BCR Records 100
Recorded at Saint Studios, West Band, Wisconsin
There were records on Sara and Cuca by Jerry Miller, but It's not known if he's the same artist.
That was Jorgen Ingmann, and not The Shadows, who had the first American hit with "Apache". Jorgen Ingmann was a Danish guitarist who would later win the 1963 Eurovision Song Contest along with his wife, Grethe, with a song called “Dansevise (I Loved You).”
It is not known who had the idea to add lyrics to this originally instrumental record written by Londoner Jerry Lordan, but a vocal version by country star Sonny James, with lyrics by Houston singer-songwriter Johnny Flamingo, appeared on RCA Victor at about the time Jorgen's version was peaking in 1961.
Jerry Lordan was not an American Indian. He was a Londoner who had served in the Royal Air Force, dabbled in stand-up comedy, and worked in advertising before he began writing song hits for Mike Preston, Anthony Newley, John Barry, and especially the the Shadows, the backing band of Cliff Richard, Britain’s premier rock and roll teen idol until the Beatles came along, who would go on to become the Pat Boone of England.
In 1959, Lordan saw a Burt Lancaster movie called Apache, which had come out in 1954. In much the way Charlton Heston played a Mexican in Touch of Evil, Lancaster was Massai, the last Apache left after Geronimo’s surrender to the U.S. Cavalry in New Mexico, and a man out for vengeance. The story was based on fact—the real-life Massai did in fact escape the prison train after Geronimo’s tribe was captured—but the movie was primarily a frame for nonstop action. This gave Lordan an idea for a song, also titled “Apache,” and Lordan sold it to Bert Weeden, then the top-selling solo guitar instrumentalist in England.
34 years after Weedon cut the song, Lordan was still complaining: “He hasn’t even played the music that I wrote,” the songwriter told an interviewer in 1993, two years before he died. “I wanted something noble and dramatic, reflecting the courage and savagery of the Indian.” Soon after, Lordan, who also cut some minor hits as a vocalist, went on the road with Cliff Richard and The Shadows. He introduced the song to them (stories vary how), and after the band returned to London, they recorded “Apache” in less than 45 minutes, expecting it to be a B-side. Instead, it became a hit.
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