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Stranger On The Shore

by

Acker Bilk



Songfacts®:  You can leave comments about the song at the bottom of the page.

Acker Bilk is Bernard Stanley Bilk of Somerset, England ("Acker" is a term for "friend"). He took up the clarinet in the UK Royal Army. In 1958, he formed the Paramount Jazz Band. This is an instrumental song featuring Bilk's clarinet.
Bilk wrote this in a taxicab. (thanks, Brad Wind - Miami, FL, for all above)
Originally named "Jenny" (after his daughter) on his LP Sentimental Journey, the song's name was changed when Bilk played it as the theme song for a new children's TV show, Stranger On The Shore. The show, which aired on the BBC, the was about a French "Au Pair" girl living in England - she was the Stranger On The Shore. The closing credits were over film of her standing on the beach looking out to sea, towards France. (thanks, Anne Wade - Glasgow, Scotland)
6 months after this hit #1 in England, it went to #1 in the US, where Billboard named it the #1 single for the year 1962. It topped the charts there for 7 weeks.
This was the first song by a British artist to top the US charts.
Acker Bilk
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Comments (12):

On March 10th 1962, "Stranger On The Shore" by Mr. Acker Bilk entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #80; and on May 20th it peaked at #1 (for 1 week) and spent 21 weeks on the Top 100 (and for 11 of those 21 weeks it was on the Top 10)...
After its one week at #1 it spent the next three weeks at #2 ("I Can't Stop Lovin' You" by Ray Charles knocked it out of the top spot)...
And on April 15th it reached #1 (for 7 weeks) on Billboard's Adult Contemporary Tracks chart (and it was Mr. Charles who also replaced at #1 on this chart)...
During its stay on the Top 10 two vocal versions of the song entered the Top 100; The Drifters (peaked at #73) and Andy Williams (reached #38)...
R.I.P. Mr. Charles (1930 - 2004), Mr. Williams (1927 - 2012), and Mr. Bilk, born Bernard Stanley Bilk, celebrated his 85th birthday two months ago January 28th (2014).
- Barry, Sauquoit, NY
This was also featured in the movie The Flamingo Kid
- Jonesy, Los Angeles, CA
@Deek: Ginger played on this song? I didn't know that.
- Bill, Gurnee, IL
This song was featured in the movie "Mr. Holland's Opus" as well.
- Bill, Downers Grove, IL
I can remember the ending, with the Au Pair staring out across the Channel. If I'm correct Sea Hunt was on around the same time.
Please note, there is no such thing as the UK Royal Army.
- StarkulfR, London, England
The TV show was about some kids falling in with a new kid who comes to their area. They live in Brighton, hence the title. As far as I recall there's something strange about the new boy (?), which was central to the drama.
Anybody know more?
The theme was haunting even from the first time it was played in the four-part series.
- Paul, London, England
Just seen this music played in the movie "The Majestic" with Jim Carey , the movie is meant to be set in 1952 !
- mike, Swansea, England
I haven't heard of this music until my best friend, Lito Mizal, mentioned it to me. I checked out the web for the music and I found it really enchanting.

Carmel
- Carmel, Sydney, Australia
Ginger Baker,later of Cream fame,played drums on it.
- Deek, Livingston, TX
I believe the song was an instrumental.
- Rodney, Baltimore, MD
I would like to get the lyrics to this song, Stranger on the Shore, please tell me where to go for the lyrics, Thank You Doreen Paddock
- Doreen, Sussex, NJ
He was the first Englishman to have a number one song in the US.
- Paul, Tulsa, OK
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