“Release Me“….which is sometimes rendered as “Release Me (and Let Me Love Again)” is a popular song written by Eddie “Piano” Miller and Robert Yount in 1949. Four years later it was recorded by Jimmy Heap & the Melody Masters in 1953….and with even better success by Patti Page in 1954….Ray Price in 1954….and Kitty Wells in 1954….which was subsequently recorded by Jivin’ Gene [Bourgeois] & the Jokers in 1960….and that version served as an inspiration for Little Esther Phillips….who reached # 1 on the R&B chart and # 8 on the pop chart with her big-selling cover. The Everly Brothers followed in 1963…. along with Lucille Starr as “The French Song” including a translation in French in 1964…..then came Jerry Wallace in 1966….Dean Martin in 1967….Engelbert Humperdinck in 1967….who was # 1 on the UK Singles Chart …..and many others in the years after like Ray Charles.
Lucille Starr’s translation in “The French Song” was an international success that made Starr the first Canadian artist to have a record sell over a million copies….whereas the Humperdinck version has the distinction in the UK of holding the # 1 slot on the chart for six weeks during March and April 1967….while preventing The Beatles’ “Penny Lane” / “Strawberry Fields Forever” from reaching the top spot. Humperdinck’s “Release Me” was also the highest selling single of 1967 in the UK….while recording over one million in sales….and eventually becoming one of the best selling singles of all time with sales of 1.38 million copies.
In this video seen herewith…..impersonators extraordinaire Rich Little and Bob Anderson perform their impressions of Dean Martin singing “Release Me” on Little’s television special in 1979….which albeit is short….it is still worth the price of admission to watch.