeral, a friend took David aside and said, “Your dad was so proud of what you were doing.” David agreed by replying, “My success would have been so special to him as he was my greatest influence. So I decided to write and record Everything I Own about him. If you listen to the words, ‘You sheltered me from harm, kept me warm, gave my life to me, set me free’, it says it all.” Although David’s father didn’t get to learn of his son’s success with Bread, his dad managed to see some success as a writer because Gates had written Popsicles and Icicles which was a number three Billboard hit for The Murmaids.

Ken Boothe was born in 1948 near Kingston, Jamaica and was discovered by a singer called Winston Cole who thought Ken sounded like a Jamaican version of Wilson Pickett and suggested they form a singing partnership. In 1967, he covered Sandie Shaw’s recent Eurovision winner Puppet On a String and was a massive hit in Jamaica. In 1971, he was signed to the Trojan record label and teamed with producer Lloyd Charmers. Boothe had recorded his first album but needed one more song to complete it. “I was touring in Canada,” Boothe explained in a Mojo interview, “and a friend had played me Andy Williams’ version of Everything I Own and said how I must record it.” Charmers was not happy about Boothe recording it purely because Charmers like to make all the choices but it got recorded and went to number one.

Boy George chose to record the song for the same reason Gates did, as a tribute. Although it was George’s debut solo single, it marked something of a coma back. After Culture Club’s split, George went through some tough times, publicly, with drink and drugs and sweeping the streets as community service but he rode it all and bounced back as popular as ever. The video showed George alone on a stage with a complete band set-up, but with no band. He looked pale but reasonably healthy, bearing in mind what he had gone through.

In the background was a bank of television screens flashing images of a young painter friend, Trojan, who had died of a drug overdose the previous August. The images were from a film that George’s boyfriend John Maybury had made. “Trojan was one of those people who defied description in a lot of ways and would never want to be forgotten,” explained George, and dedicated the song to him.

“The recording session with Bread felt pressurised because I wanted to convey the emotion in the vocal that existed when I played it with an acoustic guitar,” Gates said. “The covers [by Rod Stewart, Shirley Bassey and Boy George] have all felt genuine, and it is magical to sing. Everything I Own has reached farther than any other song I’ve ever written. It’s a tribute to the song and Ken that it was able to go reggae.”

In an interview with Dave Simpson at The Guardian in 2019, Gates said, “Years after it was written, I started to reveal to audiences what it was about. The song is an opportunity to feel very strong emotions for the loss of a time with someone you loved. I’ve been fortunate to watch it have such an impact on so many people.

Mona Lisa (Nat King Cole)

An email came in from David Robinson who said, “Hi Jon, a few weeks ago on your online quiz you asked a question about who had a hit in the 50s with Mona Lisa. I put Nat King Cole and then found out it was the wrong answer because he never charted with it. Sneaky! After looking it up, I found the answer was Conway Twitty (whoever he was) but it’s quite a good version. How about the story about Conway Twitty and Mona Lisa presumably originally by Nat King Cole?” Well David, why not. Read on you’ll probably be in for a surprise.

The Mona Lisa or Gioconda as it’s known in Italian is arguably the most famous painting in the world as created by Leonard Da Vinci in the very early 1500s. It also holds the record, as verified by Guinness World Records for the highest-known painting insurance valuation at just under $900m. Wouldn’t fancy paying that premium or even the excess!

The song was made famous by Nat King Cole, the man with the velvet voice in 1950, but he did not do it originally. It was written in in 1949 by the New York-born lyricist Ray Evans and the Los Angeles-born composer Jay Livingston for a movie originally called OSS In an interview with American Songwriter Magazine in 1988, Jay Livingston explained how it all came about, “There was a picture called OSS, which took place during World War II, and Alan Ladd was in a little Italian town where the clandestine radio was, and they needed a song to warn them that the German patrol was coming. There was this blind accordion player who wasn’t actually blind playing on the street and every time he saw the Germans coming he would play a certain melody, so we wrote Mona Lisa and they said that it sounded Italian and they liked it. Then they called us and said they had changed the title from OSS to After Midnight and we had to write a song with that title. They loved title songs because it sold their picture. So we threw away the lyrics of Mona Lisa and wrote After Midnight. A month later we picked up Variety and read that Alan Ladd’s new picture was going to be called Captain Carey, USA. We went back to the studio and asked for Mona Lisa back, and then pitched it to Nat King Cole and he liked it and recorded it on the reverse side [of Nat’s latest single] The Greatest Inventor Of Them All. So we went on a junket for Paramount about that time, and we took the records with us and we must have been on 25 or 30 radio shows, and when we got back the song was a hit. But the original ads for the record didn’t even mention Mona Lisa, just The Greatest Inventor. I think us pushing it really made the difference in that song being a hit.”

The version in the film was performed by Sergio de Karlo who was a street busker playing guitar and when he saw the Germans coming began playing Mona Lisa which was a warning to all the residents of an impending invasion. The full version in the film was by Charlie Spivak & His Orchestra with vocals by Tommy Lynn and released on a 78rpm disc in January 1950. Nat loved the song and cut his version two months later. His version won an Academy Award for Best Original Song and the song was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1992.

Livingstone and Evans wrote many more songs together most notably Whatever Will Be Will Be (Que Sera Sera) which was a chart-topper for Doris Day and featured in the Alfred Hitchcock movie The Man Who Knew Too Much. They wrote Tammy, a number two hit for Debbie Reynolds, which featured in the film Tammy And The Bachelor and also As I Love You, a number one hit in 1959 for Shirley Bassey and appeared in the film The Big Beat. They also composed the theme to the TV series’ Bonanza and Mr Ed.

Nat’s version went to number one on Billboard and stayed there for eight weeks. In 1987, it was used as the theme for the movie of the same name. Nat’s daughter, Natalie, originally included this song in her live sets but pulled it when it became too emotional for her. In 1991, thanks to the wonders of technology, she recorded a version of her father’s song Unforgettable as a duet with him which went to number 19.

The only version of Mona Lisa to chart in the UK was Conway Twitty who took his  uptempo version to number five. His real name was Harold Lloyd Jenkins and claimed he took his name after looking at maps and spotted Conway in Arkansas and Twitty in Texas. Twitty was primarily a country singer although did dabble in rock ‘n’ roll and rockabilly in his early days when he was signed by Sam Phillips to his Sun record label. In the US  he scored 40 number one on the Hot Country Songs chart. His biggest hit in the UK was the 1958 Christmas number one, It’s Only Make Believe.

Mona Lisa has been recorded by many acts including Bing Crosby (1956), Sam Cooke (1960), Johnny Burnette (1961), Marvin Gaye (1965), James Brown (1967), Donny Osmond (1974),  Willie Nelson (1981), Shakin’ Stevens (1988), Julio Iglesias (1990), Natalie Cole (1991), Harry Connick Jr. (2009) and Gregory Porter (2017).

Mona Lisa, the only song in the film Captain Carey, USA. won Best Song Oscar and was the first to do so from a non-musical movie.

Jay Livingston died in 2001 aged 86, Ray Evans died in 2007 aged 92 and Twitty died in 1993.

Remember (Walkin’ In The Sand) (The Shangri-Las)

I do love it when someone puts out a morsel of information that eventually becomes legend only to find out it’s not true and I spend the rest of my life correcting people. The best example is about Rod Stewart playing harmonica on Millie’s hit My Boy Lollipop. No he didn’t! That was Pete Hogman who was once briefly in a band with Rod Stewart and the idiot who made the statement didn’t do his research and claimed it was Rod. The other is that Bob Holness played saxophone on Gerry Rafferty’s 1978 hit Baker Street. No he didn’t! That rumour was made up as a joke by Stuart Maconie when he was a journalist and people have believed it ever since. That, for your information, was Raphael Ravenscroft. This week’s choice, The Shangri-Las’ Remember (Walking in the Sand), is a song that is said to have Billy Joel playing piano. Is that true? Read on to find out.

This song was produced and co-written George Morton who was known within the industry as Shadow and was born in Richmond, Virginia but raised in Long Island. Whilst at school he met a girl, Lois Berman, who later became his wife and together they formed a doo-wop group called the Markeys.

A few years later he wanted to break into song writing so he moved to New York. Whilst there he met the songwriter Ellie Greenwich and they became friends. With the possibility of advice or tips from Greenwich about song writing he would often pay her visit and this, in turn, got Greenwich’s husband, Jeff Barry, suspicious. When Greenwich explained Morton’s frequent visits, Barry decided to challenge Morton and asked for a meeting where he could view some of his recent work. Morton was worried as his portfolio was pretty much empty and so when Barry asked for a song he rose to the challenge to write one.

He decided to drive back to his old stomping ground of Long Island which was only about 40 miles away to write a song. He drove to Long Island Beach and whilst there heard seagulls which gave him some inspiration and was used in the song’s outro. Once written he headed back to New York and arranged for some musicians and a local girl-group he knew and liked to attend a recording session.

The girl-group were the Shangri-Las who were formed in 1963 by two pairs of sisters, Mary and Betty Weiss and identical twins Margie and Mary Ann Ganser who were all from New York. They recorded the demo complete with seagull sound effects which many people assumed Morton had recorded whilst at the beach, but he later stated, “No, they’re from a sound effects record.”

One of the musicians at that session was a 15-year-old piano player called Billy Joel. Many people wondered if this was true and even Billy Joel once said he wasn’t sure, but in 1987 he revealed in an interview with Q magazine that is was him and how it came about, “I met a guy at an Echoes gig and he asked me if I wanted to play piano on a recording. So I go down to this little studio in a guy’s basement in Levittown, Dynamic Studios, and they’ve got this sheet music down there. There’s two songs, one’s called Leader Of The Pack and the other is called Remember (Walking In The Sand) and this is pretty easy stuff to play and then Shadow comes in. He’s a pretty strange guy, Shadow. He’s wearing this big cape and dark glasses and he played the producer role to the hilt. I think he had a thing about Phil Spector. He wanted to be the Phil Spector of the East Coast. And he talked in these wild, dramatic, theatrical terms, he wanted more ‘thunder’ and he wanted more ‘purple’ in the record. He’s waving his arms in the air saying ‘give me more purple’. And I’m sitting there kind a nervous – this is my first time ever in a recording studio – and I’m hissing to the other musicians, what does that mean? How do I play ‘purple’? And the guitar player leans over and says, ‘Oh, just play louder, kid.’ So we did these songs in a couple of hours and the singers didn’t actually sing with us, we just did the backing tracks and I was never really sure who it was for and then I heard Remember (Walking In The Sand) on the radio, I went wait a minute, that’s me, and the guys in the band said, ‘Oh, what did you get paid?’ I didn’t get paid anything. What did I know. I guess Shadow pulled in guys like me so he could save some money.”

The song was a winner because it covered that common story about love going wrong when one of them walks away and this will always resonate with people.

Morton offered the song to Jerry Leiber who had just launched his own Red Bird record label and Leiber accepted. The song went to number 14 in the UK, number five in the States and number two in Canada. All of Morton’s writing credit were confined to The Shangri-Las including the more well-known Leader of the Pack, the less-well known Past Present and Future that became a minor hit for Cindy and the Saffrons in 1983 and Give Him a Great Big Kiss which peaked at number 18 on Billboard but failed to chart in most other places in the world.

Remember (Walking in the Sand) has been covered by, among others, Skeeter Davis, the 1974 Dutch Eurovision entrants Mouth & MacNeal, The Go-Go’s and The Beach Boys but most notably by Aerosmith which was recorded in 1979 and featured uncredited backing vocals by The Shangri-Las’ own Mary Weiss.

During the 80s and 90s there was a group called the Shangri-Las touring across American but none of them were connected with the original act. It was put together by a promoter called Dick Fox who had claimed he’d bought the rights to the name. Needless to say legal action took place on both sides.

Mary Ann Ganser died of a drug overdose in 1970 aged just 23 and her sister Marguerite passed away in July 1996. Betty still lives and works in Long Island but not in the music industry and Mary released a solo album in 2007 called Dangerous Game. As for George ‘Shadow’ Morton, he turned to alcohol in 1976 and after 10 years of treatment at The Betty Ford Clinic he got clean but never did anything of note. He died of cancer in February 2013.

Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep (Middle of the Road)

The first ever request for a Single of the Week came back in October 2011 and was MacArthur Park by Richard Harris and the person requesting it claimed that the lyrics were absolute nonsense. Well, they had a surprise when I wrote the story and they realised that they weren’t rubbish at all and told quite a sad story. This week’s choice is one of the catchiest number one hits of the 70s but in this case the lyrics really don’t mean anything. The request came from Blodwyn Buttercup who said, “I used to sing this when I was little to anyone that would listen lol and it is still a firm fave of mine on my long-distance driving playlist it really cheers me up.”

The song started life in Liverpool and was a hit in the US and across Europe before being recorded by a Scottish band with a Spanish name who were signed in Italy to an American label. Work that out.

I’ll explain, the song’s sole writer was a man called Lally Stott who was born in Liverpool and was a member of a band called Denny Seyton and the Sabres who just scraped into the top 50 in 1964 with a cover of Jerome Kern and Dorothy Fields’ song The Way You Look Tonight. Stott, whose real first name was Harold, was born in 1945 and recorded the original version in 1970 which did nothing in the UK and limped to number 92 on the Billboard Hot 100 in April 1971. It did, however, make the top 10 in the Netherlands and South Africa and topped the chart in both Australia and Zimbabwe.

He was signed to Philips records who, for reasons, as always, are best known to themselves, weren’t keen on releasing it many countries and they decided to offer it to the Trinidad-born brother-and-sister duo Mac and Katie Kissoon whose version was recorded at a quicker pace. Their version peaked at a more respectable number 20 in the States, number 10 in Canada and stiffed at number 41 in the UK.

In 1967, singer Sally Carr (born Sarah Carr), guitarist Ian McCredie, his brother Eric on bass and drummer Ken Andrew formed a band called Part Four but within a couple of years had changed their name to Los Caracas and their style of music to Latin American. In 1970, they entered one of the original talent shows, Opportunity Knocks which they won. When little happened following their win, they moved to Italy where they met record producer Giacomo Tosti who suggested they record the Lally Stott song and had them signed to RCA records. As the song was not remotely Latin-American sounding a name change was suggested and Middle of the Road they became.

With its distinctive drumming intro and catchy, ‘Where’s your mama gone’ lyric it took off and made the top 10 in 18 countries. Originally a slow-burner in the UK until Tony Blackburn chose it as his record of the week on his Radio 1 breakfast show and then it flew here too.

The song seems to tell the story of a baby called Don who keeps asking where his mama and papa had gone when he woke up and all we know is that they went ‘far far away’ and all he could hear was his mama singing, ‘chirpy, chirpy, cheep, cheep’. Frankly it seems like his parents were deluded and then abandoned their baby. We don’t know where. We don’t know if they ever came back and we don’t know, and will probably never know, what happened to Don. Makes you wonder why it wasn’t banned for reasons of neglect to a child.

Stott managed to enjoy the success of his song around the world, but died in a motorbike accident in June 1977 aged 32.

Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep stayed on the UK chart for 34 weeks and was still in the chart when the follow-ups Tweedle Dee, Tweedle Dum (number two) and Soley Soley (number five) were charting. They had two further lower hits with Samson And Delilah and Sacramento (A Wonderful Town) which both did well in Scandinavia.

Sally Carr left the group in 1977 and was replaced by Linda Carroll who stayed with the band until 1981.

It’s a little-known fact that Middle of the Road inspired a much more successful Swedish group by the name of ABBA. Middle of the Road’s chart career had come to an end before ABBA won Eurovision in 1974. In an interview with the Sunday Post, Sally Carr said, “Agnetha covered two of our hits in Swedish, before she joined Abba. And the two boys Benny and Bjorn, on a live television interview, said that they used our sound as a guide for their sound.” Carr also remembered, “It was Tony Blackburn who interviewed us the first time. He actually thought we were Italian. Ken turned round and said to him: ‘Don’t be stupid, we’re Scottish’.”

Even after 50 years since it was number one, everyone still seems to know the song. As Sally said, “Your grannies and your mums and dads, and your wee tots know Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep. I always used to laugh and say, ‘Yeah, I’m chirpy, but I’m not cheap.'”

I Write The Songs (Barry Manilow)

This week’s suggestion came from a lady who said that when she heard Barry Manilow sing I Write the Songs on the radio she assumed he did until the presenter said he didn’t. That presenter also failed to say who did write it. Naturally, when you read or hear the title I Write the Songs, you assume the narrator did. It’s fairly unlikely you will have heard the writer’s version of it even though it was released as a single because no one really plays it. Come to think of it, no one plays the original version either which was not by is scribe.

Many people have covered the song but thankfully I’ve never heard any of its interpreters claim they wrote it. The most well-known is arguable Barry Manilow’s version which topped the American singles chart in 1975 giving him his second US chart-topped after Mandy exactly one year earlier. Two versions have charted in the UK, the best-remembered is by David Cassidy who reached number 11 in 1975 and lesser known version by Big Daddy – not the wrestler, but an American 10-piece Rock ‘n Roll band doing cover versions of well-known songs in a Doo Wop style. Their only chart hit was the four-track Dancing In the Dark EP which bizarrely listed I Write the Songs as the lead track and it did climb as high as number 21 in 1985.

Anyway, to the origins of the song. It was solely written by Bruce Johnston who was a long-time member of the Beach Boys. It has been rumoured for many years that the song was written about the Beach Boys singer and primary songwriter Brian Wilson but in actual fact that is nonsense. Bruce Johnston explained, “I never wrote I Write The Songs about Brian Wilson. I wrote it about where music comes from (for me, music comes only from God). My song has nothing to do with Brian! I admire Brian Wilson’s great melodies and, as a member of the Beach Boys, I’m singing these fantastic songs in concert year after year.”

Johnston doesn’t have a writing credit on any of the Beach Boys’ UK hits although he did soley produce three – Here Comes The Night, Lady Lynda and Sumahama all in 1979.

What probably backs up Johnston’s ‘God’ statement is the opening line of the song, ‘I’ve been alive forever and I wrote the very first song’ as well and the second verse beginning with, ‘My home lies deep within you and I’ve got my own place in your soul’.

Despite Johnston writing it he was not the first to lay the track down, “The Captain & Tennille were the first artists to record my song,” he explained. The Captain – real name Daryl Dragon – was a member of the Beach Boys from 1967 – 1972 and it was Mike Love from the group who gave Daryl his nickname calling him Captain Keyboard. On the back of that Dragon began wearing naval captain’s hat to go with the new name.

When it was first suggested that Barry Manilow should record the song, he wasn’t keen. Not because he didn’t like the song but because, “I felt that if you didn’t listen closely to the words you would think I was talking about me and would sound like an egomaniac.” He said to Clive Davis, the head of Manilow’s label, Arista, “This I Write The Songs thing Clive, I really don’t want to do it. Listeners would think I was singing about how ‘I’ wrote the songs, when it was really about the inspiration of music.” Clive didn’t think it would cause an issue and said to Manilow, “Besides, you DO write songs!” Manilow, however, liked the song enough that he decided to record it and added, “Whenever I heard the song in public, I felt the need to run to everyone who was listening and say, ‘You know, I’m really not singing about myself!'” Not many people say no to Clive Davis and, besides, it went on to win a Grammy Award for Song of the Year in 1976.

Other artists who have covered the song include, Frank Sinatra, Johnny Mathis, Dinah Shore and Des O’Connor (all in 1976), Vera Lynn in 1979 and Don Estelle (solo) 20 years later.