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Sep 03

AL MARTINO – “Here In My Heart”

Popular143 comments • 14,539 views

#1, 14th November 1952

Deep magic from the dawn of pop. Except it’s not really magical, and it wasn’t exactly the dawn, and nowadays this doesn’t even sound like pop. But you have to start somewhere, and the British singles charts started here: a device to sell newspapers that ended up conquering my world. I had never heard Al Martino’s record before I downloaded it on a whim yesterday. It was easy enough to find, easier than it was to listen to twice.

What I’ve often liked about the charts though is their seeming arbitrariness. You can make a good guess at what will be Number One each week but you can rarely get it entirely right - I was surprised (and delighted) that the Black Eyed Peas hit the top this week; I was resigned and appalled when Gareth Gates and the Kumars clung clammily on this spring. So it’s fitting that the first No.1 sounds so overdone and undistinguished - it crashes into life well enough on a surge of strings but Martino’s cornball opera style is baffling to me: this was pop? Um, OK, if you say so.

But the question always has to be - what’s the appeal? Someone (who? why? we can’t really guess) was buying it - what did they like? Martino’s voice is damn versatile - it slides from bellow to purr so slickly over the space of one line, but it never lets the orchestra outshine it. Maybe that was the hook. Maybe what I hear as too-much a 1952 me would have heard as just right. I expect though I’d have thought what I more or less think now - that ‘Here In My Heart’ is OK, just a curio today; just a hit yesterday. And OK seems an OK place to start.

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Comments

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  1. 126
    punctum on 4 Jan 2013 #

    Website also has single and album charts from 12/3/60, but only up to the Top 40.

  2. 127
    Brendan F on 8 Jan 2013 #

    One last thought occurred re the Radio 2 number 2 chart – now that ‘Vienna’ has apparently been given ‘official number 1′ status will Tom have an entry for it?

  3. 128
    punctum on 8 Jan 2013 #

    It hasn’t been given “official number 1″ status; it came top of a radio listeners’ poll. Otherwise you might just as well ask whether Tom will do an entry for David Cameron.

  4. 129
    Lazarus on 8 Jan 2013 #

    ‘Vienna’ was discussed at some length on the ‘Shaddup You Face’ thread, unsurprisingly. Radio 2 themselves styled it an ‘honorary’ number one.

  5. 130
    punctum on 8 Jan 2013 #

    Radio 2, like the BBC in general, are very keen on rewriting history.

  6. 131
    Tom on 8 Jan 2013 #

    Honorary number one my hairy arse. Not that it wouldn’t have been fun to write about.

  7. 132
    anto on 9 Jan 2013 #

    re:121 I think “My Sex” plus a lot of John Foxxs solo stuff wipe the floor with “Vienna”.
    Anyone would think it was an endangered species rather than a slightly silly 30-year old pop epic which has made Midge Ure lots of cash regardless of its chart position.

  8. 133
    wichita lineman on 9 Jan 2013 #

    How much does anyone really like it? Seriously? It never gets oldies airplay/ad usage like, say, Heaven 17′s #2 Temptation.

  9. 134
    Mark G on 9 Jan 2013 #

    Well, I have a certain affection for this song.

    Basically, my first band’s first public performance was at a Pontin’s holiday camp, we got to borrow the resident band’s equipment and did our number with amplification which we’d never had before. The tape sounds like the Buzzcocks, which was fine, this was 1978 after all.

    Any road up, the first bloke on was a cross between Brian Glover and Bill Maynard, and he introduced himself as a ‘pub singer’, a long time before the association that Vic Reeves exploited. Anyway, he chatted a little before producing an acapella performance of this song.

    I never heard this original version until a recent BBC documentary that Tony Blackburn hosted. Have to say, it’s good but the bloke was better…

  10. 135
    hardtogethits on 10 Jan 2013 #

    Amusing to read #134 and think that, like #133, it’s about Vienna.

    Amusing to read # 133 and think that, like #134, it’s about Here In My Heart.

  11. 136
    admin on 9 Sep 2013 #

    Slightly premature bump for this post published 16th September 2003

  12. 137
    Erithian on 9 Sep 2013 #

    Very premature Admin – so what are we doing next week to celebrate?

  13. 138
    Tom on 9 Sep 2013 #

    Nothing big, I’ll have a 10th birthday post up I guess!

  14. 139
    ciaran on 9 Sep 2013 #

    Could there be a record worthy of a ’10′ coming up the same day!

  15. 140
    Lazarus on 13 Sep 2013 #

    Purchase of today’s Times is recommended guys – some chap called Bob Stanley has written about the 1952 chart in Times 2.

  16. 141
    Jimmy the Swede on 13 Sep 2013 #

    Bloody Bob Stanley. He’s like friggin Stephen Fry. He’s everywhere. But who is this geezer?!

  17. 142
    Cumbrian on 13 Sep 2013 #

    Is he a lineman for the county?

  18. 143
    Patrick Mexico on 1 Oct 2013 #

    Out of loyalty to the Godfather, and because sounding so autumnal’s oddly a nice contrast with the starting gun of, :cough: a marathon, not a sprint, I instinctively give this a 6.

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