I’ll never let you go… why?… because I love you’ are the opening lyrics to a syrupy love song that was a chart topper on both sides of the Atlantic, 51 years ago. Penned by Peter De Angelis and Bob Marcucci for his protege, Frankie Avalon, it took the American teen idol to number one in the States on the Billboard Charts during December, 1959.

Here, Dick Rowe of Top Rank records had initially secured the British rights for Drumbeat star Vince Eager to cover the song. The session was arranged and the track laid down for a rush release.

In the meantime, actor and singer Anthony Newley discovered the title and recorded it for Decca.

When Newley appeared on Sunday Night at the London Palladium he urged viewers to buy his recording (because he ‘needed the money’) and they did just that.

Newley took the disc to number one in January, 1960, while the original by Frankie Avalon stalled at 20 and Vince Eager’s version failed to chart. However, for the discerning record buyer, Eager’s disc had the added bonus of El Paso on the flipside – a cover of the Marty Robbins’ country and western ballad.

In 1972 Donny Osmond was the current teen sensation – he revived Why and it peaked at number 13 in the American Billboard Chart and at number three in the British hit parade in November of that year.

Mark Willerton