Answer Me

Album: Frankie Laine's Greatest Hits (1953)
Charted: 1

Songfacts®:

  • This song holds a unique claim to fame: it was the first song to knock itself off the top of the UK singles chart. "Answer Me" started life as a German song called Mutterlein. The original sheet music of the English version is held by the British Library. The credits are as follows: "Answer Me, My Love" the popular song version, music by Gerhard Winkler, words by Fred Rauch; English Lyric by Carl Sigman. The original was copyright Papageno Verlag, Hans Sikorski, Hamburg, Germany; this version, which was recorded by David Whitfield on Decca, was published jointly by Bourne Music of London and Bourne Inc of New York; it was copyrighted in 1953, and sold for two shillings. The other version, which was recorded by Frankie Laine on Philips, was also published by Bourne. It is called simply "Answer Me."
  • There is an interesting story here relating to a rather bizarre act of censorship. Frankie Laine (1913-2007) recorded his version, which runs to 2 minutes 42 seconds, first. The song begins "Answer me, Lord above." According to an article in the Independent newspaper of December 14, 2007, the BBC saw this as "a sentimental mockery of Christian prayer," and it became another in a very long list of innocuous songs to be denied airplay. This prompted Bunny Lewis, the quick-witted manager of the English artist David Whitfield (1925-80) to jump in with a minor alteration: "Answer me, Lord above" became "Answer me, oh my love," and the song, now running to 2 minutes 29 seconds, reached #1 on November 7, 1953. The following week it was knocked off the top spot by the Frankie Laine version, which would remain there for 8 weeks.
  • "Answer Me" has been recorded by many artists over the years; in 1976, the Scottish singer-songwriter Barbara Dickson reached #9 in the UK singles chart with a slightly uptempo version. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Alexander Baron - London, England, for all above
  • With this track, Frankie Laine became the first act to have 3 UK #1 singles, having previously hit the top with "I Believe" and "Hey Joe!" These 3 songs all reached #1 in 1953 and their combined total of weeks at the summit, 27, is still the record amount of weeks an artist has spent at #1 in the UK in a single year. The 27 weeks is made up of, "I Believe" 18 weeks, "Hey Joe!" 2 weeks and 'Answer Me' 7 weeks.

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