The Legend of Xanadu peaked at no 6 on the Go-Set National Top 40 on 15 May 1968.
“The Legend of Xanadu” by Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich was the group’s biggest hit. As with many of their singles, it was written by songwriters Ken Howard and Alan Blaikley, and like many of the group’s recordings, it features novelty elements – in this case a trumpet section and the distinctive sound of a whip cracking in the chorus.
Every songwriting team has an act that brings out the best in them. For lifelong pals Ken Howard and Alan Blaikley, that act was a cumbersomely named Wiltshire five piece fronted by Dave Dee – who, in his previous job as a young policeman, was called to the scene of the car crash that claimed the life of Eddie Cochran. The Legend Of Xanadu was the quintet’s only number one, a magnificent moment of mariachi melodrama.
It’s a perfect reminder that pop can be silly and life-affirming in equal measure. Moving, too – after all, what was it to her that a man laid down his life in Xanadu?
This song is also on our Spotify playlist.
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