Winchester Cathedral

Album: Funny Favorites (1966)
Charted: 4 1
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Songfacts®:

  • The New Vaudeville Band is the creation of the British songwriter and record producer Geoff Stephens, who arranged this to sound like Rudy Vallee's vaudeville hits in the 1930s. Stephens sang it through a megaphone to help create the sound. The song became a surprise novelty hit - Stephens' only chart entry in the US, but one of four to crack the UK Top 40.
  • Winchester Cathedral is in Hampshire, England, and is one of the largest cathedrals in the world. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Bertrand - Paris, France, for above 2
  • Artists to cover this song include Petula Clark, Dizzy Gillespie, Ray Conniff, Frank Sinatra and Lawrence Welk.
  • Stephens was inspired to write this song after staring at a picture of Winchester Cathedral on his calendar.
  • This won the 1966 Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Rock & Roll Recording.

Comments: 12

  • Ricky Gunn from LondonIf 'Winchester Cathedral' sold over 3 million copies but was recorded by session musicians, presumably for a one-off fee, did Geoff Stephens pocket all the revenue? Just wondering ... (Nothing personal, Geoff.)
  • Night Heron from Etna CaI heard it on the Radio many times and I think of Smmo for Rifles (Winchester Rifles, Winchester House) and yes there is Church.
  • Barbara from PhoenixWhat does 'oh vodeodo' mean?
  • AnonymousWhat was the location of the cathedral itself? England Or Tennessee?
  • Tony Dickenson from Glen Innes AustraliaIt might be just an urban legend, but I heard on the radio one time that the song was actually about the chamber of a gun. And that the "Winchester Cathedral" meant the loading chamber of a Winchester firearm, and that "If only you started ringing your bell" meant that "If only you had fired, it would have got the girls attention, and she would have turned around and not have kept walking and gone away". But whether it is about a gun or the famous place of worship, it is one of the best and catchy hits of all time, whether done with lyrics or just as an instrumental. Well done New Vaudeville Band. On that one and Finchley Central as well.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn January 1st 1967, the New Vaudeville Band performed "Winchester Cathedral" on the CBS-TV program 'The Ed Sullivan Show'...
    And seven Sundays earlier on November 13th, 1966 the group performed the song for the first time on the 'Sullivan' show...
    {See the next post below}
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn November 13th 1966, the New Vaudeville Band performed "Winchester Cathedral" on the CBS-TV program 'The Ed Sullivan Show'...
    At the time the song was at #3 on Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart; fourteen days later on November 27th it peaked at #1 {for 3 non-consecutive weeks}...
    On the same day it peaked at #1 on the Top 100 it also reached #1 {for 4 weeks} on Billboard's Adult Contemporary Tracks chart...
    The British band had one other Top 100 record; "Peek-A-Boo", it stayed on the chart for four weeks, peaking at #72...
    Geoff Stephens, the band's founder, celebrated his 80th birthday last month on October 1st {2014}.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn October 30th 1966, "Winchester Cathedral" by Dana Rollin entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #98; it remained on the chart for a grand total of six weeks, peaking at #71...
    And on week it entered the Top 100 the New Vaudeville Band's version was at #24 on the Top 100; and four weeks later it would peak at #1.
  • Jim from West Palm Beach, FlIt means the memory of someone who got jilted at the alter.
  • Bryan from Eveleth, MnWhat does this song mean?
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn December 3rd, 1966 "Winchester Cathedral" became No. 1 for one week, then "Good Vibrations" by The Beach Boys took over the top spot for one week. But The New Vaudeville Band reclaimed No. 1 and held it for two more weeks!!! {Was No. 1 for three weeks and 15 weeks in the Top 100}
  • Rob from Amsterdam, NyThe Bands Manager Peter Grant also managed Led Zeppelin in the late 60s-70s era...
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