1961 – 1970
Born Walter Stanley Scuffham in Hull in December 1933, Don Charles was primarily a crooner and ballad singer blessed with a striking vocal style. Despite a string of single releases on Parlophone, Decca and HMV, he managed only one hit, 1962’s “Walk With Me My Angel”.
Initially recording as Don Bennett (a combination of a childhood nickname and his stepfather’s surname), his debut single “Paintbox Lover” was released on Parlophone and apparently produced by an uncredited George Martin. The name didn’t last long – concerned over possible confusion with Tony Bennett, the artist renamed himself Don Charles before the release of second single “Walk With Me My Angel”, by which time he had signed with the famous Decca label.
“Walk With Me My Angel” made it to number 39 in the UK charts and was produced by the legendary Joe Meek, who was also responsible for bringing Charles to Decca. Meek was a staunch admirer, once quoted as saying (in his own inimitable fashion) that Charles was, “…my only legit artist – the rest of them are yugga-dugs”.
A further four singles followed on Decca before Charles followed Joe Meek to HMV, where he would release another seven records before going full circle and returning to Parlophone, where his career had begun six years earlier. There would be no second hit, and in 1968, “Your Name Is On My Heart” would be the final single released under the name of Don Charles. During this time, Charles also undertook some production work, most notably with Meek protégés The Tornados (of “Telstar” fame).
A brief return to recording in 1970 yielded the singles “And They All Came Marching Home” and “Dear John” (recorded as “Sgt. Will Scuffham”) but it was to be a fleeting re-appearance. Charles retired from music and instead became a photographer and a successful car salesman, even publishing the book How To Buy A Used Car (And Save Money) in 1989.
Don Charles died in 2005 at the age of 71. He was survived by five daughters.
Paintbox Lover (7″) – Parlophone, 1961 (as Don Bennett)
Walk With Me My Angel (7″) – Decca, 1962
The Hermit Of Misty Mountain (7″) – Decca, 1962
It’s My Way Of Loving You (7″) – Decca, 1962
Angel Of Love (7″) – Decca, 1962
Don Charles (7″ EP) – Decca, 1963
Tower Tall (7″) – His Master’s Voice, 1963
If You Don’t Know (I Ain’t Gonna Tell Ya) (7″) – His Master’s Voice, 1964
Big Talk From A Little Man (7″) – His Master’s Voice, 1964
Forgetting Me, Loving Him (7″) – His Master’s Voice, 1965
Dream On, Little Dreamer (7″) – His Master’s Voice, 1965
I Could Conquer The World (7″) – His Master’s Voice, 1965
And I’m Crying Again (7″) – Columbia, 1966
Out Of This Cold (7″) – His Master’s Voice, 1966
Bring Your Love To Me (7″) – Parlophone, 1967
Have I Told You Lately (7″) – Parlophone, 1967
If I Had The Chance (7″) – Parlophone, 1968
The Drifter (7″) – Parlophone, 1968
Your Name Is On My Heart (7″) – Parlophone, 1968
And They All Came Marching Home (7″) – MCA, 1970 (as Sgt. Will Scuffham)
Dear John (7″) – UPC, 1970 (as Sgt. Will Scuffham)