This was No.1 for some stupefying number of weeks – every time a record knocked Frankie off the top he would climb back up and give the hapless contender a battering. I got the impression it was considered some kind of statistical freak for a long time, a quirk of the fifties’ record buying habits (whatever they might have been). Listening to it though you can hear exactly why it sold so many copies: it has that domineering “I AM A HIT” presence that massive sellers often do. You might think it’s rubbish – and in a sense it is rubbish – but you know from the first listen that your opinion, or anyone’s, is perfectly irrelevant.
Frankie Laine delivers his heart-warming homilies with a clenched-teeth conviction that time has made somewhat laughable: when the drums come in for the last set of “I believe”s I think of purple Tango man tearing off his shirt and striding towards the Dover cliffs. Dispassionately, I admire “I Believe” and the way it presses all the buttons then available, but I can’t take it seriously, which is perhaps a shame – on the other hand I take Andrew WK entirely seriously and the principle is surely the same, so what am I really missing?