Apr 04

CRAIG DOUGLAS – ‘Only Sixteen’

Popular29 comments • 6,044 views

#89, 11th September 1959

Craig Douglas on the other hand makes Cliff seem like James Dean. On the cover of Cuddle Up With Craig he looks distinctly uncomfortable, and distinctly grown-up. He sings grown-up too. ‘Only Sixteen’ is a look back to a romance that could never be ‘ ‘She was too young to fall in love / And I was too young to know’ ‘ the cute twist being that the singer is only 17 now. But Craig’s awkwardly precise, high voice sounds far too sensible for that ‘ he sounds like he’s singing for the parents and grandmas of young lovers, who can cluck their tongues and say ‘aah’, knowing that at least one of these new ‘pop singers’ is on their side. In a word, ‘Only Sixteen’ is square. Its jolly tune is grounded by lumbering production and stolid drums, and its whistling backing vocals round out a fairly obnoxious package.



  1. 1
    rosie on 25 Jul 2008 #

    Limp though this song is, or at least this interpretation of this song, it shouldn’t go unremarked that it is a Sam Cooke song. That Sam Cooke made so little impact on the top of the British charts is to lose sight of his tremendous influence on the music of the period.

  2. 2
    Billy Smart on 13 Jul 2009 #

    Light Entertainment Watch: Craig Douglas was a frequent presence on UK TV in his heyday, but only the first two shows on this list survive;

    BIG NIGHT OUT: with Mike and Bernie Winters (Hosts), Lionel Blair and his Dancers, Max Wall, Craig Douglas, The Peter Sisters, Freddie Frinton (1963)

    BIG NIGHT OUT: with Mike and Bernie Winters (Hosts), David Hamilton (Voice Over Opening Credits), Lionel Blair and his Dancers, The ABC Television Showband, Hylda Baker, Susan Maughan, Craig Douglas, Frank Berry, Julie Samuel (1964)

    BIG NIGHT OUT: with Mike and Bernie Winters (Hosts), Lionel Blair and his Dancers, Dusty Springfield, Craig Douglas, Daniel Rerny, Kenny Ball And His Jazzmen (1965)

    THE GOLDEN SHOT: with Bob Monkhouse, Craig Douglas, Julie Crosthwait, Anne Aston, Kenny Rogers and the First Edition (1970)

    POPS AND LENNY: with Craig Douglas, Eden Kane, The Jolaes Puppets, The Springfields, David Jacobs (1962)

    SET ‘EM UP, JOE!: with Danny La Rue, Tessie O’Shea, Craig Douglas (1969)

    SIX-FIVE SPECIAL: with Lita Roza, Bill Raymond, Donna Douglas, Paul Beattie, The Southlanders, Craig Douglas, Janice Peters, Vince Eager, The Six-Five Dates, Leslie Watkins (1958)

    SIX-FIVE SPECIAL: with Ronnie Carroll, Gary Miller, Billy Raymond, André Touati, Vince Eager, Shirley Western, Craig Douglas, The Ideal Four, The Six-Five Dates, Kendall McDonald (1958)

    SIX-FIVE SPECIAL: with Ronnie Carroll, Marty Wilde, Don Rennie, The Giolli Sisters, Audrey Jeans, Vince Eager, Craig Douglas, Billy Raymond, Terry Burton, The Confrey Phillips Trio (1958)

    SIX-FIVE SPECIAL: with Shirley Bassey, Marty Wilde, Ronnie Carroll, Don Lang, Craig Douglas, Chris Howland, Vince Eager, The Kentons, Claudio Venturelli, Suzy Lee (1958)

    SIX-FIVE SPECIAL: with The Kalin Twins, Laurie London, Don Rennie, Joan Small, Jimmy Lloyd, Vince Eager, The Lana Sisters, The Six-Five Dates, Craig Douglas, Maurice Burman (1958)

    SIX-FIVE SPECIAL: with The Six-Five Dates, Ruby Murray, Ronnie Carroll, Russ Conway, Audrey Jeans, Vince Eager, Craig Douglas, Frank Cook, Billy Raymond, The Tracy Sisters (1958)

    THANK YOUR LUCKY STARS: with Kenny Ball And His Jazzmen, Craig Douglas, Marty Wilde, Nick Villard, Doug Sheldon, The Polka Dots, Cleo Laine, Peter West (1961)

    THANK YOUR LUCKY STARS: with The Beverly Sisters, Craig Douglas, Billy Fury (1961)

    THANK YOUR LUCKY STARS: with Brian Matthew, Cliff Richard, Kenny Ball And His Jazzmen, Ronnie Carroll, Petula Clark, The Karl Denver Trio, Craig Douglas, Frank Ifield, The Shadows, Helen Shapiro (1962)

    THANK YOUR LUCKY STARS: with Brian Matthew, Kenny Ball And His Jazzmen, Craig Douglas, Eden Kane, The Vernons Girls, Freddy Cannon, Kent Walton (1962)

    THANK YOUR LUCKY STARS: with Brian Matthew, Winifred Atwell, Ray Bennett, The Beverley Sisters, Craig Douglas, Mike Sarne, The Shadows, Rosemary Squires, Norman Vaughan, Bob Monkhouse (1962)

    THANK YOUR LUCKY STARS: with John Leyton, Craig Douglas, Chris Barber’s Jazz Band with Ottilie Patterson, The Avons, Donna Douglas, Ian Gregory, Carole Carr (1962)

    THANK YOUR LUCKY STARS: with Kenny Ball And His Jazzmen, Craig Douglas, The Polka Dots, Doug Sheldon, Carole Dene, Don Neilson, Bill Crozier (1962)

    THANK YOUR LUCKY STARS: with Brian Matthew, Craig Douglas, The Searchers, Brian Poole and the Tremeloes, Heinz, Patsy Ann Noble, Gregory Philips, The Rolling Stones (1963)

    THANK YOUR LUCKY STARS: with Brian Matthew, Craig Douglas, The Springfields, Mr Acker Bilk and his Paramount Jazz Band, Rolf Harris, Dorothy Baker, Johnny Kidd and the Pirates (1963)

    THANK YOUR LUCKY STARS: with Brian Matthew, Frank Ifield, Craig Douglas, Tommy Roe, Patsy Ann Noble, Johnny Burnette, The Dave Clark Five, Chad Smart & Jeremy Clyde, Janice Nicholls, Alan Freeman (1963)

    THANK YOUR LUCKY STARS: with Brian Matthew, Helen Shapiro, Craig Douglas, Rolf Harris, The Spotnicks, Christine Campbell, The Kestrels, Alan Elsdon and his Jazz Band, Alan Freeman (1963)

    THANK YOUR LUCKY STARS: with Brian Matthew, The Searchers, Craig Douglas, Sir Jimmy Savile (Guest Disc Jockey), Petula Clark, The Merseybeats, The Fourmost, Gregory Philips, Peter’s Faces, Richard Anthony (1964)

    THANK YOUR LUCKY STARS: with Brian Matthew, Manfred Mann, Terry Scott, Craig Douglas, The Troggs, Marilyn Powell (1966)

    WESTWARD BEAT COMPETITION: with Chet and the Triumphs, The Rustiks, The Devonairs, The Barracudas, The Big Four, The Iveys, Craig Douglas, Brian Epstein, Russell Turner (1964)

  3. 3
    Wendy on 22 Nov 2009 #

    does anyone have any information on the Devonaires? they won westward beat competition and had a recording session in london with Decca Records

  4. 4
    punctum on 17 Sep 2011 #

    Reading this excellent article by WL, I’m a bit worried about old Craig now:


  5. 5
    wichita lineman on 19 Sep 2011 #

    The curse of the sub… the reference to Craig in the last paragraph wasn’t mine. The bulk of his hits will be be PD in January, and all of them in January 2013 (including 1962’s Meek-ish, Jon Savage-favoured no.9 hit Our Favourite Melodies) if he wants to make cds of his own back catalogue.

    It’s the Merseybeat second stringers I feel sorry for (that line got subbed… I did write about 300 words too many, though). Just on the cusp of getting their rights back. As for the artist/sessioneer-friendly clauses in the EU ruling, I don’t believe a word.

  6. 6
    Mark M on 19 Sep 2011 #

    Tsk… it’s always the subs who get blamed – in my now fairly epic experience, it’s section editors or above who add stuff in as opposed to surgical trimming and gentle correcting of unhappy syntax.

  7. 7
    wichita lineman on 19 Sep 2011 #

    I was using sub as a noun, and should point out (because he’s a Popular reader) that the person I think is responsible almost always improves the half-formed homework I hand in. Phew.

    Anyway. Craig Douglas. Only Popular entrant from the Isle Of Wight? I found a bunch of his 45s there on holiday this spring, some quite tidy ‘popcorn’ moments among them.

  8. 8
    Jimmy the Swede on 20 Sep 2011 #

    I seem to remember reading that Jet Harris lived on the island up until his holing out to extra cover earlier this year.

  9. 9
    Erithian on 20 Sep 2011 #

    There was also, briefly, Level 42’s Mark King, who contributed to Ferry Aid and who, like Craig Douglas, began his career as a milkman! Spooky.

  10. 10
    wichita lineman on 20 Sep 2011 #

    Re 8: You’re right, but this was his post-booze haven. He’d always been in London when he was scoring hits.

    Re 9: Good spot! Milkmen from the Isle Of Wight! Let’s do a talent show there right now!

  11. 11
    wichita lineman on 20 Sep 2011 #

    Favourite Isle of Wight act: Shide And Acorn, who made a very sweet private press folk album and were named after a village south of Newport. Plus the “acorn” bit.

  12. 12
    MarkG on 20 Sep 2011 #

    Hmm, will have to look out for it if i’m ever back on the island (just checked Popsike!)

  13. 13
    thefatgit on 20 Sep 2011 #

    If the I.O.W. can’t boast as many #1 artists as Manchester or Liverpool, at least the island had an interesting indie band or two; The Bees and Trixie’s Big Red Motorbike, both Peel faves iirc.

  14. 14
    wichita lineman on 20 Sep 2011 #

    Two more Popular/Wight connections: Ken Dodd has a holiday home in Freshwater Bay, and Melvyn Hayes (who starred in The Young Ones with Cliff and the Shads) lives in Sandown.

    I knew there would be one… here’s a cracking Craig Douglas b-side, moody slow northern from 1969, the flip of Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head:


  15. 15
    AndyPandy on 20 Sep 2011 #

    And of course the place pops up in the Beatles’ ‘When I’m 64’ and John Lennon’s Aunt Mimi moved there after he bought her a house on the island.
    And wasn’t the 2 biggest ever Pop Festivals in Britain (in numbers attending)there in 1969 & 1970?

  16. 16
    wichita lineman on 20 Sep 2011 #

    The 1970 festival was lauded by Sandie Shaw on her flop Wight Is Wight (“Dylan is delight”). It’s not as good as Craig Douglas’s Don’t Mind If I Cry.

  17. 17
    Erithian on 20 Sep 2011 #

    And another one – the first track on “Standing on the Shoulder of Giants” by Oasis, titled “F—in’ In The Bushes”, incorporates quotes from a documentary on the Isle of Wight festival: an organiser ranting from the stage at the people who broke down the fences (“We put this festival on, you bastards!”) and a local describing exactly what festivalgoers have been getting up to in the bushes.

  18. 18
    thefatgit on 20 Sep 2011 #

    Dimbola Lodge in Freshwater, famously has a statue of Jimi Hendrix. There’s also a permanent exhibition of Festival photos and memorobilia.

  19. 19
    hardtogethits on 21 Sep 2011 #

    Back to #4, thanks for the pointer to what really is an excellent article. I don’t know how I feel about the idea that it’s blown your cover, wichita. See Normal Rockwell, “The Discovery.”

    Anyhow, it’s good to know that somewhere someone in print media is prepared to present the other side of the Copyright Extension issue. Music Week is so tiresomely one-sided I think it’s lost all concept of the fact that there are people who see both sides of the argument and / or think the negative aspects of copyright extension outweigh the benefits. It’s here now, though, isn’t it?

  20. 20
    wichita lineman on 21 Sep 2011 #

    Comme ci comme ca, HTGH, but you remain an enigma!

    Robert Stigwood, connected to Come Outside as well as most of the Bee Gees no.1s, is currently resident on the Isle Of Wight. Andrew Loog Oldham told me that yesterday. Now I’m just showing off.

  21. 21
    punctum on 22 Sep 2011 #

    I had no idea HTGH was in Enigma.

    *tumbling tumbleweeds, Barber’s Adagio, coat-getting, &c.*

  22. 22
    Patrick Mexico on 6 Oct 2013 #

    [post removed at posters request]

  23. 23
    Patrick Mexico on 6 Oct 2013 #

    [post removed at posters request]

  24. 24
    Patrick Mexico on 20 Oct 2013 #

    [post removed at posters request]

  25. 25
    Patrick Mexico on 22 Nov 2013 #

    Can I politely ask admin to please remove my entire posting history on this song (Apart from this one, obviously?) There’s nothing I’m losing sleep over – I just was in a cynical mood when I wrote them.

    However, Marcello’s recent discussions have given me food for thought: even joking in the current climate about musicians of yesteryear being “scary” (even implying none less innocently than “as scary as a Goosebumps novel”) aren’t what the world needs right now.

  26. 26

    Posts removed.

    Posters! Please think twice before committing remarks you may later come to regret! It is not really our job to clean up after you :)

  27. 27
    Patrick Mexico on 23 Nov 2013 #

    Yeah OK, sorry about that. Lessons learnt from Rocky I to Rocky Balboa.

  28. 28
    Patrick Mexico on 23 Nov 2013 #

    Thanks anyway.

  29. 29
    Gareth Parker on 9 Jun 2021 #

    I actually rather like this song. 7/10 for me.

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