Lita Roza (14 March 1926 – 14 August, 2008) was a British singer. Her 1953 number one hit record "(How Much Is) That Doggie in the Window?" afforded Roza the privilege of being the first British female singer to top the UK Singles Chart, and the first Liverpudlian to do so.
At the age of 12 she saw an advertisement in the local newspapers for juvenile dancers and passed the audition. She took to the stage at that age in a pantomime and by the time she was 15 was working with fellow Merseysider comedian, Ted Ray.
By 16 (at the height of the Nazi Blitz-bombing raids on Liverpool) she answered another advert, when she managed to secure a job as a singer in the "New Yorker" - a Southport, Lancashire club. She got that job at £5 a week, then shortly afterwards signed up with the Harry Roy Orchestra in London. She moved on from this to work with other bands of the era including that of Edmundo Ros.
However, the marriage did not last and shortly after World War II Roza returned to the UK. In 1950 she became the lead female singer with the Ted Heath Band, and by 1954 had achieved enough public acclaim to leave the band and pursue a solo recording career on her own.
For Roza, whose "(How Much Is) That Doggie in the Window?" was a cover version of Patti Page's original, this was the peak of her career. The track was produced by Dick Rowe. Further covers of "Hey There" and "Jimmy Unknown" gave her small hits in the mid-1950s, but her career as Ted Heath's vocalist was knocked hard by the onslaught of rock and roll a year or two later. Her chart-topping single was produced by Dick Rowe. Roza disliked the song so much she never performed it live on stage.
She remained a top UK recording artist during the remainder of the 1950s, but her subsequent recordings never recaptured the magic she had shown while with Ted Heath.
She was consecutively voted the 'Top British Female Singer' in the New Musical Express poll winners' charts from 1951 to 1955. Melody Maker readers also voted her their 'Top Girl Singer' in the dance band section of their polls in 1951 and 1952.
On 28 November 2002 in Liverpool, she gave her last public performance on Radio Merseyside. A 22 track The Best Of Lita Roza was released in 2007.
Beginning with Roza when her record "(How Much Is) That Doggie in the Window?" reached number one in 1953, Liverpool artists have reached the top of the chart on 57 occasions. The most recent number one was Atomic Kitten's "The Tide is High" in 2002.
Still Haunted by That 'Waggily' Tale; Lita Roza Was the First Liverpool Star to Have a Number One, but Even on Her 80th Birthday She Can T Escape That Song about the Doggie in the Window. David Charters Reports
Mar 14, 2006; Byline: David Charters SHE'S 80 today, the girl with the big, teasing smile and pulse-racing figure, who once had all the...