ESC Bubble are sad to report that Pearl Carr has passed away earlier today. The singer represented the UK in 1959 with her late husband Teddy Johnson with the song ‘Sing little birdy’
The news was confirmed by actor and songwriter, Bobby Crush, on Twitter earlier today.
Sad to report that my darling “Auntie Pearl”, PEARL CARR, passed away peacefully this afternoon at the grand old age of 98. With her beloved husband, TEDDY JOHNSON, they were the most popular singing duo of the 1950’s & 60’s and my friends for 40+ years https://t.co/sZGqly1hDf— Bobby Crush (@theBobbyCrush) February 16, 2020
Pearl Carr was born on 2nd November 1923 in Exmouth, Devon. Before her marriage to Teddy Johnson in 1955, she was lead singer of The Keynotes. The group had 2 British hits in 1956 with Dave King, reaching number 5 and number 11 in the British charts.
Carr and Johnson were frequently on British television light entertainment programmes, such as The Winifred Atwell Show as well as Big Night Out and Blackpool Night Out. They represented the UK in the 1959 and finished 2nd with the “Sing, Little Birdie”. The song peaked at No. 12 on the UK Singles Chart.
In 2011 Johnson revealed that they initially thought the contest to become the British entry was the extent of their booking.
“We had never heard of the Eurovision Song Contest before and were going to be booked as solo singers, but that consummated Pearl and Teddy as a double act.
As far as we were concerned it was just another gig, but it was the easiest money we had ever had. There were two heats – one on the Monday and another on the Wednesday, with the final on Saturday night.
When we won, the BBC Head of Television Light Entertainment Eric Maschwitz said he was thrilled that Pearl and I would now represent our country in the Eurovision Song Contest in Cannes.
I said: ‘What? What do you mean?’ I didn’t know we had to represent the country. We had no idea whatsoever. He gave me the dates for Cannes and I just hoped we had them available. As it happened, we did. Pearl flew out with three guys from the BBC but I was doing a small show for ATV and got a later flight.”
They duo tried to represent the UK again in 1960 entering two songs into the pre-selection, “Pickin’ Petals” and “When The Tide Turns”, the latter making the final.
It was up against Johnson’s own brother, Bryan. In the end Bryan won and went on to represent the United Kingdom in the Eurovision Song Contest 1960. He also came second, with the song “Looking High, High, High”.
Carr and Johnson released another single the following year entitled, “How Wonderful To Know”, which charted at No. 23 in the UK. (You can see this below)
In 1986, the two were the subject of an edition of This Is Your Life. After this success they appeared in the West End revival of the Stephen Sondheim musical Follies. playing the roles of “Wally and Emily Whitman” and performing the song “Rain on the Roof”. It was at the conclusion of its 18-month run in 1990 that Carr and Johnson decided to retire.
Our thoughts are with Pearl Carr’s friends and family during this difficult time.