EVERY UK NUMBER ONE SONG: ‘This Ole House’ – Rosemary Clooney

What was the number one song in the UK on 26th November 1954?

By Hayley Beasley Dye

American singer and actor Rosemary Clooney was at the top spot with This Ole House for a week.

Considering one of the greatest songs of my childhood was Shakin’ Stevens’ version of this song, I was delighted to listen to Rosemary’s. This version has more of a 50s rockabilly vibe to it and features slightly intimidating random bass male vocals during the chorus. It’s great fun, but for me I rather obviously prefer Shaky’s version.

Wikipedia

“This Ole House” (sometimes written “This Old House”) is a popular song written by Stuart Hamblen, and published in 1954. Rosemary Clooney’s version reached the top of the popular music charts in both the US and the UK in 1954. The song again topped the UK chart in 1981 in a recording by Shakin’ Stevens.

Hamblen was supposedly out on a hunting expedition when he and his fellow hunter, actor John Wayne, came across a hut in the mountains. Inside was the body of a man, and the man’s dog was still there, guarding the building. This inspired Hamblen to write “This Ole House”. The lyric picks up a standard Gospel theme of the “old house” – the mortal body – being left behind when the believer goes to “meet the saints”.

The recorded version of “This Ole House” by Rosemary Clooney, featuring bass vocals by Thurl Ravenscroft, reached No. 1 on the Billboard on chart in 1954 as the flip side to her previous No. 1 song, “Hey There.” Clooney’s version also topped the UK Singles Chart, although there were other UK hit versions around by Billie Anthony and Alma Cogan, both recorded in 1954. The recording by Alma Cogan with Felix King was made in London on September 2, 1954. The song was released by EMI on the His Master’s Voice label as catalogue numbers B 10761 and 7M 269. The flip side was “Skokiaan.”

Lyrics

“This ole house once knew his children
This ole house once knew his wife
This ole house was home and comfort
As they fought the storms of life
This old house once rang with laughter
This old house heard many shouts
Now he trembles in the darkness
When the lightnin’ walks about
Ain’t a-gonna need this house no longer
Ain’t a-gonna need this house no more
Ain’t got time to fix the shingles
Ain’t got time to fix the floor
Ain’t got time to oil the hinges
Nor to mend the windowpane
Ain’t a-gonna need this house no longer
He’s a-gettin’ ready to meet the saints
This ole house is a-gettin’ shaky
This ole house is a-gettin’ old
This ole house lets in the rain
This ole house lets in the cold
On his knees are a-gettin’ chilly
But he feel no fear or pain
‘Cause he see an angel peekin’
Through a broken windowpane
Ain’t a-gonna need this house no longer
Ain’t a-gonna need this house no more
Ain’t got time to fix the shingles
Ain’t got time to fix the floor
Ain’t got time to oil the hinges
Nor to mend the windowpane
Ain’t a-gonna need this house no longer
He’s a-gettin’ ready to meet the saints
This ole house is afraid of thunder
This ole house is afraid of storms
This ole house just groans and trembles
When the night wind flings its arms
This ole house is gettin’ feeble
This old house is needin’ paint
Just like him it’s tuckered out
But he’s a-gettin’ ready to meet the saints
Ain’t a-gonna need this house no longer
Ain’t a-gonna need this house no more
Ain’t got time to fix the shingles
Ain’t got time to fix the floor
Ain’t got time to oil the hinges
Nor to mend the windowpane
Ain’t a-gonna need this house no longer
He’s a-gettin’ ready to meet the saints
ready to meet the saints”

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