Helen Shapiro (born 28 September 1946, Bethnal Green, London) is an English singer and actress. She is best known for her 1960s UK chart-toppers, "You Don't Know" and "Walkin' Back to Happiness". She is the granddaughter of Russian Jewish immigrants. Her parents were too poor to own a record player but they encouraged music in their home (Helen had to borrow a neighbour's player to hear her first single). Shapiro played banjo as a child and sang with her brother Ron occasionally in his youth club jazz group. She had a deep timbre to her voice, unusual in a girl not yet in her teens: school friends gave her the nickname "Foghorn".
In 1961, at the age of fourteen, she had two number one hits in the UK: "You Don't Know" and "Walkin' Back to Happiness"; and, indeed, her first four single releases all went into the top three of the UK Singles Chart. Her mature voice made her an overnight sensation, as well as the youngest female chart topper in the UK. At a mere 14 years and 316 days old when "You Don't Know" hit the top, she was nevertheless a year older than Frankie Lymon had been when "Why Do Fools Fall in Love" hit the UK number one slot in 1956.
Before she was sixteen years old, Shapiro had been voted Britain's 'Top Female Singer', and when The Beatles had their first national tour (The Helen Shapiro Tour) in 1963, it was as her supporting act. The Beatles even wrote the song "Misery" for her but, inexplicably, EMI decided not to record her singing it.
Shapiro retired from showbusiness at the end of 2002 to concentrate on her Gospel Outreach evenings. She is married to John Judd, an actor with numerous roles in British television and cinema. [wikipedia]