Harman Patil (Editor)

1953 in British music

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1953 in British music

This is a summary of 1953 in music in the United Kingdom, including the official charts from that year.



  • 14 January - Ralph Vaughan Williams's Sinfonia Antarctica is given its first performance in Manchester.
  • 3 February - Kathleen Ferrier, already suffering from terminal cancer, gives a critically acclaimed performance on the first night of a new production of Gluck's Orfeo ed Euridice at the Royal Opera House.
  • 6 February - During the second performance of Orfeo at Covent Garden, Kathleen Ferrier's left femur gives way; she completes the performance before going to hospital for treatment.
  • 26 May - In the 1953 Coronation Honours, Herbert Howells receives a CBE and Benjamin Britten is appointed a Companion of Honour.
  • 2 June
  • The coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, William McKie, who had been in charge of music at the royal wedding in 1947, is organist. In addition to traditional music, such as Handel's "Zadok the Priest", Hubert Parry's "I was glad" and Samuel Sebastian Wesley's "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace", specially commissioned works performed at the ceremony include Ralph Vaughan Williams's "O Taste and See", William Walton's "Orb and Sceptre", Arthur Bliss's "Processional", Arnold Bax's "Coronation March", and the Canadian composer Healy Willan's anthem "O Lord our Governor".
  • On the evening of the coronation, Sadlers' Wells Ballet stages the first performance of Malcolm Arnold's official coronation ballet Homage to the Queen, with choreography by Frederick Ashton and Robert Irving conducting.
  • 9 June - Kathleen Ferrier writes to the secretary of the Royal Philharmonic Society, thanking them for the award of the Gold Medal; it is thought to be the last letter she ever signed in person.
  • 29 August - Michael Tippett's Fantasia Concertante on a Theme of Corelli is first performed in Edinburgh.
  • Chart summary

    The first week of January saw American jazz singer Al Martino spend a ninth and final week at number one with "Here in My Heart". Jo Stafford and Kay Starr were both non-movers at numbers 2 and 3 with "You Belong to Me" and "Comes A-Long A-Love", and the following week, Jo Stafford managed to climb a place to number one, after 10 weeks in the chart and 9 weeks stuck at number two. Al Martino fell to number 6, and American movie star Mario Lanza climbed back up to number 3, having peaked there 6 weeks earlier. Kay Starr became the third number one when "Comes A-Long A-Love" climbed a place to number one, and American traditional pop music singer Eddie Fisher's "Outside of Heaven" was joint number two with Jo Stafford, due to sales clashing.
    At the end of month, Eddie Fisher climbed to number one with "Outside of Heaven", Perry Como and The Ramblers' "Don't Let the Stars Get in Your Eyes" climbed 5 places to number 3, and Al Martino's "Now" became his third release to make the chart in just 3 months.

    The first number one of February was also the only number one, as Perry Como and The Ramblers' "Don't Let the Stars Get in Your Eyes" climbed two places to number one, and ended up staying there for 5 weeks. The month also saw Al Martino's "Now" and American traditional pop singer Guy Mitchell's "She Wears Red Feathers" slowly climbing up the charts, reaching peaks of number four and two in February. Also, American duo Art and Dotty Todd's "Broken Wings" was a popular song in February, peaking at number 6 for two weeks.

    Just like the previous month, there was only one number one in March, when Guy Mitchell's "She Wears Red Feathers" climbed a place to number one, remaining there for four weeks. Big hits this month were by British group Stargazers' "Broken Wings", American singer Danny Kaye's "Wonderful Copenhagen", and British singer Lita Roza's "(How Much Is) That Doggie in the Window", although they all reached their peaks in the following month. Al Martino's "Now" also re-peaked at number 3, and spent two weeks there.

    In April, Stargazers' "Broken Wings" climbed to number one, and was replaced by Lita Roza's "(How Much Is) That Doggie in the Window" the following week. Elsewhere in the charts, Johnston Brothers's "Oh Happy Day" climbed up the charts, eventually reaching number four at the end of the month, Guy Mitchell's "Pretty Little Black Eyed Susie", debuting at number four then climbing two places to number two, and jazz, rhythm and blues singer Frankie Laine's "I Believe" debuted at number 11 at the beginning of the month, and climbed up the chart to number one at the end of the month.

    "I Believe" in fact remained at number one for nine consecutive weeks, matching Al Martino's "Here in My Heart's" number of consecutive weeks and in total, the song spent eighteen non-consecutive weeks at number one - no other song in the history of charts has spent longer at number one! After debuting at number 10 the previous month, Nat King Cole's "Pretend" climbed to number two and stayed there for the rest of May, Eddie Fisher's "Downhearted" climbed to number 3, spending a total of 14 consecutive weeks in the Top 10 and Jimmy Boyd and Frankie Laine had a Top 5 hit with "Tell Me a Story".

    In June, the theme from Charlie Chaplin's Limelight - "Terry's Theme" sung by easy listening singer Frank Chacksfield - reached number two, and in this month spent two weeks at this position (it later had more success throughout the Summer). There was also another theme song in the chart - Mantovani's version of "The Song from Moulin Rouge" - which reached number four this month, and again, had more success over the Summer. After 9 consecutive weeks at number one, Frankie Laine's "I Believe" fell to number 2, whilst the Eddie Fisher and Sally Sweetland song "I'm Walking Behind You" climbed three places to number one. However, it only spent one week there, and then Frankie Laine returned to number one. Muriel Smith's "Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me" was also a hit this month, peaking at number 3.

    Classical music

  • Malcolm Arnold - Symphony No. 2
  • Michael Tippett Variations on an Elizabethan Theme
  • Opera

  • Benjamin Britten - Gloriana
  • Film and Incidental music

  • Stanley Black - Escape by Night, starring Sid James.
  • Alan Rawsthorne - The Cruel Sea, starring Jack Hawkins, Donald Sinden and Denholm Elliott.
  • Musical films

  • The Beggar's Opera, directed by Peter Brook and starring Laurence Olivier, Dorothy Tutin, and Stanley Holloway.
  • The Story of Gilbert and Sullivan, directed by Sidney Gilliat and starring Robert Morley, Maurice Evans and Owen Brannigan
  • Births

  • 28 January - Chris Carter, English DJ and producer
  • 3 March - Robyn Hitchcock, singer-songwriter
  • 9 April - John Howard, singer-songwriter
  • 15 May - Mike Oldfield, composer
  • 8 June - Bonnie Tyler, singer
  • 19 June - Simon Wright, English drummer (AC/DC, Dio, and UFO)
  • 20 July - Dave Evans, Welsh-Australian singer-songwriter (AC/DC and Rabbit)
  • 22 July
  • Nigel Hess, composer
  • Brian Howe, singer-songwriter (Bad Company)
  • 27 July - Eibhlis Farrell, composer
  • 2 August - Donnie Munro, Scottish singer and guitarist (Runrig)
  • 3 August - Ian Bairnson, multi-instrumentalist (Alan Parsons Project)
  • 10 August - Gillian Elisa, actress, singer, and comedian
  • 23 August - Bobby G, singer with Bucks Fizz
  • 12 November - Calum Macdonald, percussionist with Runrig
  • Deaths

  • 18 January – Arthur Wood, conductor and composer, 78
  • 30 April – Lily Brayton, musical theatre star, 76
  • 15 May – Mabel Love, dancer, 78
  • 21 September – Roger Quilter, composer, 75
  • 3 October - Sir Arnold Bax, composer, Master of the King's Musick, 69
  • 8 October – Kathleen Ferrier, contralto, 41 (cancer)
  • 26 November - Sir Ivor Atkins, organist and choirmaster, 83
  • 11 December – Albert Coates, conductor and composer, 71
  • date unknown - John Reynders, film score composer
  • References

    1953 in British music Wikipedia

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