Frankie Vaughan

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Frankie Vaughan
Frankie Vaughan.jpg
Background information
Birth nameFrank Ableson
Born(1928-02-03)3 February 1928
Liverpool, Lancashire, England
Died17 September 1999(1999-09-17) (aged 71)
Oxford, Oxfordshire, England
GenresEasy listening
Traditional popular music
OccupationsSinger
InstrumentsVocals
Years active1940s–1985
LabelsHMV, Philips, Columbia, Pye
 
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Frankie Vaughan
Frankie Vaughan.jpg
Background information
Birth nameFrank Ableson
Born(1928-02-03)3 February 1928
Liverpool, Lancashire, England
Died17 September 1999(1999-09-17) (aged 71)
Oxford, Oxfordshire, England
GenresEasy listening
Traditional popular music
OccupationsSinger
InstrumentsVocals
Years active1940s–1985
LabelsHMV, Philips, Columbia, Pye

Frankie Vaughan, CBE, DL (3 February 1928 – 17 September 1999[1]) was an English singer of traditional pop music, who issued more than 80 singles in his lifetime. He was known as "Mr. Moonlight" after one of his early hits.[2]

Life and career[edit]

He was born Frank Ableson to a Jewish family in Devon Street, Liverpool, Lancashire.[1] The name 'Vaughan' came from a grandmother whose first grandson he was, who used to call Frank 'my number one' grandson, in whose Russian accent 'one' sounded like 'Vaughan'.[1]

In his early life, he was a member of the Lancaster Lads' Club, a member group of the National Association of Boys' Clubs in the UK, and in his career he was a major contributor to the clubs, dedicating his monetary compensation from one song each year to them.[1] He was an evacuee during World War II.[2] He started out at the club intending to be a boxer.[1] He attended the Lancaster College of Art on a scholarship and was a vocalist in their dance band.[1] After a stint in the Royal Army Medical Corps in World War II (where he spent most of his time boxing) he returned to art school, this time at the Leeds College of Art.[1]

When he won a prize in a design contest, he left for London, where he won second prize on a radio talent show.[1]

Vaughan's career began in the late 1940s performing song and dance routines.[1] He was known as a fancy dresser, wearing top hat, bow tie, tails, and cane.[1] In the 1950s he worked for a few years with the Nat Temple band, and after that period he then began making records, and was popular in the UK. In 1955, he recorded what was to become his trademark song, "Give Me the Moonlight, Give Me the Girl".[1]

He recorded a large number of songs that were covers of United States hit songs, including Perry Como's "Kewpie Doll," Jimmie Rodgers' "Kisses Sweeter than Wine," Boyd Bennett's "Seventeen" (also covered in the US by the Fontane Sisters), Jim Lowe's "The Green Door," and (with the Kaye Sisters), the Fleetwoods' "Come Softly to Me".[1] From the 1950s through to the early 1960s, his recordings were popular in the UK.[1] In 1956, his cover of "The Green Door" reached No. 2 in the UK Singles Chart.[3] The same year he was voted 'Showbusiness Personality of the Year'.[2] In early 1957, his version of "The Garden of Eden", reached No. 1 in the UK Singles Chart. In 1961, Vaughan hit No. 1 in the UK again, with "Tower of Strength", but the rise of beat music eclipsed his chart career for two or three years, before he returned to the Top 10 in 1967 with "There Must Be A Way".[1] Chart success eluded him after this although he did have two more Top 40 singles; "Nevertheless" and "So Tired".[3]

In 1957 he was voted the eighth most popular star at the British box office.[4]

Managed at this time by the former journalist and theatrical agent Paul Cave,[5] he went to the United States in 1960 to make a film with Marilyn Monroe, Let's Make Love, and was an actor in several other films, but his recordings were never chart hits in the US.[2] In 1961, Vaughan was on the bill at the Royal Variety Performance at the Prince of Wales Theatre, Coventry Street, London.

During the 1960s, he became involved with youth social problems in Easterhouse, a large housing estate in the outskirts of Glasgow, and was influential in attracting new resources and inward investment to the area.[1] A longtime member of the Grand Order of Water Rats, Vaughan became King Rat in 1968, a feat he followed up in 1998.

He was the subject of This Is Your Life on two occasions: in April 1970 when he was surprised by Eamonn Andrews, and in March 1994, when Michael Aspel surprised him during a photocall for Active Hearts at a London sports centre.

He sang the traditional hymn, "Abide With Me", at the 1973 FA Cup Final, won by Sunderland.

He continued performing until 1985, when he starred in a stage version of 42nd Street at Drury Lane in London,[1] opposite his old friend Shani Wallis who appeared in their first film together, Ramsbottom Rides Again with Arthur Askey. After a year, he nearly died of peritonitis and had to leave the cast.[1] Vaughan was married to the Leeds-born Stella Shock from 1951 until his death. They had three children, David, Susan and Andrew and several grandchildren.[2] He was created an OBE in 1965, a CBE in 1996,[1] and as a resident of High Wycombe had been a Deputy Lieutenant of the County of Buckinghamshire since 1993. He was an Honorary Fellow of Liverpool John Moores University.[6]

He died from heart failure in Oxford in 1999, aged 71.[1][2] His wife Stella donated archival materials, including scores and sheet music he had collected throughout his career to Liverpool John Moores University in 2000.[6]

Discography[edit]

Singles[edit]

[3]

Albums[edit]

Philips[edit]

Columbia[edit]

Pye[edit]

Ronco[edit]

Big V records[edit]

[3]

Filmography[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s "Biography by Sharon Mawer". Allmusic.com. Retrieved 21 June 2009. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Obituaries | Glasgow 'peacemaker' Frankie Vaughan dies". BBC News. 1999-09-17. Retrieved 2014-01-26. 
  3. ^ a b c d Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 583. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  4. ^ Most Popular Film Of The Year. The Times (London, England), Thursday, 12 December 1957; pg. 3; Issue 54022
  5. ^ "Former journalist and theatrical agent, Paul Cave, dies at 93 (From Daily Echo)". Dailyecho.co.uk. Retrieved 2011-12-30. 
  6. ^ a b Anna Jackson (2013-07-01). "Frankie Vaughan Archive". Ljmu.ac.uk. Retrieved 2014-01-26. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Elvis Presley

"It's Now Or Never"

UK Christmas Number One single

"Tower of Strength"

1961

Succeeded by
Cliff Richard and The Shadows

"The Next Time"