The Cruel Sea

Album: 1963: 20 Original Chart Hits (1963)
Charted: 18
  • songfacts ®
  • 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."
Please sign in or register to post comments.


Be the first to comment...

AC/DCFact or Fiction

Does Angus really drink himself silly? Did their name come from a sewing machine? See if you can spot the real stories about AC/DC.

Is That Song Public Domain?Fact or Fiction

Are classic songs like "Over The Rainbow" and "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" in the public domain?

David Clayton-Thomas of Blood, Sweat & TearsSongwriter Interviews

The longtime BS&T frontman tells the "Spinning Wheel" story, including the line he got from Joni Mitchell.

Phil Hurtt ("I'll Be Around")Songwriter Interviews

Phil was a songwriter, producer and voice behind many Philadelphia soul classics. When disco hit, he got an interesting project: The Village People.

Terry Jacks ("Seasons in the Sun")Songwriter Interviews

Inspired by his dear friend, "Seasons in the Sun" paid for Terry's boat, which led him away from music and into a battle with Canadian paper mills.

Harry ShearerSongwriter Interviews

Harry is Derek Smalls in Spinal Tap, Mark Shubb in The Folksmen, and Mr. Burns on The Simpsons.