Guy Mitchell (born Albert George Cernik; February 22, 1927 – July 1, 1999) was an American pop singer and actor, successful in his homeland, the UK, and Australia. He sold 44 million records, including six million-selling singles. His best-known songs include "My Heart Cries for You", "Heartaches by the Number" and "Singing the Blues".[1]

Guy Mitchell
Mitchell in 1958
Mitchell in 1958
Background information
Birth nameAlbert George Cernik
Born(1927-02-22)February 22, 1927
Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
DiedJuly 1, 1999(1999-07-01) (aged 72)
Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S.
Years active1947–1999

In the fall of 1957, Mitchell starred on the eponymous ABC's The Guy Mitchell Show. He also acted in a number of films such as Those Redheads From Seattle and Red Garters, and appeared on TV as George Romack on the 1961 NBC western detective series Whispering Smith, and on the 1990 BBC drama series Your Cheatin' Heart.[1][2]

Life and career edit

Mitchell was born Albert Cernik to Croatian immigrants in Detroit, Michigan. The family moved when he was 11 to Los Angeles where he was signed by Warner Brothers Pictures, to be a child star, and performed on the radio on KFWB in Los Angeles, California.[1] However, his career as a child star failed to take off, and the family moved to San Francisco where, after leaving school, he worked as a saddlemaker, supplementing his income by singing. Dude Martin, who had a country music broadcast in San Francisco, hired him for his band.[1]

Cernik served in the United States Navy for two years in World War II, then sang with Carmen Cavallaro's big band. In 1947 he recorded for Decca with Cavallaro's band, but left due to food poisoning. He went next to New York City and made records for King Records as Al Grant (one, "Cabaret", appeared in the Variety charts). He won on the radio show Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts in 1949 as a soloist.[3]

Mitch Miller, in charge of talent at Columbia Records, noticed Cernik in 1950. Cernik joined Columbia and took his new stage name at Miller's urging. Mitch Miller originally had intended to record a sentimental ballad called "My Heart Cries for You" and "The Roving Kind" with Frank Sinatra, however, Sinatra was not interested and rejected the songs selected for him to record that day. Given that Miller had already booked the musicians for the recording session, he invited Cernik to come in the evening as a replacement to record the songs. The recording went well, and Miller then told him that he should change his name as Miller could not pronounce the name Cernik. Initially reluctant, he then took Miller's name Mitchell, and added Guy as he liked to say "Hi, Guy" in reply to other people's "Hello", and became Guy Mitchell for the record release.[4] "My Heart Cries for You" became Mitchell's first hit song, reaching No. 2 on the Billboard charts.[5]

After "My Heart Cries for You", he had a number of other hits including "Heartaches by the Number", "Rock-a-Billy" (a crossover into the rock and roll field), and "The Same Old Me". His biggest hit was "Singing the Blues", which was number one for 10 weeks in 1956.[6] Bob Merrill wrote a number of hits for Mitchell.[7]

In the 1950s and 1960s Mitchell acted in such movies as Those Redheads From Seattle (1953) and Red Garters (1954).[1] He appeared in "Choose a Victim", a 1961 episode of Thriller.[citation needed]

Mitchell's popularity waned in the 1960s, although he continued to record songs for a number of labels. In 1990, he appeared in several episodes of the BBC drama series Your Cheatin' Heart as the fictional country singer Jim Bob O'May, singing several standards including his own hit "Singing the Blues".[1]

Death edit

Mitchell died on July 1, 1999, aged 72, at Desert Springs Hospital in Las Vegas, Nevada of complications from cancer surgery.[8][9]

Tribute edit

In 2007, to commemorate what would have been his 80th birthday, the English division of SonyBMG released The Essential Collection CD. His song "Heartaches by the Number" was part of the soundtrack of the 2010 video game Fallout: New Vegas.[10]

Singles discography edit

Year Single (A-side, B-side)
Both sides from same album except where indicated
Chart positions Album
US Country
1950 "My Heart Cries For You" (Gold record) / 2 1 1 Guy's Greatest Hits
"The Roving Kind" 4 2 2
1951 "You're Just In Love"
b/w "Marrying For Love"
Both sides with Rosemary Clooney
24 Non-album tracks
"The House of Singing Bamboo" (with Rosemary Clooney) / 3
"The Place Where I Worship" (with Rosemary Clooney) 6
"Sparrow In The Treetop" / 8 2 3 Guy's Greatest Hits
"Christopher Columbus" 27
"A Beggar In Love" / 4 6 Non-album tracks
"Unless" 17 3
"My Truly, Truly Fair" (Gold record)
b/w "Who Knows Love" (Non-album track)
2 1 1 Guy's Greatest Hits
"Belle Belle My Liberty Belle" / 9 1 4
"Sweetheart Of Yesterday" 23 12 Non-album tracks
"There's Always Room At Our House" / 20 4 8
"I Can't Help It" 28
1952 "(There's A Pawnshop On The Corner In) Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania" (Gold record)
b/w "The Doll With A Sawdust Heart" (Non-album track)
4 3 2 Guy's Greatest Hits
b/w "We Won't Live In A Castle"
27 20 17 Non-album tracks
"A Little Kiss Goodnight"
b/w "Gentle Johnny"
Both sides with Doris Day
"The Day Of Jubilo" / 26 4
"You'll Never Be Mine" 24
"Feet Up (Pat Him on the Po-Po)"
b/w "Jenny Kissed Me" (Non-album track)
14 18 1 (2 in MM) 2 Guy's Greatest Hits
"'Cause I Love You, That's A-Why"
b/w "Train Of Love"
Both sides with Mindy Carson
24 25 8 Non-album tracks
"Why Should I Go Home"
b/w "Don't Rob Another Man's Castle"
1953 "She Wears Red Feathers" / 19 14 1 5 Guy's Greatest Hits
"Pretty Little Black Eyed Susie" 2 17 Non-album tracks
"I Want You For A Sunbeam"
b/w "So Am I"
Both sides with Mindy Carson
"Wise Man Or Fool"
b/w "Walkin' and Wond'rin"
"Tell Us Where The Good Times Are"
b/w "There's Nothing As Sweet As My Baby"
Both sides with Mindy Carson
"Look At That Girl"
b/w "Hannah Lee"
"Chicka Boom" / 16 4 14
"Cloud Lucky Seven" 2 19
"Sippin' Soda" / 11 5
"Strollin' Blues" 18
1954 "The Cuff Of My Shirt"
b/w "Got A Hole In My Sweater"
"A Dime and A Dollar"
b/w "Tear Down The Mountains"
"There Was Once A Man"
b/w "My Heaven and Earth"
"I Met The Cutest Little Eyeful (At The Eiffel Tower)"
b/w "Gee, But You Gotta Come Home"
1955 "Nobody Home"
b/w "Zoo Baby"
"Man Overboard"
b/w "(Otto Drives Me Crazy) Otto's Gotta Go"
"Too Late"
b/w "Let Us Be Sweethearts Over Again"
1956 "Ninety Nine Years (Dead Or Alive)"
b/w "Perfume, Candy and Flowers"
23 19 26
"When Blinky Blows" / 22
"Belonging" 25
"Give Me A Carriage With Eight White Horses"
b/w "I Used To Yate Ya"
"Finders Keepers"
b/w "I'd Like To Say A Few Words About Texas"
"Singing The Blues" / 1 1 1 4 1 Guy's Greatest Hits
"Crazy With Love" 53 42 Non-album track
1957 "Knee Deep In The Blues" / 16 15 3 13 Guy's Greatest Hits
"Take Me Back Baby" 47 38 30 Non-album track
b/w "Hoot Owl" (Non-album track)
10 13 1 10 Guy's Greatest Hits
"In The Middle Of A Dark Dark Night" / 25 49 Non-album tracks
"Sweet Stuff" 83 51 flip
"Call Rosie On The Phone"
b/w "Cure For The Blues"
1958 "The Lord Made A Peanut"
b/w "(I'm Walkin' Down A) One Way Street"
"C'mon Let's Go"
b/w "The Unbeliever"
"Till We're Engaged"
b/w "Hey, Madame"
"Honey Brown Eyes"
b/w "Hangin' Around"
1959 "Butterfly Doll"
b/w "Let It Shine, Let It Shine"
"Half As Much"
b/w "Guilty Heart"
"Pride O'Dixie"
b/w "Alias Jesse James"
"I'm Gonna Leave You Now" (with The Easy Riders)
b/w "Loosen Up Lucy"
"Heartaches By The Number"
b/w "Two"
1 1 5 19 3
1960 "The Same Old Me"
b/w "Build My Gallows High" (from Songs Of The Open Spaces 10" LP)
51 103
"Symphony of Spring"
b/w "Cry Hurtin' Heart" (Non-album track)
A Guy in Love
"My Shoes Keep Walking Back To You"
b/w "Silver Moon Upon The Golden Sands"
45 106 63 Sunshine Guitar
"Sunshine Guitar"
b/w "Ridin' Around In The Rain"
1961 "Your Goodnight Kiss"
b/w "Follow Me"
106 100 Non-album tracks
b/w "I'll Just Pretend"
"Soft Rain"
b/w "Big Big Change"
1962 "Charlie's Shoes"
b/w "Rusty Old Halo"
110 143
"Go Tiger Go"
b/w "If You Ever Go Away (I'll Go Out and Eat Some Worms)"
101 123
1963 "Have I Told You Lately That I Love You"
b/w "Blue Violet"
1966 "The Best Thing That Ever Happened To Me"
b/w "If I Had My Life To Live Over"
1967 "Traveling Shoes"
b/w "Every Night Is A Lifetime"
51 Traveling Shoes
1968 "Alabam"
b/w "Irene Good-Bye"
"Frisco Line"
b/w "Singing The Blues" (from Traveling Shoes)
71 Singin' Up A Storm
1969 "Get It Over"
b/w "Just Wish You'd Maybe Change Your Mind"
1970 "Singing The Blues"
b/w "Heartaches By The Number" (from Heartaches By The Number)
Traveling Shoes

Best known songs edit

Re-recorded songs edit

In February 1982 he re-recorded 20 of his popular songs with new musical backings (in stereo) at the Audio Media Studio in Nashville, Tennessee for Bulldog Records (No. BDL 2041 in the UK). The album was entitled "20 Golden Pieces of Guy Mitchell" (not to be confused with "20 Golden Greats" by Mitchell released in 1979). The songs on the album are:-

References edit

  1. ^ a b c d e f Atkinson, Terry (2014). Encyclopedia of Music in the 20th Century. Taylor & Francis. p. 419. ISBN 9781135929466.
  2. ^ Cromelin, Richard (July 3, 1999). "Guy Mitchell, Singer". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 11, 2012.
  3. ^ Holden, Stephen (July 5, 1999). "Guy Mitchell, 72, Affable Crooner Of Novelties and Country Songs". The New York Times. Archived from the original on May 27, 2015.
  4. ^ Leigh, Spencer (2015). Frank Sinatra: An Extraordinary Life. McNidder and Grace Limited. ISBN 9780857160881.
  5. ^ Tyler, Don (2007). Hit Songs, 1900-1955: American Popular Music of the Pre-Rock Era. McFarland. p. 318. ISBN 9780786429462.
  6. ^ Freedland, Michael (July 5, 1999). "Guy Mitchell: Fresh-faced pop singer who caught the upbeat mood before rock". The Guardian.
  7. ^ Vallance, Tom (February 20, 1998). "Obituary: Bob Merrill". The Independent. Archived from the original on May 11, 2009.
  8. ^ "Country-pop artist Mitchell dies at 72". Las Vegas Sun. July 2, 1999. Retrieved January 25, 2020.
  9. ^ "Update: Lifelines: Deaths". Billboard. July 17, 1999. p. 98 – via Google Books.
  10. ^ "Guy Mitchell | Discography". Discogs. Retrieved February 27, 2016.
  11. ^ "Guy Mitchell > Hot 100". Billboard.
  12. ^ "Guy Mitchell".
  13. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. pp. 371–372. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  14. ^ Waters, Steve (2013). The British Hit Singles January 1940 - October 1952. ISBN 9780957688100.
  15. ^ "Guy Mitchell > Hot Country Songs".
  16. ^ a b c d e f g Staig, Laurence (July 4, 1999). "Obituaries: Guy Mitchell". The Independent.

External links edit