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The opening track, "The Thrill of It All", was an up-tempo rocker that further developed the style of songs like " Virginia Plain " (1972) and " Do the Strand " (1973); it included a quote from Dorothy Parker 's poem "Resume": "You might as well live". Eddie Jobson 's violin dominated the heavily- flanged production of "Out of the Blue", which became a live favourite. Esoteric musical influences were betrayed by the German oom-pah band passages in "Bitter-Sweet", the Elizabethan flavour of "Triptych" and the lighthearted, boogie-blues, Southern rock edge to "If It Takes All Night".

In the early 1950s sales of American records dominated British popular music. In the first full year of the charts in 1953 major artists were Perry Como , Guy Mitchell and Frankie Laine largely with orchestrated sentimental ballads , beside novelty records like " (How Much Is) That Doggie in the Window? " re-recorded by British artist Lita Roza . [1] Some established British wartime stars like Vera Lynn were still able to chart into the mid-1950s, but successful new British acts like Jimmy Young who had two number one hits in 1955, did so with re-recorded versions of American songs " Unchained Melody " and " The Man from Laramie " or Alma Cogan with " Dreamboat ". [1] Many successful songs were the product of movies, including number ones for Doris Day in 1954 with " Secret Love " from Calamity Jane and for Frank Sinatra with the title song from Three Coins in the Fountain . A notable British musical genre of the mid-1950s was skiffle , which was developed primarily by jazz musicians copying American folk and country blues songs such as those of Lead Belly in a deliberately rough and lively style emulating jug bands . The most prominent exponent was Lonnie Donegan , whose version of " Rock Island Line " was a major hit in 1956. The success of the skiffle craze, and the lack of a need for expensive instruments or high levels of musicianship, encouraged many working class British males to start their own groups. [2] It has been estimated that in the late 1950s there were 30–50,000 skiffle groups in Britain. [3] Sales of guitars grew rapidly and other musicians were able to perform on improvised bass and percussion in venues such as church halls and cafes, without having to aspire to musical perfection or virtuosity. [2]


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