Tears of success
Billie Davis celebrates the Golden Anniversary of her big hit ‘Tell Him‘ this year, recalling how she was reduced to tears in the studio in the drive to get the sound that would propel the record into the UK Top 10.
“I loved recording this song. Robert Stigwood found the song in the States while he was there with John Leyton, who he also managed, filming ‘The Great
Escape’. The original track was by a girl group, The Exciters.
“I recorded my version in a small London studio and remember being reduced to tears to get the ‘edgy’ performance Stigwood was after. Different sound effects included slapping my hand against my leather skirt to get the upbeat sound.”
When ‘Tell Him‘ was riding high in the charts in early 1963 Billie looked to have the world of showbusiness at her feet, but a car crash in September with Shadows bass player Jet Harris and the resulting broken jaw put her out of action for months in what proved to be the first of several bits of bad luck to plague her career.
Billie’s last UK chart entry was the 1968 release ‘I Want You To Be My Baby“, which many thought would be a huge hit until a strike at the record’s manufacturing plant torpedoed sales. It stalled at No.33.
But ‘I Want You To Be My Baby” was a success elsewhere and Billie found herself in huge demand in Spain and South America as 1960s gave way to the 1970s. Her other international hits included ‘Angel Of The Morning’ and ‘Nights In White Satin’.
Billie’s first foray into the UK charts came when she played the female foil to Mike Sarne on “Will I What” (No.18 in the UK).
The Beat’s readers voted Billie into joint first place with Lulu in the best 1960s female solo artist category in the 2012 Roll of Honour.