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David Whitfield

Hull born David Whitfield had a style closer to light opera than that of a popular crooner, and commanded the respect of an admiring older generation through a period in which teenagers, not adults, would become the dominant record buyers. It was a style that he never changed despite the vagaries of fashion and the transient nature of the music industry of the time. He first came to wide public attention during 1950 after appearing in the Hughie Green hosted 'Opportunity Knocks' on Radio Luxembourg- a station that would become the focus for rock and roll music in the UK a few years later.

David WhitfieldDavid's own chart career began less than a year after a proper chart, showing the relative sales of recorded music, had begun. He had previously joined the Royal Navy while still in his teens and became a popular performer with his fellow seamen whenever he was given the chance to sing. Although he took a job as a labourer after his demobilisation, he began entering talent contests- including the one for Hughie Green's radio show. It was from this that he found himself in demand nationally and was able to switch from carrying cement bags to singing in the West End of London. It was then a short step to his recording career with Decca. His first big successes were with 'Bridge Of Sighs' and the controversial 'Answer Me'. His greatest success however was with his powerful rendition of 'Cara Mia'- the lyrics of which he claimed to have contributed to himself. This song was so successful that it became the first major US hit for a British artist- an extraordinary feat for 1954.

The EP shown here was typical of David's output during the late 1950s. It contained four numbers that benefited well from his powerful, strident, singing voice. However, these were all songs that he'd already had issued as singles. Nevertheless, this EP with sleeve notes and a picture of the singer is an attractive package for Whitfield fans.

During the second world war, David served aboard HMS Belfast and a picture of him is still on the wall of the wireless room of this now floating museum in the river Thames. When asked by our reporter Harry Fletcher, the current crew knew nothing of him serving aboard, claiming that the picture had been placed there just to add a little 1950s feel to the display. Harry, following further research, was able to confirm that David served aboard as a turret gunner during the D-Day landings. The Belfast, of course, being the vessel which fired the open salvo at the start of this momentous battle. Thanks to Harry's research, an appropriate plaque is to be placed aboard HMS Belfast. Look out for it next time you visit.

Despite David's wonderful voice, his record sales began to slip at the end of the 1950s and by the early 1960s his career had settled down into stage rather than studio work. His popularity and fame were sufficient to keep his splendid tenor voice in popular demand up until the end of his life. Sadly, David Whitfield died in Australia during 1980.

1950s & 1960s 45rpm UK Discography

1950s & 1960s 45rpm UK Discography
Chart Recording - A/B Side Catalogue
1954 #1 Cara Mia/ Love Tears And Kisses Decca F10327
1954   Smile/ How When Or Where Decca F10355
1954 #2 Santo Natale/ Adeste Fideles Decca F10399
1955 #8 Beyond The Stars/ Open Up Your Heart Decca F10458
1955 #3 Mama/ Ev'rywhere Decca F10515
1955   The Lady/ Santa Rose Lea Rose Decca F10562
1955   I'll Never Stop Loving You/ Lady Of Madrid Decca F10596
1955 #7 When You Lose The One You Love/ Angelus Decca F10627
1956 #3 My September Love/ The Rudder And The Rock Decca F10690
1956 #22 My Son John/ My Unfinished Symphony Decca F10769
1957 #9 Adoration Waltz/ If I Lost You Decca F10833
1957 #27 I'll Find You/ I'd Give You The World Decca F10864
1957   Without Him/ Dream Of Paradise Decca F10890
1957   Ev'rything/ Martinella Decca F10931
1958 #22 Cry My Heart/ My One True Love Decca F10978
1958 #16 On The Street Where You Live/ Afraid Decca F11018
1958 #30 The Right To Love/ That's When Your Heartaches Begin Decca F11039
1958   This Is The Lucia/ Love Is A Stranger Decca F11079
1959   Willingly/ William Tell Decca F11101
1960 #49 I Believe/ Hear My Song Decca F11289
1962   Impossible/ As Long As You Love Me HMV POP1015
1963   You Belong In Someone Elses Arms/ This Heart Of Mine HMV POP1180

David Whitfield recordings may be ordered here

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A very special thanks to Hull Local Studies Library for their help with our research projects.