You've probably been wondering whether the British teens were as fortunate as you; whether, growing up in the fifties and sixties, they had the same fine advantages you had.

Well, they had a richer culture, one could argue, but they didn't have Elvis; they didn't have Buddy; they didn't have Chuck. Oh, yes...they had the Beatles...but does that make up for the rest of it? :-)

Suffice it to say that the British experience of pop music was quite different from the American. There were more holdovers from the music- hall era of pre-War entertainment (rather like vaudeville). Pop crooners and bands tried for all the world to imitate American songsmiths. Sometimes you got a flash of inspiration, and then it was exclusive to British teens alone (like skiffle music---America had none of this!) Then there was the wireless (American English: radio). There were no top-40 AM stations in England, all pounding a pop message to youngsters throughout the States, but rather the benevolent BBC ("The Beeb"), which only gradually allowed rock and roll to transgress its airwaves. Most of the really good stuff came creeping across the channel via clandestine "pirate" stations aboard stationary ships like Radio Caroline, or continental stalwarts like Radio Luxembourg---now *they* had the music-lover in mind!

What the teenage Beatles grew up with, in their own pop music culture, was substantially different from the American much so that this note was created for your enjoyment and edification. In it you'll find a list of groups and singers who entered and exited the pop charts of the UK from the fifties through the end of the sixties--- the singers who influenced several generations of music listeners. It's not an all-inclusive list; it stops roughly when the British Invasion ceased to have an effect on the US, about 1968. There were groups aplenty after this, but the wave had slowed, and it's the wave, and its imperceptible precursors, that interest us. What was the Beatles' milieu? What might they have heard? And while we know what American music did for them, what did British music *fail* to do? Why did they retreat from skiffle, the Shadows, Adam Faith, and create a whole new world of harmonic complexity and beauty, just for them and us? Maybe by reading about that background---the styles the Beatles abandoned---you'll be inspired to seek out some of it, and hear for yourself.

Alas, the best LP collection of British pop has been out of print for almost twenty years: Sire's "The Roots of British Pop." Maybe you can find it at a record swapmeet someday.

As for books that delve deeper, some are still with us, and some are equally remote. I recommend:

  1. Adam Clayson's "Call Up The Groups" (1985)
  2. Paul Flattery's "The Illustrated History of Pop" (1973) (out of print)
  3. Guinness "British Hit Singles" (1983, updated periodically)
  4. Donald Clarke, ed., "The Penguin Encyclopedia of Popular Music" (1989)

Benny Goodman and his Orchestra were the 'King of the Swing', as were Glenn Miller and Artie Shaw. The music was fast and frantically paced and led to dances being banned from dance halls, as the young women being flung into the air by their partners showed their stocking tops and underwear. Jazz continued to be popular.

1940s - The Second World War brought fast, frantic (and often American) dance music - boogie-woogie or jitterbug. Dances were held in church halls, village halls, clubs, Air Force bases - everywhere! But slower, romantic songs were also popular as loved ones went away to fight, such as Vera Lynn's we'll meet again. After the war skiffle' bands became popular.

These bands used household items, such as washboards and tea chests, as part of their set of instruments! Tommy Steele first played in a skiffle band. 1950s - Rock and Roll became very popular. 1960's - The Beatles began their career. They leapt to fame in 1963 with 'Please, Please Me'. The Beatles moved through the late 1960s as favourites of the 'flower power' generation - many young people enjoyed 'hippie' music. Other teenagers preferred the music of the 'Mods' - ska music and The Who.

1970s - The first big new sound of the 1970s was “Glam Rock”, the main figures of this were David Bowie, Elton John and of course Gary Glitter. In the bleak political backdrop, these larger that life British bands and characters brought a welcome relief with their platform boots, sequins, nail varnish and colourful hair.

The punk movement of the late 1970s began in England. Great British bands of this scene were The Sex Pistols and The Clash. The Punk style was Mohicans, bondage clothes, safety pins, piercings and bovver boots.

1980s - The 1980s saw the rise of hip hop and rap music, with American influences powerful once again in the form of such groups as Run DMC and Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five. It also saw the rise and fall of the 'New Romantics', typified by groups like Adam and the Ants, who dressed as pirates and highway men and wore huge amounts of makeup.

1990s - Britpop This was the general name given in the 1990s to a new wave of successful British bands who made a big impact in the United States and Europe, as well as in England. The most successful have been Radiohead, Oasis, Blur, Pulp, Massive Attack and The Spice Girls.

Welcome to Pastreunited, here you will find hundreds of videos, images, and over 80 pages about all aspects of the 20th century. A great deal of the content has been sent in, other content is the work of numerous writers who have a passion for this era, please feel free to send in your memories or that of your family members, photos and videos are all welcome to help expand pastreunited's data base.

You may also add a dedication to a loved one if you wish, we have been on-line for many years and intend to be here for many years to come as new family members will take over the website, all content is regularly backed up to safe guard the content, so what are you waiting for send us an email and we will do the rest.

A Short History (in capsule form) of British Pop Music All credits to Saki.

It may surprise many to find that the hobby of record collecting, long thought dead after the introduction of the compact disc, is still alive and well. Granted, many music fans have long replaced their records with CDs, but for many Baby Boomers and Generation X-ers, the hobby of buying and collecting record albums and singles continues to be a focal point in their lives. Records offer the tactile sense of a substantial product, unlike the CD.

The seven-inch, 45 RPM single often came with a picture sleeve that has no equivalent among compact discs. The nostalgia of records draws many back to their younger days. And records still sound great. A recent check of the Bay auction site showed 959,857 records for sale.

That’s just under one million records! These records aren’t selling at garage-sale prices, either. At any given time, there might be six thousand records by the Beatles for sale, some of which have sold for up to $40,000. Elvis isn’t far behind; his first five singles, issued on the small Memphis-based, Sun label, routinely bring $2000 at auction in nice condition.

Other artists, such as the Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, James Brown, or Madonna have issued records that not only command sky-high prices, but also draw a lot of bids. The greatest interest in record collecting is in artists of the 1960’s and 1970’s, but newer bands, such as Nirvana, draw a lot of attention from younger collectors.

Nivrana’s first single, Love Buzz issued in 1988, sells for up to $2000 and there are several other bands, such as the Misfits, that have released numerous records that sell for more than $1000. What do collectors do with these records? Some play them, some frame them, some simply put them on the shelf. There are collectors who only buy records that they intend to play and others that simply want anything that was ever commercially released by the artist that interests them.

There is no pigeon-holing a collector; they come in all shapes and sizes. For them, finding a long-unavailable single that has eluded them for years is like winning the lottery. "Liverpool became the first hotbed of the so-called "beat boom." Because Liverpool was Britain's major Atlantic seaport, Liverpudlian merchant seamen often sailed to the U.S. and returned with the latest American rock-and-roll hits, often before they were made widely available in Britain.

With The Beatles, other exuberant male quartets such as The Searchers, The Fourmost, and Gerry and the Pacemakers, and the quintet Billy J. Kramer with The Dakotas launched Merseybeat, so named for the estuary of the River Mersey that runs alongside Liverpool.

The Beatles first reached the British record charts in late 1962 (shortly after The Tornados' "Telstar," an instrumental smash that sent word of what was in store by becoming the first British record by a group to top the American singles chart); the rest joined the hit parade in 1963." Not all acts prominent in Britain by the early 1960s necessarily managed to develop a profile in the U.S. Cliff Richard, who remains popular in Britain and active today, has only rarely had chart successes in America.

The Beatles

I do not believe there is someone in Western society who has not heard “She Loves You” or “Help!”), but even those have at least heard about the band and are familiar with the name. People recognize them in pictures, a lot of them know their names – at least the first names John, Paul, George and Ringo (very often named in this fixed order) – and most of them can tell which of them is which. The hairstyle the Beatles were wearing in the first half of their career is usually referred to as the ‘beatle-hairstyle.’ Glasses with round rims are called ‘lenonky’ in Czech, for it is the type of glasses John Lennon was wearing in the second half of the Beatles’ career and afterwards.

Allusions to their songs and lives are often used in movies and TV series. And most probably, a lot of people who have learned English have spelt the word ‘beetle’ with an ‘a.’ The Beatles transcended pop music and became a part of cultural history of the world.The centre of the hippie culture was San Francisco, California. “If you’re going to San Francisco, be sure to wear some flowers in your hair,” sang Scot McKenzie in his 1967 hit, and indeed, this city was a symbol of the hippie movement.

People from all around the United States were gathering in this city and hoped they would find there a better future and an ideal world. This movement influenced a lot of artists (including the Beatles). The hippie culture was closely connected with drugs and popular music and hippies largely contributed to, if not started, the sexual revolution by promoting free love.

The peaks of the flower-power movement were the “acid summer” of 1967 (this term e.g. in HARRISON 34; “acid” stands here for LSD, lysergic acid diethylamide: MARWICK 143) and the Woodstock festival, which was held from 21st to 24th August 1969 and where bands and singers such as the Grateful Dead, the Jefferson Airplane, Joe Cocker and Jimi Hendrix performed and “attracted a total audience of some 450,000 people” (GAMMOND 617). The importance of hippies for culture is illustrated by the fact that many films deal with this issue – Easy Rider (directed by Dennis Hopper, 1969), Hair (Miloš Forman, 1979) and to a great extent Forrest Gump (Robert Zemeckis, 1994), to name at least the most prominent.

Hippies embodied the new and fresh power that challenged the old world order. Society in the 1960s was generally absorbed in this fight of old prejudices and backward attitudes against new and progressive attitudes. Great Britain was one of the countries where this tension was felt most strongly.

The Beatles are almost universally regarded as the greatest act in the history of post-war popular music, and that claim is hard to deny when one considers their status as the biggest selling musical act in history, their universal critical acclaim, and the never duplicated hysteria that surrounded the band during the height of "Beatlemania" in the Sixties.

The cult of the Beatles is alive and well around the world more than 40 years after the band's demise. The group got its start in Liverpool, in the Fifties, as a John Lennon-led skiffle band called the "Quarryman." Lennon was a rebellious Liverpool youth who had been introduced to rock and roll music from the recordings brought across the Atlantic and into Liverpool by English merchant sailors.

It was from these recordings that Lennon and his generation in England were first introduced to the likes of Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, Little Richard, Fats Domino, and other early fathers of the music. Eager to emulate his new heroes and make a name for himself, Lennon recruited some schoolmates to join him in his new band.

Members would come and go until the band settled with a lineup of Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Stuart Sutcliffe, and Pete Best, a drummer. The band changed their name to the Silver Beetles for a time and then finally settled on "The Beatles."

The band acquired an avid local following in Liverpool and became a fixture at the Cavern Club, where they performed inspired sets on a regular basis. While the band was playing clubs in Hamburg, Germany, Sutcliffe fell in love with a German girl and decided to stay behind, leaving the Beatles a four man outfit. Sutcliffe would die of a brain hemorrhage at age 21 in 1962. The group made its first recording as the backing band for singer Tony Sheridan on the single, "My Bonnie," which received airplay in Liverpool area.

The popularity of this record inspired Liverpool record shop owner Brian Epstein to attend one of the Beatles' Cavern shows, and when Epstein witnessed the wild reaction of the audience, he convinced the group to take him on as their manager. Epstein convinced the band to drop drummer Pete Best from the group in favor of Ringo Starr from a rival Liverpool band, Rory Storm and the Hurricanes.

The final roster of the Beatles was set with Lennon and Harrison on guitar, Paul McCartney on bass, and Ringo Starr on drums. The group would record the moderately successful single, "Love Me Do," before the end of 1962. Epstein then began to search for a record label to sign his band. After numerous rejections, the band was finally signed by the Parlophone label.

The Beatles recorded their first album for the label, "Please Please Me," in 1963. The album was recorded in a single day, apparently to capture as close as possible the immediacy of their live shows. Although Epstein had trouble finding a U.S. label to sign the band, he managed to get the Beatles booked on the Ed Sullivan TV Show in April, 1964. New York disc jockey, Murray the K, hyped the Beatles upcoming TV appearance, setting the stage for the birth of Beatlemania. The Beatles appearance on the Sullivan show was a sensation seen by millions of Americans, and the Beatles become international superstars overnight.

The Beatles thus began an exhausting two years of near constant recording and touring. The early Beatles records were released separately in the U.S. and U.K., sometimes with different titles. For example, "Please, Please Me," the band's first U.K. album was released in the U.S. as "Meet the Beatles."

The names of the albums don't matter much as everything this band recorded is essential, and any collection of Beatles music is guaranteed to be of high quality. Titles to look for from the 1964 albums are:" With the Beatles," "Twist and Shout," "A Hard Days Night," "Beatles for Sale," and "Beatles 65." The Beatles' music would soon change from light poppy love songs to darker and more introspective fare as the group attempted to expand its musical horizons.

With the release of the album, "Help" (1965), the Beatles began the process of reinventing themselves. The title track, "Help," "Yesterday," and the very Dylanesque, "You've Got to Hide Your Love Away," saw the group moving into previously uncharted territory. Their songs were still just as catchy, the harmonies still as sweet, but the material had become darker and more intriguing.

This artistic growth continued on the next album, "Rubber Soul" (1965), and for the next five albums. This string of albums represents the Beatles' best work and some of the best albums of popular music ever recorded. On Rubber Soul, the band begins to experiment musically with the inclusion of sitar on "Norwegian Wood," and several songs such as "Michelle," "If I Needed Someone," and "In My Life" which could easily be classified as "folk rock."

The Beatles' following studio release, "Revolver" (1966), sees the Beatles at the peak of their powers. Revolver is an astonishing collection of songs representing a myriad of styles from the art rock of "Eleanor Rigby" and "Good Day Sunshine" to the hard rock of "Taxman" and full blown psychedelic experimentation in "Tomorrow Never Knows." The release of Revolver coincided with the band's retirement from live performances.

Freed of life on the road, the Beatles would dedicate themselves to experimentation in the recording studio. With the able support of their producer, George Martin, the group would again reach new heights of creativity in the studio with "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" (1967). This album's overt experimentation was an attempt by John Lennon and Paul McCartney to outdo the Beach Boys' Brian Wilson who had raised the studio bar with his work on the Beach Boys' classic recording, "Pet Sounds," during the previous year. "Sgt. Pepper," which is often cited as the Beatles' magnum opus, is every bit as thrilling as Revolver with epic songs such as "Lovely Rita," "For the Benefit of Mr. Kite," "She's Leaving Home," and ‘A Day in the Life." The Beatles kept rolling with the double album simply titled, "The Beatles" (1968). Its unadorned, solid white cover earned it the nickname, "The White Album," among fans.

The album is amazingly eclectic and contains nary a bad tune amid its myriad of tracks. Among the album's classic tunes are, "Blackbird," "Mother Nature's Son," "Revolution," "Back in The USSR," and "While My Guitar Gently Weeps." In 1969, The Beatles would release their last true studio album, "Abbey Road." Group in-fighting that had lasted for several years was becoming intolerable and Paul McCartney was tiring of holding things together.

McCartney would later signal the demise of the band by releasing his first solo album in 1970. Abbey Road was another brilliant effort that contained classic tracks such as "Come Together," "Here Comes the Sun," and most impressively, the medley of short, connected songs that finishes the album.

Cilla black 1960s



- Songs include:
Love of the Loved (1963)
Anyone Who Had a Heart (1964)
You're My World (1964)
It's For You (1964)
You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin' (1965)
I've Been Wrong Before (1965)
Alfie (1966)
Step Inside Love (1968)
"Swingin' Cilla"---so named by Brian Epstein---was a local Liverpool lass who hung out at the Cavern (in some stories she denies being the hatcheck girl there) and wanted to sing. After hearing Priscilla White at the Cavern microphone, Brian decided that she would be perfect as his "girl singer", and he groomed her paternally to that end.

Luckily she possessed a strong voice and George Martin created the arrangements to back it up (or tone it down). The Beatles were particularly close to Cilla; she covered their early "Love of the Loved" and they wrote "It's For You" and "Step Inside, Love" for her.


- Songs include (1953-1959):
Cowpuncher's Cantata
Tulips from Amsterdam
Meet Me on the Corner
You Need Hands
Mr. Bygraves had made his career as a comedian in London's East End and turned to a recording career in 1953, after his personality- filled act was already well established. He was a predecessor of other comedians and groups (like the Goons) who turned to music to further their popularity; remarkably (or perhaps not so), he was one of several singers to reach the charts ahead of established balladeers like Dickie Valentine of the early fifties.


Songs include:
Oh Mein Papa (1953)
Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White (1955)
Stranger in Paradise (1955)
John and Julie (1955)
Zambesi (1956)
Mandy (1958)
The self-proclaimed "man with the golden trumpet", Calvert was a sort of proto-Herb-Alpert who covered big hits of the day (Perez Prado's "Cherry Pink...") and made a big smash on BBC and burgeoning television entertainment markets. In British pop he was something of an anomaly, since trumpeters were not big in pop music at all.

Songs include:
Yesterday's Gone (1964)
A Summer Song (1964)
Teenage Failure (1965)
Distant Shores (1966)
Rest in Peace (1967)
Chad Stuart and Jeremy Clyde were a duo much in the mold of Peter and Gordon. Chad actually played guitar but Jeremy was really a would-be actor singing for want of something better to do. Astonishingly, they had *no* chart hits in Britain, their native land, but found fame in the US.

They rode the first wave of the British Invasion and are barely remembered today, though their output included several little-known gems such as "Teenage Failure", a sort of light satiric view of themes better stated in Eddie Cochran's "Summertime Blues"; and a real rarity in the "Within You/Without You" mode called "Rest In Peace", the duo's attempt to explain the philosophy of life and death, all in a seven-minute song.

Bernard Cribbins

Songs include:
Hole in the Ground (1962)
Right Said Fred (1962)
Gossip Calypso (1962)
Cribbins had a limited range of success in the music/comedy mode. Like Max Bygraves, the Goons, and Rolf Harris, his claim to fame comes from comedic records released in 1962, though he was also a favourite occasional funny man on radio and telly with his musical portraits of the typical British working class fellow. And later with parts in doctor who!


Songs include:
The Picadilly Line (1956)
Be My Girl (1957)
Just Born (1958)
Crazy Dream (1958)
Sugartime (1958)
Jim Smith showed up as Jim Dale on the "6.5 Special" show and, with an ambition to be a comic, did his parody of Donegan's "Rock Island Line" and came to the attention of Parlophone. George Martin, who's done a little producing for at least one other group, was assigned to Dale and engineered a string of semi-hits, though Dale himself was much more interested in comedy and theatrical work. That ambition finally realized when Jim Dale joined the National Theatre Company; from the sixties to the eighties, Dale has been a regular performer, including the lead in the seventies play "Scapino" and the eighties revival of Noel Gay's 1937 cockney musical, "Me and My Girl."


Songs include:
A White Sport Coat (1957)
Start Movin' (1957)
Stairway of Love (1957)
Terry Williams worked as a record-packer, had a desire to sing at office parties (his Presely imitations were well received) and was discovered by producer Jack Good of "6.5 Special". As Terry Dene, he *almost* had respectable hits, but his cover of Marty Robbins' "White Sport Coat" was a bigger hit for another British group, and his second single was overshadowed by a Sal Mineo version. He was cast as a pop singer in a film called "The Golden Disc" but the "hit song" that was crafted for Dene wasn't a hit at all. And then, the inevitable: he was drafted into the British Army. After much publicity (like Elvis' celebrated military career), Dene reported for duty, only to be let go after a nervous breakdown. From then on he was in virtual disgrace, and when last heard of, he was a preacher for the Jehovah's Witnesses. Alas, such is the occasional cruel fate of pop music.


Songs include:
Marcheta (1961)
Mexicali Rose (1961)
Wimoweh (1962)
Never Goodbye (1962)
Why did this man change his name from Angus MacKenzie? :-) This Glaswegian gentleman spent some time in the Merchant Navy before finding a quiet niche at the American Grand Old Opry; immigration authorities shipped him back to England, where he befriended Jack Good of "6.5-Special" fame (apparently a good contact to have) and  started his recording career. Denver claimed that his version of "Wimoweh" was most authentic, as he'd heard it while in South Africa from Kikuyu tribesmen, but the damnedest thing is that The Weavers and the Kingston Trio had already recorded duplicate versions of the song before Denver released his, and the American group The Tokens had already had a hit with "The Lion Sleeps Tonight", a slightly more commercial record. Oh well...those funny coincidences.


Songs include:
Catch the Wind (1965)
Colours (1965)
Sunshine Superman (1966)
Mellow Yellow (1967)
There Is A Mountain (1967)
Jennifer Juniper (1968)
Hurdy Gurdy Man (1968)
Atlantis (1968)
Donovan Leitch had a gentle Scots manner and a profound reverence for Bob Dylan---so much so that he wore the same style of clothes, used the same instrumentation and honored the same antecedents, Woody Guthrie among them.

If you look closely at the Pennebaker film "Don't Look Back," you can see Dylan mocking poor Donovan mercilessly. But Donovan's music was respectable and even innovative after about 1966, achieving top-ten hit status in both the UK and US throughout the British Invasion and even afterwards. Donovan now lives in the US and occasionally does a well-received concert.


Songs include:
A Teenager in Love (1959)
Only Sixteen (1959)
Pretty Blue Eyes (1960)
The Heart of a Teenage Girl (1960)
A Hundred Pounds of Clay (1961)
Time (1961)
When My Little Girl is Smiling (1962)
Our Favourite Melodies (1962)
Craig Douglas was another "6.5-Special" discovery, and his greatest moments in British pop came from semi-successful covers of songs by mostly insipid American artists.

He was privileged to star alongside the inimitable Helen Shapiro (who later toured with the Beatles) in an early Richard Lester music film, "It's Trad, Dad" (sometimes seen in the States under the absurd title "Ring-A-Ding Rhythm"), in 1962. Other than that, his fame is not lasting.


Songs include:

What Do You Want (1959)
Poor Me (1960)
Someone Else's Baby (1960)
When Johnny Comes Marching Home/Made You (1960)
How About That (1960)
Lonely Pup (in a Christmas Shop) (1960)
This is It/Who Am I (1961)
The Time Has Come (1961)
As You Like It (1962)
Don't That Beat All (1962)
The First Time (1963) etc.
Adam Faith was Terry Nelhams originally. He was playing in the Worried Men, a skiffle group, when he began to get notice on the "6.5 Special" in 1958. "What Do You Want?" was his big hit, complete with Buddy-Holly hiccup. He was described by rock writers as part of the Holy Trinity (Adam Faith, Billy Fury and Cliff Richard) and was the first British pop star to admit to premarital sex. After his pop career, he was successful in a British TV show in 1972 called "Budgie", then played David Essex's sidekick in the follow-up to  "That'll Be The Day" called "Stardust."


Songs include:
Yeh Yeh (1964)
In the Meantime (1965)
Like We Used to Be 91965)
Something (1965)
Get Away (1966)
Ballad of Bonnie & Clyde (1967) etc.
An enterprising Manchester lad, Clive Powell entered music by playing at one of the ubiquitous Butlin's Holiday Camps, then made for London to hone his craft. Upon meeting that master names-smith and manager extraordinaire, Larry Parnes, Mr. Powell was renamed Georgie Fame; after a disappointing tryout as a lead man, Parnes put Fame behind Billy Fury, then playing with the Blue Flames. In 1961 the Tornados began to back up Billy, and Fame and his Blue Flames were off and running---not back into the harmless niceties of pop, but into American blues, ska, and even jazz. Fame attracted a listenership that was more beatnik than teenage, and his following gradually evolved into Mods while he made his first chart appearance with jazz-vocalese great Jon Hendrick's "Yeh Yeh".

His association with ex-Animal Alan Price led to some further musical whimsy in the mid to late sixties, but for the rest of his career he just missed being terminally hip.


- Songs include:
Hello Josephine (1963)
Stop Look & Listen (1964)
Um Um Um Um Um Um (1964)
The Game of Love (1965)
Just a Little Bit Too Late (1965)
She Needs Love (1965)
- Glyn Ellis had fair talent for beat music (i.e. tambourine), following the interests of the Liverpool/Manchester fans, and basically threw himself together with a preexisting group, The Mindbenders, after his own group The Jets became too unreliable for regular touring.

The basic problem from then on was that the newly-renamed Fontana considered the Mindbenders his own backup group, although they didn't think so. The two had a few hits separately and concurrently, though the Mindbenders has the better chart action; Fontana fancied himself a Cliff Richard sort, but had limited success on the comeback trail until his eventual quiescence in the early eighties.


- Songs include:
What Do You Want to Make Those Eyes at Me For? (1959)
On a Slow Boat to China (1960)
You'll Never Know What You're Missing (1960)
Them There Eyes (1960)
Counting Teardrops (1960) etc. a
- Born in Nassau, the Bahamas, Ford was a British subject and one of the first British black pop singers. Starting out as a sound engineer, he won a talent contest in 1959 and made his career basically covering old, familiar hits of the past. His recording career diminished early in the sixties but his stage presence was enough to keep him active on the cabaret and live-convert circuit after that.

The Fourmost


- Songs include:
Hello Little Girl (1963)
I'm in Love (1963)
A Little Loving (1964)
How Can I Tell Her (1964)
- The Fourmost came from Ringo's old neighbourhood, a run-down locale in west Liverpool called the Dingle; the Fourmost also used to welcome Ronnie Wycherley as a singing partner before he went off to be Billy Fury. They included Joey Bower, Billy Hatton, Mike Millward, and Dave Redman (later replaced by Dave Lovelady, who had played for Ted "King Size" Taylor.)

They soon became one of the Nems artists, incorporating some questionable comedy into their act as well as music; the contemporary audiences liked it, anyway. Their first two hits were Lennon-McCartney numbers, but without that ballast there was no guaranteed success. The band was virtually defunct after the late 1960'


- Songs include:
Maybe Tomorrow (1959)
Margot (1959)
Colette (1960)
That's Love (1960)
Wondrous Place (1960)
A Thousand Stars (1961)
Halfway to Paradise (1961)
Jealousy (1961)
I'll Never Find Another You (1961)
Last Night Was Made For Love (1962)
Once Upon a Dream (1962) etc.
- Ronnie Wycherley was from the Dingle area of Liverpool, like Richard Starkey, but he managed to find gigs playing in Birkenhead, the more posh section of town across the Mersey. It was there that the famed star-maker Larry Parnes saw him and put him on regular concert tours. Fury's stage movements were somewhat reminiscent of the famed Elvis but he had some song writing talent (several of his early records were his own compositions).

The success of his compatriots basically forced Fury out of the
limelight; there wasn't much of a calling for his sort of singer after the Beatles hit it big. He attempted several comebacks in the early seventies but to no avail.

THE GOONS Spike Milligan, Harry Secombe, Peter Sellers
(also Michael Bentine, who left in 1953)

- Songs include:
I'm Walking Backwards for Christmas/Bluebottle Blues (1956)
Bloodnok's Rock and Roll (1956)
Ying Tong Song (1973) etc.
- For a Yank, it's hard to understand the appeal of the Goons in staid post-war Britain of the fifties; they're as near as one comes to national absurdist humor, with a touch of the surreal thrown in. But their nonsense rhymes and funny voices, impersonations and wildly funny skits kept the country in hysterics (the kind you get from laughter) for much of the decade.

They did a few short films and released a few records, but much of their influence was felt over their popular radio shows. John Lennon, for one, claims that much of his approach to humor (especially in his two books) came from the Goons. And the Boys were terribly impressed when told that the A&R man who would be handling their production at EMI was George Martin, recording manager for the individual Goons among other comedy acts.


- Songs include:
We Will Make Love (1957)
Wedding Ring (1957)
Rainbow (1957)
- Liverpool was responsible for far more singers than just the Fabs and their ilk. Russ Hamilton grew up there as Ronnie Hulme and in 1957 had a fairly big hit with "We Will Make Love", which is reported to have been such a big hit that the BBC decided he couldn't have meant anything suggestive by it (lovely logic!). Perhaps America is more puritanical; here he had a hit with "Rainbow", and Hamilton became only the sixth British performer to earn an American gold disc. After his next record, Hamilton apparently dropped from musical sight.


- Song (only one!):
It's Good News Week (1965)
-Some of us in the States remember this as a good-natured protest song, with an infectiously cheery Gerry-Marsden-like vocal warbling about "Someone's dropping bombs somewhere/Contaminating atmosphere/And blackening the sky...". But Hedgehoppers Anonymous were really five boys on active duty in the Royal Air Force, masterminded by mid-sixties pop mini-mogul Jonathan King (who sang "Everyone's Gone to the Moon"). The lads, originally The Trendsetters, were spotted by King at the Bedford R.A.F. and reformed as the Hedgehoppers (an obscure air force slang), with King's amendment to their name in the form of "Anonymous." At one point, in fact, it was assumed that they were just Jonathan King in funny suits. King wrote this one hit, and it enjoyed a few weeks on the charts before the group collapsed into obscurity.


- Songs include:
Yellow Rose of Texas (1955)
Starry-eyed (1950's)
Story of My Life (1950's)
- A merchant seaman, born in Dublin but raised in Liverpool, Holliday won a talent contest and began his climb up the fickle ladder of success. He had his own television series, featuring his singing and guitar playing, in the fifties, and was described as sounding rather like his idol Bing Crosby, but in 1963 killed himself, perhaps out of despair over the changing scene of British music.


- Songs include:
Have I the Right (1964)
Is It Because (1964)
Something Better Beginning (1965)
That's the Way (1965)
- Why is it that Britain had so many passable rock 'n' roll stars with a mania for hairdressing? First Ringo, then the Honeycombs. At least this group had an interesting gimmick: a female drummer named Honey Lantree who worked in a hairdressing salon owned by Martin Murray, the group's drummer. Ms. Lantree's brother was bass player; nice and cozy. The group had one major hit ("Have I The Right?") and a few half hearted follow ups.


- Songs include:
Lucky Devil (1960)
Gotta Get a Date (1960)
I Remember You (1962)
Lovesick Blues (1962)
Wayward Wind (1963)
Nobody's Darlin' But Mine (1963)
Confessin' (1963)
Don't Blame Me (1964) etc.
- Ifield was English by birth but grew up in Australia, began a modest singing career there, and decided to try the home country for the really big one...if it existed. In between delivering milk, he managed a few chart entries but made his name with a cover of an old, soppy standard, "I Remember You". He dressed it up with some distinctive yodelling and plaintive harmonica---a sound that was so pervasive that at one time (irrespective of the Bruce Chanel influence) John Lennon said he was moved to try harmonica on many of their early hits. The Beatles, in fact, pushed him off the charts in 1963, and thereafter he hit those heights only occasionally.



-Songs include:
It's Not Unusual (1965)
What's New, Pussycat? (1965)
Thunderball (1966)
Green, Green Grass of Home (1966)
Detroit City (1967) etc.
- Jones was a lad from Glamorgan in Wales who wanted to be a pop star rather than a vacuum-cleaner salesman...a noble ambition. He had several strong hits in 1965, then moved more into the realm of ballads and cabarets, eventually catering to a group of middle-to-old aged fans...much the same as he does today.


-Songs include:
Well I Ask You (1961)
Get Lost (1961)
Forget Me Not (1962)
I Don't Know Why (1962)
Boys Cry (1964)
- Richard Graham Sarstedt was one of the more innocuous singers to come out of the British pop mill, in signature all-white suits and sensual posturing. "Well I Ask You" was written by Adam Faith's songwriter, Johnny Worth, and made something of a sensation in 1961; after a few years and a few tepid songs, Kane lost his carefully-invested money and foundered until he teamed up with his brothers Peter and Clive in the early seventies, when they made a minor impression on the nightclub circuit.


- Songs include:
Everyone's Gone to the Moon (1965)
Let It All Hang Out (1970)
Lazy Bones (1971) etc.
- Kenneth "Jonathan" King was a Cambridge student when he wrote and performed a song in the style of Dylan, a mock-protest ditty called "Everyone's Gone To The Moon", which surprisingly became a hit in the US as well as England. He was also the force behind Hedgehoppers Anonymous, writing their "It's Good News Week" the same year (it was sung by some RAF fellows). Despite a driving interest in other productions (he discovered Genesis and produced some of the Bay Cit Rollers' hits), he continued to release songs of questionable merit under a variety of pseudonyms during the seventies (The Piglets, Shag, St. Cecilia) and was on the music scene occasionally into the eighties as a DJ and TV show host.


- Songs include:
You Really Got Me (1964)
All Day and All of the Night (1964)
Tired of Waiting For You (1965)
Everybody's Gonna Be Happy (1965)
Set Me Free (1965)
See My Friend (1965)
Till the End of the Day (1965)
Dedicated Follower of Fashion (1966)
Sunny Afternoon (1966)
Dead End Street (1966)
Waterloo Sunset (1967)
Autumn Almanac (1967)
Wonderboy (1968)
Victoria (1970)
Lola (1970) etc.
- It's almost impossible to see the Kinks just as pop stars of the sixties. Ray Davies, lead singer and lead songwriter, has made his presence felt throughout so many media: films, operettas, plays, scoring...along with the Stones, the Who, and the Yardbirds, the Kinks were much more than a cornerstone of British invasion rock.

Ray and his brother Dave (who, BTW, apparently pronounce their surname "Davis") grew up in Muswell Hill in London, exposed not to the dreary upper class twits of the posh set but enamoured of American blues, country-western music, and black artists of New York. With Peter Quaife, the three formed a trio and exhibited themselves as pop artists of a hybridized type till meeting Mick Avory and becoming The Kinks, finally. American producer Shel Talmy was with them throughout their formative years, even as they recycled the same guitar riff; "See My Friend" was the first legitimate Indian-influenced pop song (beating out "Norwegian Wood" by several months).

Ray mixed devastating, detached social commentary with Dave's wicked guitar leads and catchy arrangements. "Face to Face", their 1966 offering, is generally considered the first concept album. Ray and Dave didn't exactly get along; and fights with drummer Avory gave the group the reputation of being "unprofessional" on stage. But in later years the social and historical commentary took the lead, intermixed with music hall and ballad influences.

The Kinks' music even in times of lesser productivity was regularly covered by the likes of David Bowie and ultimate fan Chrissie Hynde and her Pretenders. Ray had a surprise hit in 1983 with "Come Dancing", a nostalgic tale, and appeared as the protagonist's beleaguered dad in the musical version of British pop history, "Absolute Beginners", where he sang his own composition "Quiet Life."


- Song:
He's Got the Whole World In His Hands (1957)
- Little Laurie London was just 13 when the kid from the East End won a radio talent contest with a borrowed guitar. Impressing the listeners, he also made points with the BBC and was signed for an appearance on 6.5 Special, a television show showcasing pop novelties and mainstream artists. His success in England was moderate but for some reason his "He's Got The Whole World...." became a smash hit in America during April 1958 and received wide airplay. But he never repeated his conquest of the cash Box charts and made no more waves.

Frank Ifield
Joe Loss band


- Songs include:
Wheels Cha Cha (1961)
Sucu Sucu (1961) a
The Maigret Theme (1962)
Must Be Madison (1962)
March of the Mods (1964)
- Another representative of the British big-band sound, Loss became popular in the thirties and remained a standard fixture in the field throughout the ensuing decades. He adapted his band to the fads of the moment (the "cha cha" craze and even the British Beat bands not being sacrosanct) and was rumoured to be among the favourite bands of the British royal family.


- Songs include:
Homing Waltz (1952)
Auf Wiedersehen (1952)
Forget Me Not (1952)
My Son My Son (1954)
The Faithful Hussar (1957)
- Lynn was known through the War (WWII, of course---the one that required such British pluck) as The Forces' Sweetheart; her "We'll Meet Again" and "White Cliffs of Dover" were her signature tunes. Her fame continued into the benign fifties, with several chart hits (including several in the States), radio and TV appearances. The
Beatles may have had their MBEs, but Dame Vera was awarded the more prestigious OBE in 1969.


- Songs include:
Freight Train (1957)
Greenback Dollar (1957) aa
- One of the four major skiffle groups of the British fifties (the other three being Lonnie Donegan, The Vipers, and Johnny Duncan), McDevitt and pals had goatees and plaid shirts, perhaps in pale imitation of American hillbilly bands they admired. Their iminuitive "girl" singer was Nancy Whiskey, who sang the passionless vocals on "Freight Train". Nancy left in 1957, was replaced by one Babs Douglas, whose only claim to fame was in marrying Mr. McDevitt, and the band slipped into obscurity at the close of the skiffle craze.


- Songs include:
5-4-3-2-1 (1964)
Hubble Bubble Toil and Trouble (1964)
Do Wah Diddy Diddy (1964)
Sha La La (1964)
If You Gotta Go Go Now (1965)
Pretty Flamingo (1965)
Ha Ha Said the Clown (1967)
Mighty Quinn (1967) etc.
- Manfred Mann was a fellow as well as a group---a nifty accomplishment! >From South Africa originally, he had studied at Julliard and the Vienna State Academy and had backgrounds in jazz. He joined up with two R&B enthusiasts, Paul Pond and Mike Hugg to form The Mann-Hugg Blues Bros. in 1962; Pond---later Jones was at the time still an undergrad at Oxford, thus giving the group pretensions toward intellectuality. Jones had also traveled in R&B circles frequented by Alexis Korner and Cyril Davies, and with one Tom McGuiness and Eric Clapton there was a short- lived group.

McGuiness joined Pond/Jones in Manfred Mann the group (often known as The Manfreds to avoid confusion). The ensemble was commissioned to write the theme song for the British TV pop show "Ready, Steady, Go!", which also became a top ten hit in England ("5-4-3-2-1"), and their career took off. They became regulars at the Marquee Club in London and were generally lumped together with other prominent London groups (The Stones, The Kinks, etc.)

In 1966 Jones left for a solo career, but Manfred Mann scarcely registered the strain and in fact gave temporary home to several big names in British blues and pop---Jack Bruce, Klaus Voorman, Mike D'Abo---and embarked upon a more controversial pursuit of music, incorporating Dylan songs into their repertoire and getting banned by the Beeb for it. Even after disbanding several times into the late sixties and early seventies, Manfred Mann's influence continued in groups like Mann's Earth Band and Tom McGuiness' McGuiness-Flint; Mann and McGuiness later formed the Blues Band to play in London pubs in the eighties.


- Songs include:
My Boy Lollipop (1964)
Sweet William (1964)
- Millie was Millie Small, a 16 year old girl from Jamaica, who had a hit within a musical milieu known as Bluebeat, a forerunner of Reggae. There were Bluebeat artists in England too, emigrees from the West Indian communities, but although their music achieved some note (Ezz Reco, Prince Buster Campbell), it was Millie (as she was called) who broke through to the mainstream charts. These two songs were Millie's only claims to fame, and on the wave of British Invasion they reached American ears as well.


- Songs include:
Groovy Kind of Love (1966)
Can't Live With You (Can't Live Without You) (1966)
Ashes to Ashes (1966)
The Letter (1967)
- The Mindbenders backed singer Wayne Fontana (Glynn Ellis) though it was somewhat reluctantly that they admitted tao being second to anyone; they had begun as The Jets and later changed their name under the influence of a Dirk Bogarde film "The Mind Benders". Mythology leads us to believe that Bob Lang, Eric Stewart and Rick Rothwell were pressed into service as Fontana's backing group when his own group failed to show at an audition.

With Fontana, of course, they did "Game Of Love" in '65, but scored on their own as a solo group with "Groovy Kind Of Love" in '66 once Wayne had left for his own solo career. The band disbanded after 1967, though Eric Stewart continued in Hotlegs and later 10cc with Graham Gouldman.


- Songs include:
Night of Fear (1967)
I Can Hear the Grass Grow (1967)
Flowers in the Rain (1967)
Fire Brigade (1968)
Blackberry Way (1968) etc.
- Birmingham was a popular place! Or perhaps the pop muse was particularly active there. Roy Wood had been with Mike Sheridan and the Nightriders; other members included Trevor Burton, Carl Wayne, Chris "Ace" Kefford and Bev Bevan.

Their stage dress was rather theatrical (from gangster to psychedelic) and they had a reputation (like The Who) for trashing their equipment. Wood's writing was solid, however, and much of it was hitbound in the UK. Wood had quite a thing for classical and Beatles references, with suitable results in his music. By 1969 most members had left, and Wood recruited Idle Race singer and guitarist Jeff Lynne to join him and Bevan in what was left of The Move.

They shortly transformed into Electric Light Orchestra (eventually with a whole new cast of characters), and once that petered out, Wood formed Wizzard and Lynne kept on with ELO, thence solo and eventually (with his Lennonesque voice, a talent he and Wood shared) The Traveling Wilburys.


- Songs include:
I've Waited So Long (1959)
Personality (1959)
Why (1960)
Do You Mind (1960)
If She Should Come to You (1960)
And The Heavens Cried (1961)
What Kind of Fool Am I? (1961) etc.
- Originally an actor (he'd been the Artful Dodger in the '48 film of "Oliver Twist"), Newley played a pop star in the '50's film "Idle On Parade"; it must have inspired him to try it for real. His songs made the top ten readily, even with cover versions of American artists' hits (Lloyd Price and Frankie Avalon provided the material). Moving into television (a series called "Gurney Slade") with some disdain for his erstwhile hitmaker image, he experimented with surrealistic images and music, eventually writing (with Leslie Bricuse) "Stop The World, I Want To Get Off". It wasn't a hit, exactly, but a somewhat-repected oddity, and one of its songs, "What Kind Of Fool Am I?" flopped in England but reached the US pop charts in 1961. He concentrated on theatrical music from then on (co-writing "Goldfinger" and "Who Can I Turn To" in the sixties), plus theatrical production, though had another hit (via Sammy Davis Jr.) with "The Candy Man" in the seventies.


- Songs include:
Twist and Shout (1963)
Do You Love Me? (1963)
I Can Dance (1963)
Candy Man (1964)
Someone Someone (1964) etc.
- Brian Poole was a raving nut about Buddy Holly (who was almost bigger in the UK---if that's possible---than in the US) and forswore the life of a butcher's son from Dagenham in order to become a pop star. He formed his own group in 1959 with a
few friends (Ricky West, Alan Blakely, Dave Munden) and called them The Tremilos (a guitar-handle that altered notes) and, at his mum's insistence, promoted himself to group leader. They worked Butlin's Holiday Camps (like Rory Storm and the Hurricanes, Ringo's old group) and even got a spot on the BBC's Saturday Club in 1961 (where the Beatles were not due to give their radio debut until 1962). Their extraordinary good luck in being based near London (and perhaps a touch of professionalism as well) resulted in Decca chosing Brian Poole and the (now-spelled) Tremeloes *over* the Beatles.

Once Merseybeat began to prevail, Poole exploited his name (people thought it was Liverpoole) and abandoned his Holly specs, covered the Isley's "Twist And Shout", and were on their way... but curiously they failed to fulfil Decca's dreams. They had only two big hits in the UK, a cover of The Contours' "Do You Love Me?" and The rickets' "Someone, Someone". By 1966 Poole and the Tremeloes were recording separately; the latter began to chart in the US (see separate entry for The Tremeloes). Poole, his worst fears realized, ended up a butcher after all.


- Songs include:
A Whiter Shade of Pale (1967)
Homburg (1967)
Quite Rightly So (1968)
A Salty Dog (1969)
Conquistador (1972) etc.
- Gary Brooker had been a member of The Paramounts but obviously had more talent than that venue would provide. With lyricist Keith Reid (who played no instrument and could often be seen lurking in the curtains on stage during concerts), Robin Trower, Barrie Wilson, Chris Copping, the group (named Procol Harum, allegedly Latin for
"beyond these things") had a monstrously popular hit in mid 1967 with "Whiter Shade of Pale". So big was this song that it often overshadows the group's respectable LP output over the next few years. Brooker and Reid remained a solid part of the group though other members changed throughout the seventies. Reid eventually abandoned songwriting for management positions; Brooker did solo work, as did Trower. In 1991 the band (minus Trower) reformed for a brief tour.


- Songs include:
Tip of My Tongue (1964)
Wild Side of Life (1964)
- Perhaps the most relentlessly poor singer in the Nems stable of stars, Tommy Quigley was renamed by Brian Epstein and groomed for stardom, which Epstein was convinced was just around the corner. They never did find that corner, even with a discarded Beatles song (the egregious "Tip of My Tongue", which the Beatles themselves had the sense to abandon). Quickly faded quickly from view soon after his moment of fame.


- Songs include:
I Didn't Mean to Hurt You (1964)
He's In Town (1964)
Poor Man's Son (1965)
- From Birmingham, the Rockin' Berries had a singer, Clive Lea, who looked like Elvis Presley (always a smart move), but never saw a single hit with him, so they encouraged their rhythm guitarist, Geoff Turton, to try his luck at vocals, and that seemed to be the ticket to minor fame. "He's In Town" and "Poor Man's Son" actually got airplay in the US during the craze for any and all British Invasion bands. Clive Lea retained an interest in music after the band split in 1966, exploiting the band's sense of satirical comedy (for which they were famed on "Ready, Steady, Go!") and doing impressions of more famous rock stars. Turton went into the hotel business.


- Songs include:
Come On (1963)
I Wanna Be Your Man (1963)
Not Fade Away (1964)
It's All Over Now (1964)
Little Red Rooster (1964)
The Last Time (1965)
I Can't Get No Satisfaction (1965)
Get Off My Cloud (1965)
Nineteenth Nervous Breakdown (1966)
Paint It Black (1966)
Let's Spend the Night Together (1967) etc.
- Like the Beatles, it's almost impossible to attempt a succinct history of the Stones; their presence is still as fresh today as when they first began in the early sixties, and concert dates prove the Stones are still dynamic as ever. Second only to the Fabs in terms of fame, the boys from London created a raucous alternative to British rock and roll. Their roots were more blusey than the Beatles. Mick Jagger and Keith Richards (as his last name was then) were schoolchums, both ardent R&B fans.

They were exposed to some of the hotttest blues in London at Alexis Korner's music club; here Jagger and Richards began to play, with Charlie Watts and/or Mick Avory (later the Kinks' drummer). In 1962 Bill Wyman joined, and they began to play at a club in Richmond outside London. There Andrew Loog Oldham discovered them and resolved to promote them as British rock's bad boys; they took to it easily. After having The Beatles write them a song, Jagger and Richards decided it was easier than it looked and gave it a try themselves.... The rest is a remarkable history.


- Songs include:
Come Out and Play (1962)
Will I What (1962)
Just For Kicks (1963)
Code of love (1963)
- Michael Scheur could speak German and was instrumental in providing phonetic transcriptions for British pop singers (like Adam Faith and Johnny Leyton) to sing in German. He decided to try the pop field himself with a novelty tune "Come Out And Play", which attempted to entice a young lady outdoors; the female voice was Wendy Richards; his follow-up was a similar number with Billie Davis as the female vocalist. This was a short-lived technique, however, and Sarne eventually abandoned the pop world for that of musicals and film direction (his 1968 "Joanna" being notable for introducing Donald Sutherland).


- Songs include:
Sweets for my Sweet (1963)
Sugar and Spice (1963)
Needles and Pins (1964)
Don't Throw Your Love Away (1964)
When You Walk In the Room (1964)
Goodbye My Love (1965) etc.
- The Searchers were one of the most Liverpudlian of beat groups, but spent some time establishing themselves. Their roots were in American R&B but their harmonies and guitar playing transformed the sound to something quite different; the Byrds are said to have been influenced by the thick, vibrant guitar presence.

Member Tony Jackson temporarily gave up his lead singing spot to Johnny Sandon, but Sandon left for a place in the San Remo Four, another Liverpool group, and Jackson's vocals were heard on their cover of the Drifters' "Sweets For My Sweet"; this was one track from an album they recorded on their own and sent most hopefully to record producer Tony Hatch (who also produced Petulia Clark). He was impressed and got them a contract with his label Pye; and their career took off.

They made the charts in the US covering not only black groups but also Pete Seeger and Jackie DeShannon, adding in their distinctive ringing guitar; but a lack of musical progress made evolution impossible. Their line-up changed throughout the sixties (Jackson being the first to leave in 1964) and a new line-up even recorded in the eighties, but their best work remained entrenched in the sixties.


- Songs include:
Any Old Iron (1957)
- with Sophia Loren:
Goodness Gracious Me (1960)
Bangers and Mash (1961)
- and solo again:
A Hard Day's Night (1965) etc.
- Peter Sellers was also a member of The Goons, but had a more active role in novelty and dialect songs, some of which he recorded with Beatles producer George Martin. He teamed up with Sophia Loren for a few numbers but relied on his Goon background for much of his funniness on record.


- Songs include:
Don't Treat Me Like a Child (1961)
You Don't Know (1961)
Walkin' Back to Happiness (1961)
Tell Me What He Said (1962)
Little Miss Lonely (1962) etc.
- Like the British version of Brenda Lee, Helen Shapiro achieved fame with her mature voice (she was called "Foghorn" in school) at the diminutive age of fourteen, when "Don't Treat Me Like A Child" reached the British top ten. With teased hair and dressed in her school uniform, Shapiro was an instant favorite with the mums and dads, not to mention some of their kids.

She entered the film world with a few tentative starring roles (notably in Richard Lester's first feature "It's Trad, Dad". Once she grew up, however, interest flagged and the hits tailed off. She was in virtual retirement by the seventies after minor club work, but found a revitalized career in London musical comedy.


- Songs include:
Good Morning Little Schoolgirl (1964)
For Your Love (1965)
Heart Full of Soul (1965)
Evil Hearted You/Still I'm Sad (1965)
Shapes of Things (1966)
Over Under Sideways Down (1966)
Happenings Ten Years Time Ago (1966)
- Keith Relf and Paul Samwell-Smith were in a group called the Metropolitan Blues Quartet in 1963; once Jim McCarty and Tony Topham joined, the group became the Yardbirds, but almost immediately lost Topham, who decided that art school was a better bet. A young guitar genius called Eric Clapton replaced him, and the group played at the Crawdaddy Club in Richmond outside of London to blues enthusiasts. Their first single reflects strong blues roots (Billy Boy Arnold's "I Wish You Would") but
went absolutely nowhere.

They entered the charts with a cover of the Sonny Boy Williamson song "Schoolgirl" but opted for a Graham Gouldman song as followup (Gouldman was very hot in the songwriting market at the time, with hits via the Hollies and Herman's Hermits). This enraged Clapton, who betook himself to John Mayall; alas, poor Eric, for "For Your Love" leapt to charttopping heights. Jeff Beck was offered Clapton's position. "Still I'm Sad" may have been the only pop hit influenced by Gregorian chants, from the promising pens of McCarty and Samwell-Smith. Jimmy Paige was invited to join when Samwell-Smith left, and that lineup was seen in Antonioni's 1966 existentialist film "Blow Up".

Beck's innovative feedback techniques were short-lived, and he left in '66. The band began to fragment; Relf and McCarty formed Together, then Renaissance; Page founded Led Zeppelin. Various permutations of the ex-Yardbirds continued to recombine like new substances all through the seventies and eighties, excepting Keith Relf, who was, sadly, electrocuted in 1976.

The Who


- Songs include:
I Can't Explain (1965)
Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere (1965)
My Generation (1965)
Substitute (1966)
A Legal Matter (1966)
I'm A Boy (1966)
The Kids Are Alright (1966)
Happy Jack (1966)
Pictures of Lily (1967)
I Can See For Miles (1967)
Magic Bus (1968)
Pinball Wizard (1969) etc.
- One of the top bands of the sixties, the Who have lasted as a legend long after their active touring days. Roger Daltry and John Entwistle both were influenced by skiffle and played in a band called The Detours in 1960; in 1963 they became The High Numbers with art-school student Pete Townsend, and then Keith Moon. Their first single "I'm The Face" failed to chart, but it suitably impressed their managers Chris Stamp and Kit Lambert, who suggested a name change and an emphasis on Mod style.

As The Who, the group released "I Can't Explain", with Daltry's distinctive vocals highlighting Townsend's taut lyrics, and their seemingly-endless string of hits was on track. Townsend, in a fit of pique, once broke his guitar onstage and it became the band's trademark. Townsend was also responsible for the lyrical and conceptual growth of the band throughout the sixties and into the seventies, making "rock operas" an accepted fact of the idiom.


- No chart entries
- It wasn't because he lacked charisma that Roy Storm had no hits; Storm had virtually the best regarded Liverpool band before the Mersey craze hit everyone. Alan Caldwell was a tall, blond, smolderingly sensual singer whose band, The Hurricanes, included a cute little bearded drummer called Richard Starkey, also known as Ringo Starr (because he liked the Western/cowboy sound of it).

The band had begun in 1960 and once Ringo joined in 1961, Rory Storm and crew were not only wowing 'em in Merseyside but also achieved a summer contract at a Butlin's Holiday Camp (a mainstay for Beat bands of the sixties, and nothing to be sniffed at) and in Hamburg, where so many other Liverpool bands were to sojourn. Rory Storm and the Hurricanes (once Ringo had left to join the Beatles in 1962, after being kindly asked by John) finally made a few records, though this occurred only after the Beatles had made any Mersey beat band seem recordable.

Live, Rory and Crew had always made the grade---at least the club crowds were impressed; but on disc only the local loyalists bought their records, and not enough to chart. Rory languished once the Mersey craze had diminished, and died in 1973 under mysterious, tragic circumstances in a double suicide with his mother.

WINIFRED ATWELL (a.k.a. "Wonderful Winnie")

- Songs include:
Britannia Rag (1952 *and* 1953)
Coronation Rag (1953)
Let's Have A Party (1953)
Let's Have Another Party (1954)
Poor People of Paris (1956)
Piano Party (1959)
Winifred Atwell was of West Indian descent and made a big name for herself as a rollicking pianist in the early fifties. Her act included two pianos, between which Wonderful Winnie would whirl, as the mood and music suited her.

Most of her chart hits were medleys of other popular songs of earlier eras, such as (I kid you not) "Knees Up, Mother Brown", "Sheik of Araby", "I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles", "Meet Me Tonight in Dreamland", and "I Belong to Glasgow."


- Songs include:
Teddy Bear's Picnic (1961)
Samantha (1961)
Someday (1961)
Midnight in Moscow (1961)
March of the Siamese Children (1962)
So Do I (1962)
Green Leaves of Summer (1962)
Sukiyaki (1963)
- Kenny Ball was a trumpet player in the Terry Lightfoot's trad band when he decided to strike out on his own. His band was one of the Mighty Triumvirate of Trad Bands in England---the other two being Mr. Acker Bilk's and Chris Barber's. Like his cohorts, Ball was able to trade on the British public's incessant thirst for American musical forms, and his biggest hit, "Midnight in Moscow" (a trad reworking of a well-known Russian folk ballad), not only became a hit in Britain, but also in the States.

Original lineup: John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Stuart Sutcliffe, Pete Best. (Sutcliffe dropped out in 1961; Ringo Starr replaced Pete Best in 1962).

- Songs include (1961-1969):
Cry for a Shadow ... I Me Mine
(Completists should consult Mark Lewisohn's "The Beatles Recording Sessions") - You may have heard a word or two about this band. Suffice it to say that, surrounded as they were by trad jazz, pop idols like Cliff Richard and Adam Faith, groups with guitars like the Shadows, and various crooners of questionable talent, the Beatles managed to synthesize their beloved American sources (Presley, Chuck Berry, the Everly Bros., Buddy Holly, Tamla/Motown artists) and create an entirely new British musical movement. Their contribution can scarcely be told in one page, let alone one paragraph, so I won't even try. :-)

Prior to the success of The Beatles, British musical acts had only achieved fleeting success in what was then a relatively insular market. The first major breakthrough was the success of Dame Vera Lynn when she became the first British act to reach #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart in 1952. Other acts in the intervening years had some success, most notably George Shearing, Lonnie Donegan, Petula Clark with The Tornados becoming the first British group to reach #1 with "Telstar" in 1962.

"Like their transatlantic counterparts in the 1950s, British youth heard their future in the frantic beats and suggestive lyrics of American rock and roll, but initial attempts to replicate it failed, as enthusiasts lacked the indigenous basic ingredients of rock and roll, rhythm and blues and country music." Of perhaps more significance was the skiffle craze of the 1950s, acoustic guitar, tea-chest bass and banjo ensembles, similar to jug bands, "spearheaded by Scottish-born Lonnie Donegan. Artists who went on to become notable in the following decade (like The Quarrymen, first forerunner of the Beatles) first cut their musical teeth in skiffle bands, in which a "do-it-yourself/anyone-can-play" attitude of spirited fun (rather than purely talent) was the prevailing modus operandi. They most often sang traditional American folk songs, frequently with more spirit than instrumental polish, although early British skiffle was often played by highly skilled Trad jazz musicians.

What the teenage Beatles grew up with, in their own pop music culture, was substantially different from the American much so that this note was created for your enjoyment and edification. In it you'll find a list of groups and singers who entered and exited the pop charts of the UK from the fifties through the end of the sixties--- the singers who influenced several generations of music listeners. It's not an all-inclusive list; it stops roughly when the British Invasion ceased to have an effect on the US, about 1968. There were groups aplenty after this, but the wave had slowed, and it's the wave, and its imperceptible precursors, that interest us.

What was the Beatles' milieu? What might they have heard? And while we know what American music did for them, what did British music *fail* to do? Why did they retreat from skiffle, the Shadows, Adam Faith, and create a whole new world of harmonic complexity and beauty, just for them and us? Maybe by reading about that background---the styles the Beatles abandoned---you'll be inspired to seek out some of it, and hear for yourself.


- Cliff Bennett, Sid Phillips, Ricky Winters, Frank Allen [later moved
to the Searchers], Chas Hodges, Maurice Groves.
- Songs:
You Got What I Like (1961)
That's What I Said (1961)
Poor Joe (1962)
One Way Love (1964)
I'll Take You Home (1965)
Got to Get You Into My Life (1966)
Drivin' You Wild (1966)
- A group from West Drayton near London, Bennett and friends produced a string of Parlophone non-hits from 1961; were booked to Hamburg's Star Club; intrigued Brian Epstein, who added them to his stable of Nems stars; and then began to see real chart action in the UK in 1964. Their biggest success was a cover of the Beatles' "Got to Get You Into My Life" in 1966, but by 1967 they were yesterday's papers. The group broke up; Bennett has appeared briefly (in 1974 and 1982) for revivals, but when last encountered was an aviation sales executive.


- Songs include:
Istanbul (1954)
Seventeen (1955)
Green Door (1956)
Garden of Eden (1957)
Man on Fire/Wanderin' Eyes (1957)
Kisses Sweeter Than Wine (1957)
Kewpie Doll (1958)
The Heart of a Man (1959)
- Vaughan was born in Liverpool but intended to teach and relocated to Leeds, where he attended art college. Once spotted in a talent revue by a BBC representative, Vaughan pursued music hall and began recording in 1953; his list of hits in the UK goes beyond what can be delineated here.

A mainstream singer, he definitely appealed to the female crowds much the way Tom Jones did in the sixties, though his romantic signature tune "Give Me The Moonlight" never charted. While making hit records he also made films, gave concerts and worked the cabaret circuit. Much of his charity work has been involved with poverty-level British children, and he was awarded the Order of the British Empire (one-up on the Beatles' MBE's!) in 1965.


- Songs include:
Petite Fleur (1959)
Lonesome (1959)
Revival (1962)
- Chris Barber's vision was less commercial and more "ethnic" than his trad cohorts, with the result that he had very little chart action during trad's heyday, though he had his dedicated followers. He also refused to dress up in fin-de-siecle costumes, a la Mr. Bilk & Co. Lonnie Donegan, who single handedly started the skiffle craze, had been a banjo player in Chris Barber's band; and the band's one major success (in America too) was their "Petite Fleur" (an old Sidney Bechet tune), on which the lead clarinetist was Monty Sunshine (I wonder if Larry Parnes gave him his name? :-) Chris Barber and his ilk got lots of airtime from the BBC, but eventually overexposure and a relentless new sound from Merseyside drowned out the rhythms of trad.


- Songs include:
Summerset (1960)
Buena Sera (1961)
Creole Jazz (1961)
Stars and Stripes Forever (1961)
Stranger on the Shore (1961)
Gotta See My Baby Tonight (1962)
Lonely (1962)
A Taste of Honey (1962)
- Bernard Bilk was the front man for one of the most successful pop bands in England. The wave they rode was that of *trad jazz*---to Americans it sounds like Dixieland---which was hugely popular in England after skiffle became passe. Mr. Bilk was always well received in England, but in 1962 his best-known work in the States, "Stranger on the Shore", reached Number 1 in the American charts, becoming the first British instrumental to be so honoured.


- Songs include:
People Gotta Talk (1959)
Darktown Strutter's Ball
Jellied Eels (1960)
I'm Henry the Eighth I Am (1961)
What a Crazy World We're Living In (1962)
Picture of You (1962)
It Only Took a Minute (1962)
That's What Love Will Do (1963)
- Joe Brown was a talented East Ender whose visual signature, even more than the toothy Tommy Steele, was a bright, shaggy blond crew cut. He had been a guitarist who favored instrumentals and songs about Cockney life (Peter Noone of Herman's Hermits covered several Joe Brown hits in the mid-sixties) but hit the big time with "Picture of You" in 1962, a haunting, charming song about a lost love.

His backing group, the Bruvvers (renamed from The Spacemen), were jetisoned after the big hits and Brown explored musical comedy in the mid- to late-sixties. Brown headlined a tour in 1962 in which the Beatles took part; there exists a photo of George rapturously holding Brown's guitar, and George (clearly the fan) sings "Picture of You" during the BBC sessions.

The Caravelles


- Songs include:
You Don't Have to Be a Baby to Cry (1963)
- Rarely do two singers have the limited success of the Caravelles---even the Vernons Girls got more press than they did! The Caravelles were a couple of secretaries who, in the words of British pop-watcher Alan Clayson, were "swamped in orchestration or their producer's ideas". Their only hit (in both the UK and the US) brought them eventual resounding obscurity.


- Songs include:
Do You Love Me (Now That I Can Dance)? (1963)
Glad All Over (1963)
Bits and Pieces (1964)
Can't You See That She's Mine? (1964)
Anyway You Want It (1964) a
Catch Us If You can (1965)
Over and Over (1965)
Try Too Hard (1966)
- Dave Clark was a film extra and drummer from North London who met up with his musical mates (Mike Smith---not the same as the Decca fellow--- was the lead vocalist). They'd done as their first single a cover of the Contours' American 1962 hit, but when their second single "Glad All Over" jolted the Beatles' "I Want To Hold Your Hand" out of the Number 1 spot, press people went mad and immediately invented the theory that the "Tottenham Sound" had replaced Merseybeat.

It was nonsense. The Dave Clark Five continued to have respectable chart action for the next several years (a late American hit, "Try Too Hard", shows particular piano virtuosity) but in no way---got that?---were they ever serious challengers to the Fabs. These days Dave Clark has become a pop-music archivist and among other things has repackaged the British TV show "Ready, Steady, Go!" for video markets.


- Songs include:
You Make It Move (1965)
Hold Tight (1966)
Hideaway (1966)
Bend It (1966)
Save Me (1966)
Touch Me Touch Me (1967)
Zabadak! (1967)
Legend of Xanadu (1968)
- Despite their name, Dave Dee and the Bostons had been around since 1958 with various band members. Dave Dee, in his off hours, was a police cadet and on duty the night of the tragic Eddie Cochran/Gene Vincent car crash in 1960; he was responsible for making sure Cochran's equipment got back to the US after the event. But after a season at the Hamburg Top Ten Club, the boys were better able to tackle the pop world. Their songs had smirky titles but exhibited some experimentation (such as unusual instrumentation or tempo changes: one song included "an empty beer bottle zoomed down a fretboard while two bits of plywood were smacked together", according to Clayson.) Dave Dee never lost the performing bug and has organized various revivals of his older work.


- Songs include:
Lah Dee Dah (1958)
Purple People Eater (1958)
- Jackie Dennis was 15 years old when he was discovered and rushed into fame via the "6.5 Special" show. A true Scot, young Jackie was always clad in kilt, sporran and velveteen jacket. His one hit achieved Number 4 in the UK and even some minor interest in the US, but other than a cover of Sheb Wooley's notorious nonsense, Mr. Dennis was not heard from again.



- Songs include:
Rock Island Line (1956)
Stewball (1956)
Lost John/Stewball (1956)
Skiffle Session (1956)
Bring a Little Water Sylvie/Dead or Alive (1956 and 1957)
Don't You Rock Me Daddy-O (1957)
Cumberland Gap (1957)
Jack O' Diamonds (1957)
Does Your Chewing Gum Lose It's Flavour (On the Bedpost Overnight)? (1959)
and many more....
- As pop writer Paul Flattery put it, Anthony Donegan "didn't so much start the skiffle craze; he *was* the skiffle craze." "Skiffle" brings blank looks to US record purveyors, but in England, when Chris Barber and Lonnie Donegan were part of Ken Colyer's "pure" jazz band in 1955, there would often be a musical break between standard Dixieland renditions (Barber, Donegan, and another band member named Alexis Korner---the father of British rhythm and blues---would predominate here.) "Skiffle" was a British term of the twenties, describing the replacement of legitimate jazz instruments by washboards (percussion), tea-chest-and- broom-handle bass, guitar and kazoo. The musical sources were primarily American black and folk idioms.

Young Anthony (having taken the name Lonnie from bluesman Lonnie Johnson) and Colyer were at odds when Donegan's skiffle-session break became the audience favorite. Donegan left the band and started his own purely skiffle group and had a string of hits starting in early 1956. Skiffle itself swept the country. Groups like the Vipers and Chas McDevitt (with singer Nancy Whiskey) also rose to fame; American
black singers and bluesmen were championed by their new fans; skiffle clubs opened and closed, creating a popular coffee-bar mentality.

And youngsters like John Lennon and Paul McCartney, thrilled to the marrow by singers like Presley and Chuck Berry, were nevertheless heavily influenced by skiffle. It was the fact that *anyone* could play, apparently regardless of musical talent, that brought so many young amateur musicians into the streets, seeking the spotlight of fame. Another innovation was the television show "6.5 Special", which presented the remarkable vision (to Britain, at least) of teenagers *dancing* to music played in the studio, much of it skiffle. A talent spot was added and young bands from all over England tried out. Skiffle maintained its lead in popular music until about 1957; Donegan, probably due to his disarming talent and charming presence, survived much longer by incorporating English music-hall styles and reviving native pride in same. He still records today.


- Songs include:
As Tears Go By (1964)
Come and Stay With Me (1965)
This Little Bird (1965)
Summer Nights (1965)
Yesterday (1965)
- More legendary in some quarters as Mick Jagger's girlfriend, Ms. Faithfull was an alleged shy convent girl who was recorded by Andrew Oldham, the Stones' producer, while she was just seventeen. Her somewhat weak, if sweet, voice was buoyed up by lush production, and she had several legitimate hits to her name. Married in 1965 to John Dunbar, owner of the Indra Art Gallery in London (where Yoko Ono exhibited her work), Marianne hit it off with Mick (on the rebound from Chrissie Shrimpton) and began to hang out with the dark forces of rock music.

Her celebrated descent into heroin addiction was detailed in the song she co-wrote with Jagger, "Sister Morphine". Her comeback in the eighties was all the more remarkable for the complete change in her voice, from tremulously faint to a harsh, embittered croak.


- Songs include:
You've Got Your Troubles (1965)
Here It Comes Again (1965)
This Golden Ring (1965)
- Originally a Birmingham-Welsh vocal trio, the Fortunes got onto the beat bandwagon with a non-chart hit called "Caroline" that at least achieved immortality by being adopted as the theme music of Radio Caroline, the famed off-shore sailing vessel that brought pop music to Brits through the magic of clandestine radio.

Their chart success brought them to the attention of American radio as well, but by their third hit they decided to admit that they used session players on their records, though (this should make you feel better) played all by themselves in concert. Something about this revelation sat poorly with their populace, and they fell out of favour shortly after.


- Songs include:
If You've Got to Make a Fool of Somebody (1963)
I'm Telling You Now (1963)
You Were Made For Me (1963)
I Understand (1964)
Do the Freddie (1965) etc.
- Freddie Garraty was actually from Manchester, and he and his group emerged from an inauspicious skiffle background to capture the humour market in pop music in 1963; their raucous stage antics made a serious rendition of their songs somewhat problematic. Obviously influenced by some of the Beatles' loves (James Ray's hit "If You've Got to Make a Fool of Somebody" was done on stage by the Fabs but not recorded), Freddie's group cheerfully mangled the rest of their output by forgetting such vital things as tuning their guitars. Their one dance hit is exceeded in silliness perhaps only by the "Wilbury Twist", but it's a toss-up.


- Songs include:
How Do You Do It? (1963)
I Like It (1963)
You'll Never Walk Alone (1963)
I'm The One (1964)
Don't Let the Sun Catch You Crying (1964)
It's Gonna Be Alright (1964)
Ferry Cross the Mersey (1964)
I'll be There (1965) etc.
- The infectiously-cheerful Gerry Marsden was a part of the skiffle scene in Liverpool, a clear-cut star in the making, who spent time with his Pacemakers in the same German clubs as the Beatles, often sharing the stage or trading off group members for a lark. Another Dingle lad, Gerard Marsden started out with his brother in the Mars Bars, then became the Marsden Trio with guitarist Les Chadwick. Bob Wooler, compere at the Cavern Club, thought they had something going and began to recommend them for local concerts and nightclub gigs. Soon Gerry and his pals were appearing with the Beatles, even headlining, in Liverpool and environs.

It seems that Brian Epstein, who took on  Gerry et al. as another sure-fire Mersey group, was not as anxious to find them a record contract. Gerry persuaded George Martin to come up to Birkenhead to see them play; and Martin was happy to fob off his Beatles-reject, "How Do You Do It?", which took Gerry and crowd to number one right off the bat. And they did a better job of the song than the Fabs, too! They balanced sentimental hits with Mersified ones; their "Ferry 'Cross the Mersey" gave lasting identity to this famed Liverpool landmark. Well into the eighties, Gerry has kept his hand in singing and hit making.


- Songs include:
Besame Mucho (1962)
Main Title Theme from "Man with the Golden Arm" (1962) - Jet Harris, originally part of Cliff Richards' backing group The Shadows. After Cliff's huge success in the early sixties, the Shadows struck out on their own, and shortly after a few chart hits (such as "Apache", a bigger hit in the States by Jorgen Imgemar) and before he joined former Vipers-mate Tony Meehan for a few hits (such as "Diamonds"), Harris followed the lead of Duane Eddy and released an instrumental version of "Besame Mucho" (probably not what influenced Paul, who was doing the song in the Beatles' Hamurg gigs).

Harris suffered serious injuries in a car crash in 1963, and seems to have lost his nerve for performing. He tried a comeback in 1967, produced by pal Tony Meehan (now an authentic record producer), but lapsed into oblivion.


- Songs include:
Diamonds (1963)
Scarlett O'Hara (1963)
Applejack (1963)
- Both Harris and Meehan had belonged to the Vipers, an important skiffle group of the mid-fifties; Meehan was also in The Vagabonds, the backing group for Larry Parnes' pretty-boy Vince Eager, and Harris had been in Tony Crombie's Rockets. The two became part of the Shadows when the group was both backing Richard and acting  as opening act for him.

Meehan left the group in 1961, to become an arranger and producer for Decca. Harris hung on a bit longer, tried a few instrumentals, and then teamed up with Meehan. Due to their pervasive moody personae, they developed an enthusiastic following and "Diamonds" was a huge hit for them in January 1963... the last of the Old Wave of British pop hits before something called the Mersey Sound hit big just after the first of the year. Meehan and Harris had two more top ten hits before Harris' car crash in September 1963.


- Songs include:
Ain't That Just Like Me (1963)
Searchin' (1964?)
Stay (196???)
Just One Look (1964)
I'm Alive (1965)
I Can't Let Go (1966)
Look Through Any Window (1966)
Bus Stop (1966)
Stop Stop Stop (1966)
Carrie Anne (196???)
He Ain't Heavy (He's My Brother) 1969)
Air That I Breathe (1970)
Long Cool Woman (1972) etc.
- Allan Clarke and Graham Nash were boyhood buddies who ended up in a plethora of small groups around Manchester, so impressed were they by the Everly Brothers; a booking in December 1962 led to their renaming as The Hollies. There are rumors that neither Nash nor Clarke were accomplished musicians---so? Neither were Hedgehoppers Anonymous---but Hicks and two other members, bassist Eric Haydock and drummer Donald Rathbone, made up for it.

It was Hicks' idea to experiment with banjo and similar exotic strings 'n' sounds; but the real vituosity was in the three-part harmonies of Clarke, Hicks and Nash. Nash, of course, left the Hollies after 1968 for CS&N (later CSN&Y) and was replaced by Terry Sylvester of the Escorts. Their hits after 1969 were all done without Nash's song writing talent.


- Songs include:
Funny How Love Can Be (1965)
That's Why I'm Cryin' (1965)
Tossing and Turning (1965)
Willow Tree (1966)
- John Carter and Ken Lewis had a group called the Carter-Lewis Duo (inventively) that had a minor hit in 1963, but teaming up with Perry Ford, the Ivy League made waves with the lilting, harmonic "Funny How Love Can Be", which was covered much more raucously (if interestingly) by Danny Hutton (of "Roses and Rainbows" fame, later of Three Dog Night.) Carter and Lewis eventually couldn't stand each other, and were replaced by another duo which, with the unfortunate Mr. Ford caught in the middle of it all, became The Flowerpot Men in 1967.


- Songs include:
Please Don't Touch (1959)
You Got What It Takes (1960)
Shakin' All Over (1960)
Restless (1960)
Linda Lu (1961)
Shot of Rhythm and Blues (1963)
I'll Never Get Over You (1963)
Hungry for Love (1963)
Always and Ever (1964)
- Frederick Heath did *not* have to wear an eyepatch; it was just that one time his guitar string broke and hit him in the eye and he wore this eyepatch just *once* and a girl backstage told him he looked like a pirate, so....At least that's the story. With the name Johnny Kidd and a backup band named the Pirates, Kidd started rocking England with an unusually raw sound; when other crooners were going towards soft ballads, Kidd was creating a more hard-driven corpus of music.

With his manager Guy Robinson, Kidd wrote the astonishing "Shakin' All Over" (somewhat reminiscent of Cliff's "Move It"), a petulant, rebellious anthem. Kidd remained an icon for British would-be rockers (like the Beatles, who nevertheless continued to imitate their American sources) and went on touring lessening crowds until his unfortunate death in a car crash in 1966.


- Songs include:
Do You Want to Know a Secret? (1963)
Bad To Me (1963)
I'll Keep You Satisfied (1963)
Little Children (1964)
>From A Window (1964)
Trains and Boats and Planes (1965)
- William Howard Ashton had been in a little band with his cohorts in Bootle, a suburb of Liverpool, as Billy Ford and the Phantoms. Gradually, this mutated to Billy Kramer and the Coasters (the "J." was later suggested by John Lennon, because it was his own initial) and Billy did his best to follow the trail of the Beatles and their burgeoning success.

Much given to gold lame suits, Billy was revamped (no pun intended) by Brian Epstein; the Coasters left and the Dakotas from Manchester were brought in. Naturally Brian wanted Billy to be as big a Nems star as the Beatles but George Martin was unimpressed.

The Boys' own "Do You Want to Know a Secret?" ended up being Billy's first big hit, carefully arranged by Martin to hide what he called the "holes" in Kramer's vocal style. "Bad To Me", a Lennon song, proved a real charmer; so did several other Lennon-McCartney songs, but such outside help didn't prevent Billy from running aground after 1967, when he was relegated to pop hell on the cabaret circuit.


- Songs include:
Johnny Remember Me (1961)
Wild Wind (1961)
Son This is She (1961)
Lone Rider (1962) etc.
- Leyton, an actor, played "Ginger" on a British TV series called "Biggles", set in WWII, and later starred in a TV play about a pop star...exactly the role to which he had always aspired! His TV persona, Johnny St. Cyr, released a song called "Johnny Remember Me" in parallel with the *real* John Leyton. Gimmicks often work wonders; and Leyton's single was voted record of the year in 1961.

He continued with top twenty hits into 1962, without the magic of a TV show to boost his chances, but gradually retreated back to straight acting (he was the male lead opposite Helen Shapiro in Richard Lester's 1962 film, "It's Trad Dad") and left the pop charts to the experts.


- Having no real chart hits of his own, Dennis Lotis exists mainly as a ballad singer from the early days of British big-band music, now forgotten by many, but once a well-known member of *the* British big band itself, Ted Heath and his Music Singers.


- Songs include:
Shout! (1964)

Without the Luvvers:
Here Comes the Night (1964)
Leave a Little Love (1965)
Try to Understand (1965)
To Sir With Love (1967) (US only)
The Boat That I Row (1967)
Morning Dew (1969) etc.
- Marie McDonald McLaughlin Lawrie had a powerhouse voice at the tender age of 15 and had already been singing in Glasgow clubs with The Glen Eagles. They changed their name to The Luvvers (cashing in on the Mersey connection) and had a huge hit in the UK with the Isley Bros. "Shout!"; she also did a creditable version of the Stones' "Surprise, Surprise" the same year. In 1966 she went solo, had a huge US hit (which made no impact at all in the UK), the title song of the film "To Sir With Love".

Briefly married to Bee Gee Barry Gibb, Lulu continued to try for further fame during the seventies and eighties, and made guest appearances as an announcer for Europe's Capitol Radio.


- Songs include:
It's Love that Really Counts (1963)
I Think of You (1964)
Don't Turn Around (1964)
Wishin' and Hopin' (1964) etc.
- The group had to ask publisher Bill Harry of Liverpool, who edited the "Mersey Beat" music paper, whether they could use the name! Tony Crane and Bill Kinsley had belonged to The Mavericks; now with Aaron Williams and John Banks, they made the best of the craze that first swept the North of England, then the South, then America. Their get-up included fancy ruffled shirts and velveteen jackets. "I Think Of You" was their biggest hit, but shortly thereafter a magazine article revealed that the group had a heavy following of "groupies" (the idea was then relatively unpublicized) and that their behaviour wasn't entirely innocent. Whether that was the reason or not, the Merseybeats didn't achieve much in the hit department thereafter, though their chart action was respectably in the top-40 realm at least.

The Merseys


- Songs include:
Sorrow (1966)
- Having lost Banks and Williams, Kinsley (who had left briefly but returned) and Crane resurrected themselves as The Merseys; their backing group was a conglomeration previously known as The Fruit Eating Bears. Their one big hit was "Sorrow", a terrific sonorous lament about a difficult love; it was to be quoted in brief in the lyrics of George Harrison's "It's All Too Much" ("With your long blonde hair and your eyes of blue...."). The Merseys released one more song, "So Sad About Us", but though it was written by Pete Townsend of The Who, it never made the grade. The Merseys disappeared, for all intents and purposes, though Kinsley belonged to Rockin' Horse, a seventies band that backed Chuck Berry on British tours.


- Songs include:
Go Now (1965)
I Don't Want to Go On Without You (1965)
>From the Bottom of My Heart (1965)
Everyday (1965)
Nights in White Satin (1967)
Ride My See-Saw (1968)
Question (1970) etc.
- The Moody Blues had two quite different faces: one with Denny Laine (who joined Mike Pindar, Clint Warwick, Ray Thomas and Graeme Edge) and one without, with new members Justin Hayward (who took over vocals) and John Lodge (replacing Warwick). Much of their earlier work is pleasant, impressive and pop-orientated; "Go Now" is a fine example (though their jaunty "Fly Me Straight" never made the top-40 charts, alas).

Leaving their Birmingham R&B roots behind, once Laine had left, the group emerged as one of the first "progressive rock" bands---typified by combining classical styles with rock beats and instrumentation. Their "Days Of Future Passed" (1967) was a true concept album and contained full classical orchestration; "Knights In White Satin" from this LP kept re-entering the charts during the seventies. One of the longest-lived English rock groups, the lineup remained fairly intact, with the exception of Pindar's retreat and Patrick Moraz' entry (Moraz had been with the group Yes). Laine, it may be necessary to note, was with Paul McCartney for a time in a group called Wings.


- Song:
Poison Ivy (1964)
- They're hardly a ripple in the plethora of beat groups from the mid-sixties, but The Paramounts are important for being the proto- version of Procol Harum. They included Barrie Wilson on drums, Diz Derrick on bass, and later-Procol members Gary Brooker on keyboards and Robin Trower on guitar. They had only one hit---and "hit" is putting it kindly.


- Songs include:
A World Without Love (1964)
Nobody I Know (1964)
True Love Ways (1965)
To Know You is to Love You (1965)
Woman (1966)
Lady Godiva (1966) etc.
- Peter Asher and Gordon Waller were school chums and great fans of the Everly Brothers. Emulation is all: they decided to form a pop duo and had several strokes of good luck (not to mention talent): English duos (a la Chad and Jeremy) were "in" during the British Invasion, and Peter Asher's sister Jane was Paul McCartney's girlfriend through much of the sixties.

With a fair number of McCartney songs (officially labeled Lennon-McCartney), the two had consistent hits in the American market (fewer in the British). They split in 1968, after their respectable hit-machine wore thin. Waller went on to do cabaret and theatre work, while Asher saw success as a producer, notably with James Taylor and Linda Ronstadt.


- Songs include:
I Put a Spell on You (1965)
Simon Smith and His Amazing Dancing Bear (1967)
The House That Jack Built (1967)
Don't Stop the Carnival (1968) etc.
- Price began his career as a guitarist in a skiffle group, the Black Diamonds, but he was always more accomplished on piano and organ. A jazz and blues enthusiast, Price played with pals Chas Chandler and John Steel as The Alan Price Combo in 1960, adding old friend (Price had played in his band The Pagans) Eric Burdon in 1962.

Their association continued into The Animals (see separate entry), where Burdon was clearly the frontman. Price left in 1965, possibly as a result of a fear of flying but perhaps a conflict with Burdon; with his new Alan Price Set he pursued blues and novelty tunes by then-obscure songwriter Randy Newman. His chart action has been spotty but he has had several musical liaisons with other singers (Georgie Fame) and composed the score for Lindsay Anderson's 1973 film "O Lucky Man!" Price was the prime mover for the eighties reunion (and American tour) of The Animals.

Cliff and the Shadows

- Songs include:
Move It (1958)
High Class Baby (1958)
Mean Streak (1959)
Living Doll (1959)
Travellin' Light (1959)
Expresso Bongo (1960)h
Voice in the Wilderness (1960)
Fall in Love with You (1960)
Please Don't Tease (1960)
I Love You (1960)
The Young Ones (1961)
Summer Holiday (1963)
Lucky Lips (1963) etc.
- When Decca rejected the Beatles at their Jan. 1962 audition, they justified it by claiming that "groups with guitars are on the way out." Cliff and the Shadows were the preeminent example of what Decca felt was an old formula...but Cliff and Company had been riding high since the late fifties and had become an institution, more or less. Harry Webb was born in India, the same year and month as John Lennon, but moved to England and was taken with the skiffle craze (as were most British youth) and with American rock and roll such as Bill Haley. After guesting in a few skiffle groups, Webb formed The Drifters (no relation to the American group!) and made an appearance at the famed London coffee bar, 2 I's (where Tommy Steele is also alleged to have been born). He was urged to change his name to something more striking and as Cliff Richard and The Drifters, released a cover of Bobby Helms' "Schoolboy Crush".

On the flipside was "Move It", the group's darker, more compelling number, and that made headlines. At last a British group could make waves! But it was only in their own country, alas. America already had its Elvis (upon whom Cliff's smoldering visage was based) and had little need for an imitation whose work became less challenging with each release.

Cliff and the Shadows (renamed, and now with Jet Harris and Tony Meehan on wild guitar) began a series of teen exploitation films to coincide with their hits, always starring Cliff as a Troubled Young Teen who turns out to be less a threat than adults thought. The Shadows left him for their own career (see separate entry) but Cliff continued to make records throughout the sixties and seventies, bowing only once to the inevitable change in British pop music when he covered the Stones' "When Blue Turns To Grey" in 1966. His professed Christianity became a part of his new persona, and he maintained his pristine image throughout his career. He still does charity gigs as live shows in England.


- Songs include:
Thank U Very Much (1967)
Do You Remember (1968)
Lily the Pink (1968)
Gin Gan Goolie (1969)
Liverpool Lou (1974)
- The Scaffold were made up of a group of Liverpool satirists, poets, and funnymen not the least of whom was Michael McCartney, a.k.a. Mike McGear (he changed his name briefly, thinking that people wouldn't trace him to his famous sibling).

They performed in and around Liverpool with varied hits ("Thank U Very Much" received US airplay) and moderate energy. Occasionally helped by the more famous McCartney, The Scaffold continued into the early seventies but never saw the kind of success they might have wished; luckily all members had other things to occupy them by that point.


- Songs include:
On With the Motley (1955)
If I Ruled the World (1963)
This Is My Song (1967)
- One of the British comedy group The Goons, which was much beloved by Britishers of all ages, Secombe recorded novelty numbers while on hiatus from the team, and occasionally tried his hand at ballads. His success was modest compared to his comedy work.


- Songs include:
Apache (1960)
Man of Mystery/The Stranger (1960)
Kon-Tiki (1961)
Wonderful Land (1962)
Guitar Tango (1962)
Dance On (1962)
Foot Tapper (1963) etc.
- Even though they accompanied Cliff Richard at first, the Shadows made themselves distinctive by being the British edition of the instrumental-style band which proliferated in American rock and roll. Hank Marvin and Bruce Welch tried their luck at 2I's coffee
bar in London, where Cliff and Tommy Steele had also found "instant" fame, and joined The Drifters, including Ian Samwell, songwriter and associate of Richard; their first tour with Cliff necessitated a name change to The Shadows to avoid confusion with the American Drifters.

They won over Terry "Jet" Harris and Tony Meehan and covered Jorgen Ingeman's worldwide hit "Apache" (all this quite apart from backing Cliff). Meehan and Harris were gone by 1962 for greener pastures (they found them temporarily; see separate entry under "Harris and Meehan").

The Shadows without this dynamic duo continued to back Cliff in all his famed film roles; onstage they developed an exaggerated choreography imitated by other groups with guitars. George Harrison's "Cry For A Shadow" one of the Beatles' few instrumentals, was a slightly-teasing reference to the group, which split by 1968. Some ex-members went on to further success (Welch produced Olivia Newton-John); Harris barely survived a serious car wreck in 1963. But various members tried comebacks and saw some success with appearances in the seventies and eighties.


- Songs include:
Whatcha Gonna Do About It? (1965)
Sha La La La Lee (1966)
Hey Girl (1966)
All Or Nothing (1966)
My Mind's Eye (1966)
Itchycoo Park (1967)
Tin Soldier (1967) etc.
- Their chart success was far greater in England than in the States, where they exploited the Mod fanaticism to the hilt. The group included Steve Marriott, Ronnie Lane, Kenny Jones, and Ian McLagen. I wish I had a halfpenny for every rock star who once played The Artful Dodger in "Oliver!"---Marriott was another such fellow; and Jones and Lane had been in two minor bands (Outcasts and Pioneers) in the London area. Their manager was Don Arden, who like Mickie Most, Larry Parnes, and Brian Epstein, maintained an interest in pop music as a business venture.

Their first hits were pure pop; later they leaned toward inventive, psychedelic numbers. "Itchycoo Park" was an enormous hit, both in the UK and the States, but it was their only real breakthrough in America, though group members Marriott (in Humble Pie) and Lane and Jones (with Rod Stewart in The Faces) found popularity here as well as there, long after the Small Faces were the stuff of oldies compilations.


- Songs include:
Dear John (1961)
Breakaway (1961)
Island of Dreams (1962)
Say I Won't Be There (1963)
Silver Threads and Golden Needles (1963)
- The folk craze didn't fail to impress the Brits; Tom and Mary O'Brien, brother and sister, recruited Tim Feild to form The Springfields in 1961. Their first song made no impression but by their second release was a hit. Their biggest British number was "Island of Dreams", recorded with Mike Longhurst-Pickworth (later just Mike Hurst) replacing Feild, though they entered the American charts with "Silver Threads....". By the end of 1963, the two gentlemen had decided to seek their fortune elsewhere (namely in music production); Mary, who became Dusty Springfield, launched her own successful solo career.


- Songs include:
Rock With the Caveman (1956)
Singing the Blues (1956)
Butterfingers (1957)
Water Water/Handful of Songs (1957)
Shiralee (1957)
Nairobi (1958)
Come On Let's Go (1958) etc.
- Thomas Hicks worked a series of odd jobs but like many youngsters in the British fifties, wanted to be a singer; since pop was all the rage, he tried his luck at the famous London coffee bar 2 I's. Larry Parnes was looking for someone to manage (and thus escape the life of a tailor's son); the two seemed made for each other. Steele (as Parnes renamed him) became one of the first manufactured pop stars of Britain; he was passed off as a British Elvis despite the fact that he didn't look like Elvis nor sing like him.

Nevertheless a fairy tale must have a happy ending, and Steele was touted as the biggest thing to hit Britain. His first song was a hit, even if the rest of his output gradually fell short of wonderful. Pressed into service as a film star as well ("The Tommy Steele Story" was made almost before there was a story to tell), Steele began to emphasize more music-hall roots and held back from real rockers.

This pattern served to derail any further potential fame; though he was respected by British pop mavens, he entered the status of legend rather early. At least the stage was open to him, and he pursued a theatrical career during the sixties (occasionally emerging into musical comedy, such as "Half A Sixpence" and "Finian's Rainbow"). He mixed this with a sideline in fine arts, including sculpture and graphic design.


- Songs include:
You're Driving Me Crazy (1961)
Pasadena (1961)
Hard Hearted Hannah/Chili Bom Bom (1961)
Charleston (1961)
- The Temperance Seven formed as a sort of lark when the principals were students at the Royal College of Art in the 1950's, perhaps to send-up the skiffle craze (which was based on music of the same era---the twenties---though skifflers played material that was lower-brow than the Temps, and eventually incorporated American folk).

The Temps did elegant yet catchy jazz numbers that were popular during prohibition, rather in the Paul Whiteman style; they dressed the part and usually had at least nine band members (despite their name). "Whispering" Paul McDowell was on vocals, singing through a megaphone like Rudy Vallee; also included were John R.T. Davies (who wore a fez), Cephas Howard, John Watson, and Brian Innes. George Martin, later the Beatles' producer, was assigned the Temps at Parlophone, and their first two songs reached the top ten in Britain.

Richard Lester picked them to appear in his pre-Beatles film feature "It's Trad Dad", where they were out of place with all the teens but amusing nonetheless. They continued to make anachronistic appearances in film and television during the sixties. Although McDowell left in 1968, versions of the group (sometimes with original members) played into the eighties.


- Songs include:
Here Comes My Baby (1967)
Silence is Golden (1967)
Even Bad Times Are Good (1967)
Suddenly You Love Me (1968) etc.
- The Tremeloes were newly liberated from their leader, Brian Poole (see separate entry) by 1967, and after years of being in the background they finally charted big, not only in the UK but also in the States, with a Cat Stevens' number "Here Comes My Baby".

It was rather lugubrious as done by the pensive Mr. Stevens but the Tremeloes (who had just bombed with a cover of the Fabs' "Good Day Sunshine") gave it an upbeat, party-animal arrangement and it was terrifically infectious. They followed this with a softer "Silence Is Golden" which also pleased the American crowd. But they were unable to repeat the dual-market success and had to be happy with a fair showing of top-twenty UK charttoppers until 1971, when their successes ceased, as did the band.


- Songs include:
Broken Wings (1953)
All The Time and Everywhere (1953)
In A Golden Coach (1953)
Endless (1954)
Finger of Suspicion (1954)
Mr. Sandman (1955)
A Blossom Fell (1955)
I Wonder (1955) etc.
- Richard Brice was destined for stardom, it seemed, having been in a film at age 3 (in 1932!), then a pageboy at various London theatres. His singing lessons were paid for by British musical star Bill O'Connor; and once the boy was 20 he was singing with Big Band great Ted Heath. He was less than forward, being content to sing one song per night in his sessions with Heath, but probably because of his good looks (and the accolades of fan magazines) be became a pop idol in 1954, when he decided to go solo. His act consisted not only of personable singing but impersonations, such as Elvis Presley, Mario Lanza and Johnnie Ray (whose 1953 hit "Cry" was histrionic in the extreme), though when the real Mr. Ray came backstage to congratulate his admirer, Valentine collapsed of nervous exhaustion.

His handsome visage and his pretty family continued to dominate the British fanzines of the fifties; and though he never broke through the American charts, he continued to have significant hits in England (including his cover of Frankie Avalon's "Venus", which entered the British top-40 *five* times in 1959). He found a home in cabaret and revival concerts.


- Songs include:
I Can't Stand It (1964)
Every Little Bit Hurts (1965)
Strong Love (1965)
Keep On Running (1965)
Somebody Help Me (1966)
When I Come Home (1966)
Gimme Some Loving (1966)
I'm A Man (1967)
Time Seller (1967)
Mr. Second Class (1968) etc.
- Spencer Davis was a teacher in the Birmingham area whose lust for blues got the better of him; in 1964 he formed a group with the Winwood Brothers (Stevie and Muff), and drummer Peter York. Stevie Winwood was but a slip of a lad (16 when the band was formed), yet his voice carried the group through the top ten in both the UK and US. Stevie, however, had his sights set on greener pastures and left to form Traffic in 1967; later Muff became a producer (for Dire Straits, among others), and Spencer Davis played host to a plethora of occasional members (Eddie Hardin, Dee Murray, Dave Hines).

Their hits diminished after the departure of the Winwoods and tried other musical combinations before eventually settling into production.


- Songs include:
I Only Want to Be With You (1963)
I Just Don't Know What to Do With Myself (1964)
Losing You (1964)
In the Middle of Nowhere (1965)
Some of Your Lovin' (1965)
You Don't Have to Say You Love Me (1966) etc.
- After leaving the Springfields, Dusty was fortunate to ride the wave, so to speak, of the British Invasion. Though she had considerable chart success in Britain, she also made a splash in the US, where she often beat out other English "girl" singers like Petulia Clark, Cilla Black, and Lulu. Dusty's range was broader than theirs, extending into soul and blues. Her career took an downturn toward the late sixties as she failed to evolve; she moved to the US in 1973 but never really made much of an impression henceforward.


- Songs include:
I Love My Dog (1966)
Matthew and Son (1967)
I'm Gonna Get Me A Gun (1967)
Lady D'Arbanville (1970) etc.
- Steve Demitri Georgiou is best known for songwriting, though his label, Deram, wanted him to play the part of a pop idol, something that was more or less an anathema to him. As Cat Stevens, he had a few British hits (including writing The Tremeloes' "Here Comes My Baby", a hit in the US as well) but contracted tuberculosis and was out of commission for a few years.

He reappeared virtually transformed, though with the same name, in the early seventies and made quite an impact with his thoughtful, introspective, guitar-based songwriting. Several trendy films of that era (Jerzy Skolimowski's "Deep End" and Hal Ashby's "Harold and Maude") used his music with a deft touch. Stevens continued writing and singing till the late seventies, when he had another change of heart, this time more dramatic. He changed his name to Yusif Islam, converted to Islam, and gave up music (and said profits...even to the point of demanding that his master tapes be destroyed) altogether.


- Songs include:
(There's) Always Someone There to Remind Me (1964)
Girl Don't Come (1964)
I'll Stop At Nothing (1964)
Long Live Love (1965) etc.
- From Dagenham, just like Brian Poole, Sandra Goodrich was besotted by Adam Faith, and in pursuit of her idol she auditioned for him backstage one night, sans shoes; her shoeless status became her trademark once Faith (who must have been impressed) helped usher her into the music business. Shaw had a distinctly mod look and a voice much like Cilla Black's but achieved success by emphasizing strongly written material in her musical repertoire (covers of hits included as well as originals from Chris Andrews, a pop writer of note). She retired in the late sixties to raise a family but made some concert and film appearances in the eighties.


- Songs include:
The Spartans (1964)
Spanish Harlem (1964)
- In the tradition of skiffle bands, Sounds sometimes dressed in trad-jazz duds (plaid shirts and jeans), sometimes in Shadows-style matching suits, but they were clearly hangers-on to the Beatles phenomenon. Nevertheless they included some novel instrumentation--- flute and saxes in addition to guitars. Members included Alan Holmes, Griff West, Barry Cameron, Tony Newman (who later joined the Jeff Beck Group), John St. John and Wesley Hunter. They accompanied The Beatles on 1964 tours and provided the brass section for the Boys' "Good Morning, Good Morning" in 1967.


- Songs include:
Don't You Rock Me Daddy-O (1957)
Cumberland Gap (1957)
Streamline Train (1957)
- Many later-famous players began in the Vipers, a skiffle group that challenged Lonnie Donegan for his crown. At one point, Hank Marvin, Tony Meehan, Jet Harris, Wally Whyton and Tommy Steele had all been members (and the first three went on to become The Shadows, backing Cliff Richard). The Vipers played at the famed Soho coffee bar 2 I's, then picked up a recording contract at Parlophone in 1957, where George Martin became their engineer.

Whyton was instrumental (no pun intended) in electrifying the group in 1958 via amplifiers. Skiffle was dying out anyway, even for Donegan, and Marvin, Meehan and Harris found their way into The Drifters and thence The Shadows, while Whyton concentrated on country/folk music, hosting children's TV in England.

the Vipers

 Just a few words to say thank you, for all the images and text you have kindly sent in, it is very much appreciated, having said that, if an image or some text is copyrighted, and you wish for it to be removed  we will remove it  A.S.A.P.
© Copyright 2003-2017,  No animals were harmed in the making of this site although a few contributors were recycled.