Northern Ireland’s Perpetual Langley never found the success she deserved but holds a place in the hearts of British beat fans for her 1966 recordings on London’s Planet record label.
She was born Mary Perpetual Langley in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
She began singing at an early age and even won a talent contest at just ten years old. In her teens she joined a showband based in Donegal in the Republic of Ireland with her brother, Gerry.
The pair eventually left the showband to form a folk duo, the Langleys, and secured a contract with the Fontana label, where they issued two singles, in 1964 and 1965, before Gerry went solo.
Left to her own devices, 17-year-old Mary sought a contract with the fledgling independent Planet label, owned by American producer Shel Talmy, in January 1966.
Within a month, she issued her first solo single, We wanna stay home, under the name Perpetual Langley. The song received mixed reviews from the music press, who liked her voice but felt the song’s lyrics were somewhat dated.
In May that year, her second release, the superior Surrender, landed in the shops. (The single is also noteworthy for its terrific B-side, Two by two.) Unfortunately, it was issued against a rival, more soulful version by The Carrolls, led by Irene Carroll, the future actress/comedienne/impersonator Faith Brown. The competition did neither any good, and both singles failed.
Surrender proved Perpetual’s final release for Planet.
In 1967, however, she signed to the CBS label, where she issued two singles, Stay in my world and And it always rains on Sundays, neither of which met any success.
Sadly, she died in an accident in 1988.
With thanks to Gerry Langley for additional information.
Follow the links to hear other singers’ versions of Perpetual Langley songs
Carrolls: Surrender your love
Our pick of the pops
Two by two
We wanna stay home
Backcomb 'n' beat: Dreambabes, vol 3
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