This was written by Jeff Barry and Ben Raleigh and first released by Ray Peterson in 1960, reaching No 7 in America.
In England Decca Records decided not to release Peterson’s recording on the grounds that it was tasteless, and destroyed about 25,000 copies. EMI were not so sensitive and recorded a cover version by their new signing, Ricky Valance (born David Spencer). It was released on the Columbia label and went to No 1, making Valance the first Welshman to top the chart. (Shirley Bassey was the first Welsh woman, with As I Love You in 1959.)
John Leyton attended a singing audition with producer Joe Meek and subsequently recorded the song (in a distinctively Meek production) which was released on the Top Rank label. At that time Top Rank was being taken over by EMI, which had already released Valance’s version, so the Leyton recording was withdrawn from sale.