MARTY WILDE WAS ONE OF THE PACK OF 1950s BRITISH singers who brought American rock and roll to these shores and changed our lives forever. He was discovered by impresario Larry Parnes who changed Marty’s name from Reginald Smith to one created by the template which served many of Parnes’ stable of performers, a cute first name followed by a surname which suggested sexual aggression and untameable passion.
Not that this was realised by any of the teenage girls (and boys probably, but they didn’t say) who clustered round the television at tea time on Saturdays to see the stars of Oh Boy and Boys Meet Girl, the vehicles for singers like Marty and Billy Fury and Vince Eager, and the one who was to prove to be Marty’s nemesis, Cliff Richard. The ‘Cliff or Marty’ stand-off was a playground ritual. We all know who won.