‘I sang it live on TV and it sold 80,000 copies the next day – keeping the Beatles’ Penny Lane/Strawberry Fields Forever off the No 1 slot’

I started off working in clubs under my real name, Gerry Dorsey. Then I got tuberculosis and nobody in showbusiness wanted to handle me, because it was a serious disease back then. When I was in hospital I told my mother that a priest had come to visit me and been really kind. She said: “Son, he was giving you the last rites.”

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