25 July 2021

Eleanor Toner - Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow/ Between The Window And The Phone

Ex-showband star covers the Shirelles classic with aplomb

Label: Decca
Year of Release: 1965

Very few Irish showband stars managed to replicate their success outside of Eire and Northern Ireland, however many miles of road they'd covered and however much stagecraft they had learned on the way. Beat groups in the UK could get a record deal (but often probably shouldn't have) and airplay within six months of forming, whereas polished Irish showbiz royalty frequently had to fight to get noticed amidst the sixties noise.

Perhaps inevitably, Eleanor Toner from County Down - formerly of the hugely successful Hilton Showband - was no exception. Her first two solo singles popped up on the small folk label Beltona before Decca saw her potential and signed her up for an April release of "All Cried Out" in 1965. When that flopped, this was the next single, produced with extraordinary but typical care by Ivor Raymonde. Toner's vocals are as heartfelt, if not more so, than those on offer on the original and Raymonde's arrangement totally resists the temptation to ape Spector's wall of sound and instead gives the tune a widescreen clarity. The claustrophobia of the original version is of course not something that necessarily needed changing, but this version takes a teenage box room Dansette melodrama and transforms it into something more panoramic and adult - "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?" is just as valid a question for developing teenagers with short attention spans and couples two years deep into their relationships, obviously.

Unfortunately for Eleanor, the British public weren't especially interested in a cover version of the track a mere four years after it was last a big hit, and it slid out largely ignored. That didn't stop her from appearing on shows such as "Gadzooks! It's All Happening" and "The New London Palladium Show" that year and generally having a strong live profile - but her next two Decca singles "Danny Boy" and "Black Rose" also failed to cut much more ice.

Throughout this period she had also been dating footballer Pat Jennings and the pair married in October of that year. There's even a picture of him actually proposing over on Getty Images. It would seem that she gradually settled down into married life after 1966 and put her recording career behind her. They remain happily married to this day.

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1 comment:

john111257 said...

This is a cracking version, new one to me