WITH HIS cowboy good looks and toe-tapping, cheerful songs, Guy Mitchell was always a hit with his Glasgow audiences.

When he appeared at the Empire in July 1954, fans crowded the stage door, bring traffic on the surrounding streets to a standstill.

However, the star was a little bit subdued, according to our reporter, as he had fallen off his horse the day before.

“After a start handicapped by curtain faults and a dead microphone, he sang his way through 11 numbers in 30 minutes,” said our review.

“His selection was liberally sprinkled with the old favourites that took him to the top in America.”

Glasgow Times:

Our sister title, The Glasgow Herald as it was known then, said: “He seemed to lack confidence at first but soon had the audience stamping their feet in time with his rollicking songs.

“He eschews the worst type of sentimentality and the appeal to hysteria that have brought success to some of his competitors.

“The audience would happily have listened to a performance twice as long. The boyish American singer was given an enthusiastic reaction.”

In an interview with our writer Meg Munro, Mitchell spoke about his love of horses (his favourite was one called Scotch Boy), but she was keen to ask about his home life, in San Fernando Valley, where he lived with his parents and the rest of his family,

“We’re simple folk,” he told her. “I’m from peasant stock, and proud of it.”

The family had no affectations; they ate their meals in the kitchen and, when they had company, in the dining-room.

In 1994, The Herald ran a recollection from someone who was at the 1954 concert.

“The last time I was in the Empire, sometime in the early fifties, dragged along as a small alibi by an uncle trying to woo a beehive-haired siren in a sticky-out frock, was to hear Guy Mitchell,” wrote Margaret Vaughan.

“Since I spent most of the time making myself sick on pear drops and jumping on the tip-up seat, memories of the actual performance are hazy but I can still give a rendition of Singing the Blues, in a deeper voice admittedly, for the price of a packet of jubejubes.”

Other readers may remember the 1990 BBC series Your Cheatin’ Heart, written by John Byrne and starring Tilda Swinton and Eddi Reader, in which Mitchell played a country singer.

In a 2013 interview with the Herald, Reader and Byrne talked about Mitchell’s impact.

Reader said: “I was up at my mother’s house and [the producers] phoned me to talk about Your Cheatin’ Heart - when my mum overheard that Guy Mitchell was going to be on it, she wet her knickers.

“She phoned my aunties, her friends. The day came when she and a friend came to the set. I saw my mum visibly turn into a 17-year-old in front of Guy. He was twinkly-eyed.”

Byrne added: “There was a time when he was the biggest star. You’d walk through Ferguslie Park in 1954, 1956, all the windows were open, [Mitchell’s hit] My Truly, Truly Fair would be banging out.”

Mitchell, real name Al Cernick, was born in Detroit, Michigan, and he began his showbiz career before the Second World War as a child actor and singer.

By 1950, however, he had become an established star and he went on to have a string of hits, including She Wears Red Feathers, Christopher Columbus, Belle, Belle, My Liberty Belle, and Singin’ The Blues.

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He first came to Britain when a great wave of American stars was filling the London Palladium and the Glasgow Empire - names such as Danny Kaye, Johnny Ray, and Frankie Lane.

The city took him to their hearts.

The Herald’s former entertainments editor, the late Andrew Young, once recalled an occasion at Glasgow’s Metropole Theatre when, in the middle of singing My Truly Truly Fair, Mitchell appeared to forget the words and go into a sort of trance.

Young wrote: ‘’The orchestra faltered briefly before the audience took over and then cheered him to the echo as he picked up with them.’’

Mitchell died in 1999 aged 72.