|"Stranger on the Shore"|
|Single by Mr. Acker Bilk and the Leon Young String Chorale|
|"Take My Lips"|
Columbia DB4750 (UK)|
Atco 45-6217 (US)
|Acker Bilk, Robert Mellin|
|Mr. Acker Bilk and the Leon Young String Chorale singles chronology|
"Stranger on the Shore" is a piece for clarinet written by Acker Bilk for his young daughter and originally named "Jenny" after her. It was subsequently used as the theme tune of a BBC TV drama serial for young people, Stranger on the Shore. It was first released in 1961 in the UK, and then in the US, and reached number 1 in the US and number 2 in the UK.
In May 1969, the crew of Apollo 10 took "Stranger on the Shore" on their mission to the moon. Gene Cernan, a member of the crew, included the tune on a cassette tape used in the command module of the Apollo spacecraft.
The track, performed by Bilk (as "Mr. Acker Bilk") with backing by the Leon Young String Chorale, was released as a single on EMI subsidiary label Columbia Records through its catalogue number, DB 4750, in October 1961, with the label of the single openly proclaiming "Theme from the BBC T.V. Series". The B-side was "Take My Lips". The single became a phenomenal success, topping the NME singles chart and spending nearly a year on the Record Retailer Top 50. It was the UK's biggest-selling single of 1962, the biggest-selling instrumental single of all time, and appears fifty-eighth in the official UK list of best-selling singles issued in 2002. It had sold 1.16 million copies as of November 2012. One of songwriter and music publisher Robert Mellin's major songwriting successes came in 1962, when he wrote lyrics for Acker Bilk's instrumental smash "Stranger on the Shore," allowing it to be covered by vocal acts including Andy Williams and the Drifters.
On 26 May 1962, "Stranger on the Shore" became the first British recording to reach number one on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 where it was issued by Atlantic Records on the Atco label, but it was quickly followed, on 22 December, by the Tornados' "Telstar", another instrumental. In the pre-rock era, Vera Lynn's "Auf Wiederseh'n Sweetheart" had reached #1 in 1952, on the shorter "Best Sellers In Stores" survey. After "Telstar", the next British performers to top the U.S. charts were the Beatles, with their first Capitol Records single "I Want to Hold Your Hand". "Stranger on the Shore" was Billboard's #1 single of 1962, and it spent seven weeks atop the "Easy Listening" chart, which later became known as the Adult Contemporary chart. The tune became the second of three "one-hit wonders" named "pop single of the year" by Billboard (the others being 1958's "Volare (Nel Blu Dipinto Di Blu)" by Domenico Modugno and 2006's "Bad Day" by Daniel Powter.
The composition has been covered by many other artists, most prominently a vocal 1962 version by Andy Williams, which reached #9 on the adult contemporary chart, #30 in the UK, and #38 on the Billboard Hot 100, and a group vocal version by the Drifters, which reached #19 on the adult contemporary chart and #73 on the Billboard Hot 100.Booker T & the MGs recorded a version on their debut album, Green Onions in 1962.
|United Kingdom (Record Retailer)||2|
|United Kingdom (NME)||1|
|United Kingdom (Record Mirror)||1|
Originally named "Jenny" (after his daughter) on his LP Sentimental Journey, the song's name was changed when Bilk played it as the theme song for a new children's TV show, Stranger On The Shore.
The biggest-selling single of 1962.