Dickie ValentineView in iTunes
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Never a major star, Dickie Valentine nevertheless had two number singles in 1955 and was voted Top UK male vocalist of 1952 while singing with the Ted Heath Band before embarking on a solo career. Born Richard Bryce in Marylebone, London on the 4th of November 1929, he first tried his hand at singing while he was working as child actor and developed an act, impersonating other singers of the time. He appeared in several movies as a child and got his break when he signed to the Ted Heath Band. He married Elizabeth Flynn in 1954 just as his solo career was getting underway in earnest. He signed to Decca records and his first chart entry was as the chart was only three months old in February 1953 with a competing version of "Broken Wings,", a song which the Stargazers took to the top and resoundly won that particularly battle, although on later releases he would team up with the vocal group. Early in 1955 his version of the romantic ballad "Finger of Suspicion" hit number one. and that year was his peak year with three other top 10 singles, Mr Sandman, A Blossom Fell and I Wonder, all covers of successful American songs, and at the end of the year he enjoyed his second (and final) chart topper with Christmas Alphabet, a sickly sweet run through the spelling of the word Christmas and the first no.1 created specifically for the Christmas market. Rock n Roll was coming however, and Dickie Valentine's style of crooning was considered old fashioned and although during 1956 he had his own TV series, The Dickie Valentine Show, on which he partnered Peter Sellers, the hits had virtually dried up and he had only one further top 10 single the following Christmas with another attempt to capture the holiday market, Christmas Island. Changing record companies in 1959 to Pye Nixa did not change his fortunes and he had two further minor hits before falling off the charts for the final time just two weeks shy of the new decade. He remained popular on the cabaret and live circuit throughout the 1960s but travelling from a gig in Wales on the 6th of May 1971, he was killed in a car crash aged just 41. ~ Sharon Mawer