Lyn Cornell

TrackSingle / Album / DVD
Never On SundayDecca 45-F 11277
Sally Go Round The Roses Decca F.11750
Kisses Can LieJust For Fun
We Love You Beatles (The Carefrees)Oriole CB 1916
Fever 'Shindig 1964' DVD
Foolman (Raindrops ˈ67)CBS – 2669
Guilty (The Pearls)BELL 1352
Wizard Of Love (The Pearls)BELL 1372
Secret Love (James Last Orchestra)Happy Summer Night
How Do You Do (James Last Orchestra)Non Stop Dancing Vol.1 DVD

Lyn Cornell sheet music


Lyn Cornell playlist


Lyn Cornell Never On Sunday


Contributor: David Pearson

To many readers the name of Lyn Cornell may be unfamiliar, yet she occupies a significant place in the history of British rock and pop. She achieved hit parade success across three separate decades, both as a solo artiste and as a group member. And not just one group but several. She worked with performers as diverse as Marty Wilde and James Last. She appeared in a 60s pop movie and a famed US TV pop show.

This is her story.

Lyn was born in Liverpool in 1940. As a teenager she joined the Vernons Girls. The Girls had originally been a choir of around 70 employees of the Vernons Pools company in Aintree, but slimming down to around 16/17 they turned professional and cut an album for Parlophone.
The album cover shows the girls in elegant ball gowns, hair perfectly coiffeured, lots of bling, the essence of Mayfair chic – and looking older than their mothers!

A dramatic image change was to follow when TV producer Jack Good booked them for his new rock ‘n’ roll shows Six-Five Special and Oh Boy. By this time, girls were being recruited from outside the pools company, and Lyn was one of them.

Also by this time the image was totally different. Clad often in loose open neck shirts, tight figure-hugging shorts, nylons and stilettos, they could be seen backing Marty Wilde or Cliff Richard, sometimes performing their own songs, or else performing dance routines that for the late 1950s were quite daring.

By 1960, the initial rock ‘n’ roll craze was showing signs of fading. And Lyn, still only 20, decided to try for a solo singing career. Signed to Decca, she recorded the title theme to the romantic comedy Never On Sunday. There were numerous instrumental recordings but Lyn released her own vocal version and it made the UK Top 30 later that year.

Over the next few years, she released several Decca singles, drawing her material from some interesting sources outwith the normal Brit Girl range. I Sold My Heart To The Junkman had originally been done by the Basin Street Boys; Moanin’ had been recorded earlier by Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers. What A Feeling was an old Jo Stafford song.

She covered the Jaynetts US smash hit Sally Go Round The Roses:

Lyn’s time with Decca brought her into contact with many of the great British songwriters, arrangers and producers of the period; people like Jack Good, Syd Dale, Johnnie Spence and Joe Meek man Charles Blackwell.

She enjoyed a summer season in 1961 at Blackpool’s North Pier, billed as ‘Decca’s personality songstress’. In the show’s programme her hobbies are listed as ‘collecting soft toys and making her own clothes’.

TV appearances included Big Night Out (1961) and Thank Your Lucky Stars (1962). And the following year she appeared in the pop movie Just For Fun with Mark Wynter and a host of British and American stars, including her old pals the Vernons Girls. Lyn performed Kisses Can Lie. A less-than-perfect clip of Lyn singing the song in Just For Fun can be seen here.

In 1964, Lyn joined forces with two other girls and three guys to form The Carefrees releasing We Love You Beatles. The Fab Four were huge in the USA at the time, and this record was played endlessly on US radio stations, peaking at #39 in the Billboard Hot Hundred in March 1964.

A further single followed and then a US/Canada only album before the group split later in the year.

And that same year she appeared with the Beatles and other British acts in a UK episode of Jack Good’s new American TV show Shindig. Her choice of song was again somewhat unusual – the old Peggy Lee classic Fever.

When Jackie Lee parted company from her group the Raindrops, Lyn and others formed Raindrops ˈ67 releasing one single Foolman/Got To Find A Reason (CBS 2669).

The record failed to make much impact and after a few live gigs around London the group folded. But the advent of the 1970s would see another phase of Lyn’s varied and colourful career.

Sisters Yvonne and Heather Wheatman were better known as Sue and Sunny, but under another name – The Pearls – they released the old Martha & the Vandellas hit Third Finger Left Hand as a single. It reached #31 on the UK chart. However, contractual issues prevented the girls from continuing their careers as the Pearls. Instead, the name was taken over by Lyn and her former Vernons Girl mate, Ann Simmons

Over the next few years, Lyn and Ann released around a dozen fine girl-pop singles, reaching the Top Ten in 1974 with Guilty.

There’s a touch of James Last in Lead Us Not Into Temptation, lots of fuzz and handclaps in Yo Yo, and the radio-friendly and very commercial-sounding Wizard Of Love that inexplicably and undeservedly failed to trouble the charts.

These recordings can be found on the retrospective CD compilation A String Of Pearls (Rev-Ola, 2005). The collection includes the previously unreleased Bye Bye Love, in which the old Everly Brothers classic is given a 70s vibe with handclaps, fuzz guitar and female harmonies.

Both during and after the Pearls, Lyn worked with the James Last Orchestra, recording albums like James Last Live (1974) and Happy Summer Night (1976) from which this track is taken – Secret Love:

In another James Last concert, Lyn and other members of the James Last chorus line up in front of the band to sing the Mouth & MacNeal hit, How Do You Do. What is interesting here is to recognise, alongside blonde-haired Lyn on the left of the screen, several top session/backing singers whose careers were interwoven with hers. They include ex-Vernon and Breakaway Jean Ryder, Sue & Sunny, Russell Stone, Kay Garner and Tony Burrows. And they all seemed to be having a joyous time.

In 1989, Lyn reunited with her Vernons pals for The Event at Wembley, marking Cliff Richard’s 30 years in music. A big part of the show was a tribute to the Oh Boy TV show that launched his career.

Besides all the girl groups mentioned, Lyn also worked with the Breakaways, the Chucks and the Ladybirds, perhaps an indication of the networking that went on with the community of female session singers and group members

The AllMusic website declares that “Cornell could unfurl a suppleness of vocal gesture that was denied to luckier but less stylistically adventurous contemporaries”.





The Pearls – ‘Anthology’ (22-track CD Renaissance Records)

Lyn Cornell (Wikipedia)

Lyn Cornell at 45cat

The Pearls at 45cat

The Vernons Girls on ‘Oh Boy’

Lyn Cornell biography (AllMusic)

David Pearson has lived all his life in Glasgow. Married with two sons, he was an English teacher for 40 years. Since retiring in 2011 he has written a number of items for a range of publications, including 55 Life, Northern Echo, Shindig and Record Collector (including a longer piece in RC #516 on the 60s Brit Girl scene). He is a lover of 60s/70s pop, especially anything with a strong harmony sound.

TopperPost #1,074


  1. Andrew Shields
    Sep 2, 2023

    Thanks for this excellent piece David. Lyn had a really superb and versatile voice. And that video for ‘How Do You Do’ is like a time machine back to the 70s.

    • David Pearson
      Sep 4, 2023

      Thanks Andrew – I must admit when I started researching her I had no idea that she had been part of the James Last Chorus, which in the early 70s looked like a who’s who of session singers – Sue & Sunny, Tony Burrows, Jean Ryder (Vernons, Breakaways) Kay garner, Russell Stone, etc. Fabulous.

  2. Colin Duncan
    Sep 3, 2023

    Thanks, David. Lyn was a superb singer. The article took me back to a different era.

    • David Pearson
      Sep 4, 2023

      You’re most welcome, Colin – thanks for your comment. I now have a new appreciation of the Vernons Girls!

  3. Lyn Cornell
    Jan 7, 2024

    Thank you David for the excellent research. I had forgotten a lot of things that happened back then but your research has brought back lots of memories to me. .Warm regards…Lyn Cornell

    • David Pearson
      Jan 8, 2024

      You are most welcome, Lyn. You have had an amazing career. My very best wishes xx

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