THE LOVED ONES
Blueberry Hill
(Al Lewis - Larry Stock - Vincent Rose)
Australia 1966
#12 Sydney #19 Melbourne #11 Perth

Title track of EP.

Melbourne band The Loved Ones, formed in October 1965, were one of the shining lights of Australian pop music in the wake of the British Invasion. Their output wasn't enormous, but at least three of their original songs, all written by band members, are classics of the beat/r&b era: The Loved One (their biggest hit), Everlovin' Man and Sad Dark Eyes.

Distinguished by Gerry Humphreys' powerful soul-blues voice, and by his striking physical presence, The Loved Ones' musicality owed something to their background in Melbourne's jazz scene. Gerry Humphreys, Ian Clyne and Kim Lynch, for example, had all been in trad jazz band The Red Onions.

The Loved Ones broke up in October 1967. Rob Lovett joined vocal trio The Virgil Brothers in 1968: see their Temptation 'Bout To Get Me.

Gerry Humphreys, who had a side career as a TV entertainer, formed Gerry And The Joy Band in 1971, compered the first Sunbury Pop Festival in 1972, and worked in management. He retired from the music scene and moved to London in the late 70s.


Gerry Humphreys died in London in late 2005. Of the tributes I read, the most vivid and moving was by Melbourne writer Barry Dickens in the Melbourne Age. Dickens, who knew Gerry Humphreys in the late 60s as a workmate (they built sets at Channel 7) remembers a man who made me laugh as soon as I looked at him... a Cockney bloke with enormous black eyes and remarkable long, black hair and dimples... a gentle and incongruous Englishman, who was exploding with talent but was also contemplative, often aghast at life. [The Age, Melbourne, 10 December 2005]

Reference: Historical details from Ian McFarlane's Encyclopedia of Australian Rock & Pop.
Further reading: Milesago's Loved Ones page.

Not to be confused with Chicago all-woman band The Luv'd Ones.

FATS DOMINO
Blueberry Hill
(Al Lewis - Larry Stock - Vincent Rose)
USA 1956
Influential version
#2 USA #6 UK #7 Sydney #11 Melbourne

Single on Imperial, an easy-going but foot-tapping R&B reworking by legendary New Orleans singer-pianist.

This charted again in UK in 1976 (#41) when it was reissued, presumably because of its familiarity through a musical catchphrase in the TV series Happy Days. Richie Cunningham, played by Ron Howard, would from time to time sing I found my thrill... on Blueberry Hill as a comment on some, well, thrilling plot development.

Buy At Sanity.com.au

 
GENE AUTRY
Blueberry Hill
(Al Lewis - Larry Stock - Vincent Rose)
USA 1940

78 rpm record on Columbia label, recorded in August 1940, also released on Conquer and Vocalion. Featured in Gene Autry's 1941 film The Singing Hill.

Gene Autry (1907-1998) was a hugely popular singer-songwriter and actor in western movies, known as 'The Singing Cowboy' and 'America's Favorite Cowboy'.

 
GLENN MILLER & HIS ORCHESTRA
Blueberry Hill
(Al Lewis - Larry Stock - Vincent Rose)
USA 1940

An early hit version of Blueberry Hill.

Recorded June 1940, released on Bluebird, peaked in popularity in December 1940 according to Oldiehitparade.de.

SWING & SWAY WITH SAMMY KAYE
Blueberry Hill
(Al Lewis - Larry Stock - Vincent Rose)
USA 1940
Original version

This has the earliest recording date for Blueberry Hill, May 1940, according to the Abrams 78 Record Database, and The Originals calls it as the original, so that's good enough for me.

The Originals also lists versions by numerous artists including Louis Armstrong, Elvis Presley, Bill Haley and Bruce Cockburn: many others.

Corrections or comments? Contact the writer.