The first New Musical Express readers poll was published in 1953.
The British music magazine was the first Brit mag to include a singles chart, but there was so much more.
From the ’50s to the ’60s they held awards ceremonies with each readers poll results, with many big names appearing on stage. While the ceremony was dropped in the 70’s the poll continued. In 1994 they were re-born as The Brats, a light-hearted look at The Brits.
It was the Annual NME readers poll for 1957 that Elvis Presley was voted as the number two singer in the world, announced on October 4.
But who was number one? It was American singer songwriter Pat Boone, with hit songs like ‘Love Letters in the Sand’ and ‘Don’t Forbid Me’.
He was also an actor, appearing in movies like Journey to the Center of the Earth and Bernadine, and was also voted third most popular star in that same year.
In an article published on Elvis Australia, Boone recalled the first time he met Elvis. He said it was in Cleveland and Elvis still hadn’t reached fame nationally yet.
“It was before Heartbreak Hotel, before Hound Dog, he had two or three country records, sort of ‘rockabilly’ we called them,” Pat Boone said. “And I’d seen his name on some jukeboxes in Texas and made note of the name. But he couldn’t be a pop artist, not in those days.”
When Boone was the surprise artist at an old-fashioned sock hop, there was also an unknown performer to join him. Elvis.
“Now, here comes Elvis, his collar’s turned up, this is backstage, lots of hair hanging down in his face. We shook hands, I said, ‘Hello, Elvis. Bill Randall says you’re going to be a big star’. ‘Well, thank you very much’. He just mumbled and looked up at me like this, stayed back against the wall, and I thought, ‘This guy is hopelessly shy.”
Boone wondered if the show was going to be a disaster due to Elvis. How wrong he was.
“Well, Bill Randall introduced him as an up and coming star, he was saving me for last. Elvis went out there and swivelled around the stage, and sang, ‘That’s all right, mama. That’s all right with me’. And the kids – ‘Whoo, who is this, what is this?’ And even though he seemed very country, very raw, they liked him. And I had to follow him. Thank God I had two hit records then, and I was the star that night. Of course, I never followed Elvis again in any show. We never appeared together after that.”
He said they became good friends after that experience.