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With two UK number one hits (Broken wings, I see the moon) and two other UK top ten hits (Close the door, Twenty tiny fingers) - and there would have been more had record sales charts started earlier in the UK - the Stargazers were very popular in the days prior to the rock'n'roll takeover of pop music. Apart from their own hits, they backed Dickie Valentine on Finger of suspicion (a number one UK hit) but you have to buy a Dickie Valentine compilation for that - it's not here.
The music is typical of the early fifties - easy listening with a few novelty songs. Most of the songs are of American origin, though Happy wanderer is a German song - it was a major UK hit for the Obernkirchen children's choir. The Stargazers couldn't compete with that although their version crept into the UK chart for one week while the original was in the charts for six months.
There are covers of four Guy Mitchell songs (Feet up, My truly truly fair, Look at that girl, Day of Jubilo) as well as covers of songs by Jo Stafford (A-round the corner), Rosemary Clooney (Mangos), Perry Como (Hot diggity) and Frankie Laine and Doris Day (Sugar bush).
The Stargazers eventually disbanded but two of their members went on to greater success. Cliff Adams became a radio broadcaster and also became leader of the Cliff Adams singers. Although they only had one minor UK hit, they were very popular for many years. Dick James had two UK top twenty hits of his own (Robin Hood, Garden of Eden) before becoming a successful music publisher. His company published Elton John's early classics.
This compilation is a reminder of how good the Stargazers were in the early fifties and it's not difficult to see why they were so popular.
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on 22 August 2004
Exclusively. They didn't do much before or after. The Stargazers are very much a relic of the decade when novelty hits like theirs filled the NME Top 12 and beyond.
Another compilation in budget label Spectrum's admirable line of 'oldies' re-issues. This time, the 78/45 output in the 50s by Brit male/female vocal group the Stargazers from the Decca label makes a CD debut.
On this CD collection you get 18 cuts from those days, spanning 1951 to 1957, and the master tapes are used as usual to give it that clear, bright sound (although some of the early ones sound a bit 'fuzzy'!). Impressively, it covers all their hits, although bear in mind they only had nine. They may have had more if you take into consideration the fact they released singles from May 1950 (thank you Colin and Ossie in the sleevenotes) and that official singles sales UK charts didn't start until late 1952.
Packaging then - a nice design suited to the group, no pictures of them, which is a shame, but as the lovely sleevenotes by Colin Morgan and Ossie Dales tell us their line-up was constantly changing. The information provided on them by Colin and Ossie is very informative and a great introduction to an act who were a big part of British light entertainment in the 50s.
Indeed, they made chart history - their cover of the American hit Broken Wings was the first British chart topper by a British act. Well done, guys, although personally I think this is one of the worst #1s of the 1950s, if not all time. Simply morbid and funereal. Horrible. However, on the technical side of things - why does the sleeve state it is with Dickie Valentine when it clearly isn't? Well, it just can't be - he released his own version of it at the time. I thought the makers of this CD knew better.
Covering American hits was standard practise throughout the decade and before, and the Stargazers stamped their unique take on all of them. Pre-chart, and all non-hits, there are a few too many covers of songs Mitch Miller acts made more famous and arguably definite versions of. Guy Mitchell's Feet Up, Truly Truly Fair, Day of Jubilo (as well as Look At That Girl from when the chart had started), Frankie Laine and Doris Day's Sugarbush, Rosie Clooney's Mangos (also post-52 - but Rosie's IS definitive) and Jo Stafford's Around the Corner. The latter was a sheet music chart #1, so maybe the 'Gazers version did contribute to this. They are all enjoyable in their own little way, and an interesting listen. Their rendition of Feet Up! (featuring Ray Ellington) is a complete contrast to Guy Mitchell's all-guns-blazing American version. British acts recorded with bands, and you could tell. Ray Ellington's vocal is just too 'British' - it takes all the fun out the song and turns it into a comedy number. Just listen to his laugh, lacks all the fun Mitch Miller's production gave the original!
They had hits they made their own, though - their second chart hit also hit the top spot. I See The Moon is an absolutely brilliant catchy novelty number. This was originally American too, but the American one wasn't even released here. Twenty Tiny Fingers is another great novelty from the pen of Tepper and Bennett (don't believe the rock and roll spiel - they were pure novelty) and it gave them another sizeable chart hit. Other highlights of this disc are The Happy Wanderer, Somebody, Zambesi (an instrumental with lyrics - kudos to them for trying) and Who Is It (has to be heard to be believed!).
Overall, this CD is rather good as an example of male-female vocal group talent in Britain. The Stargazers did it before the Seekers, the New Seekers, Bucks Fizz, Steps or Pop (however long they last).
I have given it four stars out of five for a simple reason: only 18 tracks and 45 minutes. To me, this feels stingy and I would have liked more. But I'd heartily recommend it to a fan of 50s pop music.
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on 5 February 2003
Anyone with an interest in the music of the fifties cannot fail to enjoy this offering from The Stargazers. It contains all their chart hits including 'Broken Wings' which was the first record by a British act to go to Number One in the fledgling british charts back in April 1953, as well as all their other chart hits. They specialised in light vocal numbers albeit with a touch of humour in much of their material and it comes across well on this album. This is the perfect cd to just put on and lay back and relax. A very much under-rated group who seemed to plough a lone furrow back in the fifties against an influx of American Bands but at the same time added a touch of pure magic to some of the songs they recorded.
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on 22 February 2010
I bought this after hearing I see the moon on Paul O'grady several times and did a search on Amazon . Apart from this song there are some others which are also good to sing along to and remind me of parties I was at when young and listening to adults enjoying themselves . I am amazed at how many or the words I remeber !!
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on 26 May 2014
I was looking for something completely different, when I found this cd, im singing all day long now, thanks alot.
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on 27 March 2015
Only bought the cd for one track th at I liked but when I heard the rest of the tracks they weren't bad either.
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on 17 December 2014
Hits galore
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on 19 October 2015
Ok.. well.. most of it is.. of a type.
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