The pop music industry is the most forward looking business in the country. Before a hit has slipped off the bottom of the greasy ladder of success called "the charts", the artist is looking for another to take its place. In fact the pop music business never stops a moment to look back over its shoulder.
But this week--and only this week--Thank Your Lucky Stars breaks all the rules when top artists present a round-up of the pop music year.
The stars include Cliff Richard and the Shadows, Petula Clark and Helen Shapiro, Craig Douglas, Karl Denver, Ronnie Carroll, Frank Ifield and Kenny Ball.
What sort of a pop music year was it? A vintage year for my money because the quality of music, lyrics and singing styles were better than ever before.
We all had a ball at a show-biz funeral when we buried the idea that any two-bit rock'n'roll singer could command an audience and a fee.
It had been a long time coming, but was worth waiting for.
I can reveal that Frank Ifield was seriously considering retiring from singing earlier this year. Fortunately, a friend persuaded him to cut one more disc and I Remember You proved that there was room at the top for singers with personality and style.
Other comments on the year? The Twist showed it had staying power as well as beat. And Pet Clark fooled us all by presenting a smash hit in French--Ya Ya Twist.
Karl Denver--a singer you either like or hate, there is no in-between--gathered fans during the year, but the prediction that the Country and Western type of songs he sings would become big-time ws wrong.
In fact, the only Country and Western numbers to be really popular were those with strong pop song themes. I don't think there will be any real "mountain music" next year either.
A couple of days ago I heard two big names in the pop music business arguing that if Cliff Richard and the Shadows were appearing in rival theatres in the same town it would be a toss-up wich drew the bigger audience.
This was Cliff's year in a big way. His film, The Young Ones, was probably the best British musical since the war, while The Shadows proved they were big enough on their own to take two major changes in their line-up.
Proof that pop music inproved its standards lies in the success of stars like Ronnie Carroll and Craig Douglas, both good original singers with strong individual personalities.
Here were singers who no
to turn out a number of highly successful discs during the year. There is a current rumour that she is at the crossroads of her singing career. I make no prediction--I still vividly remember turing down a young singer called Adam Faith!
It was a good year for: Frank Sinatra. His Festival Hall concerts were probably the biggest thing to happen in Britain's music-land this year.
For: Joe Brown and the Bruvers. Joe has been waiting in the wings of success for two years to my knowledge. I'm surprised he took so long to get into the limelight.
For: Janice Nicholls who did the hardest thing in the world--coin a catch phrase: "Oi'll give it foive."
For: Thank Your Lucky Stars for giving viewers the opportunity of seeing such American stars as Bobby Vee, Chubby Checker, Sam Cooke, Freddy Cannon, Dion, Pat Boone, and the one person I shall always remember--Ketty Lester.
For: Philip Jones, whose brilliant direction made Thank Your Lucky Stars the pop show of the year.
For: the comedy number Mike Sarne, The Vernons Girls and Bernard Cribbins all made hit comedy records. These are the most difficult to follow up, as people compare the comedy with the previous disc.
It was a bad year for some
people and we usually forget about those singers who cut one disc then sink without a trace.
I'm a coward about sticking my neck out and predicting the future.
Despite the success of such as Brubeck's Take Five, I'm sure modern jazz will never become a major interest in this country. Comedy records like those produced by Mike Sarne and Bernard Cribbins will still be very popular next near.
Cliff Richard will become an even better and more well-rounded personality whose future will be secure long after 1963 is dead.
I admit the last one is a certainty. But I do tip this outsider as the big draw of 1963--Mark Wynter. For him it will be summer all year long.