Teen-idol Marty Wilde had 14 chart hits between 1958 and 1962 including ‘Teenager in Love’ and ‘Rubber Ball’ (both covers of American songs). He even had a girls’ magazine, Marty, named after him.
As with so many British singers, Wilde (actually called Reginald Smith) started off in a skiffle group, the Hound Dogs. He left the band to go solo under the management of impresario Larry Parnes who renamed him Marty Wilde. Parnes was also responsible for turning one Ronald Wycherley into Billy Fury - ‘bad boy’ names were the thing. Wilde’s success owed much to his sex appeal, including an Elvis style hip grind.
In 1959, thousands of teenage hearts were broken when Wilde married Joyce Baker, one of the Vernons’ Girls singing group, and his popularity plummeted. He was overshadowed by Cliff Richard and the Beatles, but his daughter, Kim was to become a pop star, after her recording of one of her father’s songs ‘Kids from America’ went into the charts in 1981. She later abandoned her successful singing career to become an equally successful garden designer.