Frankie Vaughan CBE DL (born Frank Ableson, 3 February 1928 – 17 September 1999) was an English singer of easy listening and traditional pop music, who recorded more than 80 singles in his lifetime. He was known as "Mr. Moonlight" after one of his early hits.
|Birth name||Frank Ableson|
|Born||3 February 1928|
Liverpool, Lancashire, England
|Died||17 September 1999 (aged 71)|
High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, England
|Labels||HMV, Philips, Columbia, Pye|
Frankie Vaughan was born Frank Ableson to a Jewish family in Devon Street, Liverpool. The name 'Vaughan' came from a grandmother whose first grandson he was, who used to call Frank 'my number one' grandson, in whose Russian accent 'one' sounded like 'Vaughan'. In his early life, he was a member of the Lancaster Lads' Club, a member group of the National Association of Boys' Clubs in the UK, and in his career he was a major contributor to the clubs, dedicating his monetary compensation from one song each year to them. He was an evacuee during World War II. He started out at the club intending to be a boxer. He attended the Lancaster College of Art on a scholarship and was a vocalist in their dance band. After a stint in the Royal Army Medical Corps (where he spent most of his time boxing) he returned to art school, this time at the Leeds College of Art. When he won a prize in a design contest, he left for London, where he won second prize on a radio talent show.
Vaughan's career began in the late 1940s performing song and dance routines. He was known as a fancy dresser, wearing top hat, bow tie, tails, and cane. In the 1950s he worked for a few years with the band of Nat Temple, and after that period he then began making records under his own name. In 1955, he recorded what was to become his trademark song, "Give Me the Moonlight, Give Me the Girl".
He recorded a large number of songs that were covers of United States hit songs, including Perry Como's "Kewpie Doll," Jimmie Rodgers' "Kisses Sweeter than Wine," Boyd Bennett's "Seventeen" (also covered in the US by the Fontane Sisters), Jim Lowe's "The Green Door," and (with the Kaye Sisters), the Fleetwoods' "Come Softly to Me". In 1956, his cover of "The Green Door" reached No. 2 in the UK Singles Chart. The same year he was voted 'Showbusiness Personality of the Year'. In early 1957, his version of "The Garden of Eden", reached No. 1 in the UK Singles Chart. In 1961, Vaughan hit No. 1 in the UK again, with "Tower of Strength", but the rise of beat music eclipsed his chart career for two or three years, before he returned to the Top 10 in 1967 with "There Must Be A Way". Chart success eluded him after this although he did have two more Top 40 singles; "Nevertheless" and "So Tired". In 1957 he was voted the eighth most popular star at the British box office.
In the late 1960s, Vaughan, involved himself with a youth project in Easterhouse, Glasgow. He was appalled by the level of violence amongst young people. Vaughan held meetings with the gang leaders and appealed for them to surrender their weapons.
Managed at this time by former journalist and theatrical agent Paul Cave, Vaughan stayed in the United States for a time to make a film with Marilyn Monroe, Let's Make Love (1960), and was an actor in several other films, but his recordings were never chart hits in the US, with the exception of "Judy", which reached No.100 on the Billboard Hot 100 in August 1958. In 1961, Vaughan was on the bill at the Royal Variety Performance at the Prince of Wales Theatre, Coventry Street, London.
In 1985, Vaughan starred in a stage version of 42nd Street at Drury Lane in London, opposite his old friend Shani Wallis who appeared in their first film together, Ramsbottom Rides Again. After a year, he nearly died of peritonitis and had to leave the cast. Vaughan was married to Leeds-born Stella Shock from 1951 until his death; the couple had three children, David, Susan and Andrew.
In 1994, he was one of a few to be honoured by a second appearance on This Is Your Life, when he was surprised by Michael Aspel. Vaughan had been a subject of the show previously in April 1970 when Eamonn Andrews surprised him at the Caesar's Palace nightclub in Luton.
Despite frequent bouts of ill-health, Vaughan continued performing until shortly before his death in 1999.
Vaughan was created an OBE in 1965, a CBE in 1996, and as a resident of High Wycombe had been a Deputy Lieutenant of the County of Buckinghamshire since 1993. He was an Honorary Fellow of Liverpool John Moores University.
Vaughan died from heart failure in Oxford in 1999, aged 71. His wife Stella donated archival materials, including scores and sheet music he had collected throughout his career to Liverpool John Moores University in 2000.
Creole Records was a UK record label that found most of its success in the disco and reggae genres in the mid-1970s to early 1980s.
Bruce White and Tony Cousins, who used the collective pseudonym Bruce Anthony, originally set up Commercial Entertainments in 1965 as a booking and management agency. They first released records on the Creole label, established as a subsidiary of Trojan Records, in 1971, and started a new Creole label in 1975.Creole released the debut singles of both Boney M. ("Baby Do You Wanna Bump") and Amanda Lear ("Trouble") in 1975. Other artists included Sugar Minott, Ruby Winters, Peter Green, Liquid Gold ("Dance Yourself Dizzy"), Maxine Singleton, Ken Gold, Danish reggae band Laid Back ("Sunshine Reggae") Chubby Checker, Sylvester, Frankie Vaughan, City 19 and Enigma who had a hit in 1981 with "Ain't No Stoppin' Us Now".Ferry Cross the Mersey (film)
Ferry Cross the Mersey is a 1965 musical film featuring Gerry and the Pacemakers.
The film, directed by Jeremy Summers, was the first to be shot on location in Liverpool after the city's emergence into the music mainstream (which had previously seen only Frankie Vaughan, Russ Hamilton, Billy Fury and Lita Roza as stars). For authenticity, many scenes were shot in clubs near the home of Gerry and the Pacemakers' frontman Gerry Marsden. A scene on a ferry (the Mountwood) on the River Mersey showed the docks as a backdrop. Marsden wrote nine new songs for the film which also starred Julie Samuel, Cilla Black singing "Is it Love?", Jimmy Savile, and The Fourmost. Future Doctor Who actress Elisabeth Sladen appeared in the film as an uncredited extra. Disc Jockey Steve Wright appeared in the crowd as a boy.
Writer David Franden was hired when Coronation Street creator Tony Warren proved unable to complete a script despite "downing bottles of whiskey".The song "Ferry Cross the Mersey" was written by Gerry Marsden as the theme song for the film.Happy Days and Lonely Nights
"Happy Days and Lonely Nights" is a torch song written by Billy Rose and Fred Fisher, which Ruth Etting introduced in 1928. The song was successfully revived in the 1950s in the US by the Fontane Sisters and in the UK most successfully by Ruby Murray.
Ruth Etting made her recording of the song in New York City on 24 May 1928 for release on Columbia Records. This version was ranked as high as #9 on the hit parade.
1928 also saw a version of "Happy Days and Lonely Nights" credited to the Knickerbockers actually by Columbia a&r director Ben Selvin.
In 1929 recordings of "Happy Days and Lonely Nights" were made by Vaughn De Leath and Eva Taylor.The song was revived in 1954 by the Fontane Sisters whose version - made with the Billy Vaughn Orchestra - reached #18 on the US charts.Although the UK release of the Fontane Sisters' version was overlooked it did result in three British-based acts covering "Happy Days and Lonely Nights" for the UK market: both Suzi Miller & the Johnston Brothers and Frankie Vaughan took "Happy Days and Lonely Nights" into the UK Top 20 with respective peaks of #14 and #11 in January 1955.
However it was the version by Ruby Murray - produced by Norrie Paramor - which debuted that 5 February which became the major hit reaching #6 on the chart dated that 26 February.Connie Francis recorded "Happy Days and Lonely Nights" at Metropolitan Studios (NYC) on 2 September 1958 in a session conducted by its producer Morton "Morty" Kraft. Although relegated to the B-side of the upbeat "Fallin'", "Happy Days and Lonely Nights" received enough attention to appear on the Cash Box Best Selling Singles chart at #88."Happy Days and Lonely Nights" has also been recorded by Ken Dodd, Anneke Grönloh, Dick James, Ginger Rogers, Kathy Kirby, Duke Special and Kay Starr with instrumental versions by UK pianist Billy Thorburn (recorded 2 November 1954), Max Bygraves, Russ Conway, Ted Heath and Phil Tate.
Ruby Murray set a UK chart record the week of 26 March 1955 when she had five releases in that week's Top 20 including "Happy Days and Lonely Nights" then at #16. Her precedent releases "Heartbeat" and "Softly, Softly" were respectively at #15 and #2 while the first follow-up to "Happy Days and Lonely Nights": "Let Me Go Lover" was at #5. That week Murray's single "If Anyone Finds, This I Love You" (with Ann Warren) debuted at #17. Murray's feat has yet to be beaten but was equaled the first week of July 2009 by Michael Jackson.Johnny Franz
John Charles "Johnny" Franz (23 February 1922 – 29 January 1977) was an English record producer and A&R man at the Philips label. He was one of Britain's most successful producers in the 1950s and 1960s. While his recordings encompassed several forms of mainstream popular music, his most enduring contributions were to British pop music of the mid-1960s on records by Dusty Springfield, The Walker Brothers, and the early solo recordings of Scott Walker.Kewpie Doll (song)
"Kewpie Doll" is a 1958 popular song, written by Sid Tepper and Roy C. Bennett. It is based on the popular Kewpie comics characters by Rose O'Neill, who inspired a merchandising phenomenon of dolls and other toys.In the United States, the most popular was a recording by Perry Como; in the United Kingdom, Como competed with a cover version recorded by Frankie Vaughan. The release marked the end of Como's regular high chart placings in the US. It was his last Top Ten hit there for 11 years.Kisses Sweeter than Wine
"Kisses Sweeter than Wine" is a popular love song, with lyrics written and music adapted in 1950 by The Weavers. The tune was adapted from Lead Belly's "If It Wasn't for Dicky" (1937), which in turn was adapted from the traditional Irish folk tune "An droimfhionn donn dilís". The Weavers first released the song in 1951 as a Decca single, which reached #19 on the Billboard chart and #20 on the Cashbox chart in 1951. The song was also a hit for Jimmie Rodgers in 1957 and Frankie Vaughan in 1958.Let's Make Love
Let's Make Love is a 1960 musical comedy film made by 20th Century Fox in DeLuxe Color and CinemaScope. It was directed by George Cukor and produced by Jerry Wald from a screenplay by Norman Krasna, Hal Kanter, and Arthur Miller. It starred Marilyn Monroe, Yves Montand, and Tony Randall. It would be Monroe's last musical film performance.My Son, My Son
"My Son, My Son" is a traditional popular music song written by Gordon Melville Rees, Bob Howard and Eddie Calvert in 1954. A recording of the song by Vera Lynn reached number one in the UK Singles Chart in November that year. It was Lynn's only number one hit, reached towards the end of her peak of activity. Earlier, in 1951, she had reached #1 in the U.S. Billboard chart with her recording of "Auf Wiederseh'n Sweetheart". "My Son, My Son" was Lynn's fifth chart hit in the UK, following on from "Auf Wiederseh'n Sweetheart", "Forget-Me-Not", "The Homing Waltz" (all 1952) and "The Windsor Waltz" (1953).Lynn's version of the song was produced by Frank Lee and released on Decca Records under the original catalogue number - F 10372. The full credit on Lynn's record read 'Vera Lynn with Frank Weir, his Saxophone, his Orchestra and Chorus'. When the song hit, co-writer Calvert became the second number-one recording star, after Mantovani, to write a number one hit for someone else.A recording by Frankie Vaughan and Vocal Group with Geoff Love and his orchestra was made in London on September 19, 1954. It was released by EMI on the His Master's Voice label as catalog number B 10766.Ramsbottom Rides Again
Ramsbottom Rides Again is a 1956 British western comedy film produced and directed by John Baxter. The film features radio, film and stage star Arthur Askey in the lead role of Bill Ramsbottom, with Sid James, Shani Wallis, Betty Marsden and Jerry Desmonde in supporting roles. Pop singer Frankie Vaughan, in his film debut, sings "This is the Night" and "Ride, Ride, Ride Again." Anthea Askey, Arthur's daughter has a minor role.
In his book, Great Hollywood Westerns, author John Howard Reid included Ramsbottom Rides Again.Seventeen (Boyd Bennett song)
"Seventeen" is a popular song, written by Boyd Bennett in 1955.Three versions of the song charted in 1955 in the United States. The original version, recorded by Bennett, reached No. 5 on the US Billboard chart. The Fontane Sisters made a cover version, which did even better, reaching No. 3. Rusty Draper's version charted at No. 18.In the United Kingdom, Frankie Vaughan recorded a version of the song. It peaked at No. 18 in the UK Singles Chart in December 1955.The Garden of Eden (song)
"The Garden of Eden" is a song written and composed by Dennise Haas Norwood, and first recorded by Joe Valino, which reached Number 12 on the Billboard chart in October 1956.
Valino recorded the song at his second session with Vik, a subsidiary of RCA Records. "I knew it would be a hit, even as I was recording it," he told Wayne Jancik in The Billboard Book of One-Hit Wonders.One of the most popular versions was recorded by the singer Frankie Vaughan, and gave him his first No. 1 hit in the United Kingdom in early 1957. The song first entered the UK Singles Chart on 11 January 1957, spent four weeks at the top, and 13 weeks in the charts altogether.Other versions of the song have also been recorded by Dick James and Gary Miller.The Heart of a Man
The Heart of a Man is a 1959 British drama film directed by Herbert Wilcox and starring Frankie Vaughan, Anne Heywood and Tony Britton. Its plot concerns a millionaire in disguise who gives a young man money to help him pursue his singing career. Featured songs by Vaughan include "The Heart Of A Man", "Sometime, Somewhere" and "Walking Tall".The Kaye Sisters
The Kaye Sisters were a trio of British pop singers, who scored several hits on the UK Singles Chart in the late 1950s and early 1960s.The Lady Is a Square
The Lady Is a Square is a 1959 British comedy musical film directed by Herbert Wilcox and featuring Anna Neagle, Frankie Vaughan and Janette Scott. Its plot follows an aspiring singer who goes to work as a butler in the house of a classical music patron. It was Neagle's final film appearance and the last film directed by Wilcox although he produced several further films before his bankruptcy in 1964.The Right Approach
The Right Approach is a 1961 CinemaScope drama film directed by David Butler and starring Juliet Prowse, Frankie Vaughan (in his final film role) and Martha Hyer.It was known as The Live Wire.These Dangerous Years
These Dangerous Years (also known as Dangerous Youth) is a 1957 British comedy musical film directed by Herbert Wilcox and starring George Baker, Frankie Vaughan, Carole Lesley, Thora Hird, Kenneth Cope, David Lodge and John Le Mesurier.The army sequences were filmed in the Inglis Barracks, Mill Hill, London NW7.Tower of Strength (Gene McDaniels song)
"Tower of Strength" is a song written by Burt Bacharach and Bob Hilliard and performed by Gene McDaniels. The song reached No. 5 on both the US Billboard chart and the R&B chart in 1961. It appeared on his 1961 album, Tower of Strength.The record was produced by Snuff Garrett and featured the Johnny Mann Singers and Earl Palmer on drums.Wonderful Things!
Wonderful Things! is a 1958 British comedy romance film directed by Herbert Wilcox and starring Frankie Vaughan, Jocelyn Lane and Wilfrid Hyde-White. Two fisherman brothers clash over the love of a woman.Wyn Calvin
Wyn Calvin, MBE OStJ (born Joseph Wyndham Calvin Thomas, 28 August 1925), is a Welsh comedian, pantomime dame, actor (theatre and television), radio personality, philanthropist and newspaper columnist, nicknamed "The Welsh Prince of Laughter". He has worked with numerous stars during 70 years within the entertainment industry including Bob Hope , Christopher Biggins, Shirley Bassey, Frankie Vaughan, Vic Morrow, Bud Flanagan, Roy Hudd, Max Boyce, Morecambe and Wise and Ken Dodd.