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Cool 78 of the Month

September 2005

Martinas and his Music
Cha Cha Momma Brown
Columbia RT 4500 (Turkey)
September 1958

In a parallel universe, the top side of first single from Cliff Richard and the Drifters first single would have been the ballad Schoolboy Crush. In that same parallel universe, Martinas and his Music would have gone on to have hits around the world, including a breakthrough in the US market in the 1970s, further going on to sign with Decca for his latest release in 2005. UK DJ Tony Blackburn would get sacked for playing Martinas' records on the air. And Cliff would have drifted back to obscurity as Harry Webb having appeared as a curiosity on this 78 from Turkey.

In the UK, Schoolboy Crush was to be released with a twangy rocker called Move It on the B-side. Legend has it that Cliff's producer Norrie Paramour played both tracks for his daughter, who gave Schoolie a big thumbs down, but raved about Move It. Another legend says that Jack Good insisted Move It was the track tipped for the top and insisted that it be played on the TV show Oh Boy!. No matter which story you pick the record was flipped and went on to become Cliff's first hit in 1958. Move It was so different, so unique, so exciting for its time, that unlike the actions that they would take four years later with the Beatles, Capitol Records in the USA, the company that had first right of refusal for EMI's UK releases, would release it to the US audience. Move It even appeared on a 78 in Canada. (Click here to see it.)

Sadly, the enthusiasm shown by Jack Good, Norrie's daughter, and Capitol in the USA and Canada, would not be shared by all. The record flopped in the USA. In Turkey, Columbia showed mixed enthusiasm to the record, choosing to have Cliff and the Drifter's debut share shellac with a Latin tinged send up of the seminal Knees Up Mother Brown, in this case retitled Cha Cha Mamma Brown, by Martinas and his Music. Martinas was an established artist for the Columbia label in territories where EMI owned the trademark, no doubt getting more air time on the Light Programme than a noisy bunch of blokes with guitars and their boy singer. Reasons for the coupling of these two tunes are unknown and may in fact have been the result of the two hits for the price of one marketing mentality. Reports have it that Turkish citizens are still waiting for the second hit.

While it didn't chart in Turkey, Canada, or the USA, Move It went on to peak at number 2 in the UK charts and he would advance from strength to strength even to this day. For the record, Martinas' contribution to this disk was releaseed on Columbia in the UK (catalogue DB.4223) in a coupling with a song later covered by the Beatles called My Bonnie. It can be stated quite strongly that this release had little influence on the Beatles' version. It's lack of chart action was enough to ensure that Martinas wouldn't be filming his Summer Holiday in the 1960s, recording for Elton John's Rocket Records in the 1970s, or even signing with Decca in the 2000s. His lack of chart hits probably didn't cause him any sleepless nights, though. Martinas' comments on the efforts of the future superstar he would share this 78 with are unknown.

Shown below are images of Cliff's side of the 78 as well the UK 78.

Cliff Richard and the Drifters
Move It
Columbia RT 4500 (Turkey)

Cliff Richard and the Drifters
Move It
Columbia DB.4178 (UK)

Cliff Richard and the Drifters
Schoolboy Chrush
Columbia DB.4178 (UK)