Michael Holliday was born Norman Alexander Milne in the Kirkdale district of Liverpool in November 1924 and began his singing career after winning an amateur talent contest – ‘New Voices of Merseyside’ – at the Locarno Ballroom and by 1951 he was singing in Butlin’s Holiday Camps.
Norrie Paramor – then head of A&R for EMI’s Columbia record label – signed him as a solo artist in 1955 and Holliday subsequently became the first Liverpudlian to achieve two #1 hits – The Story of My Life (January 1958) and Starry Eyed (November 1959).
The Story Of My Life (1958) became the first UK chart-topper for the now-legendary songwriting team of Burt Bacharach and Hal David.
Holliday’s record was eventually bettered by a Gerry & The Pacemakers hat-trick in October 1963, which coincided with his death at the age of 37.
Holliday had suffered a mental breakdown in 1961 and died in October 1963 from a suspected drug overdose after a performance at Freddie Mills’s nightclub in London.
Recently separated from his wife, Margie, Holliday was being pressured to pay outstanding taxes and left a letter saying in part, “the income tax want their money by Wednesday or else. I guess I ain’t man enough to tackle it alone.”
The pathology report said Holliday had taken 20 to 25 tablets of Nembutal (a sedative used to treat short-term insomnia) in a single dose.