Little Children – Billy J. Kramer & The Dakotas

THIS DAY IN MUSIC………………………………..on March 19th of 1964 Billy J. Kramer & The Dakotas occupy the top spot on the UK Singles Chart with “Little Children”. This was written by Mort Shuman and John Leslie McFarland. Shuman had written hits for Elvis Presley. The lyric concerns a man’s entreaties to his girlfriend’s young siblings not to reveal his courtship of their elder sister and to leave them alone, at some points, even bribing them with things like “candy and a quarter” and “a movie”, on the condition that they “keep a secret”. As such, it was a departure from the traditional love songs previously recorded by Kramer (sometimes supplied by Lennon & McCartney). When offered another Lennon and McCartney song, “One and One Is Two“, for his next single by the manager of both groups, Brian Epstein, Kramer turned it down and chose “Little Children” instead, after a search for suitable material from music publishers. Kramer was a British Rail fitter until Beatles manager Brian Epstein signed him in 1963. Epstein put him with the Manchester group The Dakotas and got them to record some songs written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney. They immediately scored a #2 UK hit with “Do You Want To Know a Secret,” the first ever cover of a Lennon and McCartney song to chart. The follow up “Bad To Me,” which was written specifically by John Lennon for the group, became their first UK chart topper. After another Lennon and McCartney Top Five single, “I’ll Keep You Satisfied,” they recorded this, which became their second UK #1 hit and their first American hit. Kramer’s real name is William Ashton. John Lennon suggested adding the “J” so he would stand out from other singers with the same last name. The song peaked at #7 in the US.