Charlie Drake

  • Real Name: Charles Springall
  • Birth Date: 19th June 1925
  • Birth Place: London
  • Charlie Drake was a singer turned comedian- turned singer- little wonder that his splendid novelty songs were so well crafted. Charlie had adopted his mother's maiden name before trying to make it into show business as a singer. However, his first big break came in 1955 as part of a comedy duo called "Mick and Montmorency" which first appeared on children's TV. This was real slapstick with Montmorency (Charlie) really throwing himself around and causing general mayhem. He moved on from this as a solo comedian becoming extremely well known for his catch phrase "Hello My Darlings".

    Charlie's first recorded single was simply a rock and roll number- a cover of an early Bobby Darin song, but with Charlie singing, it was automatically taken as a comedy novelty- whether that was intended or not. He followed this with a version of "Volare" which made it to #28 despite being in competition with several other versions- probably because Charlie injected just the right amount of humour. He also tried again with another rock and roll classic- "Sea Cruise" which has become quite collectable. Sadly, the chart hits ceased with the very silly "My Boomerang Won't Come Back"- though he must have come close with "I Bent My Assagai". Although Charlie never again returned to our charts with a comic song, he did manage to reach #47 at the beginning of 1972 with the splendid "Puckwudgie".

    The EP illustrated here; GEP8720 certainly helped Parlophone maintain their reputation as EMI's premier comedy label. The record contains both sides of Charlie's first two hit singles.

    With its picture of Charlie and a few biographical notes on the back written by Derek Johnson, it is an attractive little package. Unfortunately, although it was popular, it did not sell in huge numbers and is quite hard to find- and unlikely to be cheap if you come across a copy.

    Despite Charlie's fading success with vinyl, he became an ever increasingly familiar face on our TV screens throughout the 1960s. He will now probably be best remembered as the regular visitor to the labour exchange in "The Worker" where he would cause the employment officer "Mr Pugh" (Henry McGee) endless problems. He also appeared in numerous films and pantomimes, where he became a favourite comedy figure. Sadly, Charlie's cheekiness rapidly faded from our TVs following an industrial dispute in which he became embroiled. Nevertheless, he has carried on working ever since those great days and has done many things in addition to comedy. For example, in recent years you may have possibly recognised him in one or two straight roles in televised drama. Sadly Charlie passed away in his sleep, following a period of illness brought on by a stroke, just before Christmas 2006.

    1950s & 1960s 45rpm UK Discography

    • Upper list includes UK 45 singles releases only
    • See Lower list for EP releases
    • Collector's Items are shown In Red

    Parlophone R4461 1958 Splish Splash/ Hello My Darlings #7
    Parlophone R4478 1958 Volare/ Itchy Twitchy Feeling #28
    Parlophone R4496 1958 Tom Thumb's Tune/Goggle Eye Ghee  
    Parlophone R4552 1959 Sea Cruise/ Starkle Starkle Little Twink  
    Parlophone R4675 1960 Naughty/ Old Mr. Shadow  
    Parlophone R4701 1960 Mr. Custer/ Glow Worm #12
    Parlophone R4824 1961 My Boomerang Won't Come Back/ She's My Girl #14
    Parlophone R4875 1962 Tanglefoot/Drake's Progress  
    Parlophone R4918 1962 I Bent My Assigai/ Sweet Freddy Green  
    Parlophone R5057 1963 I've Lost The End Of My Yodel/ I Can Can't I  
    Parlophone R5143 1964 I'm Too Heavy For The Light Brigade/ The Reluctant Tight-Rope Walker  
    Parlophone R5209 1964 Charles Drake 007/ Bumpanology (Bump Head Blues)  
    Parlophone R5253 1965 Only A Working Man/ I'm A Boy  
    Parlophone R5414 1966 Don't Trim My Wick/ Birds  
    Pye 7N17269 1967 Who Is Sylvia/ I Wanna Be A Group  

    EP Discography

    • Collector's Items are shown In Red
    • See Upper List For Singles releases

    Parlophone GEP8270 1958 "Hello My Darlings" (w. Ken Jones Orch.)  
    Itchy Twitchy Feeling/ Hello My Darlings/ Splish Splash/ Volare
    Parlophone GEP8812 1960 "Naughty Charlie Drake"(w. Johnnie Spence Orch.)  
    Naughty/Starkle Starkle/Old Mr. Shadow/Google Eye Ghee
    Parlophone GEP8903 1964 "Hits From The Man In The Moon" (w. Johnnie Spence Orch., Michael Sammes Singers)  
    So This Is The Moon/That's Kissing/The Boston Crab/You Can Do It/Have You Heard About Love?/Wonderman

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