England has had some great singers in the past. Not all had huge hits, not all sang with the same vibrancy their American counterparts had, but there was one who could match any singer. This one singer could really swing, entertain and create awe inspiring performances.
His name? Dickie Valentine!”
Now you may not know his records so well. You may not have even heard his name, but I am telling you that this guy was in the same league as Sinatra. I could tell that voice anywhere, strong, masculine and perfectly toned. The records are classy and well arranged, by top arrangers.
So WHY is not remembered today as one of the best?
When Mr Valentine broke onto the scene it was primitive and filled with many different kinds of music. There was David Whitfield storming through his hit operatic records and Dave King smoothly crooning tunes at ease. The boy known as Dickie Valentine was something new, something exciting.
He had been singing with the bands for years, early records like “That Lovely Week-end” were pretty, bland and rather mundane. Then came the separation, the solo career that he started, started with a bang!
“All The Time and Everywhere” was the first, then came a string of hits, unstoppable in the hit parade. The year was 1954 and girls swooned as the handsome, young Mr Valentine stole their hearts.
“Mr Sandman”, “The Clown That Cried” and “Endless” were all big hits. The world knew who this guy was and he was voted top singer of 1954.
His biggest hit came with “Finger of Suspicion”. This fine record climbed right up to that precious number one slot. The man was now a fully fledged teen idol and when that record was released he was caught in a hotel by fans. The crowds of fans were not going to be happy until he appeared at a window to sing his number one.
There he stood, they screamed and he sang into those sultry, sexy tones. He would never forget “The Finger of Suspicion” and neither would the fans.
In those far off days of the fifties, albums were not common. The market did not crave them, single records sold and were the discs of teenagers.
Mr Valentine made albums.
He could sell them!
It was a classic, a recording of one of his sold out shows. The sleeve showed the man in his showbiz stances, playing to the audience. The record was an early live recording, a novelty and a piece of history. Here Is Dickie Valentine” was a stronger effort than any of his contemporaries had managed thus far. it contained all the hits up to that time. The crowd was enthusiastic and the man on top form. On top of all that singing talent, he was a great comic. The album showcased his impressions and jokes to the full. What teenage girl of the fifties would not scream with laughter at his Martin and Lewis impression?”
Rock and Roll came along, the hits dried up. Mr Valentine” moved to Pye records. He sang better than he ever had, his voice matured now. The style that had set girls alight, now moved onto the nightclubs, tv spots and other money making ventures.
He was established! He was not a record maker anymore, the man who had made some of the best selling records of the fifties now toured. He never stopped working and finally it was the mid sixties.
Phillips wanted to make an album with him, he said yes.
“Heartful of Song— it was called.
What was it like? In one word, it was Excellent. The teen idol no more– he was in Sinatra territory. The songs were smooth, gentle and loving. The voice melodic, manly, strong and beautiful. Could there ever be better performances of “Something Good?
With its success he headlined more concert venues, then came the event of a lifetime.
“Dickie Valentine- Live at the Talk of the Town.” The record sleeve screamed. The cover shows a picture of an angelic looking man, singing to his fans, his admiring followers.
The concert was a success and the album a hit. He was back, impressions, songs and class.
What happened to the plastic Surgeon? He sat by the fire and melted.”
It was like he had never been away.