Performers

Performers (68)

Performers on Oh Boy!

The Vernon Girls - photo set

The following 27 photographs had been stored away in a suitcase in an attic for almost 50 years!! They are now available for viewing by very kind permission of Dorothy Parkin who was known as Stevie Vernon.

She left the Vernons Girls in 1958/59.

Dorothy is very pleased to have the opportunity to be be able to share the photographs with anyone who knew, saw or are/were fans of the lovely ladies known collectively as the 'Vernons Girls'


Opps, I count 25 here...


Click thumbnail to enlarge to full size!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Terry White

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William Marshall

William Marshall was an American actor and singer of African and Cherokee heritage, known for his rich bass voice and classically-trained style, and for his impressive performances on stage and television as Othello.

The latter included a performance in Jack Good's original US production of Catch My Soul.

He appeared as Dr. Richard Daystrom in the Star Trek episode "The Ultimate Computer". He also played the title role of the 1972 cult vampire melodrama, Blacula, and its 1973 sequel, Scream Blacula Scream.

He died on 11th June 2003 from complications arising from complications arising from Alzheimer's disease and diabetes at the age of 78.

Vince Taylor

Born Brian Maurice Holden on 14th July 1939 in London. His family decided to move to the USA and they settled in New Jersey, where his father found work in the mines. In college, Brian sang at private parties, imitating his idols Elvis Presley and Bill Haley. In 1955, his sister married the co-founder of the firm Hanna / Barbera and the entire family moved to California. Passionate about Rock'n'Roll music, Brian performed increasingly often in clubs there. During a trip to New York, he discovered the rock fever incited by Eddie Cochran and Buddy Holly.

He went to London and discovered the famous '2 I's' coffee bar. Brian started up his own band called The Playboys and named himself 'Vince Taylor'. His first hits came in 1960 and International success followed during their 1961 European tour. In 1962, Vince and the Playboys were at the height of their glory but then he began spouting mysticism, accentuated by an explosive mix of alcohol and drugs. He fell in a downward spiral to oblivion.

In 1983, Taylor moved to Switzerland in an attempt to break with his past. He married that same year in Epalinges, near Lausanne, later moving to Lutry on the shores of Lake Geneva. He tried many come back appearances but with no success. He died in Lutry on 28th August 1991.

Band members (several line-up changes): Alan Le Clare - pianist (born Alan Cocks, 26.8.1938, in Dulwich, S.E London); Brian Bennett drums (born Anthony Brian Bennett, 9/2/1940, in Palmers Green, North London) (later in The Shadows); Tony Sheridan guitar, vocals (born 1940 see above); Tex Makins bass player (born Anthony Paul Makins, 3/7/1940, in Wembley, Middlesex); 'Liquorice' Locking bass (born Brian Locking, 22/12/1940, in Bedworth, Warwickshire) (later in The Shadows); Tony Harvey guitar (born Anthony Harvey, in 1940 died 23/3/1993); Johnny Vance bass player (born David John Cobb, in 1940, in Portsmouth, Hampshire); Bobbie Clarke / Woodman drums (born Robert William Woodman, 13/6/1941, in Coventry, Warwickshire); Tony Meehan drums (born Daniel Joseph Anthony Meehan, 22/3/1943, at the New End Hospital, New End, Hampstead, North-west London died 28/11/2005, at St Mary's Hospital, South Wharf Road, Paddington, West London) (later in The Shadows).


[Cliff & Vince]

Vince Eager

Born Roy Taylor in Grantham, Lincolnshire. He teamed up with 2 pals to form the Harmonica Vagabonds, later to be the Vagabonds Skiffle Group - hugely popular in Grantham and came 2nd in the World Skiffle Championships which was televised by the BBC.

[Right: Vince Eager]

This led to a residency at the famous 2 I's Coffee Bar in London's West End. Soon after, they were booked by pop Svengali Larry Parnes who turned Roy Taylor into 'Vince Eager'.

Vince became a household name with over 100 TV appearances but his recording career was dogged by a conflict  between him and Larry Parnes.

Touring with Eddie Cochran, Gene Vincent, Marty Wilde, Jerry Lee Lewis, Billy Fury and many more top stars gave Vince the opportunity to hone the stage skills which still serve him to this day.

The death of his best friend Eddie Cochran was to prove a turning point in Vince's career. He was disgusted with the manner in which Parnes sought to gain publicity from the accident and he began to 'get away' from the 'Parnes Stable' of popsters.

In the years that followed the Parnes era, Vince was prolific on the British and overseas cabaret circuit, theatre, pantomime and for 5 years he starred in the Sir Laurence Olivier Award winning West End musical, ELVIS.

In 1986 Vince took up residency in Fort Lauderdale, Florida for twelve years, returning to the UK along with his wife Anette and is now based in rural Nottinghamshire.

[Right: Vince Eager with Roy Young on piano]

After returning to England, for a number of years Vince rekindled his association with legendary guitarist, the late Big Jim Sullivan in presenting a show of musical and anecdotal nostalgia. 

He has also written a amusing and inforamtiv musical biography, Vince Eager's Rock 'n' Roll files. 

 

 

[Vince, Cliff & Marty]

Vernons Girls, The

The Vernons Girls included the following: Barbara Mitchell, Maggie Stredder, Betty Prescott, Maureen Kennedy+ Margot Quantrell, Francis Lea, Jean Owens, Vicky Haseman+ Jean Ryder, Vera Brooks, Lynn Cornell, Ann Simmons, Mary Redmond, Ann O'Brien, Joyce Baker, Carmel French, Helen Taylor, Rae Parker, Dilys Jones, Sally Sallis, Gill Graham, Eleanor Russell, Sheila Prytherch, Dorothy (Stevie) Parkin, Rita Campbell, Patricia Campbell.

The original full troupe soon disbanded after the commencement of the 1960s, but a smaller unit carried on - headed up by Maureen Kennedy. Most of the girls seem to have continued - at least for a while - in show business ventures. Lynn Cornell became a successful soloist and managed a chart hit with 'Never On Sunday' - she later became one of The Pearls. Vicky Haseman married singer/ guitarist Joe Brown and brought up singing daughter Sam Brown. Joyce Baker married Marty Wilde - they formed a trio with Justin Hayward called the Wilde Three - and brought up world famous singing daughter Kim.

Most of the others seem to have banded together as duets and singing trios; these include The Redmond Twins, The Breakaways, The Pearls, The Two Tones, The DeLaine Sisters and - probably the longest surviving and best known - The Ladybirds.  For the past ten years Maggie Stredder, Sheila Bruce, together with ex-Ladybird Penny Lister, have brought new life to the Vernons Girls and now regularly recapture some of the old magic on tour with their friends as part of the Solid Gold Rock 'n' Roll Show.

Maggie Stredder (born Margaret Elizabeth Stredder, 6. 1. 1936, in Birkenhead, Cheshire) (Later in the Ladybirds, married writer Roy Tuvey, 1. 10. 1966); Vicky Brown vocals (born Victoria Mary Haseman, 23. 8. 1940, in Liverpool, Lancashire died 16. 6. 1991) (later in The Breakaways) (married singer Joe Brown, 10. 12. 1963); Joyce Smith vocals (born Joyce Baker, in 1941) (married singer Marty Wilde, 2. 12. 1959); Lynn Cornell vocals (later in The Pearls) (married session drummer Andy White (born Andrew White, in 1930, in Scotland, died 2015); Maureen Kennedy vocals; Jean Owens vocals; Francis Lea vocals. Patricia Campbell now living in Virginia, USA. Rita Campbell, (now Margaret McBride) is alive and well in UK.

Maureen Kennedy died in 1967.
Vicky Haseman died in 1991.

[Maggie Stredder's new specs] = video unavailable

The lovely Margaret Stredder tries on the latest fashion in spectacles!

Memories of 'Oh Boy!'

The Vernon Girls appeared in all 38 shows of the Oh Boy! series and together with Lord Rockingham's XI, The Dallas Boys, and Cherry Wainer on her Hammond Organ, formed the backbone of the shows each week. Paul Rumbol caught up with ex Vernon Girl Barbara Winslade (nee Mitchell) to revive her poignant memories of performing on Britain’s first and most exciting cult rock 'n' roll TV show ever!

[A 1958 publicity shot of Barbara Mitchell]

"The rehearsals were gruelling and very demanding", recalls Barbara Mitchell, the group’s 'blonde bombshell' who very early on became spokeswoman for the 16-strong group. Apart from learning the dance routines for the forthcoming week’s show, the girls had to provide backing vocals to all the songs as well. In addition, they performed a weekly showpiece where two or three of the girls would be featured up front as vocalists in their own right.

The Vernons Girls rehearsed every day of the week in preparation for each Saturday’s live 'Oh Boy!' show. On Mondays to Wednesdays each week the girls would rehearse at the 'Four Provinces of Ireland Club' at 13, Canonbury Lane, Islington, London N1. This boys club sported a large ballroom and the girls had to be there by 9am each morning.(travelling from their hotel in Maida Vale by tube) They worked 9- hour days under the direction of dance director Leslie Cooper and their singing teacher, Peter Knight, who were both known taskmasters and perfectionists in their pursuit of producing faultless performances from the girls.

The Vernons Girls had to work out their routines by listening to the original records which Knight and Cooper picked up from Jack Good and bought in every Monday morning.  “It was from those original records we had to learn our vocal melody lines and dance routines.” said Barbara. “We nearly always got copies of the records before they were officially released. Basically we had to be near perfect by Wednesday, as on Thursdays and Fridays we would arrive at the Hackney Empire to rehearse with the rest of the cast and bring the whole show together.”

Empire Theatre, Hackney


[Red Price and The Vernon Girls]

Lord Rockingham's XI, Red Price, Cherry Wainer the Dallas Boys (and to a large extent Neville Taylor and The Cutters) were permanently set up at the Empire Theatre Hackney where they would rehearse their own numbers, and then run through the songs with the guest stars popping in and out throughout the week .
The Vernons Girls would then turn up fully rehearsed at the theatre on Thursdays to join the rest of the cast. The whole theatre was a technical minefield. The seating area in the stalls was removed and every square inch was covered with film, sound and lighting equipment and masses of wiring which took up nearly all the ground floor for the series entire 9 month run. Full rehearsals at the theatre on Thursdays and Fridays were tiring, with all the cast present from 8am to 11pm some nights.

[Leslie Cooper with a section of the girls]

On Saturdays there was an all day full sound and vision rehearsal until the live transmission at 6pm. Each live show lasted about 28 minutes. Most of the artists could then make their escape for 'an early night' by 7.30pm.

Manic Good

Barbara remembers how excited producer Jack Good used to get when bringing all the diverse elements of the show together near the end of the week’s rehearsals. When Lord Rockingham's XI, the Cutters, the Dallas Boys and the Vernons Girls all ‘fused’ together to produce a stunning audio and visual spectacle, Jack would jump up and down like a child and run wild, gesticulating like some mad Russian composer. But his infectious enthusiasm and brilliance worked wonders. Add to this backdrop the superb new crop of rock and roll singers who were fortunate enough to front this superlative combo and you had a sure-fire winning formula that could not fail. “He would get the audience so buzzed up on the night itself you could have sent on a milk float and that would have got applause” recalls Marty Wilde in a BBC interview back in 1981. “It was the most exciting television show ever. Nothing will ever take its place!”

The 'Vernons' Hotel

The Vernons Girls were paid about £10 a week in 1958/59 and for 18 months they resided at the Colonnade Hotel off Warwick Avenue, near Maida Vale Underground tube station in West London. Even when 'Oh Boy!' ended at the end of May 1959, the girls were fully booked for other live shows and rehearsals were soon to begin that summer for Jack Good’s new series 'Boy Meets Girl' beginning in September that year and which also ran for 9 months. “The owner of that hotel did well out of us” said Barbara Mitchell. “Our management literally paid to take over the entire hotel for us 16 girls. All our accommodation, meals and travel expenses were paid for by Vernons and we had the time of our lives.” However, in 1959 when 'Oh Boy!' had become a smash hit they dared to ask for a pay increase. “We were turned down flat because they said the hotel package and the food and free travel was worth £40 a week to us in total benefits. We even offered to find our own accommodation in exchange for a pay increase but the management declined.”

How We Were Sacked and Re-employed in 24 Hours

In early June 1959 after Oh Boy! had finished its run, the girls agent, Stanley Barnett, employed by Vernons, was approached by TV mogul Lord Bernard Delfont. He wanted the three main Vernon vocalists, Barbara Mitchell, Maggie Stredder, and Jean Ryder to appear in a 'London Palladium Spectacular' for three months during that summer of 1959. A petty legal issue involving the 3 girls stage names soon erupted and blew out of all proportion. After successfully auditioning in front of Delfont himself they were disheartened just moments later when Barnett told them they would not be performing. Apparently Bernard Delfont insisted he billed the girls as 'Maggie, Barbara and Jean'. Barnett, supposedly on advice from his employer, insisted they were billed as The Vernons Girls to continue promoting the company name. An impasse was reached and the girls retreated to their hotel dismayed.

Barbara recalls. "We were very disappointed at this petty minded decision by Vernons . Over dinner the three of us girls thought this could be the start of something big. Apart from the Kaye Sisters there were few girl trios in the pop market at that time. That same afternoon we even went to see Peter Charlesworth, THE most successful agent in the business who represented many stars like Max Bygraves and Shirley Bassey, and he too agreed we could make it big. There was definitely an opening in the market for a girl trio. We went back to Barnett straight away asking him to reconsider his decision not to let us work at the Palladium. I remember things getting very heated. Then Jean Ryder, who was more hot-headed than the rest of us, said something and Barnett just blew his top. Right I'm not putting up with anymore of this nonsense from you. You're all fired! We returned to the hotel devastated and broke the news to the other girls over the evening meal that we had to leave. The rest of the girls were distraught. They were crying and couldn’t believe this had happened."

But within minutes the hotel received an urgent long distance telephone call from Vernons top director Tom Grenfell who summoned Barbara to the phone. "Meet me at the Wardorf hotel in 3 hours." He demanded. "When we met him he had especially made a trip from Liverpool to London to see us and he took us to the restaurant." This was the venue where Vernons used to entertain their big weekly Pools winners and I think we were slightly over-awed by it all. "Anyway, in the end we gave in over the Palladium issue. Grenfell offered us our jobs back. We accepted and he breathed a sigh of relief. He then gave Barnett a real telling off in front of us girls for sacking us and it did give us some sense of power. Though of course we didn’t get what we really wanted. I still wonder to this day what might have been had we been brave enough to set out as a trio act. That whole incident took place within 24 hours. That was quite a day."

Billy Fury

The girls only occasionally socialized with the guest stars. More often than not many of the artists had live bookings later in the Saturday evening and had to rush straight off after the show to get to their gigs. Some stars did pop into see the girls during their rehearsals at Islington. Ronnie Carroll (who starred in the first several 1958 shows) and Alma Cogan in the Spring of 1959 who was "a great giggler and liked to have a laugh with us."

Barbara Mitchell reveals "I did have a particular soft spot for Billy Fury. But he was in bad health even then. He was such a lovely kind man. And he always made time to talk and have a cup of tea with us during rehearsal breaks. I grew very close to him. As close as two people can be without becoming boyfriend and girlfriend."

The picture above was taken on the Oh Boy! stage during the evening of Saturday 25th April 1959 just prior to the live broadcast and shows three of the Vernon Girls (Barbara on left) with two of that week’s guest stars, Michael Cox (his only appearance) and Billy Fury who was about to make the third of his six appearances in the series.

Boozy Lunches

The members who made up Lord Rockingham's XI were older than the other members of the cast, with most in their late 30s and 40s and like all seasoned jazz musicians 'hung out' together at the nearest watering hole in Hackney at every available opportunity. Barbara Mitchell recalls. "They would disappear down the pub at lunchtimes and a few in particular would come back looking a little worse for wear.” Red Price, the superb saxophonist who provided so many superlative solo performances during the series, especially enjoyed his Guinness at the lunchtime drinking sessions. "His face would go so bright red when playing we worried he’d have a seizure or his head would burst like a tomato. You still remember things like that even after all these years."

The Lotus House, Edgware Road

One meeting place for some of the stars was the Lotus House Chinese restaurant on the Edgware Road. The Vernons Girls used to go there often, and Cliff sometimes went there with his close friend Cherry Wainer and other members of the cast. Marty Wilde, another regular patron, who began dating Vernon Girl Joyce Baker in 1958 held his wedding reception there.

Kray Attracted to Cliff

One night, the notorious gangster Ronnie Kray, a regular at the restaurant and always one to court favour with celebrity, saw Cliff Richard and a small group of friends sitting at a nearby table. Kray did not recognize Cliff as famous but he had other designs on the young man, a recent ITV documentary on the gangster twins revealed. Finding the young man attractive, Kray sent over one of his henchman to invite Cliff to his table. He declined the invite. Cliff, even at the start of his career was well protected by management who looked after his welfare and kept outsiders at bay.

Polished Shows

Barbara remembers how 'well polished' the shows became so early in the series. "We knew we were producing something a bit special. I have great memories of the Dallas Boys. They were so professional and like us girls were resident each week, so it was hard work for them too. It's difficult to remember the songs we performed live on the shows back then because there were so many, and of course all the paperwork relating to those shows has disappeared too."

The girls most popular hits were 'Don't Look Now' and 'Bad Motorcycle' both of which were featured on the officially released live Oh Boy! LP in October 1958.

[Above: Aside from singing with the entire group,
Barbara, along with Maggie Stredder and Jean Ryder,
performed one song each week as a trio.]

Among the songs the trio performed were 'Who Are They To Say' (an obscure number), 'Jealous Heart', 'The Oowee Song' and 'Maddison Time' which was a novelty track from a dance craze at that time.

During their evenings off, the 16 Vernons Girls would either socialize at the hotel, or go off to meet their current boyfriends. Understandable considering the average age of the girls during the series was only about 22.

Cherry Wainer's Crashpad

Some of the girls used to hang out at organist Cherry Wainer’s flat in the Edgware Road not far from the restaurant, and she held several memorable parties there. “I remember Cherry had a poodle which she was so very close to. She would take it to the rehearsals and it would sit next to her obediently for hours while she played.”

One abiding memory Barbara has of what she believes was the final Oh Boy! show, was performing a song called 'Packing Up' where the Vernons actually performed on TV in their coats and clutching suitcases. "It was like a farewell track where we all said goodbye as it was the final show!" Barbara was due to sing the lead vocal but when it came to the actual show Jack Good wanted Maggie Stredder to take the centre stage. "So rather than let me do it they recorded me on tape singing the song and on TV Maggie just mimed to my recording." That tape, along with nearly all the entire series has vanished, of course. This song did not appear in the final show on 30th May 1959, as this edition is one of two 'Oh Boy!' shows which have survived in the British archives. So on which show this number was performed remains a mystery!

After Oh Boy!

Barbara left the Vernon Girls late in 1960 to get married and start a family. After Oh Boy! she starred in Good’s subsequent series Boy Meets Girl in 1959 and Wham in 1960. She appeared in the 1959 Royal Variety Show and the May 1960 Royal Command Performance with Cliff and Adam Faith, which was the first one ever to be televised in Britain and which thankfully survives on film in ITV's archives. In October 1960 Barbara left the group while the other Vernon Girls went on to back Cliff on his new six part television series for ATV which was filmed in January 1961 and broadcast a month later.

In June 1989 the surviving Vernon Girls were reunited with many other former stars of Oh Boy! to back Cliff for his 30th anniversary concerts at the massive Wembley Stadium. Barbara performed songs like 'It's My Party', 'Book of Love' and 'Don’t Look Now' to an audience of over 150,000 people who packed the stadium during the historic two day event.

Today Barbara, a widow, lives in Portsmouth. She has one daughter, Kim, who is very proud that her mum was right up there performing among the biggest stars on television and who contributed to the great rock n roll revolution in Britain.

Paul Rumbol

[Rippin' It Up] [3 Cool Chicks]

The following is an article written by David Griffiths, in the 12-18th October edition of the TV Times in 1958:

Oh girls! sigh Oh Boy! fans

The Stage Door Johnny is back! Probably nothing quite like it has been seen outside a London theatre since the old Gaiety days - when many a chorus girl could look forward to marrying into the nobility. Times have changed, of course. Now it's the Hackney Empire, now a TV studio, that the Johnnies wait outside - with flowers, boxes of chocolates and cars, but without top hats and peerages. For this revival of an old-time theatrical custom is not caused by a theatre show. And the girls feted are not ordinary chorus girls. The show is Oh Boy! which caters for modern rock 'n' roll tastes, and the singing Vernons Girls are the centre of attraction. Most of them do not look like showgirls. Their figures, faces and heights are not standardised. The Vernons Girls, highly attractive former office workers, have now added some of the glamour of show business to their charms.

They were originally formed as a welfare project by Vernons, who wanted to encourage an interest in choral singing among their employees. With 8,000 girls to pick from, there was a high standard of talent. So it was decided to prune the singers from about 70 to about 16 and launch them in show business.

Because girls leave to get married (those Johnnies are persuasive!), dance director Leslie Cooper and their singing teacher, Peter Knight, often hold auditions at Vernons.

"They are looked after from the moment they get through an audition," Cooper told me. "They aren't expected to be polished singers, never mind dancers, at this stage. Peter Knight listens to their voices and, when he finds a good one, asks if I could train the girl. She will have been used to sitting at a desk and won't be conscious of things like deportment, so I just have to watch for a good figure - and sense of rhythm when she sings. If she has that, I assume she'll be able to dance."

While in London, the girls stay at the same hotel and are guarded by a full-time chaperone. "It's remarkable how well they get on together," said Cooper during an Oh Boy! rehearsal break. "When you get a lot of girls working together they usually squabble, but these don't. Yet they are all types. Some I have to shout at, others I have to be kindly with, to get the routines right."

Cooper and producer Jack Good have pioneered a televisual dancing style for the Vernons Girls. They are put into two or three groups with a camera on each. By fast cutting from one camera to another, viewers are shown complicated, exciting dance routines. Cooper usually thinks them up at home while listening to rock 'n' roll records. "So far I've been able to remember my ideas. I don't write them down. But with my luck, one day I'll have 16 girls in front of me and forget what I want them to do!" he said. Well, it didn't happen at the rehearsal I watched. The only hold-up was caused by the hula-hoop craze. During breaks some of the girls struggled to keep hoops circling their bodies.

Blonde Barbara Mitchell, who usually assumes the role of the girl's spokeswoman, told me: "Last week we tried using wooden hoops, and now we've got bruises and aching backs. Now we're using plastic hoops, which are lighter but more difficult to get the hang of." Will they be using hoops in any dance routines? "I doubt it," said Leslie Cooper. "They are too unpredictable. Viewers wouldn't want to see girls with hoops round their ankles."

Valerie Shane

Valerie made one record for Phillips in 1958: Meet Me Tonight In Dreamland / One Billion Seven Million Thirty-Three.

Tony Sheridan

Tony was born Anthony Esmond O'Sheridan McGinnity on 21st of May 1940 in Norwich, England, the  son of an English mother and Irish father. He learned the violin at an early and later dropped out of grammar school to attend art school where he abandoned his violin for a guitar.  He formed a skiffle group in 1956 and visited London in late 1957, finally settling in Soho in 1958 where he frequented the 2 I's Coffee Bar with a host of other budding musicians.  He soon became a sought-after session musician, accompanying many U.S. artistes such as Conway Twitty, Gene Vincent and Eddie Cochran on U.K. tours. In 1958/59 he played lead guitar in Vince Taylor's Playboys.

In 1960, Tony was on tour with Brian Bennett and  “Liquorice” Locking  backing Gene Vincent and Eddie Cochran when Eddie was tragically killed in a road accident near Bristol. In June 1960 Tony and a make-shift group from Soho named The Jets appeared at the “Kaiserkeller” in Hamburg. Soon after he went to the Top Ten Cub in the same city. There he met a group called The Beatles who backed him on stage – they became such good friends that they all lived together for a while.  During this time Tony taught Paul, John and George many musical techniques, tips and tricks which led to them calling Sheridan the “Teacher”, a term which Paul uses to this day when speaking of Tony.

In 1961, Tony Sheridan and the Beatles recorded several titles for Polydor at the suggestion of  Bert Kaempfert.  Tony was awarded a gold LP for well over 1,000,000 sales of the Sheridan / Beatles LP.  On their return to England, Ringo Starr joined Tony`s band in Hamburg, gaining much experience for his later move to the Beatles. A reunion with the Beatles (now with Ringo) took place at the opening of the Star-Club in 1962 where Tony and the Beatles appeared on the same bill. Whilst in Hamburg, Tony recorded several albums for Polydor with diverse groups, the most popular - “Skinny Minny” being with the Big Six from Glasgow.  

In 1964 Tony was invited to tour Australia because of  the popularity of his song “Why”, which was in the charts there. After playing in Germany for 7 years, and touring Switzerland, Austria, France, United Kingdom, Israel, Australia, Czechoslovakia, Italy, Denmark, Sweden, Netherlands, Finland, Ireland & Norway, Tony accepted an offer to play for the U.S. troops in Vietnam. The initial gig was for two months – he stayed for nearly two years! In 1969 Tony appeared mainly in Germany and the U.K., playing folk & blues. In 1978 he went to Los Angeles where he lived for a year, recording with Elvis Presley's TCB Band, the first artiste to be so honoured after Presley`s death. In 1986 Tony went to Milan, where he recorded an LP of his own material, joined by his old friend guitarist Albert Lee.

In the following years, Tony remained active in the music business and in July 2002 Tony released a new album worldwide entitled "VAGABOND"comprising of  rock, r 'n' b, country, ballads and critical songs. Sadly, he died following heart surgery, in Hambug, Germany, on 16th February 2013.

Tommy Steele

Tommy Steele was discovered by John Kennedy in September 1956 singing at the 2I's coffee bar in Old Compton Street, Soho. Paul Lincoln who owned the 2I's had invited Kennedy along that night to listen to The Vipers skiffle group. Kennedy was looking for someone that would set London's West End 'alight'. During a break in the Vipers performance, a young lad in a blue shirt got up on the stage, and with The Vipers backing him started singing "Heartbreak Hotel", the Elvis number that had only just been released in Britain. The boy in the blue shirt was 19 year old Merchant Seaman Tommy Hicks, whose extraordinary personality captured Kennedy's attention. The crowd of youngsters in the 2I's loved it and after two more numbers, Tommy left the stage.

Tommy left the 2I's and walked to another nearby coffee bar where he again took to the stage and took charge of the proceedings. Kennedy, who had followed him, waited for him  outside. Tommy came out and Kennedy introduced himself and put forward his ideas on finding someone who could give Rock'n'Roll a decent name. Tommy was due back at sea in two weeks time and so said to Kennedy "I'll tell you what I'll do, I'm going back to sea in a fortnight - I'll do what you tell me until then. If we get anywhere I'll stay on". Kennedy rushed to his office in Fleet Street to start making phone calls.

A repeat performance in the 2I's was planned for that evening with The Vipers to back Tommy again with Hugh Mendl, the A&R man for Decca Records to be present, which he was. On that evening Tommy got up on stage with The Vipers. After only 5 numbers the Decca man got up to make his exit,  Kennedy asked Mendl what he thought. Mendl smiled and asked him to bring Tommy with him to do a Decca sound test for the following day. The next day Kennedy and Tommy arrived at the Decca studio, where Tommy sang "Rock With The Caveman" & "Rock Around The Town". The songs were cut to disc and they ended up agreeing a royalties deal. The name Hicks they changed to "Steele" after one of Tommy's grandparents.

Kennedy decided to arrange a covert publicity party - it went well and Tommy Steele who had been singing at the party almost non-stop for four hours went down a storm. At 3am he had only two strings from the original six left on his guitar. After nearly eight hours of singing the ploice arrived after complaints from neighbours about the noise. The Sunday papers had Tommy on the front cover under the headline "Rock'n' Roll has got the Debs too'. 15 million people read the article on Tommy that day. Using clippings from the papers, Kennedy secured an audition at the Stork Club, off Regent Street, London, where after just one number he was signed to play for the next two weeksat the princely sum of £20.00 a night plus supper.

After the first night's performance he was re-booked for another two weeks at £25.00 per night. Tommy did not go back to the Merchant Navy. Several weeks went by when an old friend of Kennedy's - Larry Parnes walked into the Stork Club. Whilst they chatted Kennedy realised Parnes was the man to help Tommy's career and so a proper contract was drawn up.

Tony Hall

Tony Hall was born in Avening, Gloucestershire in 1928. 

After National Service he became an A & R manager for Decca, specialising in jazz, and also presented programmes for Decca on Radio Luxembourg.

He made an appearance in the 1957 UK movie "Rock You Sinners".

He later moved into music management and maintained his interest in jazz by writing for Jazzwise magazine.

Terry Dene

Born Terence Williams on 20th December 1938 in south London, Terry was one of the many early UK rock and rollers that sang at London's 2 'I's Coffee Bar. This was the same venue that helped launch the early musical careers of Tommy Steele, Cliff Richard, Adam Faith and many others.

Dene was convinced that he could sing as well as the American stars and was noticed by Jack Good and so got the opportunity to record with Decca and to find a weekly spot on the BBC's Six-Five Special and other Jack Good productions.

His early releases were moderately successful but Terry fell foul of the press following a drunken incident which led to his arrest.

He appeared in the film The Golden Disc and in early 1958 the already mentally stressed singer was called up for National Service but because of his emotional state he was discharged after a few days.

The press, who had covered his first day in the army in great detail, turned on him and his chart career ceased at that point. He made a couple more records and appeared on BBC's Drumbeat, accompanied by The John Barry Seven, but his mental health continued to cause problems.

After recovering from a nervous breakdown that followed the end of his professional music career, Terry turned to religion during the 70s singing gospel music.

Despite the adverse publicity of his early career, the artist eventually became accepted by fans as one of Britain's early Rock'n'Roll pioneers.

He now appears at nostalgia and revivalist concerts.

Terry & Freddy

Adam Faith (then known as Terry Nelhams) had been spotted by Jack Good performing in the 2 I's with his skiffle group, The Worried Men.  Adam was given some opportunities on the Six-Five Special TV series and later on a short-lived stage show version.
 
He was not particuarly successful on either, but did meet up with John Barry's whose Seven were on the same bill. 
 
That was to prove very useful later in 1959.  Meanwhile, Good, who had not lost Faith in him, despite the failures, got him to team up with ex-Vipers' Freddy Lloyd, and the duo performed "Go Tell Aunt Rhody" (The old gray goose is dead) as Terry & Freddy -- a strange choice for Oh Boy!.
 
Re-christened Adam Faith, and signed for BBC TV's Drumbeat, Faith then enjoyed a fantastic career, not only in the music business but also on stage, TV, film and occasionally in the financial world. His health was not always good following heart problems and a major car crash, and he died in 2003, following a heart-attack while on tour in a stage play, sithee.
 
Not much is known about Freddy Lloyd's career post-Oh Boy! at this stage.

Shirley Bassey

Born in January 1937 in Tiger Bay, Cardiff, Wales, Shirley Bassey was the youngest of seven children. Her parents, a Nigerian sailor and an English woman, divorced before she was three years old, but they kept the family together for the most part, and Shirley was able to sing duets with her brother at family get-togethers. After finishing school, she found a job at a local factory, and earned extra money singing at men's clubs after-hours. Bassey travelled around the country in revues during the early '50s, and made her big breakout in 1955 at a London Christmas show given by comedian Al Read (though it was promoted by bandleader Jack Hylton, who had caught Bassey's act at the nearby Albany Club). Soon after, Shirley Bassey began appearing in Read's revue, 'Such Is Life'. The show ran for over a year, and gained her a recording contract for Philips Records. "Banana Boat Song" hit the British Top Ten in early 1957, followed by her number one hits, 1959's "As I Love You" and 1961's "Reach for the Stars/Climb Every Mountain."

A 1962 pairing with arranger Nelson Riddle increased her prestige in America, and a vaunted live show gained her headlining spots in both New York and Las Vegas during the early '60s. Popular recognition in the United States came in early 1965, when "Goldfinger" hit number eight in the American charts, instantly becoming her signature song across the Atlantic. (Strangely though, it missed even the Top 20 in Great Britain.) Bassey's hits in the U.K. continued into the mid-'70s, led by Top Ten entries such as "Something," "For All We Know" and "Never Never Never." After the crowning achievement of her career, a 1977 Britannia Award for Best Female Solo Singer in the Last 50 Years, Shirley Bassey gained her own highly rated BBC-TV show in the late '70s, but gradually slowed down her busy schedule during the next decade.

Semi-retired to Switzerland by 1981, she nevertheless emerged quite frequently, spurred by the recording of several television specials and LPs, including a 1987 date with the synth-pop group Yello. She became much more visible during the '90s, opening a nightclub in Cardiff, and touring the world several times. Shirley remains one of the most glamorous and significant performers to have emerged from the UK entertainment industry.

Roy Young

After Oh Boy! ended, Roy (dubbed England's Little Richard) appeared many times on TV including Boy Meets Girl, Wham! (both produced by Jack Good) and Drumbeat. Young's boogie-woogie piano and vocal style is aptly described as a mixture of Little Richard, Ray Charles and Joe Cocker. Those qualities have had a tremendous influence on some of the biggest names in rock history including Elton John, David Bowie, The Rolling Stones and The Beatles. By 1961, Young was an international rock'n'roll star playing the now legendary stages of Hamburg, Germany. There, The Beat Brothers were formed at the Top Ten Club, with Tony Sheridan, Ringo Starr, Colin Milander and Roy Young.

In 1962, the owner of the Star-Club, Hamburg, offered Roy a lucrative contract to appear at his club as a solo artist where some months later he formed the Star Combo, giving birth to the clubs' house band. The Beatles invited Roy to play with them during  their time there.   Young joined Cliff Bennett and the Rebel Rousers after which, Roy met Laurie O'Leary who became his manager and a very close friend. It was Laurie's foresight that recognized the talent in Roy and decided to form The Roy Young Band.  

Roy was featured in several movies with Elizabeth Taylor, Michael Caine, Suzanna York and Albert Finney.  Helater decided to tour The Roy Young Band throughout Canada, USA and Europe. His agenda also included The British Invasion concerts in the USA with Gerry and the Pacemakers, Peter Noone, Eric Burdon, The Hollies, The Searchers, Manfred Mann and The Troggs. In 1995, Roy was headlined in a Star-Club reunion concert in Hamburg, Germany, with the Pete Best Band and Cliff Bennett and The Rebel Rousers. Later that year he returned to England to reunite with Tony Sheridan (The Beat Brothers) and Howie Casey (Roy Young Band and Paul McCartney's Wings) to record a CD and video entitled 'Legend, History of The Beat Brothers', with The Beatles'.   "Roy Young is one of the most highly regarded musicians of our era." said David Bowie. 

Ronnie Carroll

Ronnie Carroll was born Ronald Cleghorn in Belfast, Northern Ireland on the 18th of August 1934. He began his singing career in his home town and whilst working the variety theatres he met and fell in love with Millicent Martin, whom he married.

Soon after getting married, Millicent found fame appearing on TV's 'That Was The Week That Was'. With regular record releases, which began in 1956, Ronnie was a popular 'crooner' and was chosen to represent the UK in the 1962 Eurovision Song Contest with "Ring-A-Ding Girl" which achieved 4th position.

Due to lack of decent singing material, his chart success faded and his last singles were issued in 1964. At the same time, his marriage broke down which resulted in separation.

By the end of the 1960s, Ronnie's TV appearances had dwindled. During the 1970s he quit his singing career to start a business in the Windward Isles which unfortunately failed.

He later returned to London, and utilised his entertainment knowledge to become a manager in the entertainment world.

Besides his "Ring-A-Ding Girl", most people will fondly remember Ronnie's biggest chart success "Roses Are Red (My Love) which reached #3 in 1962.

Ronnie died on 13th April 2015.

Rikki Henderson

During 1958/59 Rikki was the vocalist with the Denny Boyce Orchestra and he entered a talent contest, organized by the teenage magazine Mirabelle, and won a recording contract as a prize with Woolworth's 'Embassy' record label.

He recorded cover versions of songs by Perry Como ("Catch A Falling Star"), Cliff Richard ("High Class Baby" and "Dynamite"), Ricky Nelson ("Never Be Anyone Else But You"), Dion ("A Teenager In Love"), Sam Cooke ("Only Sixteen"), Jim Reeves ("Welcome To My World"), Eddie Cochran ("Three Steps To Heaven"), Del Shannon ("Runaway"), Lloyd Price ("Personality"), Dion ("Teenager In Love") and Chubby Checker ("Let's Twist Again")" to name a few.

Renee Martz

Renee Martz was an American teenage preacher!

Red Price

Born in Liverpool in 1933, he played in the Ted Heath Band, later joining Don Lang's Frantic Five and then became the featured sax player with Lord Rockingham's XI. He later played the saxophone with Frankie Vaughan's backing group 'The X Men' amongst others.

A very talented saxophonist - a hard working, hard blowing and hard playing man.

Played with:

  • Lord Rockingham's XI, August 1958 - 1960.
  • The New Orleans Rockers, Autumn 1960.
  • The Red Price Combo, early - June 1961.
  • Billy Fury and the Blue Flames, June - December 1961.
  • Georgie Fame and the Blue Flames, February 1962 - April 1964.

Red Price sadly passed away in Hong Kong on 7th February 1984.

Pierce Rogers

Pierce Rogers & The Overlanders recorded for Parlophone in the early sixties.

Peter Elliott

Before becoming a pop star, Peter was better known for his athletic swimming abilities as the British National Springboard Diving Champion, coached by Sid Dalton.

Pat Lawrence

Singer turned actor -- much on British TV from the 70s onwards.

She died 7th March 1993.

Nicky Martin

Nicky Martin made his only appearance on Oh Boy! on April 25th 1959, singing "Big Blon' Baby". It's not known at this stage if he made any records or appeared on other radio and TV pop shows of that era.

Neville Taylor

Neville Taylor and his band, the Cutters, were among the handful of black rock & roll acts working in England during the late '50s. The West Indian-born Taylor had an excellent ballad style, but on the hard-rocking numbers he was heavily influenced by Little Richard's vocal style. The group was signed to EMI's Parlophone label, where their first release included the excellent "Mercy, Mercy, Mercy" as a B-side of "House of Bamboo". Their three follow-up singles were "I Don't Want to Set the World On Fire" b/w "Tears on My Pillow," "The Miracle of Christmas" b/w "A Baby Lay Sleeping," and "Crazy Little Daisy" b/w "The First Words of Love," the latter released in 1959. They never charted a single, but were influential as a television phenomenon. Their sound was already considered out of date by the turn of the 1950s into the 1960s. Neville's backing group The Cutters (Wilf Todd, Basil Short and Sonny McKenzie) had a release on UK Decca F11100 "I've Had It / Rockaroo" in 1959. He also released "It Ain't Necessarily So" for the Embassy label.

Mudlarks, The

Released many cover versions of US hits including "Tell Him No", "Lollipop" & "Book Of Love"

Mona Baptiste

Born on June 21, 1928 in Trinidad.

Mona emigrated to England onboard the M.V. Empire Windrush and arrived in June 1948 to pursue a career as a singer.

She settled in London and found work with the Ted Heath Band and appeared primarily as a singer in several German films: 1954: 'An jedem Finger zehn', and 'Tanz in der Sonne' 1955: 'Stern von Rio' and 'Wie werde ich Filmstar?' 1956: 'Symphonie in Gold' 1959: 'Mädchen fur die Mambo-Bar' 1961: Filmmagazin Nr.2,  'Achtung 8 x aufgeblendet 1968: Sunde mit Rabatt

She was very popular in Germany where she recorded many songs and it was there that she died of natural causes in Krefeld, on 25th June 1993.

Mike Preston

Mike recorded several records for the Decca label, including "Dirty Old Town" (released March 1959) produced by Joe Meek and "Mister Blue" (released 31st October 1959)

Mike Jackson

Mike Jackson, pictured here with Conway Twitty, was a 14-year-old schoolboy discovery when he made his Oh Boy! debut on 16th May 1959. 

It is not currently known if he made any records or stayed in the business on reaching adulthood.

Michael Holliday

Born Michael Milne (changed by Deed Poll from Miller) on 26th November 1928 in Liverpool.  

Michael Holliday had a method of crooning that was heavily influenced by Bing Crosby; although his overall style was probably closer to that of Perry Como.

His career peaked during the late 1950s at a time when it was common for multiple cover versions of the same song to be released.

In fact much of his recorded output, in common with other British MOR artists, were covers of American songs.

He was also a popular TV performer. Sadly, despite his popularity as a performer, his chart presence was erratic and the 1960s brought a long series of failures.

Michael Holliday died from a drugs overdose on 29th October 1963, at Croydon, Surrey.

Michael Cox

After an audition for Oh Boy! (arranged without his knowledge by his four younger sisters!), Michael was immediately signed up by a very impressed Jack Good. His first song on Oh Boy! (in April 1959) was Ricky Nelson's "Never Be Anyone Else But You".

This was just shortly before Oh Boy! came off the air, to be replaced by Boy Meets Girl.

Although Michael had released a couple of records already (produced by Jack Good for the Decca label) he did not click with the public until he recorded a John D. Loudermilk song entitled "Angela Jones" for Joe Meek's tiny Triumph label. "Angela Jones" put Joe Meek's name firmly on the map and after singing this number on Wham! the record went straight into the charts at #20.

Unfortunately, Triumph could not handle the public's demand for copies and so what could have been Michael's (and Triumph's/Joe Meek's) first #1 record, only achieved #7. Michael Cox had a busy recording career for many years on the Decca, Pye, Triumph, HMV and Parlophone labels , all produced by Joe Meek.

Lack of another 'big hit' got Michael changing direction and after attending drama school he appeared in TV plays, commercials and films.

Near the end of the 1970s he began working the cruise ships where he met his future wife.

This led to appearances in the US and eventual emigration there. In 1981 he and his wife moved to New Zealand (her birthplace) where he continues to work as Michael James.

Maureen Kershaw

Maureen Kershaw was born in Bethnal Green, East London, on 4th April 1934, the second daughter of Lily Herbert and John ("Jack") Daniel Kershaw.

Her solo singing career began in October 1951, at the age of 17, when she appeared in the variety show "It's Beauty with Fun", produced by Harry Dennis, at the Grand Theatre, Luton.

Between 1953 and 1956, Maureen sang in cabaret and in various variety shows across the British Isles, but in 1957 she got her big break when she was invited to appear in a television programme called "Top Tunes".

Maureen became a regular singer on the "Top Tunes" TV show, covering hit songs of the day.

In January 1958, Maureen auditioned for another "pop music" television show entitled "Top Numbers", produced by ABC-TV.

After a few weeks, Maureen Kershaw became the resident female singer on the "Top Numbers" TV show, a television programme that showcased the hit pop songs of the day.

Maureen was required to cover hit songs originally recorded by top female vocalists such as Ruby Murray and  Marion Ryan.

On her TV pop shows, such as Oh Boy!, Maureen also covered the songs of the few female singers that made the charts.

In 2010 she was living in retirement in Clacton-on-Sea, Essex.

Marty Wilde

Born Reginald Smith on April 15th 1936 in London. Marty Wilde, then calling himself 'Reginald Patterson' was discovered by rock and roll entrepreneur Larry Parnes who quickly changed him into 'Marty Wilde'.

Marty's big break came with the advent of the UK's first rock and roll TV show, 'Six-Five Special' but following Jack Good's dismissal by the BBC, Marty transferred himself to Jack Good's new ITV show 'Oh Boy!'  

Although Marty's covers of US songs continued to chart, they were in direct competition with the originals and by the early 1960s Marty was struggling to make even the top 20.

Despite the downward slide in his record sales most of his records were well made. Marty Wilde married Vernons girl Joyce Baker. He later re-established himself as a premier act at rock and roll nostalgia concerts.

Marty still tours regularly and retains that excellent singing voice that gave him such a good start in his long show business career.

Marion Ryan

Born in 1931 in Leeds, Marion Ryan, the singing star of the 1950s and 1960s was once described as Britain's answer to Marilyn Monroe. She was the quintessential blonde bombshell with a voice to match.

Marion worked her way up from dingy Leeds dance halls, where she was spotted by band leader Ray Ellington, to financial success, presenting ITV's 'Spot The Tune' twice a week in 1959. Her hard work paid off when her single, 'Love Me Forever' - released on UK Pye label in 1958, became a big hit and regular appearances on the royal variety performances in the 1960s guaranteed her a place in the hearts of the British public.

In America, her career took off with an appearance on The Bob Hope Show and a song with Bing Crosby. in 1963 she made a film - 'It's All Happening' - alongside Tommy Steele.

An early marriage produced twins, Paul and Barry Ryan, the 1960s pop singing duo.

Marion retired in 1967 and married for a second time to millionaire impresario Harold Davison, a concert promoter with Frank Sinatra and Engelbert Humperdinck among his clients.

The couple, who had a daughter, Caroline, moved to Florida over 10 years ago.

Marion was admitted to Boca Raton community hospital in Florida suffering from pneumonia where she tragically died of a heart attack at the age of 67 on 19th January 1999.

Marino Marini Quartet

Marino Marini was born 11th May 1924 in Seggiano in the Grosetto region of Italy.

His band, The Marino Marini Quartet, toured the UK in 1959 appearing at the famous London Palladium and had hit records with covers of  Domenico Modugno's "Volare/Come Prima" and Rocco Granata's "Marina" - all issued in the UK on the Durium label.

They appeared in the San Remo Festival in Italy. A very popular, versatile Italian quartet.

Marino Marini died on the 20th March 1997.

Lorie Mann

Lorie was born Barbara Burke on the 21st of December 1931 in Paddington, West London and attended St. Augustine's School in Kilburn. She was the eldest of five children born to William and Iris Burke and as a child undertook singing and dancing lessons.

Along with the rest of her family she was evacuated to Wales during the Second World War, and entertained the troops at the young age of twelve.

Later she joined an acrobatic group called Oika Troika - you can see her bending over backwards in one of the photos at left. She met her future husband, Austin Newman, at Butlins Holiday Camp in Scarborough where she also worked and he later became her manager - he was also the manager of stars such as Helen Shapiro, Donovan, Nancy Whiskey, and the King Brothers to name a few.

Lorie appeared and sang in several advertisements for Timex watches and VP wine amongst others.

She was a guest on the Dave King Show and appeared in Jazz Jamboree at the Gaumont State Theatre in Kilburn on Sunday 23rd June 1958 as vocalist with the Oscar Rabin Orchestra.

Her most popular recording was a version of Brook Benton's 'So Many Ways/I Wonder' released in 1959 on Top Rank Records JAR 237. Other releases for that label included JAR 116 'A Penny A Kiss, A Penny A Hug' and 'Just Keep It Up/You Made Me Care' on JAR 148.

Unfortunately her marriage failed and she and her husband were divorced. Sadly, Lorie suffered a stroke and was never the same after that and died in 1998.

Lord Rockingham's XI

  Lord Rockingham's XI, the powerhouse resident band behind all the stars on Oh Boy! had a unique sound. The name of the band was created by Jack Good as a play on the words 'rocking 'em', and arranger Harry Robinson (seen in pic at right) was engaged by Jack Good to put a band together to create the sound that Jack required.

Harry shut himself in a caravan at a seaside resort and analysed the appeal of a pile of American records, before settling on a line-up of two tenor saxes, two baritone saxes, a double bass, a piano, an organ, Latin American percussion, three guitars and drums and whatever else might be needed.

Although most people identified Scotsman Harry Robinson as Lord Rockingham, this wasn't the case according to Jack Good. After achieving fame with their single 'Hoots Mon' and wanting to go 'on the road', there was considerable argument about who had rights to the name 'Lord Rockingham', and lawyers had to be brought in to settle the dispute! They settled out of court, with Good keeping television and recording rights, and Robinson being able to use the name on tour. (See Oh Boy! Diary for Friday 13th February 1959 for further details).

Well known jazz 'buff' Benny Green played baritone sax with the band, but was embarrassed by it so he often played in sunglasses to hide the fact. Benny was not a rock 'n' roller, but 'needs must when the devil drives'. He was playing in Ronnie Scott's band, but when that folded, he was out of a job.

Work was not that easy to come by for Benny's style of music at that time when Rock'n'Roll was all the latest rage, but he had the opportunity to secure a position with the band and thus make a living.

Red Price, a hard working, hard blowing tenor sax player from Liverpool originally played in the Ted Heath Band and then became the featured saxophonist with Lord Rockingham's XI. He later played the saxophone with Frankie Vaughan's backing group 'The X Men'.

The lovely, vivacious organist Cherry Wainer hailed from South Africa, daughter of a famous stage producer. She once worked at the Windmill Theatre in London as a piano/solovox player.

Lord Rockingham's XI comprised of the following original eleven musicians with a further two players added later:

Harry Robinson - Musical Director
Cherry Wainer - Organ
Don Storer - Drums
Reg Weller - Percussion
Red Price - Tenor Sax
 Rex Morris - Tenor Sax
Benny Greene - Baritone Sax
Cyril Reubens - Baritone Sax
Ronnie Black - Double Bass
Bernie Taylor - Guitar
Eric Ford - Guitar

 Joining the group later were:
Kenny Packwood - Guitar
Ian Frazer - Piano


The band appeared in 35 of the 38 shows, plus the two trial broadcasts before the show went nationwide. They were also the resident band in the stage show version of the TV show (although regulations did not allow them to wear their usual flamboyant TV costumes!) The band even appeared in the film Latin Quarter released in 1959 along with Cuddly Dudley and they had several of their recordings released on the Decca label:

Decca F11024 (1958) Fried Onions / The Squelch
Decca F11059 (1958) Hoots Mon / Blue Train
Decca F11104 (1959) Wee Tom / Lady Rockingham, I Presume
Decca F11139 (1959) Ra Ra Rockingham / Farewell To Rockingham
Decca F11426 (1962) Newcastle Twist / Rockingham Twist

Lord Rockingham's XI's biggest hit was "Hoots Mon", the tune being based on an old traditional Scottish song "A Hundred Pipers". It was released in November 1958 and stayed in the record charts for a run of 17 weeks holding the number #1 position for 3 weeks (Nov. 28th, Dec. 6th & Dec. 13th) 500,000 copies of the record were sold but the band members only received 6 pounds each! "Wee Tom" charted in February 1959 and reached number #16.

[Good shot of the band behind Cliff Richard.]

Sheet music for "Rex Rocks" written by Rex Morris & Gordon Langhorn (Don Lang)

45 rpm extended play on Decca issued in 1959 containing their first recording "Fried Onions" and the B side of "Hoots Mon" - "Blue Train"
Long Play album The Return of Lord Rockingham

This LP was released by EMI on the Columbia label in 1968 - Catalogue No. SCX 6291 (Stereo). The Musical Director was once again Harry Robinson, Recording Engineer Peter Mew and produced by FINITO. It contained a mix of re-recorded old hits plus arrangements of contemporary numbers. The track listing is as follows:

SIDE 1
Hoots Mon/Tequila/Lady Madonna/Night Train/Yummy, Yummy, Yummy/Mony Mony

SIDE 2
Baby Come Back/Rex Rocks/Simon Says/Gazachstahagen/Come Back Lord Rockingham/Son Of Hickory Holler's Tramp
The sleeve notes are as follows:

If you're reading these sleeve-notes simply to find out who Lord Rockingham is, then you probably weren't listening to pop music ten years ago. For at that time, a television show called Oh Boy! was setting the standard for all the pop shows that were to follow. The resident band was Lord Rockingham's XI, though who Lord Rockingham was we never did find out. What we did discover was a new experience in instrumental music; for in addition to providing the "backing" for Billy Fury, Marty Wilde and other Oh Boy! guests, the famous eleven sent the atmosphere sky high with their stomping arrangements.
But before long an eager public demanded far more of Lord Rockingham than one television show a week could provide. The answer was to preserve their existing sound on record and for several weeks their first release held the coveted number one spot in the British charts. The time was November 1958, the title was "Hoots Mon" and it led the way for success which included not only more records but also package tours and concert appearances throughout Britain.

For those of you who missed out on Lord Rockingham first time round this album will be as essential as it is for those of you who remember him well, as the tracks included have been hand-picked to offer the ideal music for parties, dances or even for listening to on your own. To set the pace for what follows, "Hoots Mon" is the first track and if you can resist the temptation to lift the needle and hear it again, their second offering is equally satisfying, and you'll note that the same wee small voice that crops up in "Hoots Mon" reappears in "Tequila".

The six big hits specially arranged for this album need no introduction from me so I'll just say that on side one there's the Beatles' "Lady Madonna", "Yummy, Yummy, Yummy" made famous by the Ohio Express, and Tommy James and The Shondell's first British hit "Mony Mony". "Night Train", generally acknowledged as a big band number, is one of my favourite tracks and comes over with a tremendous jazz feel. Side two features "Rex Rox", "Come Back Lord Rockingham" and the incredibly titled "Gazachstahagen" which provided further chart sucess for the band. Another three well known numbers - "Baby Come Back", "Simon Says", "Son Of Hickory Holler's Tramp" - and you can't wait to go back to the start again.

Oh yes, about that wee small voice, a wee small bird says that it belongs to wee small Harry Robinson whose name appears elsewhere on this album, and if you still don't know who Lord Rockingham is then don't worry, it's the music that matters.
T.J.B

  Benny Greene died 22nd June 1998.
Red Price died 7th February 1984.
Don Storer died 21st August 2006, after  a long illness.

Lonnie Donegan

Born Anthony Donegan on 29th April 1931 in Glasgow, Lonnie Donegan is widely acknowledged as the 'King Of Skiffle'.

Formerly an accomplished banjo player with the Chris Barber jazz band Lonnie set out on his own to play 'Skiffle' music.

With his energy and dazzling skills he was a popular musician with audiences. This, together with his extrovert originality and humour, made him an even more popular recording artist.

A long series of chart successes followed which inspired other competitive groups all over the country.

However, Skiffle ceased almost as abruptly as it had started. After seven years of almost continuous chart presence Lonnie's reign came to an end but then enjoyed new success in the late 1990s with record releases and packed concert tours.

Lonnie, a great showman and pioneer, suffered several heart attacks late in his career and sadly died on 3rd November 2002 whilst on another successful tour.

King Brothers, The

Born Denis King, 25th July 1939, Michael King, 25th April 1935 and Anthony King, 31st January 1937 all in Essex.

The King Brothers were voted Britain's top vocal group of 1957 by readers of the 'New Musical Express' and had some minor success with cover versions of softer rock and roll songs.

Because of their anachronistic style, demand for the group waned dramatically in the 1960s and they disbanded before the decade was out.

Denis King made a successful career writing stage, TV and film themes.

Kerry Martin

Kerry Martin (real name Cecilia Sparrow) was signed to Parlophone by George Martin in 1958.

She made one record: Stroll Me / Cold Hands, Warm Hearts, though it may not have got beyond the demo stage. 

She appeared in the very brief touring stage version of Six-Five Special, with John Barry & Adam Faith, but left the business in 1960 when she married the legendary QC George Carman (they were divorced in 1975).

John Barry Seven, The

The John Barry Seven. Members of the group between 1957 and 1965 (when it was disbanded) included: John Barry (vocals & trumpet), Mike Cox (tenor-sax), Derek Myers (alto-sax), Ken Golder (drums), Fred Kirk (bass guitar), Ken Richards (lead guitar), Keith Kelly (rhythm guitar), Don Martin (drums), John Aris (vibes), Jack Oliver (lead guitar), Vic Flick (lead guitar), Mike Peters (bass guitar), Jimmy Stead (baritone sax), Dennis King (tenor-sax), Dougie Wright (drums), Les Reed (piano), Brian Hazelby (piano), Kenny Salmon (piano), Dickie Harwood (drums), Andy White (drums), Ray Cooper (drums), Bobby Carr (trumpet), Alan Bown (trumpet), Bobby Graham (drums), Dave Richmond (bass guitar), Ronald Edgeworth (keyboards), Ray Russell (lead guitar), Terry Childs (baritone sax), Bob Downes (tenor sax), Ray Styles (bass guitar), Tony Ashton (keyboards and vocals), Mike O'Neil (keyboard and vocals), Dave Green (tenor-sax), Stan Haldane (bass guitar), Ernie Cox (drums), Ron Menicos (lead guitar), Jeff Bannister (keyboard and vocals), Clive Thacker (drums), Vic Sweeney (drums).

Born John Barry Prendergast on 3rd November 1933 in York. His formative years were heavily influenced by the cinema because his father owned and ran several theatres and cinemas in the North Of England. At the age of 15 he began studying music full time but this ended when he was called-up for national service. Barry formed an unofficial army jazz-band but when he was demobbed, 'rock and roll' was all the rage. Within a few weeks of coming home John had formed his first 'seven'.

Several hit records led him to attain his greatest ambition - writing music for the big screen. His enormous world-wide successes have made him a legend in this field to this day.

Vic Flick (lead guitarist) was born Victor Harold Flick on the 14th May 1937 in Hill Crescent, Worcester Park, Surrey.

Keith Kelly (rhythm guitar) was born in 1935, in Selby, Yorkshire. After leaving the JB7 in 1959 he spent many years as a solo performer, before settling in Jersey.

John Barry died on 30th January 2011.

Jimmy Henney

Born on July 13th 1922, Jimmy was confined to a wheelchair for some time in his youth as a result of a cerebral haemorrage. Later he was well known as the 'Doyen of song pluggers' for the Chappell music company when sheet music sales was the benchmark for songwriters and singers.

He eventually became something of a performer himself as a regular on TV programmes such as "Oh Boy!", Juke Box Jury and New Faces.

Oozing personal charm, he had many close friends amongst the big names of the day including Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, Perry Como, Lionel Bart, Cliff Richard and Shirley Bassey, to name but a few.

In the 1960s he organised the Showbiz Eleven celebrity football team which regularly raised large sums of money for charity.

The team boasted such stars as David Frost, Sean Connery, Ronnie Carroll, Tommy Steele, Dave King, Jimmy Tarbuck and Des O'Connor - sometimes supplemented by professional players such as Danny Blanchflower, Billy Wright and Wally Barnes.

He passed away on 5th September 1998.

Jackie Dennis

Jackie Dennis was 15 years old when he was discovered and catapulted into fame after appearing on the BBC's '6.5 Special' TV show.

He also appeared in the film version of '6.5 Special'.

He later made an appearance in an edition of BBC's "Drumbeat" show. A true Scot, young Jackie was always clad in kilt, sporran and velveteen jacket. His one big hit, "La-Dee-Dah" (a cover of an American hit record) released on UK Decca F10992 in 1958, achieved # 4 in the UK Hit Parade and even some minor interest in the US as a 'British Frankie Lymon'.

However his follow-up "My Dream", once again on Decca (F 11011) in 1958 and then a cover of a Sheb Wooley novelty song "Purple People Eater" did not bring him great success.

He had a 'parting of the ways' with his manager over money matters and retired from the music scene.

He is alive and well and living in Edinburgh as at 2016.

Jack Good

Born in Greenford, Middlesex on August 7, 1931, boyish-looking, bespectacled Jack was a producer at 16. At Trinity Grammar School, Wood Green he founded the Dramatic Society and produced Twelfth Night and Othello. Out of school hours, he studied acting at the London Academy of Music and Drama and soon after reaching Oxford, became president of the Balliol Dramatic Club. 1955 found Jack appearing in The Queen And The Rebels at London's Haymarket Theatre, and the following year, he teamed up with producer Trevor Peacock (Drumbeat compere and Boy Meets Girl script writer) to present a double-act at the famous Windmill Theatre. A far cry from Shakespeare at Oxford! That year was also important for two other events...Jack's marriage to German student Margit Tischer, closely followed by his appointment as trainee-producer at BBC television. On February 16, 1957, he produced 6.5 Special for the first time - the initial milestone in a success story that has led Jack to become one of Britain's most outstanding and respected television producers.

Fired by the BBC, following a disagreement over the format of 6.5. Special he moved to ITV in 1958 where he produced the Oh Boy! show.     ITV replaced Oh Boy! on 12 September 1959 with Boy Meets Girl, produced by Good, with Marty Wilde as the resident star. Boy Meets Girl finished on 5 March 1960 and Good was given a new show called Wham! on 30 April. Keith Fordyce was the resident disc-jockey with other regulars such as Billy Fury, Joe Brown, Jess Conrad and the Vernons Girls. Wham! ended on 18 June. Meanwhile, Good produced Billy Fury's debut LP 'The Sound Of Fury' and records for other hit-makers of the day including Karl Denver and Jess Conrad.

He continued to promote rhythm and blues and went to the United States in 1962.  In 1963 Good produced Around the Beatles and was involved in numerous similar projects with other artists such as the Monkees. Using his own money, he produced a pilot show for the American market - after no interest in it was forthcoming, he gave up and returned to the UK. A year later, the tape of the pilot show was shown to a TV boss, who asked to see Jack. This pilot show gave rise to Shindig which was broadcast in the U.S. on September 16, 1964. It was actually an episode of Ready Steady Go with the title changed but after some time, Jack fell out with ABC executives and walked out. The show could not survive without Jack's dynamic influence and it was cancelled in January '66.      

In the late sixties he orchestrated Catch My Soul, his rock interpretation of Othello in which he also starred as the Moor, but a try at reviving a fast-paced show like Oh Boy! in 1980 - Let's Rock was a flop. 1991 saw his autobiographical stage musical Good Rockin' Tonight feature in the West End. He went on to produce the stage musical, Elvis.

Ink Spots, The

The Ink Spots played a large role in pioneering the black vocal group-harmony genre, helping to pave the way for the doo wop explosion of the '50s.

The quavering high tenor of Bill Kenny presaged hundreds of street-corner leads to come, and the sweet harmonies of Charlie Fuqua, Deek Watson, and bass "Hoppy" Jones (who died in 1944) backed him flawlessly.

Kenny's impeccable diction and Jones's deep drawl were both prominent on the Ink Spots' first smash on Decca in 1939, the sentimental "If I Didn't Care."

From then through 1951, the group was seldom absent from the pop charts, topping the lists with "We Three (My Echo, My Shadow, and Me)" (1940), "I'm Making Believe" and "Into Each Life Some Rain Must Fall" (both in 1944), and "The Gypsy" and "To Each His Own" (both in 1946).

Watson eventually split to form his own group, the Brown Dots, and appeared in numerous low-budget film musicals, while Kenny attempted a solo career, notching a solo hit in 1951 with the uplifting "It Is No Secret."

Countless groups masquerading as the Ink Spots have thrived across the nation since the '50s, and it isn't known which line-up appeared on Oh Boy!, though it's believed to have been led by Charlie Fuqua.

Hewett Sisters, The

Angelina and Lavinia recorded one single for HMV, Baby-O / Jerri-Lee (I Love Him So) and then married and retired from the business.

Gerry Dorsey

Arnold George Dorsey was born on May 2nd, 1936 in Madras, India and was raised in Leicester, England.

One day, while joking around with his friends, he was 'dared' to sing a song in a song contest.  Not only did Arnold surprisingly win, but he received a standing ovation.

In 1966, Arnold's manager, Gordon Mills changed the singer's name from Gerry Dorsey, the stage name Arnold was using at the time, to 'Engelbert Humperdinck', after a 19th century Austrian composer famous for writing 'Hansel and Gretel'. Engelbert's rise to fame and stardom started when he sang 'Release Me' on the popular British TV show, 'Sunday Night at the London Palladium.'

Shortly after his instant success, he was given his own television show. Engelbert soon made hit after hit and In 1976, Engelbert once again proved to the world his superstar status with another huge hit which brought him to the top of the charts again.

Engelbert has won numerous Grammy awards including the Golden Globe Award  for "Entertainer of the Year," and he has earned his star on the famous "Hollywood Walk of Fame."

In 2000, Engelbert's new album "At His Very Best," made it to the top 10 on the UK Official Charts and climbed up to number 5.  Engelbert, who is a nonstop workaholic is continuously recording  and currently enjoys touring all over the world.

Glen Mason

Glen Mason had a release on UK Parlophone 4834 "Don't Move" and in 1960 he appeared in "Climb Up The Wall" alongside ex-"Oh Boy!" regulars Cherry Wainer and Neville Taylor. 

He was a regular on the long-running ITV series, "The Jack Jackson Show", in the late fifties.

He died on 25th August 2014.

Emile Ford

Born Emile Sweetman on 16th October 1937 in Castries, St Lucia in the Caribbean. He grew up in Nassau, Bahamas and emigrated to Great Britain in 1955 with the ambition to be an engineer. As an engineer, he developed a special sound system, and with this unique sound, Emile Ford turned singer and he and his group The Checkmates which consisted of his brothers George Ford and Dave Ford on bass and sax respectively, plus Ken Street on guitar and John Cuffley on drums. Later still, Peter Carter, Les Hart, and Alan Hawkshaw joined on guitar, sax, and piano, respectively. They secured a recording contract with Pye records in 1959 on what was to have been a one-shot basis. That was when Ford's brilliance as a producer came into play — he, engineer Joe Meek, and the Checkmates essentially hijacked the single, generating a B-side that ended up supplanting the originally chosen A-side. "What Do You Want to Make Those Eyes at Me For" was released in the autumn of 1959 and by November it had topped the British charts; it enjoyed the same kind of success everywhere else that English was spoken (except the United States) and a lot of places where it wasn't.

He had a second Top Ten hit with "Slow Boat to China" and then another success with "Red Sails in the Sunset," which generated a hit EP. His string of hits continued into the new decade, charting just as regularly if not as high, and in 1961 Emile Ford & the Checkmates had the inaugural hit on the Pye Records spin-off label Piccadilly with "Half of My Heart." Ford also got to record an album entitled Emile in 1961. His final chart single was "I Wonder Who's Kissing Her Now," which hit number 43 in England in March of 1962. He abandoned the Checkmates later in 1962, and the group members later formed two separate groups — Ford's non-relations formed the Excheckers, and his two siblings took to calling themselves the Original Checkmates. Ford kept working for a time although, ironically enough, he never really thought of himself as a singer and remained committed to designing his own electronic equipment. He made his last recordings in 1963 and, in the decades since, has worked exclusively behind the scenes in his first choice for a career, designing sound systems, living in Scandinavia and the United States at various times. In 2001, Castle Communications released the double-CD set Counting Teardrops, covering his complete Pye Records sides from 1959 through 1963. He died on 11th April 2016.

Don Lang

Born Gordon Langhorn on 19th January 1925 in Halifax, Yorkshire.

Don Lang together with his 'Frantic Five' were resident musicians on BBC TV's 'Six-Five Special'.

Their style was similar to Tony Crombie and his Rockets and they had mild success in the charts mainly with cover versions of American hits.

After the demise of 'Six-Five Special' Don (minus his 'Frantic Five') guest-starred on 'Oh Boy!'. As the music changed in the 60s, Don had no more chart success.

He sadly passed away in August on 3rd August 1992.

Dickie Valentine

Born Richard Bryce on November 4th 1929 in London, Dickie Valentine was a child actor.

He trained as a singer and got his big break with the Ted Heath band.

His successful 'crooning' career began to wane in the late 1950s and by 1960 his chart career was over.

He remained a popular live performer and appeared regularly on TV.

Sadly, he died in a car crash on 6th May 1971.

Dickie Pride

The "Sheik Of Shake". Born on 21st October 1941 in Thornton Heath, Croydon. In 1958 Dickie was spotted by Russ Conway in a pub in Tooting where he was singing.

The next week Conway took pop impresario Larry Parnes and Lionel Bart to see him. They were so impressed that Parnes decided to sign him on the spot. Dickie became a full time pop singer on the Parnes tours but later fell out with him.

Dickie wanted more demanding material to sing but Parnes insisted he sung the same three rock numbers every night. His increasingly erratic behaviour led to Parnes dropping him.

A troubled life followed with sporadic TV appearances and tours.

He married in 1962 but work was still hard to come by and so he took a job as a storeman.

In 1965 his only son was born and the same year Dickie became addicted to heroin. In 1967 he was referred to a mental hospital where doctors decided to give him a lobotomy.

Early in 1969 he tried to make a comeback as a singer but took heroin again.

He was found dead in bed on 26th March 1969 after an accidental overdose of sleeping tablets. Such a tragic loss.

Dean Webb

Dean Webb was born Michael Eaton in Reading, Berkshire, in 1940 and was educated at St. Annes Roman Catholic School in Caversham.

He changed his name, basing his surname on Cliff Richard's real name.

Before becoming a singer, he was, for a while, an apprentice blacksmith in Reading town centre.

Dean was on the same tour as Eddie Cochran when Eddie was tragically killed in a road accident near Bath in 1960.

If you're reading this Mike, you've got a lot of friends in the Reading area who would love to see you again!

Dallas Boys

The Dallas Boys, Stan Jones, Bob Wragg, Leon Fisk, Joe Smith, (all from Leicester) and London lad Nicky Clarke were friends in real life. They went to school together, played rugby together and sang four-part harmonies.

The Dallas Boys were regulars on the TV show Six-Five Special and then on "Oh Boy!" and the ladies loved them - by the end of 1958, more than 5,000 women had joined their fan club. "It wasn't five lads singing the same note, it was harmonies, and we never mimed." Stan Jones proudly said in an interview. "We had to sing live, on camera, in front of a TV audience of millions. My mouth used to get so dry my tongue felt like a piece of leather."

Their popularity grew until the mid-sixties when their type of act was beginning to be labelled 'old fashioned'.

Stan Jones left the group in 1974 and became an agent and now looks after Shane Richie, Lisa Riley and Colleen Nolan. He rejoined the Dallas Boys in 1988 to play at Cliff Richard's 30-year anniversary concert - in front of 80,000 fans at Wembley Stadium. "It was brilliant," said Stan, but he added that there wouldn't be any more reunions - "There's a time and a place for everything, and our time has passed."

'Cuddly' Dudley

Born Dudley Heslop, he changed his name to Cuddly Dudley and got his big break as a solo singer on Jack Good's 'Oh Boy!' TV show. Cuddly was exposed and warmly received on the show with his famous big grin, sharp suits and flashy ties. His first recordings were on the 'Oh Boy!' LP released in late 1958 on Parlophone and his first solo disc was released in 1959. Cuddly also appeared in a film called "Girls Of The Latin Quarter" in January 1959 and had a very busy career dashing all over the country for appearances at which he was always very well received. 1959 was Cuddly's best year, what with the film, plenty of TV and many live touring shows and not forgetting his 45 on HMV.  

During October 1959 Cuddly now had his own group backing him - they were an all black foursome he called 'The Embraceable Four'. In 1960 he toured the UK supporting the top American group The Platters and HMV released his second 45. In 1961 he took over a London band called 'The Redcaps' for a while. Cuddly and The Redcaps recorded and had released one 45 single. The Redcaps later found fame as Johnny Kidd's backing group 'The Pirates'. Cabaret work followed, singles still appeared in the early sixties on the Piccadilly label, then he made the move to Ska Music and worked with the Bluebeats. Cuddly Dudley possibly ahead of his time, might have fared better had he been part of the early 60s R'n'B movement. But Cuddly will be best remembered for his appearances on the "Oh Boy" TV show. He died 15th July 2011.

Redcaps band members: Frank Farley drums (1959 - Jul 1961) (born Frank William Farley, 18.2.1942, in Belgaum, UK); Johnny Spence bass (1959 - Jul 1961) (born John Spence Holliday, 26.1.1942, in Birmingham, Warwickshire); Vic Cooper organ (1959 - Jul 1961) (born Victor Cooper, 13.12.1942, in Oxford, Oxfordshire).

Conway Twitty

Born Harold Lloyd Jenkins on 1st September 1933 in Friars Point, Mississippi. The son of a river boat captain, he learned to play guitar by age 5. By the time he reached age 10, he had already formed his own band called 'The Phillips Country Ramblers', and was featured on KFFA in Helena Arkansas.

After High School he was offered a contract to play professional baseball with the Philadelphia Phillies, but  was called up to serve in the army. After his discharge from the Army, he took on Rock and Roll musically, and chose a stage name to perform under, taken from Conway, Arkansas and Twitty, Texas.

After hearing Elvis Presley sing 'Mystery Train' Conway liked the style and wanted to try it for himself. As a rock n' roller, Conway gained monumental success with a ballad he wrote and recorded in 1958. 'It's Only Make Believe' became a million seller!

Seven years later, he returned to making country music and began a remarkable run of hits, (55 number one hits) several of which were as part of an award-winning duo with Loretta Lynn.

Outside of music, Conway was quite a successful business man, owning several publishing companies, half of United Talent, and a major stock holder in the Nashville Sounds Baseball Team.

On 5th June 1993, Conway died of an abdominal aneurysm.

Colin Hicks

Colin Hicks, younger brother of Tommy Hicks (better known as Tommy Steele) had singing ability just like his famous brother. So much so that in 1957 Tommy Steele's manager, John Kennedy, signed him up to sing in a nightclub in London's posh Mayfair district. Then three TV guest spots and a top-of-the-bill tour. A recording contract with Pye records led to the release of 3 singles in the UK including a cover version of the Monotones' "Book Of Love", but the hoped-for success never materialised despite a couple of TV appearances with his backing group 'The Cabin Boys' in 1958.

Without chart success, his recording career nosedived but he was not deterred. He and his Cabin Boys went on a European tour. In Italy they had rave reviews about their rock'n'roll show, the Italians loved them and Colin and his group recorded eight songs while he was there and in 1961 even appeared in the film "Vacane alla baia d'argento".  In 1988, a Spanish label released a large series of LP's called "The History Of Rock'n'Roll". Release number 13 featured Colin Hicks and his Cabin Boys consisting of his six UK 'Pye' recordings together with those eight Italian recordings!

Band members (several line-up changes): Jimmy Nicol drums (Mar - Dec 1959) (born James George Nicol, 3.8.1939, in Liverpool, Lancashire) (to Vince Eager and the Quiet Three, Georgie Fame and the Blue Flames, 1964, The Beatles, 1964); David 'Zom' Tick guitar (Mar - Dec 1959); Mike O'Neill (Nero) piano (Mar - Dec 1959) (born Michael O'Neill, in 1938, in Leigh, Lancashire) (went to Nero and the Gladiators, Jan 1960 - Apr 1964); Boots Slade bass (Mar - Dec 1959) (went to Nero ad the Gladiators, Jan 1960 - Oct 1962, The Alan Price Combo, Nov 1965 - Apr 1967); Clem Cattini drums (Jul - Aug 1961) (born Clementi Anselmo Cattini 28.8.1937, in Stoke Newington, North London) (went to The Tornados, Sep 1961 - Aug 1963, Sep 1963 - Feb 1965); Alan Caddy guitar (Jul - Aug 1961) (born 2.2.1940, in Chelsea, S.W London) (went to The Tornados, Sep 1961 - Aug 1963, Sep 1963 - Feb 1965); Brian Gregg bass (Jul - Aug 1961) (born in 1939) (went to The Tornados, Sep 1961 - Aug 1963, The Pack).

Chris Andrews

Born Christopher Frederick Andrews, 15th October 1942, in Romford, Essex, made his UK TV debut on Oh Boy! on 14th March 1959.

He made a few unsuccessful recordings before turning to song-writing, and achieved almost immediate success with a series of hit singles for Adam Faith & Sandie Shaw.

In 1965 he finally achieved a hit single of his own with 'Yesterday Man'. 

As at 2016 he was living and working in Germany & Spain.

Cherry Wainer

The lovely, vivacious organist Cherry Wainer hailed from South Africa, daughter of a famous stage producer. She once worked at the Windmill Theatre in London as a piano/solovox player (see further down for reminiscences by Tony Hancock).

After the end of Oh Boy!, Cherry went on to play in the weekly Boy Meets Girl show, as did many of the old Oh Boy! regulars, along with her drummer/husband Don Storer.

She also played piano in the band that backed Gene Vincent when he appeared on the show, along with Joe Brown, Brian Daly and Eric Ford (guitars), Red Price (sax) and Andy White (drums).

In 1959 she appeared in the film Girls Of The Latin Quarter along with Cuddly Dudley.

She moved to live in Las Vegas and passed away there on 14th November 2014.

Husband Don Storer predeceased her in 2006.

[At right, a really great colour photo of Cherry on the cover of TV Mirror]


She had several records issued in her own right:

  • Pye 7N15161 (1958) Itchy Twitchy Feeling/ Cerveza
  • Pye 7N15170 (1958) Valencia/ Blue Cha Cha
  • Pye 7N15197 (1959) Spanish Marching Song/ The Happy Organ
  • Pye 7N15217 (1959) Song Of Lotus Lee/ Iced Coffee
  • Top Rank JAR253 (1959) I'll Walk The Line/ Saturday Night In Tia Juana
  • Columbia DB4528 (1960) Happy Like A Bell/ Money
  • Honey Hit TB128 (1963) Red River Rock/ Sleepwalk

 

 

 


 

[2 Cherry screen-shots from last "Oh Boy!" show]

  [Cherry at her Hammond keyboard clapping along to Cliff Richard]

 

[Seen here chatting with Cliff Richard backstage and in "Oh Boy!"dressing room]

 

[Jack Good takes a back seat whilst lucky Cliff has his arms full of women! -
Cherry Wainer and a member of the Vernons Girls, to be more exact.]

 


Here's a report from the Daily Dispatch of Sunday, January 27th 1957 when comedian Tony Hancock was reminiscing about The Windmill Theatre, London:

It is less than ten years ago Cherry Wainer, the famous stage and television organist, was dancing at the Windmill. She'd just arrived from South Africa at the time Van Damm booked me for the 'Mill' and out in South Africa Cherry's father is a famous stage producer. Here her name meant nothing. So when Van Damm gave her an engagement playing the piano and solovox she jumped at the chance. It would get her well known in London she thought.

We were working together in Revudville No. 214. In between shows Derek and I used to entertain Cherry Wainer to endless cups of tea in the canteen: and then, lounging on the wicker clothes hampers backstage, we used to plan our futures...in bright lights.

"I don't know what you boys are grumbling about," Cherry said one day, "I think this is a swell joint. I'm going to stay on for the next show as a dancer." "You're crazy Cherry," I said. But Van Damm was listening. "Why? - can you dance?" he asked. And Cherry explained she'd won her solo prize at the Royal Academy of Dancing in South Africa. There were almost tears in her eyes as she pleaded with the Old Man to let her stay on as she so loved the jolly comradeship with its happy-family backstage atmosphere. The Old Man generously granted her wish, and for Revudville No.215 she stopped being a star guest artist and was one of the line-up of flimsily clad dancers. She got her wish. But there was a typical touch of the old Van Damm. "Of course," he said, "I can pay you only what the other girls get. You'll have to take a salary cut of more than 50 per cent." I've never seen a girl look happier for getting less. But from that small beginning Cherry Wainer became the star artist she is today.


FRIDAY April 3rd 1959

CHERRY WAINER IN PALACE VARIETY
ORGANIST Cherry Wainer makes her West End debut on Monday. She is the latest name to be added to the big variety bill headed by American comedian Alan King at the Palace Theatre, London. The Mudlarks and singer-comedienne Audrey Jeans have already been named as other attractions. The first performance on Monday has been sold entirely as a charity performance in aid of the Jewish National Fund.


[Benny Hill's impersonation of Jimmy Hanley can be seen
next to that famous organist - Cherry Wainer Hill!]


 After "Oh Boy!" finished its run in May 1959, Cliff and Cherry maintained their close friendship. As Cliff 's career blossomed and he was offered his own TV specials for Lew Grade's ATV network during 1960-61 he invited Cherry to guest star on two of his shows.

On Cliff's Saturday Spectacular broadcast on 30th July 1960 (his third that year!) he dueted with Cherry on a song tentatively titled "Do You Remember When We Worked On That TV Show?" which was a number specially written as a tribute to the "Oh Boy!" series.

She and Don Lang then join The Shadows to back Cliff on a raucous version of "Love".... the fast paced rocker featured in the film "Expresso Bongo" which at that time was Cliff's latest film feature having been released 6 months previously in January 1960.

The song's instrumental break features a drum solo where Cliff, Cherry and Don all unite centre stage to 'bash the bongos' simultaneously!

Cherry was also invited back for the very last show of Cliff's 6-part 1961 series broadcast on Thursday, 23rd March 1961. She plays an instrumental introduction to the Little Richard classic "Lucille" and then joins Cliff in a duet of the song.

Now that we've settled the key and rhythm problems, my toes are tapping like mad (one of my rehearsal habits) as we go over the song maybe six or seven times to smooth over the rough edges.
My manager TITO BURNS comes over and finds the beat is so catching that his toes start tapping too. In fact, he breaks out into a spur-of-the-moment dance that has us all in hysterics. "Well, having delivered the star to rehearsal," laughs TITO, "I now have to justify my own reason for remaining!"

Next comes a run through of my duet with pert and petite PAT LAWRENCE. Gosh, she's such a pretty redhead, I wonder how I'll ever be able to concentrate on the music! We're singing "A Fella With An Umbrella" - and incidentally, although you can't tell from these photos, it actually was pouring rain outside.

What could be more appropriate, eh? Maybe that's why PAT and I get such a kick out of doing this song...we just glance out-doors once in a while, and feel completely inspired!

Before PAT and I start working out our stage "business" (the official term) with the umbrella props, CHERRY WAINER bounces in with an armful of records. "Hi, Cliff - I've got just the tune for our number together. Wait till you hear this!" and she plunks the Sammy Davis Jr. and Carmen MacRae recording of "Happy To Make Your Acquaintance" on the gramophone.

Guess you've all heard the tune...Carmen sings the main song, the language is kind of straightlaced and old-fashioned - and Sammy sings cracks like "Man, that's the squarest thing I've heard in years!" in the background.

So I tell CHERRY, "I think it's great. One of the big hits from 'The Most Happy Fella', isn't it? Be terrific fun to sing it in our show...." And she winks, "I knew you'd agree with me, that's why I brought it along. Let's listen to it a couple of times to get the timing for the duet part, and you can try and memorize Sammy's catch phrases." The trouble was, the song is very strong on laughs, and CHERRY and I were chortling so much over the wisecrack parts, we had to play it 6 or 7 times before we could keep our faces straight enough to try our own version!

 

[ Three shots of Cherry Wainer, one with Marty Wilde, Joe Brown and Don Storer, taken on the set of 'Boy Meets Girl". The other two are with her drummer Don Storer]

 

[Peter Elliot, Cherry Wainerm and Cliff Richard enjoying a drink together.]

 


Cherry Wainer ...South Africa's first female rock 'n roll star!

Cherry, a talented organist, collaborated with Nico Carstens to recorded the "Flying High" instrumental album in the late fifties. - Carstens went on to became South Africa's most recorded artist with over 100 albums to his credit. This gifted composer also scored internationally with his composition "Zambesi" (a UK No.2 hit for Lou Busch in 1956).

She had 3 Albums released in S.A.:

  • Flying High, 10" Album, Columbia, 33JS 11007 - The First Rock 'n Roll album recorded by South African musicians!
  • Cherry Rock, 10" Album, HMV JDLP 10006, 1959
  • Cherry Pink, 10" Album, HMV JDLP 10007, 1959

(Don Storer played drums on both of the HMV albums)

 

 


Here are some more wonderful photos that Cherry sent me to share with you all:

[Cherry and friend seen here with two of
the chart-topping Crew Cuts vocal group]

 

[Chatting with one of the Beatles - George Harrison, mid-1960s
and a later photo having fun with Elton John]

 

[Wow!
After hiding her legs away behind her Hammond organ for years,
Cherry shows us all what we've been missing!
Seen here in Nevada circa mid-1970s with drummer Don Storer]

 

[Here's Cherry and Don with ex "Oh Boy!" guest artiste Bertice Reading (centre)
Bertice appeared in both of the two "Oh Boy!" trial shows in June 1958
that were shown locally in the UK ATV regions before the show
went nationwide in September of the same year.]

 

[A more recent photo of the talented Cherry.]

Brenda Lee

Born Brenda Mae Tarpley on 11th December 1944 in Atlanta, Georgia. After Oh Boy!, which introduced Brenda to the British public, her career took off like a rocket.

She is credited with more double-sided hit records than any other female in the history of recorded music with international record sales in excess of 100 million!

Married in 1963, she has 2 daughters. Brenda has a busy entertainment schedule and is still playing to packed concerts.

Billy Fury

Born Ronald Wycherley on 17th April 1940 in Liverpool. When only 6 years old he contracted the first of several bouts of rheumatic fever which weakened his heart. He showed an early musical talent, forming the Formby Skiffle Group in 1956.

He went into a local recording booth and recorded a number of tracks which he sent to impresario Larry Parnes in 1958. Parnes, after hearing him sing and play, signed him up to sing on his tours and Ron Wycherley become Billy Fury.

In March 1960 'Collette' reached #9 in the hit parade, then 'Half Way to Paradise' reached #3 in May 1961 and that really established him as a Top Ten artiste.

Billy kept busy writing, singing and recording, but the heart disease that had started with his infant rheumatic fever was beginning to catch up with him. From the mid 60s onward he became increasingly ill and in 1970 and 1971 needed two major heart operations. In 1976 he needed another major operation and in 1982 collapsed at his farm in Wales and only just pulled through.

He moved to St John's Wood in London but in January 1983, when he was preparing for a new national tour, he was found unconscious in bed and despite being rushed to hospital was pronounced dead at 12.10pm on January 28, 1983. A very sad loss indeed to the British entertainment scene.

Bill Forbes

Released a cover version of "Too Young" on 16th January 1960. After Oh Boy! finished, Bill kept on writing and joined a band called The Contrasts from Huddersfield. He continued with his music until about 1975. Bill is now retired and still lives in Huddersfield, he has 2 daughters, 3 grandchildren and is still very keen on his music!

Betty Miller

A petite blonde bombshell, Betty started off as a vocalist with the Sid Phillips Band and stayed with him for about two years.

In 1955 her solo career began with an appearance in the touring review Something To Shout About and cabaret at the Embassy Club in London.

She first came to the attention of the British public after successful appearances at Claridges Cafe de Paris.

On the 13th of June 1955 she made her television debut on Showcase. Married to drummer Martin Aston she often appeared in variety with her own rhythm group.

With the rise in popularity of Rock'n'Roll in the late 50s, Betty was much in demand for package shows, often in those headed by Art Baxter and his Rocking Sinners.

Betty went on to appear in 2 musicals in Durban, South Africa and then toured in the USA. During the mid 1960s Betty went to Wiesbaden and married Max Stiefel who was a Major in the US Military.

Her first record releases were on the HMV label, then Pye Nixa and 2 releases on Top Rank in 1959 - "It Took One Kiss" and "Jack o Diamonds" (JAR 127).

She was variously described as "A cockney nightingale", "Dynamic songstress" and "A baby atomic bomb".

She passed away in California some time ago.

Bertice Reading

Born on 22nd July 1933 in Chester, Pennsylvania. Versatile Bertice went to live in London early in her career and sang Jazz, Blues and later, Soul music.

She appeared in two movies, Lune dans le carniveau (Moon in the gutter) in 1983 and Little Shop Of Horrors in 1986.

In 1977 she guest-starred in the Blankety Blank show on TV and then again in a Lenny Henry show in 1984.

She died in London, on the 8th June 1991

Alma Cogan

Born Alma Angela Cohen on the 19th of May 1932 in Stepney, London, fun-loving Alma, dubbed 'The girl with laughter in her voice', often wore extravagant gowns with lots of sequins and feathers. She sang in a variety of styles and was always busy with many TV appearances and recording sessions. She was friends with the Beatles and even recorded one of their songs, 'Eight Days A Week'. Also famous for the frequent parties she hosted at her London apartment, tragically, Alma died of cancer in a London hospital in 1966 at the very early age of 34.

Performers

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Jack Good

   

[ A personal message from Jack Good (June 2003.)]

 

"I hate light entertainment shows and I hate smart looking fellows in dinner jackets saying 'Good Evening Ladies and Gentlemen and welcome to .. blah blah blah.. and it goes on!
I just want Wham Bam De Boo Bop, Do Wop Bam Boo..Tutti Fruitti... then next number, next number....and bored with that..next number!"

 JACK GOOD 1981


[Right: Jack with his new 'protege' Cliff Richard]

Jack Good left the BBC in February of 1958, where he had been producing the teen-orientated show 'Six-Five Special'.

He wanted the show to concentrate more on teen music and less on the sports and general interest aspects - a battle which he did not win!

After joining ITV he lost no time in masterminding the first ever teen music programme -"Oh Boy!"

He knew what the teenagers wanted to see and hear and he worked long and hard at giving it to them.


Screeching, honking and generally whooping it up, Oh Boy! bounds back on to ITV screens next Saturday (September 13).

Tried out in June, the show was acclaimed by two kinds of viewers whose tastes seldom coincide. Teenagers found its Tin Pan Alley brashness to their liking, and critics were delighted by the technical brilliance of the camera-work which produced a refreshing vitality. Its deviser and producer, Jack Good, explains the title: "It hasn't got a hard and fast meaning, but it conveys an impression, a reflection of the way I feel about entertainment."

Jack's feeling are always on the side of excitement - a rocking beat, an exuberant anger presented with fast camera movements and cutting to match the pace of the music. His musical taste was formed when he went to the cinema and saw Bill Haley and His Comets. Until that time his tastes had been on the quiet side (at Oxford University he studied English Language up to the time of Chaucer) "but I saw the light during that film," he says.

[Right: Without Jack Good there would have been no 'Oh Boy!'. ]

His studies were abandoned ("I'm always hoping to run into an Olde Englishman so's I can make some use of my knowledge") in favour of rock 'n' roll. Though he still has the look of a slightly cherubic undergraduate, Jack has now established a reputation as a top TV producer of wild, rocking shows. Others may seek to present seemingly casual, relaxed shows. Jack surrounds himself with instrumentalists and singers who can hammer out a relentless beat.

Jack searches tirelessly for new talent and, between auditions, paused to tell me the troubles he has to find the kind of performers he needs in sufficient quantities. "If I were doing this programme in the States, I think I probably would want to vary singers more. It's not easy to find enough talent in England. As soon as anyone good comes along, they are taken up immediately". "But I wouldn't want to change the instrumentalists and vocal groups, because we've spent a lot of money on getting the best available, and they benefit from experience in playing and singing together."

Extract from an article by David Griffiths which appeared in the 5th September 1958 edition of TV Times.


Below is an interview with Jack Good by Derek Johnson, published in the NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS on Friday 12th February 1960.

 Although not directly related to "Oh Boy!" it nevertheless gives an idea of Jack Good's opinions through straight answers to some very direct questions.

[Right: Jack Good in action.]

- A fascinating insight into the pop music scene a little over eight months after the demise of "Oh Boy!"
JACK GOOD, pop music's man of many trades, is the sort of person with whom one can come straight to the point. And that's precisely what I did (writes Derek Johnson), when I called at his Chiswick flat and asked him several no-holds-barred questions.

For his part, Jack was equally forthright with his replies, and made no attempt to be evasive as you will see in this hard hitting person-to-person discussion.

Q. Having established a slick, fast-paced show with "Oh Boy!" why was this successful formula changed to an ordinary run-of-the-mill- type of presentation for "Boy Meets Girls"?

A. There are two main reasons. First, we had to move from Hackney Empire, eminently suited to the "Oh Boy!" type of presentation, to Manchester - where we were allocated a studio which was not capable of this sort of production.

Secondly, ABC were keen on a different show, especially as our formula had been taken lock, stock and barrel by the BBC, and ground to a halt midstream. What's more, I wanted to move on to fresh woods and pastures new myself.
If the result turned out to be run-of-the-mill, it was certainly not intended. It can only be due to production errors on my part. I deliberately abandoned pace and vigour, but it may be that I didn't have enough to put in its place.

Q. Do you think that Cliff Richard would have been more successful or less successful had there never been an Elvis Presley?

A. I don't think Cliff would have existed at all as a singer without Elvis. He certainly wouldn't be the singer he is today. The initial impetus of Cliff's singing was entirely due to Elvis' influence.

[Right: The article (scan), unreadable.]

Q. Your recordings with the Lord Rockingham XI were extremely popular. Is there any reason why you haven't waxed with the current Boy Meets Girls" group?

A. Because of the sort of programme we've been doing, the group didn't register with an identity or individuality of its own. It's not that type of group, and I've had no urge or impulse to record them.

Q. Last week the Alley Cat criticised Billy Fury's movements as being unsuitable for early evening viewers. As there are so many children and younger viewers watching TV at that time on a Saturday night, would it not be better to discourage this type of performance?

A. I fully agree that anything suggestive should be avoided - though of course, these things are partially in the minds of individual viewers Frankly there are one or two things Billy Fury does that I would rather he didn't do. I have, in fact, suggested so to Billy, who does tend to get carried away by his performance. But I think he's pretty determined to try and avoid adverse criticism in future.

Q. Why is Cherry Wainer seemingly featured less and less as a solo artist in "Boy Meets Girls"? And why does the dog remain every week?

[Right: Article "Would Cliff Richard be famous today if there had been no Elvis?" Unreadable.]

A. Sometimes the residents have a lot to do, sometimes a little. It's nothing to do with them as artists - it's all a question of finding the right material. I don't believe in having artists fill a definite slot just for the sake of doing so. And if the dog merits angry mentions by the Alley Cat, and prompts you to question me about him, then he's achieving his purpose. Besides, he happens to like the programme!

Q. It has been suggested that, despite his obvious versatility, Marty Wilde sometimes sounds under-rehearsed or uncertain, when singing such numbers as "Why." Can you explain this?

A. I don't accept the question. There's a considerable difference between being inder-rehearsed and being casual. My personal opinion is that Marty sang "Why" one hundred times better than Anthony Newley did the previous Saturday.

Q. What about Britain's best recording manager?

A. And I nominate Peter Sulivan of HMV. Most of the other a-and-r men are dependent on big-name artists doing much of the work for them. But Peter is strictly a creative man, with a strong sense of balance and great ideas on backing.

Q. Which British artists do you tip for stardom this year? And whom do you consider the best male and female singers in the country?

A. I would think there's a strong possibility of Joe Brown, Billy Fury, Jess Conrad or Michael Cox getting to the top - they all have potentially what it takes. And I'd put money on Lynn Cornell of the Vernons Girls making the grade.
Best artists? Well, purely on the grounds of distinctive individuality I would pick Dickie Pride. So far as the girls are concerned, it's a toss-up between Anne Shelton and Lyn Cornell.

Q. In view of the recent national press criticism of recording managers and TV producers with outside interests, are you not exposing yourself to possible attacks by owning a music company and making records for a major label. Also, do you have any interests in any of the artists you use?

A. Of course I'm open to attacks, but they would be perfectly unjustified. You see, all my activities (TV producer, disc-jockey, journalist, and a-and-r man) are on a free-lance basis. And as a free-lance, I must obviously make my living by accepting opportunities as and when they occur. Besides, I have never made a secret of the work I am doing. My music firm, for instance, is called the Jack Good Music Company. I have no interest in any artists, although I've had many offers to do so (including some of the biggest stars). I consider that the duties of TV producer and artist manager are not compatible.

Q. Many people have expressed the opinion that several British artists, who have never appeared on "Boy Meets Girls," are far superior to some of the American imports. Any comments?

A. I believe this to be true...Frankie Vaughan and Tommy Steele, to quote two examples. But it's impossible to get hold of them. In any case, there is a demand by the fans to see the faces behind the record labels - and I believe it's healthy to introduce new faces into television.

Q. Are your extreme close-ups really necessary, especially when they reveal skin blemishes?

A. I have never felt that pimples matter in entertainment. You have only to notice the reaction of the audience (who are watching on a monitor screen in another studio) to realise how delighted they are when we go into extreme close-up.

Q. The Alley Cat has voiced the opinion that Marty Wilde is over-exposed in your show. As the title is "Boy Meets Girls" and not "The Marty Wilde Show," could the apparent drop in popularity have been caused by over-emphasis on Marty?

A. Now this is something I should like to get my teeth into, for it is based on the assumption that the show is less popular (a) than when it started, and (b) than "Oh Boy!" This is a totally false impression for the programme's ratings have gone up, and we are now on average equal to "Oh Boy!" at the same time last year. As for Marty, I can only tell you that since the show started his fan club has trebled. And he receives from age groups who would never previously have written to him.

Q. When you produce your new series in the Spring, how will it differ from the current programme? Apart from this, have you any particular plans for the future in the music industry?

A. I haven't the foggiest notion. I don't believe in thinking about a new series until the old one has finished. As for the future generally, I hope in the summer to do a lot of basic re-thinking about my career - but I need time to make decisions.


 

Here is the text of an article that appeared in the Friday 11th September edition of the New Musical Express (NME):

[Right: Jack Good without his glasses.]

Jack is no backroom TV producer

PRODUCERS are often called the "backroom boys" of show business. But in the case of Jack Good, it doesn't apply. For he's as well known by name to millions of tele-viewers as many of the singing stars who have appeared in the programmes!
Jack has probably done more for "big beat" fans via the medium of television than any other producer in Britain. "Boy Meets Girls" is his third major show, previously he had a hand in the success of the BBC's "6.5 Special" and was the guiding light behind ABC's "Oh Boy!"
It was on "Oh Boy!"last September that Jack introduced an unknown singer named Cliff Richard, the lad who's since become one of the biggest pop stars in Britain. And that's only one of many people Jack has helped to the top of the ladder via his TV show.
But Jack hasn't made a name for himself solely in the production field. Noted for his originality and constant search for new sounds and ideas, it was Jack who set machinery in motion for the formation of the exciting Lord Rockingham's Eleven.
The band, featured throughout the "Oh Boy!" series (and also in a stage version of the show later produced by Jack) waxed the most successful British instrumental composition ever released in this country - the No. 1 smash hit "Hoots Mon." Afterwards came a second hit in the shape of "Wee Tom."
Right now, Jack is an important cog in the recording world at Decca, where he holds an artists and repertoire position. Last week he supervised his first session - two titles set for release next Friday by Italy's Little Tony and his Brothers.

 

Born in Greenford, Middlesex on August 7, 1931, boyish-looking, bespectacled Jack was a producer at 16. At Trinity Grammar School, Wood Green he founded the Dramatic Society and produced "Twelfth Night" and "Othello."

[Right: Jack Good in 1992.]

Out of school hours, he studied acting at the London Academy of Music and Drama and soon after reaching Oxford, became president of the Balliol Dramatic Club. 1955 found Jack appearing in The Queen And The Rebels at London's Haymarket Theatre, and the following year, he teamed up with producer Trevor Peacock (Drumbeat compere and Boy Meets Girl script writer) to present a double-act at the famous Windmill Theatre. A far cry from Shakespeare at Oxford! That year was also important for two other events...Jack's marriage to German student Margit Tischer, closely followed by his appointment as trainee-producer at BBC television. On February 16, 1957, he produced 6.5 Special for the first time - the initial milestone in a success story that has led Jack to become one of Britain's most outstanding and respected television producers.

His contract ended by the BBC, following a disagreement over the format of 6.5. Special he moved to ITV in 1958 where he produced the Oh Boy! show.     ITV replaced Oh Boy! on 12 September 1959 with Boy Meets Girl, produced by Good, with Marty Wilde as the resident star. Boy Meets Girl finished on 5 March 1960 and Good was given a new show called Wham! on 30 April. Keith Fordyce was the resident disc-jockey with other regulars such as Billy Fury, Joe Brown, Jess Conrad and the Vernons Girls. Wham! ended on 18 June. Meanwhile, Good produced Billy Fury's debut LP 'The Sound Of Fury' and records for other hit-makers of the day including Karl Denver and Jess Conrad.

He continued to promote rhythm and blues and went to the United States in 1962.  In 1963 Good produced Around the Beatles and was involved in numerous similar projects with other artists such as the Monkees. Using his own money, he produced a pilot show for the American market - after no interest in it was forthcoming, he gave up and returned to the UK. A year later, the tape of the pilot show was shown to a TV boss, who asked to see Jack. This pilot show gave rise to Shindig which was broadcast in the U.S. on September 16, 1964. It was actually an episode of Ready Steady Go with the title changed but after some time, Jack fell out with ABC executives and walked out. The show could not survive without Jack's dynamic influence and it was cancelled in January '66.      

In the late sixties he orchestrated Catch My Soul, his rock interpretation of Othello in which he also starred as the Moor, but a try at reviving a fast-paced show like Oh Boy! in 1980 - Let's Rock was a flop. 1991 saw his autobiographical stage musical Good Rockin' Tonight feature in the West End. He went on to produce the stage musical, Elvis.

Out of school hours, he studied acting at the London Academy of Music and Drama and soon after reaching Oxford, became president of the Balliol Dramatic Club. 1955 found Jack appearing in "The Queen And The Rebels" at London's Haymarket Theatre, and the following year, he teamed up with producer Trevor Peacock (recent "Drumbeat" compere and "Boy Meets Girls" script writer) to present a double-act at the famous Windmill Theatre. A far cry from Shakespeare at Oxford! That year was also important for two other events...Jack's marriage to German student Margit Tischer, closely followed by his appointment as trainee-producer at BBC television. On February 16, 1957, he produced "6.5 Special" for the first time - the initial milestone in a success story that has led Jack to become one of Britain's most outstanding and respected television producers.

 

The John Barry Seven

Members of the group between 1957 and 1965 (when it was disbanded) included: John Barry (vocals & trumpet), Mike Cox (tenor-sax), Derek Myers (alto-sax), Ken Golder (drums), Fred Kirk (bass guitar), Ken Richards (lead guitar), Keith Kelly (rhythm guitar), Don Martin (drums), John Aris (vibes), Jack Oliver (lead guitar), Vic Flick (lead guitar), Mike Peters (bass guitar), Jimmy Stead (baritone sax), Dennis King (tenor-sax), Dougie Wright (drums), Les Reed (piano), Brian Hazelby (piano), Kenny Salmon (piano), Dickie Harwood (drums), Andy White (drums), Ray Cooper (drums), Bobby Carr (trumpet), Alan Bown (trumpet), Bobby Graham (drums), Dave Richmond (bass guitar), Ronald Edgeworth (keyboards), Ray Russell (lead guitar), Terry Childs (baritone sax), Bob Downes (tenor sax), Ray Styles (bass guitar), Tony Ashton (keyboards and vocals), Mike O'Neil (keyboard and vocals), Dave Green (tenor-sax), Stan Haldane (bass guitar), Ernie Cox (drums), Ron Menicos (lead guitar), Jeff Bannister (keyboard and vocals), Clive Thacker (drums), Vic Sweeney (drums).

Vernons Girls

Vernons Girls

The Vernons Girls were the only act to appear on every show, including the two trial broadcasts.

Maggie Stredder's new specs

The lovely Margaret Stredder tries on the latest fashion in spectacles!

Memories of 'Oh Boy!'

The Vernon Girls appeared in all 38 shows of the “Oh Boy” series and together with Lord Rockingham's XI, the Dallas Boys , and Cherry Wainer on her Hammond Organ , formed the backbone of the shows each week. Paul Rumbol caught up with ex Vernon Girl Barbara Winslade (nee Mitchell) to revive her poignant memories of performing on Britain’s first and most exciting cult rock ‘n’ roll TV show ever!


A 1958 publicity shot of Barbara Mitchell

"The rehearsals were gruelling and very demanding", recalls Barbara Mitchell, the group’s 'blonde bombshell' who very early on became spokeswoman for the 16-strong group. Apart from learning the dance routines for the forthcoming week’s show, the girls had to provide backing vocals to all the songs as well. In addition, they performed a weekly showpiece where two or three of the girls would be featured up front as vocalists in their own right.

The Vernons Girls rehearsed every day of the week in preparation for each Saturday’s live 'Oh Boy!' show. On Mondays to Wednesdays each week the girls would rehearse at the 'Four Provinces of Ireland Club' at 13, Canonbury Lane, Islington, London N1. This boys club sported a large ballroom and the girls had to be there by 9am each morning.(travelling from their hotel in Maida Vale by tube) They worked 9- hour days under the direction of dance director Leslie Cooper and their singing teacher, Peter Knight, who were both known taskmasters and perfectionists in their pursuit of producing faultless performances from the girls.

The Vernons Girls had to work out their routines by listening to the original records which Knight and Cooper picked up from Jack Good and bought in every Monday morning.  “It was from those original records we had to learn our vocal melody lines and dance routines.” said Barbara. “We nearly always got copies of the records before they were officially released. Basically we had to be near perfect by Wednesday, as on Thursdays and Fridays we would arrive at the Hackney Empire to rehearse with the rest of the cast and bring the whole show together.”

EMPIRE THEATRE, HACKNEY

Lord Rockingham's XI, Red Price, Cherry Wainer the Dallas Boys (and to a large extent Neville Taylor and The Cutters) were permanently set up at the Empire Theatre Hackney where they would rehearse their own numbers, and then run through the songs with the guest stars popping in and out throughout the week .
The Vernons Girls would then turn up fully rehearsed at the theatre on Thursdays to join the rest of the cast. The whole theatre was a technical minefield. The seating area in the stalls was removed and every square inch was covered with film, sound and lighting equipment and masses of wiring which took up nearly all the ground floor for the series entire 9 month run. Full rehearsals at the theatre on Thursdays and Fridays were tiring, with all the cast present from 8am to 11pm some nights.

Leslie Cooper with a section of the girls

On Saturdays there was an all day full sound and vision rehearsal until the live transmission at 6pm. Each live show lasted about 28 minutes. Most of the artists could then make their escape for 'an early night' by 7.30pm.

MANIC GOOD

Barbara remembers how excited producer Jack Good used to get when bringing all the diverse elements of the show together near the end of the week’s rehearsals. When Lord Rockingham's XI, the Cutters, the Dallas Boys and the Vernons Girls all ‘fused’ together to produce a stunning audio and visual spectacle, Jack would jump up and down like a child and run wild, gesticulating like some mad Russian composer. But his infectious enthusiasm and brilliance worked wonders. Add to this backdrop the superb new crop of rock and roll singers who were fortunate enough to front this superlative combo and you had a sure-fire winning formula that could not fail. “He would get the audience so buzzed up on the night itself you could have sent on a milk float and that would have got applause” recalls Marty Wilde in a BBC interview back in 1981. “It was the most exciting television show ever. Nothing will ever take its place!”

THE ‘VERNONS’ HOTEL

The Vernons Girls were paid about £10 a week in 1958/59 and for 18 months they resided at the Colonnade Hotel off Warwick Avenue, near Maida Vale Underground tube station in West London. Even when 'Oh Boy!' ended at the end of May 1959, the girls were fully booked for other live shows and rehearsals were soon to begin that summer for Jack Good’s new series 'Boy Meets Girl' beginning in September that year and which also ran for 9 months. “The owner of that hotel did well out of us” said Barbara Mitchell. “Our management literally paid to take over the entire hotel for us 16 girls. All our accommodation, meals and travel expenses were paid for by Vernons and we had the time of our lives.” However, in 1959 when 'Oh Boy!' had become a smash hit they dared to ask for a pay increase. “We were turned down flat because they said the hotel package and the food and free travel was worth £40 a week to us in total benefits. We even offered to find our own accommodation in exchange for a pay increase but the management declined.”

HOW WE WERE SACKED AND RE-EMPLOYED IN 24 HOURS

In early June 1959 after 'Oh Boy!' had finished its run, the girls agent, Stanley Barnett, employed by Vernons, was approached by TV mogul Lord Bernard Delfont. He wanted the three main Vernon vocalists, Barbara Mitchell, Maggie Stredder, and Jean Ryder to appear in a 'London Palladium Spectacular' for three months during that summer of 1959. A petty legal issue involving the 3 girls stage names soon erupted and blew out of all proportion. After successfully auditioning in front of Delfont himself they were disheartened just moments later when Barnett told them they would not be performing. Apparently Bernard Delfont insisted he billed the girls as 'Maggie, Barbara and Jean'. Barnett, supposedly on advice from his employer, insisted they were billed as 'The Vernons Girls' to continue promoting the company name. An impasse was reached and the girls retreated to their hotel dismayed.

Barbara recalls. “We were very disappointed at this petty minded decision by Vernons . Over dinner the three of us girls thought this could be the start of something big. Apart from the Kaye Sisters there were few girl trios in the pop market at that time. That same afternoon we even went to see Peter Charlesworth, THE most successful agent in the business who represented many stars like Max Bygraves and Shirley Bassey, and he too agreed we could make it big. There was definitely an opening in the market for a girl trio. We went back to Barnett straight away asking him to reconsider his decision not to let us work at the Palladium. I remember things getting very heated. Then Jean Ryder, who was more hot-headed than the rest of us, said something and Barnett just blew his top. Right I'm not putting up with anymore of this nonsense from you. You're all fired! We returned to the hotel devastated and broke the news to the other girls over the evening meal that we had to leave. The rest of the girls were distraught. They were crying and couldn’t believe this had happened.”

But within minutes the hotel received an urgent long distance telephone call from Vernons top director Tom Grenfell who summoned Barbara to the phone. “Meet me at the Wardorf hotel in 3 hours.” He demanded. “When we met him he had especially made a trip from Liverpool to London to see us and he took us to the restaurant." This was the venue where Vernons used to entertain their big weekly Pools winners and I think we were slightly over-awed by it all. “Anyway, in the end we gave in over the Palladium issue. Grenfell offered us our jobs back. We accepted and he breathed a sigh of relief. He then gave Barnett a real telling off in front of us girls for sacking us and it did give us some sense of power. Though of course we didn’t get what we really wanted. I still wonder to this day what might have been had we been brave enough to set out as a trio act. That whole incident took place within 24 hours. That was quite a day.” Said Barbara.

BILLY FURY

The girls only occasionally socialized with the guest stars. More often than not many of the artists had live bookings later in the Saturday evening and had to rush straight off after the show to get to their gigs. Some stars did pop into see the girls during their rehearsals at Islington. Ronnie Carroll (who starred in the first several 1958 shows) and Alma Cogan in the Spring of 1959 who was “a great giggler and liked to have a laugh with us.”

Barbara Mitchell reveals "I did have a particular soft spot for Billy Fury. But he was in bad health even then. He was such a lovely kind man. And he always made time to talk and have a cup of tea with us during rehearsal breaks. I grew very close to him. As close as two people can be without becoming boyfriend and girlfriend.”

The picture (left) was taken on the 'Oh Boy!' stage during the evening of Saturday 25th April 1959 just prior to the live broadcast and shows three of the Vernon Girls (Barbara on left) with two of that week’s guest stars, Michael Cox (his only appearance) and Billy Fury who was about to make the third of his six appearances in the series.

BOOZY LUNCHES

The members who made up Lord Rockingham's XI were older than the other members of the cast, with most in their late 30s and 40s and like all seasoned jazz musicians 'hung out' together at the nearest watering hole in Hackney at every available opportunity. Barbara Mitchell recalls. “They would disappear down the pub at lunchtimes and a few in particular would come back looking a little worse for wear.” Red Price, the superb saxophonist who provided so many superlative solo performances during the series, especially enjoyed his Guinness at the lunchtime drinking sessions. “His face would go so bright red when playing we worried he’d have a seizure or his head would burst like a tomato. You still remember things like that even after all these years,” said Barbara.

THE LOTUS HOUSE, EDGEWARE ROAD

One meeting place for some of the stars was the Lotus House Chinese restaurant on the Edgware Road. The Vernons Girls used to go there often, and Cliff sometimes went there with his close friend Cherry Wainer and other members of the cast. Marty Wilde, another regular patron, who began dating Vernon Girl Joyce Baker in 1958 held his wedding reception there.

KRAY ATTRACTED TO CLIFF

One night, the notorious gangster Ronnie Kray, a regular at the restaurant and always one to court favour with celebrity, saw Cliff Richard and a small group of friends sitting at a nearby table. Kray did not recognize Cliff as famous but he had other designs on the young man, a recent ITV documentary on the gangster twins revealed. Finding the young man attractive, Kray sent over one of his henchman to invite Cliff to his table. He declined the invite. Cliff, even at the start of his career was well protected by management who looked after his welfare and kept outsiders at bay.

POLISHED SHOWS

Barbara remembers how 'well polished' the shows became so early in the series. “We knew we were producing something a bit special. I have great memories of the Dallas Boys. They were so professional and like us girls were resident each week, so it was hard work for them too. It's difficult to remember the songs we performed live on the shows back then because there were so many, and of course all the paperwork relating to those shows has disappeared too.”

The girls most popular hits were 'Don’t Look Now' and 'Bad Motorcycle' both of which were featured on the officially released live 'Oh Boy!' LP in October 1958.

Aside from singing with the entire group, Barbara, along with Maggie Stredder and Jean Ryder, performed one song each week as a trio. ( See picture right. )

Among the songs the trio performed were 'Who Are They To Say' (an obscure number), 'Jealous Heart', 'The Oowee Song' and 'Maddison Time' which was a novelty track from a dance craze at that time.

During their evenings off, the 16 Vernons Girls would either socialize at the hotel, or go off to meet their current boyfriends. Understandable considering the average age of the girls during the series was only about 22.

CHERRY WAINER’S CRASHPAD

Some of the girls used to hang out at organist Cherry Wainer’s flat in the Edgeware Road not far from the restaurant, and she held several memorable parties there. “I remember Cherry had a poodle which she was so very close to. She would take it to the rehearsals and it would sit next to her obediently for hours while she played.”

One abiding memory Barbara has of what she believes was the final 'Oh Boy!' show, was performing a song called 'Packing Up' where the Vernons actually performed on TV in their coats and clutching suitcases. “It was like a farewell track where we all said goodbye as it was the final show!” Barbara was due to sing the lead vocal but when it came to the actual show Jack Good wanted Maggie Stredder to take the centre stage. “So rather than let me do it they recorded me on tape singing the song and on TV Maggie just mimed to my recording.” That tape, along with nearly all the entire series has vanished of course. This song did not appear in the final show on 30th May 1959, as this edition is one of two 'Oh Boy!' shows which have survived in the British archives. So on which show this number was performed remains a mystery!

AFTER “OH BOY!”

Barbara left the Vernon Girls late in 1960 to get married and start a family. After 'Oh Boy!' she starred in Good’s subsequent series 'Boy Meets Girl' in 1959 and 'Wham' in 1960. She appeared in the 1959 Royal Variety Show and the May 1960 Royal Command Performance with Cliff and Adam Faith, which was the first one ever to be televised in Britain and which thankfully survives on film in Carlton’s archives. In October 1960 Barbara left the group while the other Vernon Girls went on to back Cliff on his new six part television series for ATV which was filmed in January 1961 and broadcast a month later.

In June 1989 the surviving Vernon Girls were reunited with many other former stars of 'Oh Boy!' to back Cliff for his 30th anniversary concerts at the massive Wembley Stadium. Barbara performed songs like 'It’s My Party', 'Book of Love' and 'Don’t Look Now' to an audience of over 150,000 people who packed the stadium during the historic two day event.

Today Barbara, a widow, lives in Portsmouth. She has one daughter, Kim, who is very proud that her mum was right up there performing among the biggest stars on television and who contributed to the great rock n roll revolution in Britain.

PAUL RUMBOL

RIPPIN' IT UP 3 COOL CHICKS

The following is an article written by David Griffiths, in the 12-18th October edition of the TV Times in 1958:

Oh girls! sigh OH BOY! fans

The Stage Door Johnny is back! Probably nothing quite like it has been seen outside a London theatre since the old Gaiety days - when many a chorus girl could look forward to marrying into the nobility. Times have changed, of course. Now it's the Hackney Empire, now a TV studio, that the Johnnies wait outside - with flowers, boxes of chocolates and cars, but without top hats and peerages. For this revival of an old-time theatrical custom is not caused by a theatre show. And the girls feted are not ordinary chorus girls. The show is Oh Boy! which caters for modern rock 'n' roll tastes, and the singing Vernons Girls are the centre of attraction. Most of them do not look like showgirls. Their figures, faces and heights are not standardised. The Vernons Girls, highly attractive former office workers, have now added some of the glamour of show business to their charms.
They were originally formed as a welfare project by Vernons, who wanted to encourage an interest in choral singing among their employees. With 8,000 girls to pick from, there was a high standard of talent. So it was decided to prune the singers from about 70 to about 16 and launch them in show business.
Because girls leave to get married (those Johnnies are persuasive!), dance director Leslie Cooper and their singing teacher, Peter Knight, often hold auditions at Vernons.

"They are looked after from the moment they get through an audition," Cooper told me. "They aren't expected to be polished singers, never mind dancers, at this stage. Peter Knight listens to their voices and, when he finds a good one, asks if I could train the girl. She will have been used to sitting at a desk and won't be conscious of things like deportment, so I just have to watch for a good figure - and sense of rhythm when she sings. If she has that, I assume she'll be able to dance."

While in London, the girls stay at the same hotel and are guarded by a full-time chaperone. "It's remarkable how well they get on together," said Cooper during an Oh Boy! rehearsal break. "When you get a lot of girls working together they usually squabble, but these don't. Yet they are all types. Some I have to shout at, others I have to be kindly with, to get the routines right."

Cooper and producer Jack Good have pioneered a televisual dancing style for the Vernons Girls. They are put into two or three groups with a camera on each. By fast cutting from one camera to another, viewers are shown complicated, exciting dance routines. Cooper usually thinks them up at home while listening to rock 'n' roll records. "So far I've been able to remember my ideas. I don't write them down. But with my luck, one day I'll have 16 girls in front of me and forget what I want them to do!" he said. Well, it didn't happen at the rehearsal I watched. The only hold-up was caused by the hula-hoop craze. During breaks some of the girls struggled to keep hoops circling their bodies.

Blonde Barbara Mitchell, who usually assumes the role of the girl's spokeswoman, told me: "Last week we tried using wooden hoops, and now we've got bruises and aching backs. Now we're using plastic hoops, which are lighter but more difficult to get the hang of." Will they be using hoops in any dance routines? "I doubt it," said Leslie Cooper. "They are too unpredictable. Viewers wouldn't want to see girls with hoops round their ankles."

Cliff Richard & The Drifters

Cliff Richard

Born Harry Roger Webb on 14th October 1940 in Lucknow, India. Like several other of Britain's first rock and roll artists, Cliff Richard's professional career started at the 2 I's Coffee bar in London.

After a brief spell as a skiffler he began to model himself on his idol, Elvis Presley. With his group, 'The Drifters', a recording opportunity arose with Norrie Paramor - a producer at EMI. Paramor decided to use the young singer's talents to produce a version of the American teen ballad 'Schoolboy Crush'.

Fortunately, it was the other side of this disc that caught the attention of disc jockeys and the rock and roll entrepreneur Jack Good. The record, 'Move It', reached #2 in the UK chart and is now widely regarded as one of the finest examples of early UK rock and roll ever made.

Following the success of 'Move It' came a long string of hits. He made a number of successful musical movies including 'Summer Holiday' which was probably responsible for setting the seal on his long term image.

Despite the 'Beat boom' and the advent of the Beatles, Cliff managed to sustain his career, and gradually shifted his material to suit the growing maturity of his audience.

With chart hits in every decade since he first began professionally, Sir Cliff Richard must rate as one the most enduring artists ever to begin with rock and roll.

[A fantastic, clear, live shot of Cliff in action with The Drifters performing their 'synchronised leg-kicks']

 

[Another shot of Cliff et al from the same show]

[Cliff rocking' up a storm with The Drifters on Oh Boy! late 1958]

"His renditions of rock ‘n’ roll songs that were hits at the time were all things by Chuck Berry, Little Richard or Elvis Presley and they were immaculate. Not just his copies but in the spirit of the thing. He had an extraordinary vitality, terrific good looks and he was playing the music I liked anyway!"

Ian Samwell, BBC Interview, 1981

 

[Cliff on Oh Boy!]

[With Marty Wilde and Vince Eager on Oh Boy!]

[Going Wilde with Marty!]

By Paul Rumbol

Cliff was a charismatic performer who excited the nation with his raw and dynamic stage performances on ABC TV's Oh Boy!. Sadly this celluloid legacy has been lost. And any details of the shows are scant to say the least. So what did Cliff perform on Oh Boy! during these early pioneering days of television broadcasting?

I have tried sifting through what little remains of any evidence of this classic rock and roll series and the long forgotten memories of 44 years ago.

Good’s Impression

When Jack Good met Cliff in the first week of September 1958 he saw all the requisite ingredients of a star in the making. "He was malleable," said Good in a BBC interview in 1981. "I thought something could be done with this boy!"

Good is the man who originally taught Cliff the act of stagecraft. He ditched Cliff’s guitar, ordered him to shave off his corny side burns and tutored him in how to perform not only with his body but with his eyes. “I always got him to look up at the camera, head tilted down and the eyes up and the angled shoulders forward. Then suddenly grabbing his arm as if he’d been poked by some hypodermic syringe.

Cliff before Oh Boy!

We presented it as if it was beyond him not to be a smoulderer – yet he didn’t mean to be! That was the excitement! “He was very slim, very innocent looking but he couldn’t help being a smoulderer. He used to get fortunes in pennies – when a penny used to be a real sized penny – thrown at him on the stage by these angry boys. There would be girls falling about and going into hysterics and foaming at the mouth and these furious boys chucking these great pennies at Cliff. Poor fellow! They didn’t know it wasn’t his fault… had to wear this pink jacket and smoulder!”

“After Move It was a hit, the audience reaction was such that he couldn’t help but be exciting because he didn’t have to do anything. The spotlight just came on him and the whole audience went wild.”

The Statistics

Cliff Richard appeared in 20 of the 38 shows in total, 13 of them of them in 1958 with just 7 appearances during 1959, including the surviving final show of the entire series on Saturday 30th May 1959. Cliff’s most consistent appearances were during 1958 when he appeared in 13 of the 16 shows broadcast between 13th September and 27th December that year.
With his natural talent for rock and roll and brilliant voice he quickly became the series' star attraction, even evoking the Daily Mirror to comment in a centre page spread “Is this boy too sexy for television?”

Cliff’s success was further assured when an ill judged decision by agent Larry Parnes to withdraw his boy Marty Wilde from the series after just 6 shows in mid-October 1958 thrust Cliff into the centre spotlight and made him the 'star of the show.' Parnes had remonstrated with Good that Cliff was getting the best songs and stealing the limelight from his protégé. Parnes quickly regretted his decision but Wilde remained ostracised and off air for 16 weeks until 7th February 1959 (show no. 22) and missed out on the recording of the all important official Oh Boy! LP within days of his leaving.

Cliff was left centre stage to take the crown.

Cliff’s appearances on Oh Boy! during early 1959 were more sporadic. His agent Franklyn Boyd had secured Cliff a lucrative but gruelling package of live concert dates around the country (working 7 nights a week) between January and May 1959 and sadly Cliff was unable to commit the time demanded by Jack Good for his live Saturday 'Oh Boy!' broadcasts from the Hackney Empire in London.

Good was a known taskmaster during his rehearsals which usually took up one whole weekday (usually a Tuesday) and the entire Saturday - the day of the live broadcast.

Good said in 1981 “There was Cliff going off into the sticks making a few hundred pounds for himself singing ‘Living Doll’ or whatever, when he should have been on my show.”

Cliff’s career was about to rocket in a way he could never have imagined…and ahead of him would lie a gruelling and frenetic work schedule which would leave him exhausted and exasperated in December 1958 and ill and overworked with laryngitis by February 1959.

Indeed Cliff’s father, a stern man with a fiery temperament, accused Boyd of overworking and exploiting his son and in late January 1959, Boyd was sacked after just three months.

Cliff with Norrie Paramor and Ian Samwell in the control room of the Abbey Road studios listening to some of Cliff's recordings from the live LP Cliff.

Even though suffering from laryngitis - the show must go on!

Cliff was also due to record his first album 'live' in front of a selected teenage audience at the Abbey Road Studios, St. John's Wood, London, on two nights on 9th and 10th February 1959. It was sandwiched in between a full diary of theatre commitments and as a result of overwork Cliff developed laryngitis during the week he was due to make his important recording debut. Cliff still went ahead with the live album -- which has come to be regarded as a classic -- despite his dodgy throat during the two performances.

1959 Appearances

 In 1959 the remaining shows 17- 38 were broadcast (22 shows in total) but Cliff and his Drifters appeared in only 7 of them. Having intermittently appeared in two shows in January 1959 he was absent for five weeks - not returning until the important 7th March 1959 show (No. 26) which was the first recorded for American broadcast.

He had been due to take part in the 7th February show (which marked the return of Marty Wilde after a long absence, but Cliff had to cancel as he was laid low with ‘flu and laryngitis for nearly three weeks during February 1959.

Cliff was absent again during the whole of April whilst on his whistle-stop tour of theatres in England.

After his appearance on Show 29 (28th March 1959) he was off air for another five weeks until his return on 2nd May 1959 (show no. 34) when he sang both sides of his envisaged new single "Choppin' 'n' Changin" and "Dynamite" backed by the Drifters.

He also performed "Turn Me Loose" for the first time and sang duets with Marty Wilde and Alma Cogan. (see detailed 'Running Order' for this show)

Cliff returned for the penultimate 23rd May broadcast singing 'Mean Streak' (Cliff's new single suddenly chosen in favour over "Choppin' 'n' Changin'") and the very final show on 30 May 1959 which includes the now famous footage of "Turn Me Loose" (his second performance of this number in a month).

[If I was sandwiched between 2 Vernons Girls, I'd be smiling too!]

Cliff's Image

13 Sept. 1958

"C'mon pretty baby let's-a move it an'-a groove it"

Described as pure sex, Cliff dressed in tight black pants, black shirt, a broad-shouldered pink box jacket complimented with luminous pink socks and pink tie. He purposefully adopted this image when the Drifters backed him on moody rock and roll tracks but sometimes he just dressed in black trousers and a casual shirt - like 'his pyjama tops' for the final show.

What songs did Cliff sing during the series?

As each show lasted only 25 minutes and featured at least ten acts each week cramming in at least 15 songs there was only time for one solo performance from each of the guest artistes.

In addition the two or three featured solo performers of the week usually united for a song together in the second half and were also present for the show’s big opening and finale tracks featuring the entire cast on set with Lord Rockingham's XI.

Because of the paucity of information, detail of the contents of shows is subject to much conjecture and is reliant largely on the distant and faded memories of those fans who were teenagers back in 1958 (and who have reached, or are now approaching 70!).

Cliff sang two songs, 'Move It' and 'Don’t Bug Me Baby' for his television debut on the first show of the series on Saturday 13th September 1958, which was a generous gesture by Good to introduce his new star to the nation.

Cliff recalls his performance of 'Move It' (his first ever single) received “genteel applause” while the audience screamed for Marty. (Marty was already the star of Oh Boy! having appeared in the two late night pilots to the series which aired in June 1958.)

Cliff’s second song 'Don’t Bug Me Baby' was a fantastic rocker which Cliff was due to record at the Abbey Road Studios on Friday 3rd October 1958 and which was earmarked as his next intended single release.

Cliff gave a blistering live performance of this track on an early Saturday Club radio broadcast and on his first live debut album 'Cliff' in February 1959. Following his superlative performance of 'Don’t Bug Me baby' Cliff joined the entire cast for the show’s finale of 'Hoots Mon' - the current smash hit for Lord Rockingham's XI.

On the second Oh Boy! on Saturday 20th September Cliff supposedly sang 'Schoolboy Crush' (the B-side of 'Move It') according to one book source whose accuracy cannot be guaranteed. This twee cover of a Bobby Helm’s hit was originally released as the A-side having been selected for him by Cliff’s producer Norrie Paramor in July 1958.

 However on auditioning Cliff , Jack Good insisted Cliff sang 'Move It' or he didn’t want him at all. EMI in a swift change of policy flipped the single promoting the new title and relegating 'Schoolboy Crush' to the B-side. Considering Good’s dislike of the song it seems odd that he allowed Cliff to sing it in this second broadcast.

Cliff also performed songs from the officially released Oh Boy! album during the course of the series. But not all of them! Some were originally intended for Marty, including the opening title 'TV Hop' and closing title 'Somebody Touched Me'.

But when Parnes withdrew Marty from the series it was Cliff who was invited to step into Wilde's shoes! He sang 7 tracks on the LP, including the opening and closing titles, which was far more than any other of the featured artists.

During the series Cliff probably sung 'High School Confidential' (a Jerry Lee Lewis rocker), 'Rocking Robin' (Bobby Day hit), 'Early in the Morning' (Buddy Holly), 'I’ll Try' (the B side of Conway Twitty’s 'It’s Only Make Believe') which co-incidentally was a number Cliff also performed in his very early live shows and very likely in the series too.

Another superlative rocker Cliff performed in the 1958 shows was 'Whole Lotta Shakin Goin’ On' and an actual Oh Boy! still of him singing it is reproduced (right).

Cliff was a big Jerry Lee fan and it is probable that he sang 'Breathless' - which Cliff used for his demo recording in June 1958 and sang during his Butlins residency in August 1958. Cliff’s favourite Jerry Lee track was undoubtedly 'Down The Line'

This frenetic rocker gave Cliff the chance to show off some fancy footwork during the two instrumental breaks and generate genuine excitement amongst the screaming female audience. Cliff recorded this track many times in his early career and it is almost certain he sang it on Oh Boy!. It featured on his first live album 'Cliff' and also on the 'Me and My Shadows' Radio Luxembourg shows (1960) with two alternate takes.

But most importantly it has been preserved on film for posterity, on Cliff’s own Saturday Spectacular for the ATV network in July 1960. This is a classic early live performance much revered by many Cliff fans.

Elvis had to be featured in the series of course and Cliff was the obvious choice to sing the material. 'Baby I Don’t Care' and 'King Creole' were sure fire Cliff choices, the latter he performed in the second of his six part 'Cliff' series for ATV in February 1961.

Among the other cover titles Cliff regularly performed in 1958 /59 were 'My Babe' (Ricky Nelson) and the raucous 'Ready Teddy' (Little Richard) which were both featured on the 'Cliff' debut album. The latter he performed on the 1960 Royal Variety Show broadcast in May that year as well as in show three of the six part ATV 'Cliff' series in March 1961.

One fan with a retentive memory recalls Cliff singing both these tracks on Oh Boy!.

Another fan remembers Cliff performing 'Apron Strings' in the Spring of 1959, which was also on the aforementioned live 'Cliff' album and which eventually became the B-side of Cliff’s summer 1959 smash hit 'Living Doll.'

Concluding the cover versions, Cliff is very likely to have performed 'Twenty Flight Rock'. This Eddie Cochran classic formed an integral part of Cliff’s early stage act and he featured it in his 'Saturday Spectacular' for the ATV network in May 1960 – which was one of three shows he made for them that year!

Major Find

Cliff was keen on promoting both a and b sides of his hit singles on his TV shows. Apart from 'Move It' and 'Schoolboy Crush' (b-side) Cliff performed his second single 'High Class Baby' in early December 1958 and the third single 'Livin, Lovin Doll' – another rocker- in January or February 1959.

The most exciting news though relates to Cliff’s fourth single 'Mean Streak' – as a full clip of this track has been found in the old ABC archives! Cliff and the Drifters performance of 'Mean Streak' from the 23rd May 1959 edition of Oh Boy! was lifted for inclusion in a commemorative documentary made by ABC TV in April 1966 to mark their 10th anniversary in broadcasting.

This show called 'The ABC of ABC' (secondary title 'A Souvenir With Music') still survives and has been donated to the BFI in London where it is available for viewing on the premises.

In the first part of the programme, which is mostly a commentary on the social and cultural changes in Britain during the fifties and early sixties, co-presenter Eamonn Andrews introduces the full length performance of 'Mean Streak' from 'Oh Boy!' with this commentary about the cast. “They opened the floodgates to a golden future. Did they see themselves as shock troops, as symbols of a new way of life?”

The classic clip features a mean and moody looking Cliff in his pink jacket flanked by the Drifters at the rear of the stage. During the song’s instrumental break the circular spotlight hits the Drifters in the distance while Cliff deftly executes some 'Elvis moves' in shadow in the foreground. Sadly the full show from which this excerpt was taken, is lost presumed wiped, along with the rest of the series.

In conclusion, vintage performances of all of Cliff’s first 4 single releases during 'Oh Boy’s' run as well as some great cover versions of rock and roll favourites were all performed 'live' during the series. There were probably at least 22 full solo performances and probably just as many duets sung in the second half with the other artists! And to think its all been lost for over 40 years.

On those rare occasions television pays brief homage to the series and clips are shown of Cliff singing 'Turn Me Loose' for the umpteenth time (which is the only surviving footage from the final show) just remember the classic performances recalled here in this feature and think what might have been saved had Britain’s television companies not been so careless and inept in the handling of its film archives!

Recording 'High Class Baby' among others.

It is without question a monumental and tragic loss!

Cliff Richard & The Drifters (formed in May 1958) personnel over the next year:

Cliff Richard lead vocals, guitar (May 1958 - Jul 1959) (ex The Quintones, The Dick Teague Skiffle Group); Terry Smart drums (May 1958 - Jan 1959) (born Terence Smart, 1942); Ian 'Sammy' Samwell guitar (May - Sep 1958, Oct 1958) (born Ian Ralph Samwell, 19.1.1937, in Lambeth, South-east London died on 13th March 2003, in Sacramento, California, USA) (ex The Ash Valley Skiffle Group); Ken Pavey guitar (May - Sep 1958); Norman Mitham guitar (born 1941) (to The Sundowners, Danny King and the Bluejacks, 1959 - 1961, Jimmy Virgo and the Bluejacks, 1961 - late 1963, Kenny Lee and the Mark Four late 1963 - Jan 1964); Hank B. Marvin lead guitar (Oct 1958 - Jan 1959) (born Brian Robson Rankin, at 138 Stanhope Street, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Northumberland) (ex The Five Chesternuts, Jun - Sep 1958, The Vipers, Sep 1958); Bruce Welch rhythm guitar (Oct 1958 - Jan 1959) (born Bruce Cripps, 2.11.1941, in Bognor Regis, Sussex) (ex The Five Chesternuts, Jun - Sep 1958); Jet Harris bass (Nov 1958 - Jan 1959) (born Terence Harris, 6.7.1939, in Honeypot Lane, Kingsbury, North-west London) (ex The Vipers).

What follows is a brief outline as to who Cliff Richard & The Drifters were, where they came from and what they evolved into!

First we must go back to Cliff, then known by his real name of Harry Webb, before the Oh Boy! TV show was conceived. Harry (Cliff) would hang out at the 2 I's Coffee Bar in Old Compton Street in London's West End - as did a whole host of other young hopefuls - all aspiring to be the next new 'Pop Idol' with a hit record at number one in the Charts, a brand new sports car and enough cash to buy their parents a new house!

[L-R: Terry Smart, Harry Webb, Ian Samwell & Norman Mitham
downstairs in the cellar beneath the 2 I's Coffee Bar]

This particular coffee bar was one of the breeding grounds, an important ingredient of the 'primeval soup', of the newly emerging British teenage music cult which comprised of youngsters imitating, initially, the singing stars across the 'big pond' who were making it big with a new style of music called Rock 'n' Roll.

[L-R: Terry, Harry & Ian playing at Butlins Holiday Camp, Clacton, 1958]

In that magic year of 1958, a group calling themselves 'The Railroaders' left Newcastle to take part in a talent contest in London. Such was the lure of the excitement in the teen music scene in London that two of the band's members decided to remain, and began to frequent the 'hottest place in town', the 2I's Coffee Bar. Those two young men were Hank Marvin and his pal Bruce Welch.

Later that same year, Cliff's manager went to the 2I's to check out a guy called Tony Sheridan as a possible lead guitarist to back Cliff on his forthcoming UK tour as one of the supporting acts to Chart toppers The Kalin Twins from America. Instead he signed up both Hank Marvin and Bruce Welch!

Now we have the essential 'Drifters' consisting of:

  • Hank Marvin: Lead guitar
  • Bruce Welch: Rhythm guitar
  • Ian Samwell: Bass guitar
  • Terry Smart: Drums

[Cliff & Ian Samwell - Sept./Oct. 1958 || Hank & Bruce on Oh Boy!]

In October 1958, Ian Samwell left the group to be replaced by Jet Harris who had been on the Kalin Twins tour as part of The Most Brothers. In fact Jet was already well known to the group because he had guested with The Drifters on that very same tour.

[The Whole Gang!
Cliff with The Drifters backstage
Back L-R: Terry Smart, Bruce Welch
Front L-R: Jet Harris and Hank Marvin]

[A rare shot of Cliff, Hank and Bruce
in Cliff's Marylebone apartment.]

In February 1959, drummer Terry Smart, the last of the 'originals', left and was replaced by Tony Meehan.

In July of 1959, The Drifters had to change their name because Cliff and The Drifters were on a US tour when the established American Drifters took out a court injunction to stop Cliff's backing group from using their name. A new name was quickly conjured up and henceforth The Drifters became...

"The Shadows"

The rest, as they say, is history!

MIDAS TOUCH

John Barry -
The Man With the Midas Touch

Order our book here

Our book "John Barry - The Man With the Midas Touch" is now only available for purchase at a reduced price via this website.

Over 300 pages in length, with a foreword by Don Black, the hardcover book includes many unique photos, in both black & white and colour. Order now!

UK customers who order the book before Brexit is complete will receive a free copy of the CD -- John Barry - The Early Years  -- the only CD to include all the tracks John recorded for the Chappell Music Library in 1959.

Apologies that due to the high cost of postage we can only make this offer to UK residents.

 

 

THE EARLY YEARS

John Barry -
The Early Years CD

You can order our CD here

The full track listing: 1. Be Mine - Lance Fortune; 2. It's Not Too Late - Johnny Gavotte; 3. The Clanger March - Des Lane; 4. Arrivederci Baby - Little Tony & His Brothers; 5. You Made me Love You - Johnny De Little; 6. Easy Beat - Bert Weedon; 7. Heartbeat - The England Sisters; 8. Youthful Years - Danny William's; 9. I Vibrate - Larry Page & The Saga Satellites; 10. Mood One - The John Barry Orchestra; 11. I want my Bed - Bobby Shafto; 12. Keep A Walkin' - Tony Rocco; 13. Mood Two - The John Barry Orchestra; 14. Action - Lance Fortune; 15. If the Young Ones can be Happy - Billy Cotton; 16. Mood Three - The John Barry Orchestra; 17. Love's a Secret Game - Dennis Lotis; 18. Love Me - Danny Davis; 19. Mood Four - The John Barry Orchestra; 20. The Makings of a Man - Peter Gordeno; 21. Marilyn - Larry Page & The Saga Satellites; 22. Moonbird - Des Lane; 23. Never Ending - Mark Tracey; 24. Nowhere in this World - Derry Hart & The Hartbeats; 25. Opposites - Billy Cotton & Kathie Kay; 26. Smoky Blues - The John Barry Orchestra; 27. Ramona - The Five Dallas Boys; 28. They - Johnny De Little; 29. Trouble Shooter - Bob Miller & The Millermen; 30. You're My Only Girl - Danny Davis; 31. Baby Talk - Bill & Brett Landis; 32. I Got Eyes - Peter Gordeno; 33. The Lolly Theme - The John Barry Orchestra; 34. Santa Claus is coming to Town - Nina & Frederik; 35. Silent Night - Nina & Frederik; 36. White Christmas - Nina & Frederik; Total running time 78' 59"

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