What better way to celebrate St David’s Day than bringing one of Wales' most universal popular culture contributions to the forefront – the number one record.
As Wales at No.1 hosted by The One Show’s Alex Jones proved on Sunday evening, this has been a medium Wales has been excelling in since 1959 when Shirley Bassey topped the UK charts with As I Love You.
As the evening commenced with The Welsh Pops Orchestra’s rendition of At The Sound Of The Swinging Cymbal (composed by former Shirley Bassey musical director Brian Fahey, and the theme to radio's Pick of The Pops) it became apparent no other tune would be more appropriate to introduce the best in Wales music talent.
Swansea’s Shaheen Jafargholi brought new life to Spencer Davis Group’s Keep on Running while John Owen Jones revived Tom Jones' hit Green Green Grass of Home. Sophie Evans brought a new twist to Amen Corner’s smash (If Paradise Is) Half as Nice and Jessica Lee Morgan gave a welcome rendition of her mother Mary Hopkin’s hit Those Were The Days which the audience clapped along with from the offset. Lucie Jones also wowed the audience with her stunning performances of Dave Edmunds I Hear You Knocking and Stereophonics Dakota.
There were some genuine Welsh Number one stars to hand as well. Shakin Stevens opened the second half of the show with two of his four chart-toppers Green Door and This Ole House while the first Welshman ever to reach the UK Number one slot Ricky Valance gave a perfect rendition of his 1960 chart-topper Tell Laura I Love Her, despite suffering a severe heart attack early last week.
Amy Wadge’s rendition of her co-composition with Ed Sheeran Thinking Out Loud and Manic Street Preacher James Dean Bradfield’s rendition of If You Tolerate This, You’re Children Will Be Next also proved to be real musical highlights.
As key performers of the evening reunited on stage to sing Tom Jones It’s Not Unusual, (celebrating its 50th anniversary as a 60s chart topper this week) Wales At No.1 proved to be the ultimate Pick of Wales Pops. Diolch!
- A review by Andy Howells of this concert was published in The South Wales Argus entertainment supplement The Guide on March 6, 2015.