Ace is nothing if not tenacious, particularly when it comes to long-running and successful projects such as our “London American Year By Year” series. It’s been almost 18 months since the 1964 edition was released. In an ideal world, a further volume would have appeared within a year but licensing issues rendered that impossible. Those problems now overcome, it’s good to finally bring you a concise overview of what the London label was up to in 1965 – a year in which America’s youth was still as fixated on the music coming out of the UK as their British counterparts were about what was happening in the USA.
By 1965 London was no longer the only British label bringing us premium quality American music, but they were still issuing its usual mixture of certified US chartbusters and 45s that had barely escaped the pressing plant. Several of London’s biggest hits of the year can be found here, along with others that somehow managed to evade our charts but are now regarded era-defining. As ever, our track selection is as diverse as the roster of London itself, bringing you everything from Godfather of Soul James Brown to Gallic Hollywood smoothie Charles Boyer (whose number here was a favourite of Elvis Presley). The label’s commitment to black American music is illustrated by London mainstays Shirley Ellis, Lenny Welch and Ruby & the Romantics, while Phil Spector’s stable of artists is represented by the Ronettes and the Righteous Brothers. Garage classics from the Novas and the Castaways and a rockin’ London finale for Sun Records and Jerry Lee Lewis keep the diversity high. There’s even a UK beat group recording by the Pageboys, featuring Jimmy Page on guitar.
By Tony Rounce