July 15 – Billy Fury, House of the Rising Sun, Gangnam Style


Billy Fury, ‘the British Elvis’ climbs to UK#3 with his biggest hit, Halfway to Paradise.

The song stays on the charts for 23 weeks. Fury (Ronald Wycherly) contracted rheumatic fever as a child in Liverpool. First hitting in 1959 with ‘Maybe Tomorrow’, in the early 1960s he auditions The Silver Beetles for a backup band; they refuse to sack Sutcliffe, so he hires The Tornados instead.

Beginning in 1959 with ‘Maybe Tomorrow’, in the 60s Fury equals The Beatles’ 24 hits (*); his spend 332 weeks on the UK charts. The hits are released by Decca Records (the company that recorded the Beatles demo tape, then turned them down!) Not one of Fury’s hits charts in the US … he appears only once in the US (on Shindig! in 1965). He appears in 3 films, the first is 1962’s Play It Cool.

According to Morrissey, he was

discovered working on the docks in Liverpool, was dragged to London, styled and forced to make records. He always wanted to make very emotional overblown ballads but found himself in the midst of the popular arena. He despised almost every aspect of the music industry and was very, very ill from the early age.

After a lifetime of heart problems, he dies in 1983 aged 42. Countless remaining fans worldwide are testimony enough.

See also: UK Artist Bios
▷Trivia ▹ Shindig 1965  I Will  Once Upon    MP3: 1973 BBC interview  ( Website ( Fansite


British Invasion band The Animals amazing second single House of the Rising Sun, a gritty folk-rock revival version, enters the UK charts at #16.

Hurrah for gritty old Newcastle! On Sep. 5, it takes the top of the US charts for 3 weeks; US DJs got a free box of animal crackers with it. It took 12 minutes to record at a cost of £4 10s.

The earliest known recording of the song about a life gone wrong in New Orleans was performed by banjoist Clarence Ashley in 1933. In 1937, working for the Library of Congress, Alan Lomax made a recording of 16-year-old Georgia Turner singing it in Kentucky. it was on Dylan‘s first album in 1962.

▷Brief history of the song ▹  ( Animals site  ( Burdon site ▷Ted Anthony interview ▹

Korean wave:

South Korean singer-songwriter, pop-rap star Psy releases single Gangnam Style.

The song — a prime example of K-pop — quickly becomes an international phenomenon, and by October is viewed a half-billion times on Youtube — so viral that it convinces Billboard to, radically, count online sales and video views and rate it US#2. (*) Live  It’s the lead track of his 6th studio album PSY 6. In November, Youtube popularity convinces Billboard to move it to US#2 (*)

Psy (Park Jae-sang) — born in Seoul‘s Gangnam District, schooled in Boston’s Berklee College of Music(*), described as “a chubby, rapping singer with slicked-back hair and a tacky suit” — released his first single Bird in 2001. Ellen show   ( Psy site

The start of K-pop is widely credited to 1992 single Nan Arayo  (‘I Know’)- performed by high-school dropout rapper, rocker Seo Taiji (known as ‘Cultural President’ of Korean music) and Boys. (*) Taiji releases his first solo album Seotaiji 5th Seo Tai Ji in 1998 and second, Seotaiji 6th Ultramania, in 2000 (sells a million in Korea).  ( Taiji site

See also: BoA, Super Junior, Girls’ Generation, SHINee, S. M. Entertainment