The New Vaudeville Band’s Winchester Cathedral

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The New Vaudeville Band’s Winchester Cathedral

Winchester Cathedral by The New Vaudeville Band

Musical Hall Style

Everything old is new again. The song was written by Geoff Stephens, a British songwriter and record producer. He loved the British Music Hall, which Americans know as vaudeville. Inspiration for the song, Stephens said, came when he was staring at a calendar that had a photo of Winchester Cathedral. Stephens recorded the song with a Rudy Vallee sound in mind, and singer John Carter sang through his hands to simulate a megaphone. The track had only session musicians on it, but  it went to #1 in Canada, the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, and the U.S.  Easy Listening chart in 1966. Stephens quickly put together The New Vaudeville Band to tour. They included Bob Keer, Alan Klein (billed as “Tristram — Seventh Earl of Cricklewood”),  Henri Harrison, and a changing lineup. “Winchester Cathedral” went to  #4 on the U.K. Singles Chart. The song won the 1967 Grammy Award for Best Contemporary (R&R) Recording, even though it certainly was not rock and roll. It also sold more than one million copies and was awarded an RIAA gold record. There were a number of covers, including versions by Petula Clark, Dizzy Gillespie, Ray Conniff, Frank Sinatra, Lawrence Welk, Dana Rollin and the New Happiness, The Shadows, and The Four Freshmen.

Here are the lyrics to “Winchester Cathedral” by The New Vaudeville Band:

“Winchester Cathedral
You’re bringin’ me down
You stood and you watched as
My baby left town

You could’ve done something
But you didn’t try
You didn’t do nothing
You let her walk by

Now everyone knows
Just how much I needed that gal
She wouldn’t have gone far away
If only you’d started ringing your bell

Winchester Cathedral
You’re bringin’ me down
You stood there and watched as
My baby left town
“a-vo-dee-oh-doe,
a-vo-dee-oh-doe,
a-vo-dee-oh-doe-dee-oh-doe”

For More Golden Oldies Music

The Daily Doo Wop Rec Room has daily featured doo wop music, rock and roll hits, R&B, or rockabilly songs that were hits during the first era of rock and roll (that is, from about 1952 until the British invasion in 1964). After a song is featured, it then goes into the juke box. You are welcome to listen to any of the 40+ selections there. Every weekend, there is a Golden Oldies Juke Box Saturday Night, and the juke box is full of song requests from the 1950s and 1960s.

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