Graham Reid | | 1 min read
Solomon King -- not to be confused with the equally enormous late Solomon Burke -- was something of a one-hit wonder when his big voiced ballad She Wears My Ring went racing up the charts in the UK in '68.
Like Engelbert Humperdink, King's style seemed to belong to an earlier era . . . and the album which accompanied the hit confirmed it: he covered the gorgeous Stranger in Paradise (from the musical Kismet), White Cliffs of Dover, The Breeze and I, the rather weird Donkey Serenade, Arrivederci Roma and . . . Hava Nagila.
We can guess his Jewish mama was very happy with her boy.
Her boy was quite some giant at more than two metres tall and about 140kg -- but maybe they breed 'em big in Kentucky where he hailed from.
He was an unusual character in pop terms: he was in mid 30s when he had that hit and prior to that had studied to be a Jewish Cantor, then taken up opera, had toured with Billie Holiday at her invitation, and sung with Elvis' Jordanaires on an early version of She Wears My Ring.
As with the Walker Brothers, he made his way to Britain to find success (he lived in Manchester) but it was, in chart terms, rather short-lived. His follow-up When We Were Young (also on the album) was a minor success and King took the route most such singers did, he went into cabaret and playing clubs, then returned to the US for more of the same.
He died in early 2005 and it went largely unnoted in mainstreaam or even pop media.
However he lives on at Elsewhere's From the Vaults, not for that single but for this hilarious album track by the Broadway team of Hackady-Pockriss (which could come from musical Divorce, Of Course! I'm not sure).
But as a post-separation lyric it takes some beating: "I'll be sad when you're gone, but life goes on . . . There was music before, there'll be music again . . . I'll forget you in time, though I'll miss you my friend, the world won't end . . . I'll be happy again."
Leonard Cohen this isn't.
I always imagine Groucho Marx doing that mad skip and grinning like a chimp as this plays.
Just split up with someone? Ah fug'em. Play this and cheer up.
You'll be happy again.
For more on-offs or songs with an interesting back-story see From the Vaults.