One of the all-time great records, and an early portent of Phil Spector’s wonderful talent. He was inspired to write the song by the words on his father’s gravestone, ‘To Know Him Was To Love Him’. (His father committed suicide when Spector was nine.) It was recorded in 1958 by The Teddy Bears, Spector’s group with high school friends Marshall Leib, Annette Kleinbard and Sandy Nelson on drums. It topped the charts in America and reached No 2 in the UK.
Here is a live recording from The Perry Como Show, 1958. (Spector is on the right.)
The Beatles did quite a good version in 1963 on their BBC radio show Pop Go the Beatles, changing the pronoun to ‘her’.
John Lennon recorded it in 1973, with Phil Spector producing, but it was not released until his 1986 posthumous album Menlove Ave. I don’t find it very charming.