Top Australian hits in the summer of '62

Elvis Presley. Source: Getty.

A very interesting top 10 hit in Australia was a song written by John D. Loudermilk and titled ‘Midnight Bus’, recorded by Betty McQuade. She came to Brisbane when she was eight years old in 1942 and in 1960 relocated to Melbourne via Sydney to try to make it in the music scene.

McQuade could not have timed it better because The Thunderbirds were looking for a replacement for Judy Cannon who had left to pursue a solo career. They were impressed with Betty’s voice and signed her to a contract. In mid-1961 she signed for Astor Records and the first recording ‘Midnight Bus’ peaked at number six in January 1962.

Betty McQuade had lots of appearances in pop TV shows. After a couple of unsuccessful recordings she joined another local group The Premiers, and continued to perform becoming a regular on The Go Show on TV. She made her last record in 1967 before returning to Brisbane in 1968.

The Twist craze was starting to sweep around the globe; in the United States, ‘The Peppermint Twist’ by Joey Dee and the Starliters was number one and at number two ‘The Twist’ by Chubby Checker.

‘The Twist’ was only the second song to top the Billboard Top 100 twice in two separate chart entries; the first was ‘White Christmas’ by Bing Crosby. A quote from movie producer Sam Kaltzman “The Movie Twist Around the Clock cost only $250,000 to make and in six months it grossed $6 million, so of course I’m gonna make more twist movies.”

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In London, Decca Records A and R man Mike Smith auditioned two bands and signed up a five piece band from Dagenham, Brian Poole and The Tremeloes who went on to have a very successful chart-topping career. The group who missed out was a four-piece band from Liverpool who went on to greater glory, The Beatles.

This month saw the start of a golden decade for Motown Records. They had a total of 110 top 10 hits in the US and around the world; the artists included The Marvellettes, The Jackson Five, The Contours, Diana Ross and the Supremes, The Miracles with Smokey Robinson, The Four Tops, Stevie Wonder, The Temptations, Mary Wells, Martha and the Vandellas, Marvin Gaye, Gladys Knight and the Pips, and Jimmy Ruffin.

The number one hits in Australia during January 1962

6th and 13th: ‘When The Girl In Your Arms Is The Girl In Your Heart’, Cliff Richard and The Shadows
20th and 27th: ‘Let There Be Drums’, Sandy Nelson

The number one hits in the United Kingdom

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‘Stranger On The Shore’, Acker Bilk for the whole month

The number one hits in the United States

6th: ‘The Lion Sleeps Tonight’, The Tokens
13th, 20th, 27th: ‘The Peppermint Twist’, Joey Dee and the Starliters

The top 10 in Australia in January 1962

1. ‘Let There Be Drums’, Sandy Nelson
2. ‘My Boomerang Won’t Come Back’, Charlie Drake
3. ‘When The Girl In Your Arms Is The Girl In Your Heart’, Cliff Richard and The Shadows
4. ‘Run To Him / Walkin’ With My Angel’, Bobby Vee
5. ‘Can’t Help Falling In Love With You’, Elvis Presley
6. ‘Happy Birthday Sweet Sixteen’, Neil Sedaka
7. ‘Moon River’, Jerry Butler
8. ‘Walk On By’, Leroy Van Dyke
9. ‘Goodbye Cruel World’, James Darren
10. ‘Runaround Sue’, Dion and The Belmonts

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The top 10 Australian Hits in 1962

1. ‘I’ve Been Everywhere’, Lucky Starr
2. ‘Si Senor’, Rob E. G.
3. ‘Sing’, Johnny O’Keefe
4. ‘Southern Rora’, The Joy Boys
5. ‘I Remember You’, Frank Ifield
6. ‘Wolverton Mountain’, Kevin Shegog
7. ‘Get A Little Dirt On Your Hands’, The Delltones
8. ‘5-4-3-2-1-Zero’, Rob E. G.
9. ‘The Girl From Wolverton Mountain’, Dorothy Baker
10. ‘Midnight Bus’, Betty McQuade

Do you remember these hits from 1962? Do you have a favourite?

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