BRITPOP -- A Short History (in capsule form) of British Pop Music
by saki (
Version 1.1 March 1992 (in two parts)
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:

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

And if there's a group or singer of the British persuasion whom you'd
like to see added here, or you have a correction or emendation, don't
hesitate to write to, and politely suggest it.

Ready, steady....GO! :-)
-Songs include: 
Baby Let Me Take You Home (1964)
House of the Rising Sun (1964)
I'm Crying (1965)
Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood (1965)
Bring It On Home to Me (1965)
We Gotta Get Out of This Place (1965)
It's My Life (1965)
Don't Bring Me Down (1966)
- Originally the Alan Price Combo, the Animals were so-called after
Newcastle bluesman Eric Burdon joined Price and their local musical
sets became known for excessive (if exciting) raucousness. Price was
the keyboard genius of the group with an appreciation for American
blues and folk music; Burdon had the voice. Other members included 
Chas Chandler (from the Alan Price Combo), John Steele, and Hilton 
Valentine; Dave Rowberry replaced Price in 1965. As a Northern group,
they had the exotic cast to make it big, once the Mersey Sound had been
accepted by the musical establishment. Price left the group in 1965
(partly artistic dispute, partly a fear of flying) and Burdon continued,
keeping pace with the changing psychedelic world.
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:
Charmaine (1963)
Faraway Places (1963)
Whispering (1963)
Diane (1964)
I Believe (1964)
Marie (1965)
- The Bachelors were a hit, it has been suggested, just by virtue of
their thick Irish accents, and were most popular with the mums and dads
who enjoyed regular, predictable, "clean" television and radio. They
managed to enter the American hit parade with several songs after the
British Invasion, but had little staying power.
- 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.
- 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 singlehandedly 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.
- 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. :-)
- 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:
Memphis (1963)
My Baby Left Me (1964)
Baby It's You (1964)
The Crying Game (1964)
One Heart Between Two (1964)
Little Things (1964)
This Strange Effect (1965)
Mama (1966)
- Mr. Berry (who changed his name from David Holgate Grundy) started
out in a duo, a la the Everly Bros., and teamed up with a backing group
called the Cruisers in 1961. After being introduced to the band by producer
Mickie Most (whose stable included Herman's Hermits), the dreaded Mike
Smith at Decca allowed Dave and the Cruisers to record "Memphis", then
insisted that subsequent recordings include a studio band in back of
Mr. Berry. He had a few hits, including a cover of Bobby Goldsboro's
"Little Things"; and a weird stage act which emphasized Mr. Berry's
penchant for black clothing and odd hand and microphone "ballets". In
the eighties, he rerecorded several of his hits, to no success.
- 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 honored. 
- 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:
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.
- 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:
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 
- 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.
- 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)
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:
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 favorite occasional
funnyman on radio and telly with his musical portraits of the typical
British working class fellow.
- 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
- 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:
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:
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:
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 damndest 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:
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:
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 Favorite 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)
- 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: 
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:
Yeh Yeh (1964)
In the Meantime (1965)
Like We Used to Be 91965)
Something (1965)
Get Away (1966)
Ballad of Bonnie & Clyde (1967)
- 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)
- 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.
- 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
favor shortly after.
- 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 neighborhood, 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's.
- 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)
- Freddie Garraty was actually from Manchester, and he and his
group emerged from an inauspicious skiffle background to capture
the humor 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:
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)
- 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 songwriting
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.
- 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)
- 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 hitmaking.
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)
- 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.
JET HARRIS (solo) 
- 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.
- 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
- Songs include:
I'm Into Something Good (1964)
Show Me Girl (1964)
Silhouettes (1965)
Wonderful World (1965)
Just a Little Bit Better (1965)
A Must to Avoid (1965)
This Door Swings Both Ways (1966)
No Milk Today (1966)
There's a Kind of Hush (1966)
- Peter Blair Dennis Bernard Noone was a Manchester lad much taken
by Liverpool beat groups such as the Beatles, whenever he wasn't
engaged in his primary career in the late fifties, that of a child
character in Granada TV's famous "Coronation Street" prime-time
soap. He managed to involve himself a tad in music, fronting for
his backup group as Peter Novack, his TV stage name. They became
much the rage of the Lancashire area, eventually being discovered
by producer Mickie Most, who renamed Peter "Herman" after the "Sherman"
character in the Jay Ward then-popular cartoon series. Peter Novack and
the Heartbeats had been much enamoured of groups like the Everlys, Buddy
Holly and Merseybeat faves, so stepping into this mould wasn't at all
a problem. With his band renamed the Hermits, Herman and his group were
carefully tailored by Most for triumph in the American market...which 
is where most of it happened. Some of his hits here catered to an 
inauthentic cockney persona ("Mrs. Brown", "Henry VIIIth") and some 
took advantage of the latest trends ("No Milk Today" was written by
Hollies genius Graham Nash). Peter Noone outlived it all, managing to
circumvent certain pop-star death by reinventing himself in cabarets
and on the acting circuit in the '70s and '80s.
- 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:
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)
- 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
songwriting talent.
- 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
halfhearted followups. 
- 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)
- 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:
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:
It's Not Unusual (1965)
What's New, Pussycat? (1965)
Thunderball (1966)
Green, Green Grass of Home (1966)
Detroit City (1967)
- 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
- 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:
Everyone's Gone to the Moon (1965)
Let It All Hang Out (1970)
Lazy Bones (1971)
- 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)
- 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 upperclass 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."
- 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)
- 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.
- 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
- Songs include:
Wheels Cha Cha (1961)
Sucu Sucu (1961)
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 rumored to be among the favorite
bands of the British royal family.
- 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)
- 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:
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.
(with Nancy Whiskey)
- Songs include:
Freight Train (1957)
Greenback Dollar (1957)
- 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 diminuitive
"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)
- 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
- Songs include:
It's Love that Really Counts (1963)
I Think of You (1964)
Don't Turn Around (1964)
Wishin' and Hopin' (1964)
- 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 behavior 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. After some changes, the group merged into....
- 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:
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 to 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:
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)
- 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 reentering 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.
- Songs include:
Night of Fear (1967)
I Can Hear the Grass Grow (1967)
Flowers in the Rain (1967)
Fire Brigade (1968)
Blackberry Way (1968)
- 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
- 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)
- 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.
- 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)
- 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:
Twist and Shout (1963)
Do You Love Me? (1963)
I Can Dance (1963)
Candy Man (1964)
Someone Someone (1964)
- 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 *Liver*poole) and abandoned his Holly
specs, covered the Isley's "Twist And Shout", and were on their way...
but curiously they failed to fulfill Decca's dreams. They had only
two big hits in the UK, a cover of The Contours' "Do You Love Me?"
and The Crickets' "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:
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)
- 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.
- Songs include:
A Whiter Shade of Pale (1967)
Homburg (1967)
Quite Rightly So (1968)
A Salty Dog (1969)
Conquistador (1972)
- 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:
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)
- 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
- 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)
- 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 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 
followup 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:
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:
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)
- 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 lineup changed throughout the sixties
(Jackson being the first to leave in 1964) and a new lineup even recorded
in the eighties, but their best work remained entrenched in the sixties.
- 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:
Any Old Iron (1957)
- with Sophia Loren:
Goodness Gracious Me (1960)
Bangers and Mash (1961)
- and solo again:
A Hard Day's Night (1965)
- 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:
Apache (1960)
Man of Mystery/The Stranger (1960)
Kon-Tiki (1961)
Wonderful Land (1962)
Guitar Tango (1962)
Dance On (1962)
Foot Tapper (1963)
- 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:
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)
- 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:
(There's) Always Someone There to Remind Me (1964)
Girl Don't Come (1964)
I'll Stop At Nothing (1964)
Long Live Love (1965)
- 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.
- Song:
My Bonnie (1961; charted 1963)
- Sheridan's main claim to fame was via his backing band, retitled
The Beat Brothers for their appearance with him but, as everyone
knows, really The Beatles. Sheridan achieved some regional fame as
a crooner on British teen TV shows like "Oh Boy!" (1959) but made
quite an impact in Hamburg, where British music was seen as a good-enough
substitute for American rock and roll. Sheridan played host to other
guest backing bands includings Ian Hines' Jets and Gerry and the
Pacemakers. Sheridan sings the lead on "My Bonnie" but was nice
enough (or was this producer Bert Kaempfert's idea?) to let John
have a bash at "Ain't She Sweet". Once the Beatles' fame was established,
Sheridan went back into the recording studio and cut several more rock
standards to fill out an album with the five 1961-recordings of The
Beat Brothers (of course no matter whom Sheridan had as his backing
group, they always seemed to be called The Beat Brothers!) Sheridan
never had another chart hit and spent much of his time in German
cabarets or British revival tours.
- 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)
- 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:
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:
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)
- 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:
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:
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)
- 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 thenceforward.
- 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)
- 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:
I Love My Dog (1966)
Matthew and Son (1967)
I'm Gonna Get Me A Gun (1967)
Lady D'Arbanville (1970)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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:
Don't Start Crying Now (1964)
Baby Please Don't Go (1965)
Here Comes The Night (1965)
Gloria (1965) (US charts only)
Mystic Eyes (1965) (US charts only) 
I Can Only Give You Everything (1966) 
- George Ivan Morrison was an Irish lad whose father owned a massive 
collection of jazz and blues records, and who, thus inspired, joined a 
group called Deanie Sands and the Javelins. Gradually another group, 
The Monarchs, attracted Van Morrison, who was eighteen in 1963, and this
coalesced into Them, which played blues and rock from Muddy Waters to
Chuck Berry. They were popular in and around Belfast but came to London
in 1964 once they had been signed by Decca, eager to pick up any
competent pop band in the wake of the Beatles' success. Van Morrison
really made the band's name; his distinctive vocals lent a rakish
air to their repertoire ("Gloria", which was edited in certain sections
of the US, and "Mystic Eyes", didn't chart in England). Decca thought
they might be able to market Them as a nuevo-Stones, and the band enjoyed
a US tour in 1966, but internal turmoil split the group; Van Morrison
retired to rethink his position (and returned with a new, revitalized
career as a solo artist, as "Brown-Eyed Girl" and other songs would
suggest), while Them tried to tour with another, anonymous lead
singer before crashing and burning in 1967.
- Songs include:
Here Comes My Baby (1967)
Silence is Golden (1967)
Even Bad Times Are Good (1967)
Suddenly You Love Me (1968)
- 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.
The Troggs
- Songs include:
Wild Thing (1966)
With a Girl Like You (1966)
I Can't Control Myself (1966)
Any Way That You Want Me (1967)
Love Is All Around (1967)
- Reg Ball was a bricklayer, and his pal Ronnie Bond were in a group
called Ten Foot Five, which included Tony Mansfield and Dave Wright.
After a minor tune-up, they became the Trogglodytes, with new members
Pete Staples and Chris Britton. They won over the heart of the Kinks'
manager Larry Page, who got them a contract with CBS Records, then
Fontana, where as The Troggs they covered a song called "Wild Thing".
Hard to tell what it was that did it: the ocarina (the high, piercing
instrument that looks like a potato)? the heavy, leering sigh from Reg
Ball, now Reg Presley ("You *mooove* me")? the heavy, leering guitars?
Whatever, it was a monstrous hit in the States. Their subsequent releases
were popular in the UK (especially "I Can't Control Myself" which the
BBC banned), though "Love Is All Around" charted in the US as a tender,
affectionate ballad. Though they ended up in the graveyard of many
a pop star---the cabaret/supper-club circuit---interest was revived
during the seventies when bootleg tapes of their often-incoherent
sessions surfaced. 
- 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)
- 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:
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:
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 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)
- 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.
- 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.
- Songs include:
She's Not There (1964)
Tell Her No (1965)
- Rod Argent and his pals Colin Blunstone, Paul Atkinson, Hugh Grundy
(later Chris White), and Paul Arnold won a talent contest, which
gave them the chutzpah to challenge the men at Decca, who obviously
were still hurting from their rejection of the Beatles. In 1963, the
Zombies were signed up and wrote their two British hits. "She's Not
There" is notable for Colin Blunstone's out-of-breath delivery (at
least in the mono version; he calmed down for the stereo take) and
was only the second song Rod Argent ever wrote. Although Americans
are used to thinking of the band as representative of the British
invasion, the Zombies did poorly in their own country (like Peter &
Gordon, Chad & Jeremy) and though they were much appreciated by
American musicians like the Association and the Turtles, the band
gave up (after their late American hit "Time of the Season"). Argent
and White continued to make music, Atkinson and Grundy worked in
the music business; Blunstone's whereabouts are unknown.
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