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Album Review

Anthony Newley's belated career as a recording artist was an afterthought of his starring role in the film Idle on Parade, which was about an Elvis Presley-like entertainer, but it brought him a string of hit singles in his native Great Britain starting in the spring of 1959. His debut LP, Love Is a Now and Then Thing, established that he was interested in being a mainstream pop singer, not a rock & roll idol, and Tony, his second album, furthered that intention. The obvious influence was Frank Sinatra, although, in his phrasing and his confident, even exaggerated swagger, Newley sometimes came off as Bobby Darin with a British accent. This was most pronounced in his rendition of "Pop Goes the Weasel," released as a single that reached the Top 20, a performance that also brought out his theatricality and sense of humor. (It was tracks like this that became a major influence on David Bowie when he came to record his first album for Deram Records six years later.) Effectively handling pop standards like "I Should Care" and "By Myself," amusingly resurrecting Tin Pan Alley evergreens like "Yes! We Have No Bananas" and "Bye Bye Blackbird," and even turning in a French interpretation of "Basin Street Blues," Newley seemed to be preparing himself for a career in nightclubs and Nevada gambling casinos. Instead, less than a month after the release of Tony, he opened in the West End in his own musical, Stop the World — I Want to Get Off, expanding the range of his talent even further. Meanwhile, Tony, which reached the U.K. Top Five, proved to be his most successful solo album.

Biography

Born: 24 September 1931 in London, England

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s

Anthony Newley was one of entertainment's genuine triple threats: an actor, singer, and composer with an international following, equally adept and prodigious in all three fields. Moreover, he enjoyed success as a performer in such seemingly mutually exclusive fields as rock & roll and the legitimate stage. And even more improbably, he did it with a working-class Cockney persona that should never have found much currency outside of England. Indeed, for 30 years he was one of the most imposing talents...
Full bio
Tony, Anthony Newley
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  • £2.99
  • Genres: Rock, Music
  • Released: 1961

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