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Kenny Lynch & Jimmy Tarbuck

Although he had a couple of Top Ten singles in Britain in 1963, Kenny Lynch is most famous for a flop single he issued the same year. That was "Misery," the first cover of a Beatles song to be released. In early 1963, Lynch had been on the same bill as the Beatles on the group's first British tour; John Lennon and Paul McCartney wrote "Misery" in January 1963, in the hopes that the artist on top of the bill, Helen Shapiro, would record it. Shapiro's producer turned it down, but Lynch took the composition and gave it a much more pop-oriented arrangement than the Beatles would use when they recorded "Misery" themselves on their debut album Please Please Me.

Lynch was one of the relatively few Black singers on the British pop scene in the early 1960s, and made the Top Ten a couple of times in 1963 with "You Can Never Stop Me Loving You" and a cover of the Drifters' "Up on the Roof." His records were an odd mixture of featherweight early-1960s teen-idol pop and American pop-soul, at times sounding a little like the songs being recorded by Gene Pitney and Gene McDaniels during the same era, although Lynch's voice and material weren't in the same league as those singers'. Lynch wrote a fairly high percentage of his own material, and also did some covers of songs originating from the Brill Building writers like Goffin-King and Mort Shuman.

Lynch was ultimately more successful as a songwriter, often collaborating with other composers, than as a performer. Some of his compositions were recorded by the Drifters, the Swinging Blue Jeans, and Cilla Black; a couple of his more notable efforts were the fine girl-group-styled "He's Got Something" by Dusty Springfield, and a minor hit by Billy J. Kramer, "It's Gotta Last Forever." In the mid-1960s, he somehow got the opportunity to write with Mort Shuman, the Brill Building songwriter who had collaborated with Doc Pomus to pen such classics as "Save the Last Dance for Me" and "Teenager in Love." This resulted in Lynch's most famous credit, as he co-authored "Sha La La La Lee," the Small Faces' first British Top Ten hit. Lynch also ended up writing or co-writing a couple of other songs from the Small Faces' 1966 debut album, "You'd Better Believe It" (co-written with American soul writer/producer Jerry Ragavoy) and "Sorry She's Mine," which could have been strong enough to make it under its own steam had it been released as a single. ~ Richie Unterberger
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