Saturday 29 July 1961
Panel: Benny Green, Eira Heath, Spike Milligan, Pat Moss
Lone Rider – Flee-Rekkers (Piccadilly) HIT
Johnny Remember Me – John Leyton (Top Rank) MISS
Spike Milligan said that it was “son of ‘Ghost Riders In The Sky’.”
Benny Green: “Sounds like the guitarist has electrocuted himself, and I wouldn’t be unhappy if the guitarist had been killed.”
Spike Milligan: “If this was exported to Russia, it would mean war. It strikes a chord, too frequently. It’s repetitive, boring and it keeps pace with current trends so it will be a hit.”
On Johnny Remember Me
Spike Milligan: Is that Ghost Riders In The Sky? I was talking to Pat Moss as she’s so pretty. Can you play it again?
Pat Moss: It sounds too much like a cowboy song.
Benny Green: It has everything so it should be in quarantine.
Eira Heath: The girl in the background is gorgeous.
John Leyton: “‘Johnny Remember Me’ was voted a Miss on Juke Box Jury and I was a surprise guest. David Jacobs, to his credit, said the panel was wrong. I was very surprised when they voted it a Miss as everyone else liked it and I knew it was going to be in Top 10.”
At the time Johnny Remember Me was released I was living with my Father in Hendon, North West London. The morning after ‘Harpers West 1’ was aired I received several congratulatory telephone calls from friends, relations and my father decided to walk down to the local record shop and buy a few copies, as he put it at the time “To help it on its way.” When he returned a little while later he said the record shop had completely sold out and it was only 11 o’clock in the morning! This was the first time that I thought that we might just have a hit on our hands.
I called Robert Stigwood, my then manager, and he told me that everything was going crazy and the demand for Johnny Remember Me was so huge that EMI were going to re-press tens of thousands of more copies. It was at this point I thought yes, we DO have a hit on our hands but any thought of it going to No.1 were still a far cry. However this uncertainty did not last for long. The following week I had been booked to appear as ‘the mystery guest star’ on the BBC Television programme ‘Juke Box Jury’ that went out ‘live’ on Saturday 29th July.
I quote from the letter received by Robert Stigwood requesting my presence at The Television Centre on Saturday 29th July.
26th July 1961.
Confirming my telephone conversation with your Secretary this afternoon, we should definitely like John Leyton to sit in ‘the hot seat’ for Juke Box Jury this Saturday 29th July.
We should be grateful if you would arrange for him to be at The Television Centre, Shepherds Bush Green, at 6.40p.m. and we’d like him to report to the front of the Theatre, as he would be likely to run into Panellists if he came to the Stage Door.
With many thanks.
(Secretary to Bill Cotton Jnr).”
The Panellists that day were Spike Milligan, Benny Green, Pat Moss and Eira Hughes.
Although the panel voted Johnny Remember Me a MISS by then it had already charted at No 15 in the Top 20 and shortly after was to spend 4 weeks in the No.1 position, spending in total 15 weeks in the UK charts.