January 29, 2013

Helen Shapiro

Thanks to my friend Scott for sending me this:  "Fifty years ago this week, the Beatles hit the road --- as the opening act for 16-year-old Helen Shapiro. This clip is from British TV, later that year. Ringo said that her dressing room was nicer than theirs, and that they had to ask to watch her personal TV set. Unlucky she was after that -- her record label, Columbia, rejected the chance to have her record the Beatles' "Misery", then after that, Lesley Gore's "it's my party". Obscurity, meet Helen."


Andrew Earwaker said...


As a bill-topping star she has appeared all over the world and after her first string of international hit records and major TV appearances, moved on to star in pantomime, caberet and films while continuing to release records quite frequently. She has appeared extensively in the theatre including appearances in ; "I'll Get My Man", "How to Succeed In Business Without Really Trying" and "Never Too Late". In the West End she has appeared in "The French Have A Song For It" and as Nancy in Lionel Bart's "Oliver". She played Sally Bowles in "Cabaret" and created the part of Brenda Welbeloved in the musical "'Ello, 'Ello, ' Ello!". She also starred in the American musical "Seesaw" to great critical acclaim. Helen appeared in 22 episodes of the TV soap opera "Albion Market" and often pops up on TV progammes like "Call My Bluff".

With the release of her album 'Straighten Up and Fly Right' in 1983 the jazz world sat up and took notice of her voice and this led to her fantastically successful concerts with Humphrey Lyttelton and his band, and their big-selling albums 'Echos Of The Duke' and 'Humph 'n' Helen'. They have played to packed houses all over Europe and the UK. Helen teamed up with the late Benny Green for the Johnny Mercer tribute show "The Quality Of Mercer" and the album of this show also proved a great favourite. Humph 'n Helen's latest album is entitled "Sing ,Swing Together". Helen has also guested with The BBC Big Band and THe BBC Concert Orchestra.

In 1990 Helen recorded the first of her phenomenally successful gospel albums entitled 'The Pearl'. This was followed by the equally successful albums 'Kadosh' [1992], and 'Nothing But The Best' [1995], which contained a duet with Cliff Richard. Helen's fourth gospel album is entitled 'Enter Unto his Gates'. Helen's gospel outreach evenings are presented to packed houses all over the UK and she has also presented these evenings in South Africa and Russia.

Helen's autobiography entitled 'Walking Back to Happiness' [what else!] was published in 1993 and she was the gob-smacked subject of 'This Is your Life' in 1995. In 1998 Helen headlined a 50 date sell-out UK tour with The Searchers and The Swinging Blue Jeans. Over the years she regularly performed in concert with Craig 'Only Sixteen' Douglas as her guest. In 1999 Helen's new show with her band, entitled 'Simply Shapiro' was premiered and this has also proved to be a big success. Helen contiues to mix her jazz with her gospel and her pop and regularly records new albums. She is one of our most enduring stars are there are, no doubt, many chapters still to be written in the Helen Shapiro career as she continues to thrill audiences world-wide with that unique voice.

Judy Ranelli said...

Perhaps Scott's label of Obscurity was too harsh. I personally had never heard of her. Maybe more popular in England than here? I had never heard of Sylvia Vartan until this past week as well, though she was a big star in France in the late 60's until now.

Philip E. Griffith said...

That was cool, but where was Paul?

Judy Ranelli said...

@Philip, you can spot Paul in the crowd before the song starts.

Andrew Earwaker said...

Please, Please Me: Artists recreate The Beatles' debut album.
The spiritual home of the The Beatles was the building's Studio Two.

Artists including Joss Stone, Mick Hucknall and Beverley Knight successfully re-recorded Please, Please Me, the debut album by The Beatles, in a day-long session organised by BBC Radio 2.

Jo Whiley played Walkin' back to happiness and chatted to Helen Shapiro about how The Beatles were a supporting act on her February 1963 tour, and that Norrie Paramor turned down the chance for her to record 'Misery'.