Percy Faith: Theme from “A Summer Place”

Written by Charles McKay

In category: Song of the Day

Published August 5, 2019

At the start of 1960 I turned five years old. By the end of 1969 I was just days from turning 15.  That decade saw some of the biggest changes in popular music and I was there to experience to it. For the next two weeks I will take you on a bit of a personal and historical musical journey through the decade. For those of you who also experienced it I hope some of the songs bring back fond memories. And for those of you who were not yet around, hopefully this journey will introduce you to some new music. By the way, as we travel from year to year, as a fun fact, I will provide Billboard’s top selling song of the year as well as the Grammy Award for record and for song.

Billboard Top Seller – “Theme from A Summer Place” by Percy Faith
Grammy for Song of the Year (1961) – “Theme from A Summer Place” by Percy Faith
Grammy for Record of the Year (1961) – “Theme of Exodus” by Ernest Gold

The song I am offering is the instrumental version of “Theme from A Summer Place” by Percy Faith (released in Sept 1959 and entered Billboard’s Top 100 in January 1960 and later held the No. 1 spot for nine weeks). Why this song? I wish I could fully articulate why. I have not heard the song in years but as I was preparing for these two weeks and listened to it, it brought back a range of feelings and images – all good – from that year. This is one of just a few songs that has this almost overwhelming effect. I have to wonder if others feel the same when they hear it as it was the overall top selling song of 1960 (and it remains the longest running No. 1 instrumental in the history of the Billboard chart).

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Leading NYFOS’s administrative team, Charles McKay has a longstanding devotion to vocal music. Prior to his time with NYFOS, he enjoyed a long career at Carnegie Hall, including programming the Great Singers concert series and developing professional training residencies, including the legendary Robert Shaw Choral Workshop.


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