The song, written by Lionel Bart, was recorded in April 1959 by Cliff Richard and the Drifters (to become the “Shadows”). Norrie Paramor produced the song and it was first released in May 1959 on the “Serious Charge” EP soundtrack. It went on to be released as a single in July ’59 reaching No. 1 in the UK Charts for 6 weeks and sold over a million copies thus earning a Gold disc for doing so. The single featured Apron Strings on the b-side. It was the UK’s top-selling single of 1959.
In the US, it was Richard's first hit single, reaching No. 30 on the Billboard Hot 100. It also was a No. 1 hit in several European countries, including Ireland, Norway and Sweden. The song won Bart an Ivor Novello Award for best song. The song was the first number 1 in the UK Charts for Cliff Richard and the Drifters although their debut single "Move It", released the previous year, is often cited as their first number 1. It, in fact, peaked at the No 2 slot.
"Living Doll" was originally written for the film Serious Charge. Lionel Bart had been approached by film producer Mickey Delamar to write songs for the film. The idea for the song came on a Sunday morning in October 1958 while reading a newspaper and seeing an advert for a child's doll. The doll was said to "kneel, walk, sit and sing". Bart recounted, "I was looking at the back pages and there was a small advert for a doll which could apparently do everything. I wrote the song in ten minutes." The song was written as an up-tempo light rock and roll song (rather than a ballad), and this is how Cliff Richard performs the song in the film.
Unbeknown to Richard, his contract to appear in the film required that there would be a single of one of the film's songs released. Richard recounts, "I remember passionately refusing to record 'Living Doll'. There was a day of telephone calls from Norrie Paramor, with me saying I hated the song and that it wasn't right for us." Richard did not like what he called its "pseudo-rock" beat. "It did not sound like real American rock 'n' roll to us" said Richard. Paramor told Richard "Change it. Do it any way you like, but do it". While sitting around one afternoon before a show, thinking about what they could do with the song, Bruce Welch, while strumming a guitar, suggested they do it like a country song. Richard and his band agreed and duly rerecorded the song with the slower tempo.
You will find this new style in under our 'Keyboard Software' section. Just look for your instrument brand (Yamaha, Korg, Ketron or Roland) and the 'Single Styles' section!