The Beatles and Ken Dodd
Look back to when Ken Dodd - pop star - rivalled The Beatles
BY PADDY SHENNAN
25 SEP 2015
Flying high: Ken Dodd at Blackpool Pleasure Beach in 1964
Happiness in the 1960s was... being a top comedian who was also able to give The Beatles a run for their money.
All hail Ken Dodd, the Squire of Knotty Ash, who, 50 years ago this month, enjoyed a number one hit single with Tears.
Ken Dodd with The Beatles November 1963
It was released at the start of September 1965 and hit the top of the national charts on September 30, staying there for five weeks.
That was impressive enough, but even more so is the fact that it was the best-selling single of that year – and, while the Fab Four had four of the top five best-selling singles of the 1960s, our Ken’s Tears was the other one.
Tears (written by Frank Capano and Billy Uhr and first recorded by Rudy Vallee in 1929) was the third best-selling single of the decade – She Loves You (1963) claimed the top spot, I Want To Hold Your Hand (1963) number two, Can’t Buy Me Love (1964) number four and I Feel Fine (1964) five.
But Tears, though Doddy’s only chart-topper, was only part of the story. In total, he enjoyed 20 top 40 hits, spanning the years 1960 to 1981.
As Ken, himself, told me: “For a comedian, it was pretty good. And I was very, very blessed because I was able to choose the songs I recorded.”
His debut single, Love is Like a Violin, reached number eight in 1960, and many more hits followed. The River (Le Colline Sono In Fioro) got to number three in 1965, and Promises number six in 1966.
Despite its relatively lowly chart position – it reached number 31 in 1964 – it was Happiness which became his trademark song.
Other Doddy ditties to reach the top 40 included Pianissimo (number 21 in 1962), Eight By Ten (number 22 in 1964), More Than Love (number 14 in 1966) and Let Me Cry On Your Shoulder (number 11 in 1967).
Ken continued to win chart placings in the 1970s – including with Broken Hearted (number 15 in 1970), When Love Comes Round Again (L’Arca Di Noe) – number 19 in 1971 – and (Think of Me) Wherever You You (number 21 in 1975).
This was the multi-talented entertainer’s last top 30 hit, with his last top 50 chart placing being 1981’s Hold My Hand, which reached number 44.
Ken Dodd with Sandie Shaw on the ABC Television Show Doddy's Music Box in 1967
He may be 88 in November (or he may not be – when I asked him how old he was last year he told me he thought he was 35), but, as all ECHO readers know, Doddy’s still entertaining live audiences across the country.
Merseysiders can see him in the coming months at St Helens Theatre Royal (Saturday October 17), Southport Theatre (Saturday November 21) and New Brighton Floral Pavilion (Sunday November 29), while he will play his customary two end of year shows at Liverpool’s Philharmonic Hall on Monday December 28 and Tuesday December 29.
The Beatles with Ken Dodd - November 1963 - Granada TV, Manchester