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The Cruel Sea by The Dakotas

Album: 1963: 20 Original Chart HitsReleased: 1963Charted:
  • This surf-influenced instrumental was written by Dakotas guitarist Mike Maxfield and became a hit after the act they backed, Billy J Kramer, began racking up entries in the UK charts.
  • Maxfield spoke to Mojo magazine December 2009 about the inspirations for this song: "Most guitarists were influenced by Hank Marvin. I was determined to be different. I became aware of American guitarist Wes Montgomery and his octave style of playing, and evolved my way of playing in octaves. I went to see a film The Cruel Sea, liked the title and the sound rough seas made."
  • American instrumental legends The Ventures covered this on the B-side of 'Walk-Don't Run '64.' "I was delighted," Maxfield told Mojo, "'Walk-Don't Run '64' zoomed up the US charts so I phoned my publisher, Dick James, for a royalty advance, which I spent in London bars, enjoying the company of mini-skirted debutantes!"
  • The song was produced by Beatles' producer George Martin. It was Paul McCartney and John Lennon, who originally suggested The Dakotas to Billy J. Kramer as his backing band.
  • This was to be the only hit for The Dakotas, but they continued to back Billy J. Kramer for several more chart entries, including early 1964's UK chart-topper "Little Children."
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