…she’s really got a magical spell

His is not a household name, especially on these North American shores, but as lead singer he is credited with singing more hit singles (on both sides of the Atlantic) with different groups than any other recording artist in history.  Born in Exeter, Devon in 1942, Anthony “Tony” Burrows’ first started singing professionally in the early 1960s with the vocal harmony group, The Kestrels.

What?  Never heard of them? No matter, because after joining The Ivy League in 1967, he had his first (albeit marginal) hits with “Willow Tree” and “My World Fell Down”.  No?  Well, later that year The Ivy League changed its name (ah ha!) to The Flower Pot Men and it was with The Flower Pot Men that Tony Burrows had his first major hit single, at least in the UK, “Let’s Go to San Francisco” which charted at Number 4.

Still not ring a bell?  No matter, because by 1970 Burrows was firmly established as a “session vocalist” and his next big release (which peaked at Number 5 on the U.S. Billboard Chart) remains the fastest rising Number 1 hit record in UK history, remaining at the top for five straight weeks. The “band” was a studio assemblage that for the sake of the release was dubbed Edison Lighthouse and the song (written by Tony Macaulay and Barry Mason) was none other than “Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Goes).”

But “Love Grows” grew so fast that there wasn’t time to reconnect the disparate session musicians who recorded it, so the studio producer ferreted out a local pub group (called Greenfields) and, along with Burrows, brought them to the BBC studios to mime the song and stand in as Edison Lighthouse for that week’s “Top of the Pops” broadcast.

Tony Burrows, in the mean time, was on an epic roll and (on 26 February 1970) two weeks after that initial “Top of the Pops” appearance he became the only person ever to front three different groups on the same show.  In addition to Edison Lighthouse (still with the Number 1 hit) he sang “My Baby Needs Lovin’” (which hit Number 9 in the UK and Number 13 on the U.S. Charts) for White Plains, a “studio project” that had evolved from The Flowerpot Men; and then peaking at Number 10 in the UK and Number 13 in the U.S, he sang “United We Stand” with the real-live pop group (and future Eurovision Song Contest winner) The Brotherhood of Man.

And yet there’s more.  Later that year (1970) Tony Burrows and Roger Greenway (who most famously wrote “I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing”) had a hit single (Number 6 in the UK and Number 9 on the U.S. Billboard Charts) as the “novelty duo” The Pippins, singing a song that is considered to be the first-ever rap record, “Gimme Dat Ding”.

For the next few years Burrows kept a relatively low profile, serving as session singer for Elton John, Cliff Richard and big band leader, James Last.  Then in the summer of 1974 he was enlisted by a producer friend who needed someone to front yet another studio assemblage using the name, The First Class, and the resulting Beach Boys influenced release peaked at Number 13 in the UK and made it all the way to Number 4 on the U.S Billboard Charts.  But then again, “Beach Baby” is a song for another day.

LISTEN TO TODAY’S SELECTION – Wednesday 6 June

Love Grows Where My Rosemary Goes

She ain’t got no money

Her clothes are kinda funny

Her hair is kinda wild and free

Oh, but Love grows where my Rosemary goes

And nobody knows like me

She talks kinda lazy

And people say she’s crazy

And her life’s a mystery

Oh, but Love grows where my Rosemary goes

And nobody knows like me

 There’s something about her hand holding mine

It’s a feeling that’s fine

And I just gotta say, hey!

She’s really got a magical spell

And it’s working so well

That I can’t get away

I’m a lucky fella’

And I’ve just got to tell her

That I love her endlessly

Because Love grows where my Rosemary goes

And nobody knows like me

There’s something about her hand holding mine

It’s a feeling that’s fine

And I just gotta say, hey!

She’s really got a magical spell

And it’s working so well

That I can’t get away

I’m a lucky fella’

And I’ve just got to tell her

That I love her endlessly

Because Love grows where my Rosemary goes

And nobody knows like me

It keeps growing every place she’s been

And nobody knows like me

If you’ve met her, you’ll never forget her

And nobody knows like me

 La la la- believe it when you’ve seen it

Nobody knows like me

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