The Hiltonaires - Dance to Beatles Hits in the Glenn Miller Sound [Stereo Gold Award, 1971]

I once bought a copy of “Big Jim H’s Hammond Organ Greats” in a charity shop for the princely sum of 50 English pence, and a gem of a cheese fest it is too. But more than that, on the back it advertises yet more joys from the Stereo Gold Award catalogue, among them “The Cocktail Piano of Rene Armand with Carlini’s World of Strings” and this from The Hiltonaires.

I made it my mission in life to track both of those stunners down, and although it took me nearly two years, it was worth it.

Dancing to Beatles hits in any given style, let alone one involving Glenn Miller is a definite mind melt. And in 1971 no less, when most pop-pickers were both rediscovering their Christianity and freaking out to “Godspell”, getting very dirty with the new Heavy metal or about to get very camp indeed with glam rock.

I can only suspect the presence of high grade psychedelics or a record label so bewildered by the rapid change and pace of modern music that they’d completely given up and gone utterly mad.

We start with “Moonlight Serenade”. That’d be Glenn Miller then. Pure, unadulterated, pre-Fab Glenn Miller. I feel somewhat cheated at this point. Until “Something” sneaks into the middle of it and the doo-wop vocals kick in, all beef gravy on the legs and chewing gum and chocolate on the black market.

And suddenly we’re at an RAF dinner dance in a small village somewhere but in a parallel universe where Messers Lennon, McCartney, Harrison and Starkey are dressed in khaki and acting as the house band with regulation haircuts.

And either it’s a testimony to their utter genius as songwriters or a statement about music in general but in a very weird way this record doesn’t sound odd or out of place.

All of Side 2 is The Beatles. That is, all of Side Two is Beatles’ covers. Because there’s nothing remotely Beatley about any of it: no yeah yeah yeahs, no backward guitars, no psychedelic noodlings, no tape loops, no orchestras playing out of time.

It’s slightly depressing to think this, but maybe there genuinely is a parallel universe somewhere where the era of Peace, Love and Social Revolution never actually happened, where Elvis is a crooner and The Rolling Stones cut more of a Rudy Vallee dash.

Or maybe this is just a really bloody weird record.


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The Hiltonaires - Dance To Beatles Hits in the Glenn Miller Style