Wednesday, July 25, 2018

'The Coventry Sound' How Close was Coventry to a Musical Breakthrough in the 1960's?

'The Coventry Sound 
How Close was Coventry to a Musical Breakthrough in the 1960's?

by Pete Clemons and Trev Teasdel

'In 1963 Larry Page became the new manager of  the Orchid Ballroom in Coventry and began advertising gigs as 'The New Coventry Sound'

Coventry, in the 1960's, never had a dedicated music newspaper, the equivalent of Liverpool's Merseybeat, founded in 1961 by Bill Harry, or the docks bringing in imported records from the states or it's own Brian Epstein but it was certainly far from a blank sheet musically!

Here we look at how close Coventry was to a breakthrough in the UK singles charts in the 1960's, the various flash points and who was involved. Both Pete Clemons and Pete Chambers have written extensively on Coventry music in the 60's and there is much to see in the Coventry Music Museum, but here we present an overview of the decade through notes after listing all the Coventry singles (and their B Sides) we could find, over 100. Many of them didn't chart of course but it's a powerful showcase of what could have been had they been successful and coupled with the B sides, they would all make a fascinating Box Set that would reflect both the changing styles of the 60's and represents Coventry! 

The song titles are hyperlinked to youtube versions where available and the notes are below the listing.  I first noticed the amount of Coventry singles produced, largely on Decca, via Ian Green's original Broadgate Gnome A to Z of Coventry bands (currently off line) back in 2003 but it's nice to have them presented here in a time line.



Lucky Devil / 
Nobody Else But You (Written by Frank) - Frank Ifield (Columbia Jan 60)
(Peaked at No 22 in Official UK Singles Chart   And NME Chart.)

Happy Go Lucky Me / 
Unchained Melody - Frank Ifield (Columbia May 60) 
No chart Position found

Gotta Get a Date /  
No Love Tonight - Frank Ifield (Columbia Aug 60) 
Peak Position in Official UK Singles Chart - No 49


Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow – The Raindrops with possibly Vince Hill? (Oriole Jan 61) 

DerindaJohnny Washington - Oriole early 1961.

That’s the Way it Goes / 
Hoebe Snow - Frank Ifield (Columbia Jan 61) (No Chart Position)

Life’s a Holiday  / Tobacco Road – Frank Ifield (Columbia May 61) 

Tomorrow Is Another Day - Johnny Washington - Oriole

Your Time Will Come / 
That's The Way It Is - Frank Ifield (Columbia Nov 61) 


Alone too Long /  
Bigger Than You Or Me – Frank Ifield (Columbia Mar 62) 

The River’s Run Dry / Not Anymore – Vince Hill (Piccadilly May 62)
No chart position 

I Remember You / 
I Listen To My Heart  (Written by Frank Ifield) – Frank Ifield (Columbia Jun 62) No1 for 7 weeks on UK singles chart.

There You Go /  
Just As Long As You Belong To Me – Vince Hill (Piccadilly Aug 62)
No Chart Position 
No Chart position but great single!

Lovesick Blues / 
She Taught Me How To Yodel – Frank Ifield (Columbia Oct 62) 
No 1 for 5 weeks on UK singles charts


The Boy I Saw With You / 
When It Comes To Love – Beverley Jones (HMV Jan 63), 

The Wayward Wind / 
I'm Smiling Now (Written by Frank Ifield) – Frank Ifield (Columbia Jan 63) No 1 for three weeks in UK Singles Chart Shared one week at No 1 jointly with the Beatles Please Please Me in the NME chart.

Why do Lovers Break Each Other’s Hearts / 
I'm Just An In-Between – Beverley Jones (HMV Mar 63), 

A Day at the Seaside  / 
Tricks Of The Trade – Vince Hill (Piccadilly Mar 63) 

As it Was Written /  
Is There Anyone At Home? – Vince Hill (Piccadilly Apr 63) 

Confessin’ (That I Love you) / 
Waltzing Matilda – Frank Ifield (Columbia Jun 63)
No 1 for 2 weeks UK Singles Chart 

Wait Till My Bobbie Gets Home / 
Boy Like You – Beverley Jones (HMV Aug 63), 

School is In / She's a Much Better Lover Than You Johnnie B Great (backed by the Orchids) (Decca Sept 63),

Gonna Make Him Mine / 
Stay At Home The Orchids (backed by Johnny B Great) (Decca Sept 63), 

Blue Velvet / 
Like Anything – Vince Hill (Piccadilly Sep 63) 

Mule Train / 
One Man's Love – Frank Ifield (Columbia Oct 63) 
No 22 on UK Singles Chart

How Deep is the Ocean / 
La Bamba Shel Naylor (Decca Nov 63) (Rob Woodward later of Lieutenant Pigeon)

Love Hit Me / 
Don't Make Me Mad – The Orchids (Decca Nov 63) 


Don’t Blame Me / 
Say It Isn't So – Frank Ifield (Columbia Jan 64) 

If You Knew / Blue Velvet – Vince Hill (Piccadilly Jan 64) 

Acapulco 1922 / You'll Never Leave Him - Johnny B. Great Decca Jan 1964

One Fine Day / 
It's Gonna Happen Soon Shel Naylor (Decca Mar 64) 

I've Got That Feeling / 
Larry – The Orchids (Decca Mar 64), 

House for Sale / 
My Little Boy – Lynne Curtis (Decca Mar 64) 

Gonna Make A Man Outta You' /  'The Night of The Dance Lynne Curtis (President) Unreleased and for the US market.

Angry at the Big Oak / 
Go Tell It On The Mountain – Frank Ifield (Columbia Apr 64)
No 25 in the UK Singles Chart 

Hide Your Pride / 
Hey Senorita – The Mighty Avengers (Decca Apr 64), 

It’s Only Make Believe / 
Let The Wind Blow – Vince Hill (Piccadilly July 64) 

I Should Care / 
Another Cup Of Coffee – Frank Ifield (Columbia July 64) 
No 33 on the UK Singles Chart

You’re Old Enough /  Hello Lady – The Pickwicks (Decca Aug 64) 

So Much in Love / 
Sometime They Say  – The Mighty Avengers (Decca Aug 64), 

Summer is Over /  True Love Ways – Frank Ifield (Columbia Sept 64)
No 25 on the UK Singles Charts

Heatwave / 
Hear You Talking – Beverley Jones with the Prestons (Parlophone Oct 64) 

Don’t Make Me Laugh / 
Without You (Tres Palabras) – Frank Ifield (Columbia Nov 64) 

Spare me a Thought  / Words of Love - Johnny E. Washington - Fontana


Little by Little / 
I Took My Baby Home – The Pickwicks (Warner Bros Jan 65) 

And the Heavens Cried / 
Living Without Love – Vince Hill (Columbia Jan 65) 

I Don’t Wanna be Free / 
Come With Me – The Sorrows (Piccadilly Jan 65) 

Blue Turns to Grey / 
I'm Lost Without You – The Mighty Avengers (Decca Feb 65), 

Little Bit O’Soul / 
Easy To Cry – The Little Darlings (Fontana Mar 65) 

I’m So Lonesome, I Could Cry / 
Lonesome Number One Frank Ifield (Columbia Mar 65) 
No position on the UK singles chart. 

Show Me Around / Only Two Can Play – The Midnights (Ember Mar 65),

What More Do You Want / 
Soldier Boy – The Exceptions / The Orchids (Decca Mar 65), 

Baby / 
Teenage Letter – The Sorrows (Piccadilly Apr 65) 

You Got What I Want / 
Take A Heart – The Boys Blue (HMV May 65), 

It Hurts so Much / 
You Look So Fine – The Liberators (Stateside June 65), 

Now is the Time / 
Got Plenty Of Love - The Peeps (Philips Jun 65), 

Unexpectedly / 
Looking At Me – Vince Hill (Columbia Jun 65) 

(Walkin’ Thru the) Sleepy City / 
Sir Edward And Lady Jane – The Mighty Avengers (Decca July 65), 

Paradise / 
Goodbye Now – Frank Ifield (Columbia Aug 65) 
26 on the UK Singles Chart

Take a Heart / 
Get Along Fine – The Sorrows (Piccadilly Aug 65 - and LP of same name) 

I Could Have Loved You So Well /  
Yesterday's Hero – Vince Hill (Columbia Aug 65) 

My Honey-Bunny 
It's Never Too Late The Mad Classix (Storz, Germany Sept 65), 

We Will fall in love / Coffee Break The Angstroms, 

Inside Out / Up My Street  The Caribbean (Pye Oct 65), (The Beat Preachers)

What Can I Say - The Peeps (Philips Oct 65), 

You Got What I Want /
 No No No No – The Sorrows (Piccadilly Oct 65) 

I Guess / 
Then Came She – Frank Ifield (Columbia Nov 65) 
No position on the UK Chart.

Babe I'm Leaving You /  Wild About My Loving - Levee Breakers featuring Beverley Kutner (Martyn) - Parlophone - June 1965


Take Me to Your Heart Again / 
Push Push – Vince Hill (Columbia Jan 66) 

Michelle / Cradle Of Love The Overlanders - Singer Paul Arnold Friswell was born in the village of Bretford near Brandon. Pye Jan 1966

Heartaches / 
She's Everything (You Never Used To Be) – Vince Hill (Columbia Mar 66) 

Got a Get a Move On / I Told You SoThe Peeps (Philips Mar 66)

There’ll Be Another Spring / 
Don't Be Afraid – Frank Ifield (Columbia Mar 66) 
No position on the UK Singles chart.

Let the Live Live / 
Don't Sing No Sad Songs For Me – The Sorrows (Piccadilly Apr 66) 

Don’t Stop Loving Me Baby / 
Will Ya?  - Pinkerton’s Assorted Colours (Decca Apr 66), 

Merci Cheri Can't Believe My Eyes 
– Vince Hill (Columbia May 66) 
No 25 on the UK singles Chart

No-One Will Ever Know / 
I'm Saving All My Love (For You) – Frank Ifield (Columbia June 66) 

Let Me in / 
How Love Used To Be – The Sorrows (Piccadilly Aug 66) 

The Better To Love you /
 Love Me True – Vince Hill (Columbia Aug 66) 

Tra La La / Loser WinsThe Peeps (Philips Aug 66)

Magic Rocking Horse / 
It Ain't Right Pinkerton’s Colours (Decca Sept 66), 
24 on the UK Singles Chart

Invisible Tears / 
Don't Count On Me – Vince Hill (Columbia Nov 66) 

Honey Machine / Three Woman Jeff Elroy and Boys Blue - Phillips Nov 1966

Picking Up The Sunshine (  
B side Me and My Gin  - Beverley Kutner (Martyn) Unreleased single.


Edelweiss / 
A Woman Needs Love – Vince Hill (Columbia Feb 67) 

Kaw-Liga / Out of Nowhere – Frank Ifield (Columbia Mar 67)

Roses of Picardy 
Micky Dunne – Vince Hill (Columbia May 67) 

Mum and Dad / 
On A Street Car Pinkerton’s Colours (Pye June 67), 

Pink Purple Red Yellow /  
My Gal – The Sorrows (Piccadilly Jun 67) 

When the World is Ready / 
When You Go – Vince Hill (Columbia July 67) 

Behold / 
Soon You'll Be Gone Ray King Soul Band (Pye / Piccadilly July 67) 

Up-Up And Away / 
Roses, Moonlight And One Bottle Of Wine – Frank Ifield (Columbia Jul 67) 

Museum (written by Donovan) / 
A Quick One for Sanity – Beverley (Kutner aka Martyn) (Deram July 67), 

Love Letters in the Sand / 
My Favorite Color Is Blue – Vince Hill (Columbia Sept 67) 

I Can Make the Rain Fall up It's All Over Now – Martin Cure and the Peeps (Philips Sept 67)

All the Time / In The Snow – Frank Ifield (Columbia Nov 67) 

Why Can’t I Remember (To Forget You) / 
Why Or Where Or When – Vince Hill (Columbia Nov 67) 

Trafalgar Square / 
Where Did My Heart Go – The Goodtime Losers

The next three were singles in Italy not the UK

Verde Rossa Gialli Blu / No No No - 1967 (A side is an Italian version of the B side - Italian single The Sorrows

Zabadak  / “LA LIBERTA COSTA CARA (a version of “HOW LOVE USED TO BE”) 
1967 Italian single The Sorrows (After Roger Lomas and Pip had left.

Per una donna no! / 10 AMO TE PER LEI 1967
Italian single (Credited to Chris and The Sorrows)


Ray King Soul Band LP 

Can’t Keep You Out Of My Heart / 
I Can't Make It Alone – Vince Hill (Columbia Mar 68) 

The Importance of Love / 
Dreamer, Dream A Dream – Vince Hill (Columbia May 68) 

One Way Street / 
Then I Found You – Jigsaw (MGM May 68) 

There’s Nobody I’d Sooner Love / 
Look At Me – Pinkertons (Pye May 68) 

Kentucky Woman / 
Behind The Mirror – Pinkertons (Pye June 68) 

(You’ve Got) Morning in Your Eyes / 
Don't Forget To Cry – Frank Ifield (Columbia Jun 68) 

You forgot to Remember / 
So Near And Yet So Far Away – Vince Hill (Columbia Sep 68) 

The Swiss Maid / 
Baby Doll – Frank Ifield (Columbia Sep 68) 

Mr Job / 
A Great Idea – Jigsaw (Music Factory Sept 68) 

Let Me Go Home / 
Tumblin' – Jigsaw (Music Factory Nov 68) 

Doesn’t Anybody Know My Name? / 
Dream Of Tomorrow (written by Ray Davies) – Vince Hill (Columbia Dec 68) 

Race With the Devil / Sunshine - The Gun (Producer was Johnny Goodison of Cov's Johny B Great) CBS.Reached No 8 Nov 1968.

Hey Hey / 6 Ft 71/2 Inch Shark Fishing Blues
1968 -a single in Italy not the UK -  The Sorrows


Let Me Into your Life / 
MARY IN THE MORNING – Frank Ifield (Decca Mar 69) 

Your Still Mine  / Hookey – The Eggy (Spark Mar 69)

The Wonderful Season of Love / 
There Is So Much In My Heart – Vince Hill (Columbia Mar 69) 
(Pye Apr 69), 

That Wonderful Sound / 
How Long – Vince Hill (Columbia Jun 69) 

Little Blue Bird /
Alouette, Alouette (La Peregrinacion) – Vince Hill (Columbia Sep 69) 

It’s My Time / 
I Love You Because – Frank Ifield (Decca Sep 69)

Send My Baby Home Again Look At Me, Look At Me Flying Machine Pye 1969

Flashpoints on Coventry Music Scene during the 1960's.

1. COVENTRY'S MAJOR SOLO STARS - Frank Ifield and Vince Hill
Right at the beginning of the decade and throughout, Coventry boasted two solo artists of the highest caliber who were born in the city and who produced singles and albums throughout the decade, toured, hosted TV shows and at times really rocked the charts. Coventry born Frank Ifield grew up and established himself as a star in Australia before returning to the UK, releasing his first UK single in 1960 and reached the height of his powers in UK singles chart in 1962 / 63 before the beat groups got a hold on the charts. His story can be read here

Frank, recording for Columbia, was the first UK artist to have 3 number ones in a row, spending 17 weeks at the top in all. He would often get knocked off the top spot in 1962 by Elvis Presley, but usually after a long run at the top! In the NME chart at least, his single, The Wayward Wind shared the No1 spot with the Beatles's first chart topper, Please Please Me, but for one week only! Again, in the NME chart, Frank kept Elvis's Devil In Disguise off the top spot with his song Confessing (That I Love You), although Elvis did get to No 1 according to the Official UK Chart! 

Vince Hill began recording in 1961, with many singles and albums to his credit, although his biggest moment chart wise came in 1967 with the success of Edelweiss. If nothing else, these two guys alone put Coventry on the pop map nationally and internationally! Their singles are listed below.

2. 1962 - Traitor in Disguise - Sue and Mary - Decca.

Even before the Beatles had got started in the charts, these two 13 year old school girls, Sue and Mary, from Coventry, had written, recorded and released a single on Decca, September 1962, weeks before the release of the Beatles first single Love Me Do. It was called Traitor in Disguise and it was great, and while you may think they had been listening to Elvis's Devil in Disguise for inspiration, they hadn't - it came out months before the Elvis release  - click Here for the Sue and Mary story. Thanks to their teacher and Bert Weedon, who had a 2nd home in Coventry, Sue and Mary were the first none solo act from Coventry to release a single and it was Coventry's first 'beat single' too. Sadly it wasn't a hit, but these two ladies had so much potential and they had already written their follow up single - Teenage Dreamer. Decca would turn out to be a great outlet for Coventry artists in the 60's as we shall see. Sue and Mary wouldn't be the last school girls from Coventry thrust into the pop limelight - soon it would be the turn of The Orchids! Great shame this wasn't a hit, it could have been a big moment for Coventry and Sue and Mary! Take a listen - 

3. Two impresarios - Reg Calvert and Larry Page.

MUSIC impresario Reg Calvert was a key figure on the sixties music scene, managing bands which packed out local dance halls and who all lived and practiced at his mansion in Rugby.

Reg was the first to arrive in the surrounding area of Coventry. As early as 1961 he bought Clifton Hall, near Rugby and set up his School of Rock n Roll. The hall boasted a recording studio, luxurious lounge, billiard room, spacious gardens and a football pitch. The rules were no alcohol and no girls! They would work hard, write, rehearse and record to make the shows at Reg's Midland venues as perfect as can be. They were paid a basic wage and had free accommodation and meals at the Hall. His ambition was to bring Rock 'n' Roll to England. He was the first to do this. He formed three professional 'road shows' that toured the country performing at various dance halls and bringing a new kind of entertainment to England. He was the first to hold open air rock concerts. First to form 'tribute' bands/singers. His acts included Danny Storm and the Strollers, Buddy Britten and the Regents, Glen Dale, Robbie Hood and his Merry Men (morphed into The Fortunes), Screaming Lord Sutch and Johnny Washington. And from these acts would morph into the likes of The Fortunes, The Liberators and Pinkertons Assorted Colours. read more about Reg Calvert 

One of Reg's most popular ventures was his regular 'Teen Beat' nights held on Friday and Saturday evenings at the Co-op Hall in NuneatonAfter the Clifton Hall period Reg moved into, and was in fact a pioneer of off-shore broadcasting or pirate radio as it was more commonly known as during the mid-1960s.


In 1963 was Larry Page came to Coventry and set up at the Orchid Ballroomthe first of two music entrepreneurs that became associated with the Coventry area, the other being Reg Calvert

Larry Page started out as a pop singer in the late 1950's but by the early 60's had moved into pop management, when Mecca were busy converting dying cinemas and theatres into a network of ballrooms, Page was hired as a consultant manager. His job was to select a suitable venue and spend three months working on a relaunch. If the results were profitable, Mecca poured further money into the scheme. Word soon spread in music business circles that Page was establishing himself as a talent spotter with considerable flair and business acumen. Before long, his venue The Orchid ballroom in Coventry was besieged by several of the most influential producers, pop moguls and music publishers of the early sixties. 

Larry launched a number of Coventry artists between 1963/5 who made singles, including Johnny B Great (John Goodison who much later produced Race with the Devil for The Gun and was associated with The Brotherhood of Man in the early 70's), Shel Naylor (ie a young Rob Woodward who would later take Lieutenant Pigeon to the top of the UK charts in 1972 and who recorded a Dave Davies of The Kinks, song in the 60's),The Pickwicks, The Orchids (who like Sue and Mary, were still at school but made some outanding singles, even though the Beatles voted their single down on Juke Box Jury!), The Mighty Avengers who recorded the Rolling Stones song Blue Turns to Grey, long before Cliff Richard recorded it in the late sixties. In the early part of the 1960's Larry Page was the best hope for Coventry music. Over to Pete Clemons

Friars Promotions
Friars Promotions were the biggest promoters in Coventry in the 60's and early 70's.

4. 'The Coventry Sound' by Pete Clemons

After moving to the Orchid to become its new manager during April 1963, one of Larry Page’s first decrees was to set about adding extra dance nights. By September he began advertising gigs as ‘The Coventry Sound’. It is fair to assume that Larry Page had a good eye on what was happening in other areas of the country and had clearly seen something within the talent of Coventry.

While all this was happening so was a little matter of the Mersey Scene spearheaded by a group called The Beatles. The Beatles visited Coventry during November 1963 and, judging by the column inches they were getting in the press, this could possibly have averted people’s attentions. Similarly, when Coventry showcased some of the top local bands at the Coventry Theatre early in 1964, at a couple of gigs – one of which was headlined by Brian Poole and the Tremeloes - it kind of coincided with a gig at the same venue by The Rolling Stones who had been sandwiched between it all.

These, however, were the more obvious signs that things were happening in a bid to create a Coventry scene. And of course, given that these events are getting on for 60 years ago, I am only surmising. But I do feel that genuine efforts were made, particularly by Larry Page, to create a scene to rival that of Merseyside and Birmingham. It wasn’t as though Coventry’s bands never put up a good showing. Sadly, Larry wasn’t to remain in Coventry long enough to see the job through. He was to move on to more challenging jobs.

Interestingly, I asked a couple of the more prominent musicians from that time, as to their own view and what they remember about The Coventry Sound of the early 1960s:

Nigel Lomas: "I would say nothing specific, we (Johnnie B Great and the Goodmen) did not play a lot in Coventry when we turned full time July 1963, apart from the odd Orchid Ballroom gig backing the Orchids, until we changed the line up in October 1964, most groups played bits of Chuck Berry plus other imported American songs until The Sorrows started writing a lot of their own songs. Most groups had their own unique sound, Matadors, Mighty Avengers, Beat Preachers, Tony Martin and the Echo Four, Flamingoes and so on....,The Mersey beat was more of a line up sound than anything else i.e...two guitars, bass, drums and usually at least three or four on vocals. As opposed to The Shadows, Tornadoes, . I would say most of the Mersey lot were initially bought into the charts, especially all those tied to Brian Epstein. In my opinion the best bands around at that time came from Brum."

Alan Payne: "In the Flamingoes we were leaning more towards soul /Motown (Otis Redding, The Temptations (we did a 7 minute version of "Papa Was a Rolling Stone) Curtis Mayfield etc. I was trying to steer the band in a different direction to other local bands at the time - a lot who were doing Liverpool band covers so I don't think that was a ‘Coventry’ sound as such. I have spent my life trying to be different and not doing the predictable – that is probably what has led to my session work."

All in all then, and despite the romance, it appears that the Coventry Sound of the early 1960s never really came to fruition. The city would have to wait until several years later until it really stamped its mark on the map. Deep down though, I do believe that we were onto something back then. And it wasn’t that far out of reach.

5. Brian Matthew -  BBC Radio Presenter.
Brian Matthew, born in Coventry on September, 17 1928, attended Bablake School. He began his broadcasting career for forces radio in Germany during 1948. He was the son of musical parents. His father was a conductor of the Coventry Silver Band and his mother a professional singer. Almost all the big names appeared on Brian's shows, many of them live on air, and one of the biggest and most popular at that time were The Beatles who he developed a friendly relationship with. He even spent a week in the US touring with the mop tops. Saturday Club was a prestigious radio show, originally launched in 1957, and was a showcase for up and coming talent. Brian was presenter of this show when, for example, Gene Vincent and Eddie Cochran appeared on it. The Beatles also gave their first performance on Saturday Club during January 1963. And Brian Matthew was also host for the Easy Beat programme when The Beatles first appeared on that show later the same year. More here from Pete Clemons.

6. Pete Waterman - R & B singer, D.J. and later Record   Producer.
Pete Waterman didn't make any singles in the 1960's, his many hit productions came a couple of decades later, but still he was a force to be reckoned with on the Coventry music scene in the 60's, primarily the singer and rhythm guitarist with two Coventry R & B bands - THE PILGRIMS 1965 featuring Pete Waterman on Vocals and guitar / Kingsley Joyce on Organ, Keith Jackson on bass, John (a cousin of Keith Jackson) on drums, Duncan Hall on drums and TOMORROW'S KIND 1965 Pete Waterman on guitar and vocals, Keith Jackson on bass, Duncan Hall on drums, Richard Hollis on lead guitar , and myself Paul Hatt on vocals. Pete said of the band "it actually looked like they might have gone on to be famous. They didn't, of course, but we did pick up a bit of a following and we started gigging three or four nights a week while I was still holding down the day job at the GEC."

It was at this time that Pete became Coventry's top Soul and R & B DJ at the Locarno and many other venues in the Midlands. Pete explains how the transition happened "One night in 1966 we were playing a gig and one of the other bands didn't turn up, so I dashed home, got my records and played them before the band came on. Now no one really did this at that time and the Landlord of the pub where we were playing said he really liked it. He offered me 10 bob to come back again and play records the following week... So by a quirk of fate, I went from being the lead singer in a not very good band to being the only DJ in Coventry." From Pete's autobiography I Wish I Was Me.

Pete was a huge mover and shaker in the 60;s and 70's and his ground work on the Coventry scene, DJing, promoting bands and venues and building connections with record pluggers, record companies, bands and artists of all descriptions were invaluable for both the local scene and his future as Record Mogul in the 1980's. More from Pete Clemons here 

Pete also worked for Friars Promotions, led by Vince Martin (Holliday), the lead singer of Coventry's first Rock n Roll band - The Vampires. Friars Promotions (formed in 1962) ran and promoted many of the venues in Coventry in the 60's and early 70's. Read more about Friars Promotions here 

7. Coventry Bands and Artists who made singles in the 1960's.

Johnny Washington - 
(Singles Darinda - Tomorrow is Another Day 1961 Spare A Thought For Me 1964 as George E.Washington.)

BORN in Rugby, brought up in Bell Green, lives and performs in Las Vegas, nominated for a Grammy award and an author of several books. During the early 1960s Johnny got his first break and became a member of Coventry rock 'n' roll band The Vampires. At aged 16 Johnny had been signed to Reg Calvert's Clifton Hall Artists. And then during 1961 he had recorded his first 45 'Darinda' on the Decca label. Through that association he was involved in the embryonic stages of The Fortunes who were, back then, known as The Cliftones. In fact Rod Bainbridge (Allen) and Barry Pritchard were involved in the recording of 'Darinda'. Washington left the group early in it’s development and was replaced by another Clifton Hall artist, Glen Dale. Several more singles followed and Johnny joined the Applejacks. Read more by Pete Clemons here and his bio here

Beverley Jones - 
( Singles (1963) The Boy I Saw You With / Why Do Lovers Break Each others Heart /  Wait Til My Bobby Gets Home / Heatwave (64).

Beverley Jones styled herself on little miss dynamite Brenda Lee, yet had her own very distinctive voice. She cut several 45 rpm singles in 1963 / 4 for HMV. Beverley also sang for The Prestons and Coventry band The Mad Classix. Read more from  Pete Clemons here

Johnny B Great - 
(School's In - 1963, Acapulco 1964)

Johnny B Great (Johnny Goodison) Born in Coventry 1943, Johnny was a songwriter and lead singer with Johnny B Great and the Goodmen, later The Quotations and later still became the producer of The Gun's single Race With The Devil and wrote tunes for The Brotherhood of Man and The Bay City Rollers in the early 70's. There were associations with The Orchids (they sang on each other's records and with Beryl Marsden. Johnny was one of Larry Page's acts originally. Read more from Pete Clemons here

The Orchids-
(Singles - Gonna Make Him Mine / Love Hit Me (1963), I've Got That Feeling (1964), What More Do You Want (as the Exceptions) 1965.

The Orchids, like Sue and Mary a year earlier, were school girls perusing a pop career. The were discovered and promoted by Larry Page who named them after his Coventry venue. Although they had great potential and were influenced by The Crystals, their singles didn't chart but The Beatles gave them the thumbs down on a Juke Box Jury without realising they were in the audience! Jimmy Page played on their records for Decca. Their single I've Got a Feeling was written by Ray Davies of the Kinks who Larry Page went on to manage.Read more from Pete Clemons here  and their very interesting biography here

Shel Naylor -
(Singles - How Deep is the Ocean / One Fine Day)

Shel Naylor was another Larry Page discovery who produced a couple of singles that didn't chart - one written by Ray Davies - One Fine Day. Shel recorded on Decca and Jimmy Page,then a session guitarist, also featured on his records along with John Paul Jones. Shel of course eventually achieved chart success in 1972 with his band Lieutenant Pigeon - with Mouldy Old Dough using his real name Rob Woodward. Although Mouldy Old Dough was their big hit and reached No1, both Lieutenant Pigeon and their other band Staveley Makepiece made quite a few singles in the 70's.

Lynne Curtis (Single - House for Sale)

Lynne Curtis began her career singing for Larry Page at The Orchid Ballroom in Coventry. She was a temporary member of Coventry band The Challengers and later The Mustangs and The Matadors (The Four Matadors). She appeared on a bill at Coventry Theatre supporting Brian Poole and the Tremeloes along with The Orchids, The Matadors, The Mustangs, The Midnights and The Avengers. She made a single for Decca - House for Sale in 1964 and an American release on President was apparently planned to coincide with the UK release. 'Gonna Make A Man Outta You' and 'The Night of The Dance' seem to have remained on the shelf."

The Mighty Avengers
(Singles - Hide Your Pride / So Much in Love / (1964) Blue Turns To Grey (Jagger / Richards) / (Walking thru the) Sleepy City - Decca)

The Mighty Avengers were a beat group formed in 1962, originally called The Avengers. This was Reg Calvert's venue Buddy Brittain and the Regents and The Beatles at the Co-op hall in Nuneaton on October 5, 1962. Note that The Beatles were not the headliners that night! This gave them an early break. The recorded four singles for Decca, some under Andrew Loog-Oldham. So Much in Love and Blue Turns To Grey were Jagger / Richards compositions and Blue Turns to Grey was recorded before Cliff Richard covered the song in 1966 reaching No 15. So Much In Love spent two weeks in the charts, reaching No 46. Tony Campbell of the band would go to record with Coventry band Jigsaw.
More here on the Mighty Avengers from both Pete Clemons and Pete Chambers.

The Pickwicks
(Singles - Apple Blossom Time / You're Old Enough (64), Little By Little (65) - Decca.)

The Pickwicks were one of the earliest Coventry beat groups and three out of four of them began in 1963 as Tony Martin and the Echo Four. They came to the attention of Larry Page at the Orchid Ballroom who changed their name to The Pickwicks and through him got a recording contract with Decca. Their third and final single Little By Little was for Warner Brothers label and the B side was an early Ray Davies composition I Took My Baby Home. Jimmy Page played lead guitar on the single. In keeping with the Charles Dickens theme the band had a photo shoot where they were dressed in Dickensian attire complete with top hats. Larry Page would build on this kind of image when went on to manage The Kinks. Read more about The Pickwicks here  via Pete Clemons. 

Also check out a great new article on John Miles of The Pickwicks by his granddaughter Leah D'Archy which gives some great background to the band Here

Leah tells us  "During 1964 a musical relationship was forming between The Pickwicks and The Kinks which went as far as having John Miles as a backup vocalist on the very well known song ‘You Really Got Me’ which was only discovered this year when John Miles confessed to working closely with Ray Davies."

The Little Darlings
(Singles - Little bit 'O Soul- Fontana 65)

Formed in 1964, Freakbeat / Mod. Previously known as The Pines. Joe Meek was their recording manager. Featured for a while, Roy Butterfield who went on to play with an early version of Indian Summer and latter wrote and played with The Tom Robinson Band in the 70's. Their 1965 single didn't chart but they also cut 'Good Things Are Worth Waiting For' in March 1966. (Written by Ivy League songwriters John Carter and Ken Lewis) which Manager Ken Waites described as "...strong pumping bass and slight pop-art touch in the middle...".They became The Sensations in May 1966. Read more here by Pete Clemons and Pete Chambers.

The Midnights
( Singles - Show me Around - Ember 1965)

Warwick based beat group, played at the Coventry Theatre December 1963. Released debut single on Ember in August 1965, but were 'unhappy about the promotion of it' .

Appeared on 'Thank Your Lucky Stars' in June 1965 as well as at Coventry Carnival the same month. Read more here .

The Boys Blue
(Singles - You Got What I Want (65) HMV/ Honey Machine (66) Phillips.

Formed 1964-5 R&B / Beat group. Some get confused between The Boys Blue and The Sorrows because both recorded You What What I Want and Take a Heart. They are not one and the same group! The Boys Blue recorded these Miki Dallon songs before The Sorrows. Read more here

The Sorrows
( Singles - I Don't Want to be Free / Baby / Take a Heart / You Got What it Takes (65) Piccadilly. Let the Live Live / Let Me In (66) / Pink Purple Yellow and Red (67) Italian singles Verde Rossa Gialli Blu 1967 The following Italian singles were made after Roger Lomas and Pip had left the band in 1967 - Zabadak / Per una donna no! 1967 and Hey Hey in 1968.

The Sorrows (R & B / Freakbeat) were Coventry's most successful band in the 1960's, recording for Piccadilly, they had a hit with Take a Heart, in 1965 in the UK charts but found greater fame on the continent and especially in Italy where they had a string of hits. Of course there were a number of line up changes along the way and lead singer Don Fardon enjoyed a successful solo career in the early 70's with the hit Indian Reservation and Roger Lomas going to produce The Selecter, Bad Manners, Lee Scratch Perry and many others. Read more here 

The Liberators
(Singles - It Hurts So Much 1965)

The Liberators were spotted by Reg Calvert and became Pinkerton's Assorted Colours. Their only single was produced by the legendary Shel Talmy. Read more here.

Pinkerton's Assorted Colours
(Singles - Mirror Mirror (65) / Don't Stop Loving Me / Magic Rocking Horse (66) / Mum and Dad (67) / There's Nobody I'd Sooner Love (68) - Pye).
Chart toppers Pinkerton's Assorted Colours were spotted by Reg Calvert and changed their name from The Solitaires to The Liberators to Pinkerton's Assorted Colours end of 1965. 'Mirror, Mirror' was the first record to be produced by the late Tony Clarke who went on to produce the classic albums by The Moody Blues. Read more here .

The Peeps / Martin Cure and the Peeps
(Singles - Now is the Time / What can I say (65) / Got to Get a Move On / Tra la La (66) /  I Can Make the Rain Fall Up (67) - Phillips.

Read more here 

Mad Classix
(Singles - My Honey Bunny - 1965)

The Mad Classix was another of Coventry's popular beat groups who existed from the early to mid 1960s. And August 1964 saw them appear on Hughie Green's version of Opportunity Knocks. The band had been put forward for the show by promoter Vince Martin of The Vampires and Friars Promotions.. And for their appearance the band traveled second class, with Vince, up to Manchester where they stayed overnight. The Classix rehearsed and recorded the performance the day before it went out at ATV studios in the city. The Classix did not win but performed really well and far from disgraced themselves. They finished a very creditable runner-up. Beverly Jones sang with the band at one stage. The A side 'My Hunny Bunny with 'It's Never Too Late' on the B side were released on the Storz record label. As far as I understand this record was only ever released in Germany. Jeff Lynne played with them for a short while in 1966. Read more here.

(We Will fall in love / Coffee Break 1965)

Played Star Club in Hamburg and cut a single in early 1965. 'Angstrom is a technical term for a measurement of sound' they told Midland Beat in 1965. Martin Jenkins joined this band before forming Coventry's to progressive folk band, Dando Shaft who recorded on Young blood and RCA Neon labels in the early 70's. Read more here

The Carribean
(Single - Inside Out (65) Pye.These are the R & B / Freak Beat band The Beat Preachers (by another name). Read more here

The Four Matadors (The Matadors)
(Singles - A Man's Gotta Stand Tall (66) Columbia)

Formed in 1962, The Matadors received a break in 1964 when they were signed by Harold Davison who was also the manager of the Dave Clark Five and The Applejacks. He managed to get the band down to Decca Studios in London where they recorded six of their own songs along with another that Decca Records themselves had selected. 1964 also saw The Matadors tour Scotland where, according to their personal manager Mike James, they went like a bomb. The same year they also appeared with Billy J Kramer on a package tour down the south of the country. 

1965 then saw the band sign up with top independent record producer Joe Meek, the man who had produced several million selling hit singles including 'Telstar' made world famous by The Tornadoes. All the signs were good as a clutch of songs were recorded. Enough in fact to make three singles. However, a year later not one record had been released! After the well publicised delay and the band's response The Matadors first single was leased by Meek to the Columbia Records label and was at long last released during January 1966.
Read the full story here

The Overlanders

(Single - Michelle)

The Overlanders were not a Coventry band but when their version of The Beatles song Michelle hit the charts, its success was down to a Warwickshire singer Paul Arnold Friswell. Paul Arnold Friswell was born in the village of Bretford, near Rugby, on August 18, 1942. Pete Chambers has the story here

Beverley Martyn nee Kutner.
(Singles - Babe I'm Leaving You (65) / Happy New Year (66) / Museum (A Donovan composition) (67) Derem.)

Beverley Martyn (born Beverley Kutner on 24 March 1947) is a singer, songwriter and
guitarist. Beverley was born near Coventry. While still a student, she was picked to front The Levee Breakers, a jug band featuring Mac McGann and Johnny Joyce, who played the folk circuit in south east England. At the age of 16 she recorded her first single. "Babe I'm Leaving You", with the Levee Breakers, which was released on the Parlophone label in 1965. Martyn was then signed as a solo artist to the Deram Records label. In 1966 she released a single, "Happy New Year" (b-side "Where The Good Times Are"), written by Randy Newman, on which she was accompanied by Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones, Nicky Hopkins and Andy White. "Happy New Year" was chosen, together with "I Love My Dog" by Cat Stevens, to launch Deram as the progressive branch of Decca Records. She also recorded an unreleased single in the same year, "Picking Up The Sunshine" / "Me and My Gin ". These last two tracks also featured John Renbourn and Mike Lease. During this period she was taught the guitar by the folk guitarist Bert Jansch who also encouraged her songwriting. Her follow-up single "Museum", written by Donovan was released in 1967, produced by Denny Cordell. Beverley appeared on Bookends by Simon and Garfunkle - her part was the voice saying "Good morning Mr Leitch, have you had a busy day" in the song Fakin' It. - Mr Leitch of course being Donovan. Of course she better known as the partner of John Martyn and her work on the album Storm Bringer.

The Coventry Folk Scene in 60's.

The Coventry folk scene began in the early 60's began to establish Coventry as a centre for Folk music that in later decades attracted ...*The earliest venue seems to been the Coventry Arts Umbrella Club c 1962, moving to pub venues in 1963 like The Binley Oak, The Swanswell Tavern through pioneers like Ron Shuttleworth, Barry Skinner and Ben Arnold. The hosts were folk bands like The Troubadours, The Down Country Boys, The Kerries. The Kerries, of which group, Gill Thurlow, later married David MacWilliam who had a hit with The Days of Pearly Spencer. One young lady who made regular appearances as a singer / guitarist was a Beverley Kutner (later Beverley Martyn - John Martyn's wife). Also seen performing there on occasions were The Furies. Sean Cannon of The Dubliners was another leading light on the Coventry Folk scene in the 60's and beyond. In 1965 newcomer Rod Felton, playing his unique blend of blues, folk and Jug band tunes,along with his own compositions was hailed in the local press and Coventry's answer to Bob Dylan! Rod formed with Beverely Kutner / Martyn and went on to form The New Modern Idiot Grunt Band with Rob Armstrong who later made guitars for the likes of George Harrison and Bert Jansch. The Grunt band took the national folk circuit by storm in the late 60's / early 70's and as a solo artist in the 70's Rod Felton recorded a number of albums that never surfaced. Hobo has a full blog on the Coventry Folk scene with articles from the 60's through to the present - here

The Ray King Soul Band.
(Behold / Ray King Soul Band album) 

Soul man Ray King is a Coventry legend, mentor to members of Two Tone, he  went from playing in city pubs to playing the big Playboy clubs. In 1967 he had a single out called Behold but the live albums were something else. Click the link above to read more about The Ray King Soul Band.

Goodtime Losers
(Single: Trafalgar Square/Where Did My Heart Go (Fontana TF791 - 1967)

Previously The Sensations. Trafalgar Square single was written by media personality, Barry Fantoni, although the self-penned b-side was better, being a brisk, almost folk-rock number.
Played at the Star Club in Hamburg. Read more here
(Singles - One Way Street /Mr Job / Let Me Go Home(68)  Music Factory)

Jigsaw, formed in 1966 and their members came from Coventry and Rugby. They were born out of the ashes of Rugby group, The Mighty Avengers but also included members of The Antarctic’sThe Beat Preachers and others. They were active continuously for almost the next twenty years. They had more singles out in the 1970's. Read more here from Pete Clemons

The Eggy
(Singles - You're Still Mine, Spark 1969)

Formed after The Sorrows split in late 1967 by Roger Lomas. Both sides of the single had previously been demoed by The Sorrows.  
Flying Machine
(Single - Smile and Little Smile / Send My Baby Home Again - Pye 1969)

The bulk of the outfit started their musical career under the title of Pinkerton's Assorted Colours. "Songwriters Tony Macauley and Geoff Stevens wrote their hit "smile a little smile for me" which was a smash, Stateside.
Edgar Broughton Band
(Singles - Evil - Harvest 1969)

Warwick based band, both Broughtons were ex-Tony And The Talons and Original Roadrunners R&B/Blues outfits. This band was formed around 1967 and they based themselves in London in 1968, although retained strong links with Warwick. Unitt left before they signed with Blackhill Enterprises and recorded for Harvest.

These bands below formed in Coventry in the late 60's and all made albums for RCA Neon c 1970 / 71, with exception of the progressive band, Asgard, who had an association with John Peel in 1970 and made some acetates with a few to making an album. Unfortunately Asgard split up before they got chance to make an album but some of the demo tracks are on the Asgard link here. As a pointer to the future of Coventry music and Two Tone, Neol Davies, later of The Selecter, guested with Asgard on sitar and most likely would have featured on the album, had it materialised.

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