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David Whitfield (2 February 1925 – 15 January 1980)[1] was a popular British male tenor vocalist from Hull. He became the first British Artist to have a UK No.1 single in his home country and in the United States with "Cara Mia".[2] He died from a brain haemorrhage in Sydney, Australia, while on tour at the age of 54.

David Whitfield
Born(1925-02-02)2 February 1925
Hull, East Riding of Yorkshire, England
Died15 January 1980(1980-01-15) (aged 54)
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Years active1952–1980
LabelsDecca Records

Life and careerEdit

Whitfield was born in Hull in the East Riding of Yorkshire. He sang in the choir at his church during his childhood and entertained his fellow members of the Royal Navy during the Second World War. After the war, he appeared on Opportunity Knocks, a talent show on Radio Luxembourg.[1] His first recording to reach the Top 10 of the UK Singles Chart was "Bridge of Sighs", written by Billy Reid. "Answer Me, Oh Lord" (later recorded with different lyrics as "Answer Me, My Love") reached number one in the UK.[1] Both versions have appeared on CD.

Whitfield had other hits in the 1950s, and was the most successful British male singer in America during that period.[2] In addition, he was the first British male vocalist to earn a gold disc and the third overall. He was also the first to reach the Top Ten of the Billboard Top 100, and the first artist from Britain to sell over a million copies of a record in the US.[3][4]

All of his hits were released by the Decca record label in the UK. His only album to reach the UK Albums Chart was The World of David Whitfield, which reached Number 19.[1] He used orchestras, including those of Stanley Black, fellow Decca artist Mantovani and Roland Shaw, as backing accompaniment for said hits.

His most popular recordings were:

"Cara Mia" spent ten weeks at the pole position in the UK, making it one of the biggest selling British records in the pre-rock days. That recording co-credits Mantovani and his Orchestra and Chorus. Whitfield appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show and the 1954 Royal Command Performance.[1] He continued to perform regularly across the globe, while living in Hull in the UK.

Many of his singles were issued on LP and have been reissued in recent years on CD compilations under licence. There were three 45rpm EP specials (1959–60), one entitled "The Good Old Songs" and the other two featuring numbers from "Rose Marie" and "The Desert Song," two musical shows in which Whitfield toured. On leaving Decca he recorded two singles for HMV (1962–63). His last LP, made for Philips in 1975 and entitled Hey There! It's David Whitfield, included his third recording of "Cara Mia" (he had already recorded a stereo re-make for Decca in 1966 for an album entitled Great Songs for Young Lovers). Whitfield's last single was for Denman, a coupling of "Land of Hope and Glory" and "When You Lose the One You Love" (1977).

He died from a brain haemorrhage in Sydney, Australia, while on tour at the age of 54.[6]

A statue in the memory of Whitfield was unveiled outside of the New Theatre in Hull on 31 August 2012, before the opening night of a show celebrating the life and music of Whitfield.

Selected discographyEdit


  • F10062 "Marta" / "I'll Never Forget You"
  • F10099 "I Believe" / "I'll Make You Mine"
  • F10129 "The Bridge of Sighs" / "I'm the King of Broken Hearts" – 1953 – Number 9 (UK Singles Chart throughout)
  • F10192 "Answer Me" / "Dance Gypsy Dance" – 1953 – Number 1
  • F10207 "Rags to Riches" / "Mardi Gras" – 1953 – Number 3
  • F10242 "The Book" / "Heartless" – 1954 – Number 5
  • F10279 "Laugh" / "It's Never Too Late to Pray"
  • F10327 "Cara Mia" / "Love, Tears and Kisses" – 1954 – Number 1; Number 10 U.S.
  • F10355 "Smile" / "How, When or Where"
  • F10399 "Santo Natale (Merry Christmas)" / "Adeste Fideles (Oh Come All Ye Faithful)" – 1954 – Number 2
  • F10458 "Beyond the Stars" / "Open Your Heart" – 1955 – Number 8 (with Mantovani and his Orchestra)
  • F10515 "Mama" / "Ev'rywhere" – 1955 – Number 12/Number 3
  • F10562 "The Lady" / "Santa Rosa Lea Rose"
  • F10596 "Lady of Madrid" / "I'll Never Stop Loving You"
  • F10627 "When You Lose the One You Love" / "Angelus" – 1955 – Number 7 (with Mantovani and his Orchestra)
  • F10690 "My September Love" / "The Rudder and the Rock" – 1956 – Number 3
  • F10752 "It's Almost Tomorrow" (All Star Hit Parade)
  • F10769 "My Son John" / "My Unfinished Symphony" – 1956 – Number 22/Number 29
  • F10833 "The Adoration Waltz" / "If I Lost You" – 1957 – Number 9
  • F10864 "I'll Find You" / "I'd Give You the World" – 1957 – Number 27
  • F10890 "Without Him" / "Dream of Paradise"
  • F10931 "Martinella" / "Ev'rything"
  • F10978 "Cry My Heart" / "My One True Love" – 1958 – Number 22 (with Mantovani and his Orchestra)
  • F11018 "On the Street Where You Live" / "Afraid" – 1958 – Number 16
  • F11039 "The Right to Love" / "That's When Your Heartaches Begin" – 1958 – Number 30
  • F11079 "This is Lucia" / "Love is a Stranger"
  • F11101 "William Tell" / "Willingly"
  • F11144 "A Million Stars" / "Farewell My Love"
  • F11161 "Oh, Tree" / "Our Love Waltz"
  • F11196 "Song of the Dreamer" / "My Only Love"
  • F11221 "Angela Mia" / "A Tear, A Kiss, A Smile"
  • F11289 "I Believe" / "Hear My Song, Violetta" – 1960 – Number 49
  • F11336 "A Scottish Soldier" / "Scotland the Brave" (withdrawn: unissued in the UK)
  • F11339 "Climb Ev'ry Mountain" / "The Sound of Music" – 1961
  • HMV POP1015 "As Long as You Love Me" / "Impossible" – 1962
  • HMV POP1180 "This Heart of Mine" / You Belong in Someone Else's Arms" – 1963[2]


  • 1954 – Yours from the Heart
  • 1958 – Whitfield Favourites
  • 1958 – From David With Love
  • 1960 – My Heart and I
  • 1961 – Alone
  • 1966 – Great Songs for Young Lovers
  • 1975 – Hey There It's David Whitfield

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d e "David Whitfield | Biography & History". AllMusic. Retrieved 2 October 2015.
  2. ^ a b c Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 43. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  3. ^ Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (2nd ed.). London: Barrie and Jenkins Ltd. p. 71. ISBN 0-214-20512-6.
  4. ^ Tobler, John (1992). NME Rock 'N' Roll Years (1st ed.). London: Reed International Books Ltd. p. 17. CN 5585.
  5. ^ "Sea Wife (1957)". Retrieved 2 October 2015.
  6. ^ Rice, Jo (1982). The Guinness Book of 500 Number One Hits (1st ed.). Enfield, Middlesex: Guinness Superlatives Ltd. p. 14. ISBN 0-85112-250-7.

External linksEdit