The English singer, songwriter, actor and comedian (1934-1995) provided hit records for Dale Hawkins, Anthony Newley, The Shadows and Jet Harris, but Lordan has never gotten his due in the CD era. Because most of his work came in the pre-Beatles era of British pop, too many of Jerry Lordan’s songs are all but forgotten. RPM Records, an imprint of Cherry Red, has come to right that wrong with the comprehensive All My Own Work, combining Lordan’s 1961 album of the same name with fourteen more tracks. The new, expanded All My Own Work paints a definitive portrait of Lordan, the singer/songwriter.
Jerry Lordan recorded All My Own Work in 1961 for the Parlophone label, with orchestral accompaniment by Matt Monro’s frequent collaborator, Johnnie Spence. By the time of the album’s recording, he was already a proven hitmaker. One of his very first songs, “A House, A Car and a Wedding Ring,” didn’t chart in a Decca U.K. version recorded by Mike Preston, but across the pond, rockabilly hero Dale Hawkins did well with it. Soon, Anthony Newley took “I’ve Waited So Long” to No. 3 in the U.K., and Lordan was working with future superstar film composer John Barry on “Starfire,” which appeared on Barry’s Stringbeat album. Lordan was signed as an artist to Parlophone in 1959, working not only with Spence but with Ron Goodwin and George Martin. A little song called “Apache,” however, would eclipse Lordan’s solo output.
While touring with Cliff Richard and the Shadows, Lordan played the Shadows his guitar instrumental “Apache,” previously recorded (but not released) by Bert Weedon. The Shadows recorded and quickly released their version, which shot to No. 1 on the British charts. It remained there for five weeks, selling over a million records and displacing Cliff Richard’s own “Please, Don’t Tease” from the top slot. “Apache” received a hit cover version in the U.S. from Jorgen Ingmann (No. 2!) and Weedon even scored a minor hit with his version. Lordan chose to concentrate on songwriting rather than performing, and the Shadows’ later, Lordan-penned “Wonderful Land” even eclipsed “Apache,” remaining at No. 1 in the U.K. for eight weeks. It remains the biggest-selling rock instrumental of all time in Great Britain. He went on to write for The Shadows (1965’s vocal hit “Mary Anne”), Cliff (“A Girl Like You”), other Shadows alumni Jet Harris and Tony Meehan (“Diamonds”) and Hank B. Marvin, as well as for Shane Fenton and Louise Cordet. He collaborated with the hitmaking team of Roger Cook and Roger Greenaway, and even recorded a single arranged and supervised by George Martin, 1970’s The Old Man and the Sea. It was not a hit, and much of the 1970s was a dark period. Lordan returned to songwriting the following decade, and lived long enough to hear The Shadows still performing his songs nightly when the group returned to regular touring. Lordan died in 1995.
The expanded All My Own Work includes the twelve tracks from the original 1961 LP, plus all twelve sides of Lordan’s six Parlophone singles recorded between 1959 and 1962; none of them were significant chart entries. Arranged by Johnnie Spence, All My Own Work includes Lordan’s recording of “Apache,” plus other hits like “A House, A Car and a Wedding Ring” and “I’ve Waited So Long,” for a retrospective “And then I wrote..” feel. The CD is rounded out by two previously unissued demo recordings. Simon Murphy has remastered at Another Planet Music, and Rob Bradford provides a detailed, lengthy essay. Claudine Lordan, Jerry’s widow, provides a warm afterword.
A fine reminder of a songwriter who injected some vital energy into the pre-Beatles U.K. rock and roll scene, Jerry Lordan’s All My Own Work is available now from RPM Records and can be ordered below.
Jerry Lordan, All My Own Work (RPM RETRO 916, 2012)
- A House, A Car and a Wedding Ring
- I’ve Waited So Long
- Leave Me Alone
- First Romance (Instrumental)
- Man on My Trail
- Love Where Can You Be?
- I Want to Fall in Love
- All Night Long
- I’ll Stay Single
- The World’s Loneliest Man
- I’ll Stay Single (Single Version)
- Can We Kiss
- Who Could Be Bluer?
- Do I Worry?
- Sing Like an Angel
- Ev’ry Time
- Ring, Write or Call
- I’ve Still Got You
- You Came a Long Way from St. Louis (Stereo)
- Let’s Try Again (Stereo)
- One Good Solid 24 Carat Version
- Second Hand Dream
- Diamonds (Piano/Vocal Demo)
- Scarlett O’Hara (Piano/Vocal Demo)
Tracks 1-12 from All My Own Work, Parlophone PCS 3014, 1961
Tracks 13-14 from Parlophone single R 4588, 1959
Tracks 15-16 from Parlophone single R 4627, 1960
Tracks 17-18 from Parlophone single R 4653, 1960
Tracks 19-20 from Parlophone single R 4695, 1960
Tracks 21-22 from Parlophone single R 4748, 1961
Tracks 23-24 from Parlophone single R 4903, 1962
Tracks 25-26 previously unreleased