There have been 22 instrumentals that have hit number one on the pop charts since July of 1955. “The Theme from ‘A Summer Place’” is the best selling of all of them. It is not only the best selling instrumental, but it was the best selling record, period, for all of 1960 and that includes the Elvis Presley songs,
This wasn’t Percy Faith’s first rodeo. He had been making music for years. Born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada in 1908, he played the violin and the piano as a child. When he was 18, an accident occurred in which his mother was burned from a fire. Percy put out the fire with his bare hands and burned them severely. The doctors told him he wouldn’t play the piano or the violin for at least five years. So, he went into conducting and composing music. He worked for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation from 1933 until 1940 leading live music on two Canadian radio stations. He moved to Chicago in 1940 and did the same thing here. He became a citizen in 1945 and by the early Fifties, his orchestra was hitting the charts regularly. The had two number one hits in 1952 (“Delicado” and 1953 (“Song from Moulin Rouge (Where is Your Heart)”). He is credited for creating the “easy listening” form of music in America.
“The Theme from ‘A Summer Place’” was written by Mack Discant and Max Steiner for the movie “A Summer Place” which starred Sandra Dee and Troy Donahue. It was recorded for the movie by Hugo Winterhalter and the theme does not play over the credits as you might expect, instead it plays when the two lovers in the film are interacting.
The song was actually slow in finding an audience. It was released in September of 1959 but it took it until January of 1960 to enter the charts. It debuted on the pop chart on January 25, 1960 and spent a record breaking nine weeks at number one. It was Percy Faith’s only number one song in the rock era. He died of cancer in 1976.