The Honeycombs

I remember when The Honeycombs visited Australia, in the middle of the 1960s and how the press was intrigued because the group possessed a female drummer, ‘Honey’ Lantree. Honey had worked as a hairdresser alongside the group’s founder, Martin Murray. Its leading singer was Denis D’Ell and its guitarists were Alan Ward and Honey’s brother, John.

Originally known as The Sheratons, The Honeycombs released the driving, earthy sound of “Have I The Right?”, which entered the British charts in late July of 1964 and a month later occupied the position most prized.

“Have I The Right?” deservedly became a success internationally during which time it reached No.5 in the United States and No.1 in Australia. Nevertheless, the quintet was unable to produce another single to maintain this widespread appeal although, in 1965, it did rise to No.12, in its native Britain, with “That’s The Way”.

The Honeycombs disbanded in 1967, four years after the band had been formed.

Mitch Ryder and The Detroit Wheels

William S. Levise Jr was born in February of 1945, in Michigan. His father was a musician and, by his teenage years, William was following this same path.

Bob Crewe, a prevalent songwriter and producer of records, bestowed the name of Mitch Ryder upon William and also renamed his band The Detroit Wheels. This newly named outfit recorded the single, “Jenny Take A Ride!”, in 1965 and saw it enter the American Top Ten. The medley was a combination of two hits from the past: “C.C. Rider” and “Jenny, Jenny”.

A cover version of The Righteous Brothers’ “Little Latin Lupe Lu” peaked in the Top 20 and “Break Out” perhaps deserved better than to cease to rise beyond No.62. Still, with Mitch’s voice bearing the influence of that possessed by the early rocker, Little Richard, the medley of “Devil With A Blue Dress On and Good Golly Miss Molly” just had to be a hit and, towards the end of 1966, the single duly ascended to No.4.

“Sock It To Me-Baby!” marked the group’s last visit to the Top Ten, as well as being its penultimate entry to the charts.

Mitch Ryder embarked upon a career as a solo recording artist, however, his success in this endeavour proved to be moderate. Nonetheless, video clips bear testimony to the fact that Mitch continued to perform live for years to come.

The Nashville Teens

Despite its choice of title, The Nashville Teens was actually a British pop group, which formed in the English county of Surrey, in 1962. Originally, the band was comprised of vocalists, Arthur Sharp and Ray Phillips; pianist, John Hawken; bassist, Pete Shannon Harris; guitarist, Mick Dunford and drummer, Dave Maine.

It was not uncommon for British bands of that time to venture to the then West Germany to play in nightclubs and gain experience. Whilst in the northern city of Hamburg, The Nashville Teens was afforded the opportunity to back the early rocker, Jerry Lee Lewis, on his album, ‘Live At The Star Club’; a recording that was to receive much acclaim.

Upon its return to Britain, the band played on tour with Chuck Berry, and, in 1964, released its initial single, “Tobacco Road”, which had actually been penned by an American, John D. Laudermilk. “Tobacco Road” rose to No.6 in Britain, No.14 in the United States and No.4 in Australia.

The Nashville Teens followed this latest success with “Google Eye”, a song that had also been written by John D. Loudermilk. This single ascended to a height of No.10, in Britain, in October of 1964. Nevertheless, the group’s subsequent entries did not perform as they were presumably expected to, and, in early 1966, The Nashville Teens ceased to be an entity on the charts.

Television series such as ‘Heartbeat’, ‘The Royal’ and ‘Mad Men’ have served to introduce the recordings of the 1950s and 1960s to subsequent generations.

Los Bravos

Although Los Bravos hailed from Spain, its leading singer, Mike Kennedy, was German by birth. Mike had changed his surname from that of Kogel because he reportedly believed that it would be more palatable to the British media.

The group sampled fame in the 1960s when its initial release, “Black Is Black”, became an international hit, in 1966. The single reached No.2 in Britain, No.4 in the United States and No.6 in Australia. In total, it was to sell more than one million copies.

Los Bravos’s only other success of note occurred in this same year when “I Don’t Care” peaked at No.16 in Britain.

In 1977, the French female vocal trio, La Belle Epoque, also took “Black Is Black” to No.2 in Britain, in the era of disco.

“Black Is Black”, by Los Bravos, is another of my favourite recordings.

The Bobby Fuller Four

Robert Gaston Fuller was born in Texas, in October of 1942. Robert, along with his brother, Randy, participated in a number of disparate bands.

“Bobby” Fuller moved to Los Angeles, in 1964, with his band, The Bobby Fuller Four. Bobby was its vocalist and also played the guitar. Just as his idol and fellow Texan, the late Buddy Holly, had done.

The group was signed to record for Mustang Records and, in January of 1966, what was to be its biggest hit entered Billboard’s Hot 100. “I Fought The Law” peaked at No.9. In Australia it only reached No.29 and, in Britain, No.33. The song had been written by Sonny Curtis, who introduced it to The Crickets, after he joined that group, in 1959, following the death of Buddy Holly.

The Bobby Fuller Four’s only other entry to the chart was “Love’s Made A Fool Of You”, a moderately successful cover of Buddy Holly’s recording.

The band disbanded shortly after the body of its leader was found, in his car, in July of 1966. Even to this day the cause of his death appears to be open to conjecture.

“I Fought The Law” was, in turn, covered by the English punk rock group, The Clash, in 1979.

Consecutive Centuries To Chappell: Monday, 23rd May, 1977

Despite the sunshine it was a cold nine degrees Celsius when we arose. At noon, “The Mike Walsh Show”, in the presence of a live audience, had among its guests Australian singers, Jamie Redfern and Ray Burgess. The latter, is the presenter of the pop series, “Flashez”, and sang “Gloria”, which was a hit in Australia, in 1965, for Them, a group, from Northern Ireland, led by Van Morrison. ‘Frankenstein’ came to life, however, when Mike Walsh pulled off its mask, it proved to be none other than the show’s resident larrikin, Mike Williams, whom, for whatever reason, is also regularly referred to as ‘Shirley Temple’. The irrepressible bandleader, Geoff Harvey, quaffed two glasses of champagne, served by a butler. Other guests included a lion cub, a seal called ‘Dopey’ and a penguin!

At three o’clock, Mannix looks for a Japanese courier, with the assistance of Tami Okada, a likeable Japanese private investigator.

“Flashez”, from half past five, is followed at six by “The Big Match”, in which Chelsea accounts for Hull City by four goals to nil. While still on the subject of soccer, Australian international, George Harris, who plays for St. George, in the Philips’ League, is interviewed on ATN Channel Seven’s “News” as a result of being unexpectedly struck above the right eye by a spectator at the conclusion to his side’s away game against Adelaide City.

“Michael Edgeley’s Circus Spectacular” was viewed from half past seven.

Australia defeated Gloucestershire by one hundred and seventy-three runs. Greg Chappell’s one hundred and two means that he has scored centuries in successive matches.

Deep Purple

Along with other British bands, such as Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath, Deep Purple is considered to be among the pioneers of heavy metal. The band formed in Hertford, England, in late 1967.

Initially, the rock group was called Roundabout and consisted of vocalist Rod Evans, bass guitarist Nick Simper, Hammond organist Jon Lord, guitarist Ritchie Blackmore and drummer, Ian Paice. Nick had been a member of Johnny Kidd and The Pirates, which had taken “Shakin’ All Over” to No.1 on the British singles charts in the middle of 1960. He had also been in the car crash that claimed Johnny’s life, in 1966.

http://youtu.be/eLzqQupzzmA

It was Ritchie who suggested the name of Deep Purple for the band, for that was his grandmother’s favourite song. Among the band’s early recordings were “Hush”, a cover of the song from the pen of American singer/songwriter, Joe South and “Kentucky Woman”, which had already been a hit for its composer, Neil Diamond.

Rod Evans and Nick Simper departed from the Deep Purple, in 1969. Ian Gillan became the band’s new singer and Roger Glover, the new bassist.

In 1970, the group, sporting a new, more progressive sound took the single, “Black Night”, to No.2 in Great Britain. “Strange Kind Of Woman” (No.8, in 1971) and “Fireball” (No.15) came from the album, ‘Fireball’.

http://youtu.be/9ZpHl1x6JNc

In December of 1971, Deep Purple was in Switzerland preparing to record the album, ‘Machine Head’, when its members witnessed the fire that destroyed the Montreux Casino, situated across Lake Geneva. This event was to inspire the writing of “Smoke On The Water”, a single that was to sell well in the United States where it peaked at No.4. Deep Purple’s initial hit, “Hush”, had also reached its zenith there, in this same position, in 1968.

http://youtu.be/9f7LwuVF8Oo

Essentially, Deep Purple has primarily been a prolific producer and seller of albums. Sales in regard to these are in excess of one hundred million copies.

Deep Purple split up in 1976, only to re-form in 1984. The band continued to experience changes to its personnel although Ian Gillan, Roger Glover and Ian Paice remained loyal for years to come.

“Strange Kind Of Woman” is listed amongst that of my favourite recordings. This is located in the suggested playlists. I shall be adding to this list it from time to time.

The McCoys

The Rick Z Combo formed in Indiana, in 1962. Thence this band became known as Rick and The Raiders before eventually evolving into the rock group, The McCoys. It was under this name that it experienced its initial and most successful hit, “Hang On Sloopy”, in 1965. This recording sold well in excess of a million copies.

http://youtu.be/Gi1WXYHHc2s

As the group sought to find sequential glory, it turned to reviving hits from the past. “Fever” had initially entered the charts for Little Willie John, in 1956 — two years before Peggy Lee’s definitive version — and “Come On Let’s Go” had meant success for the late Richie Valens, in 1958. “Fever” did rise as high as No.7 on Billboard’s pop chart for The McCoys but “Come On Let’s Go” could climb no higher than No.22, and was a sign of things to come.

http://youtu.be/saBtR_wv070

The B-side of “Fever”, “Sorrow”, was covered by the British male vocal duo, The Merseys, and peaked at No.4, in 1966, on the British singles charts. “Sorrow” was again revived, in 1973, this time by the significantly more famous David Bowie, who, on this occasion, took it to No.3 in Britain.

http://youtu.be/iDWCsp3Y-oU

“Hang On Sloopy” is just one title named in the list of my favourite recordings, located in the suggested playlists. I shall be adding to this list from time to time.

Chris Farlowe

John Henry Deighton was born in October of 1940, in London, England. As Chris Farlowe he became known for his singing of rock, blues and soul.

Being an admirer of Lonnie Donegan, his musical career began in a skiffle group. By 1965 he had recorded the first of what would be eleven singles. Five of these were to be covers of recordings by The Rolling Stones.

One of these five, “Out Of Time”, written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richard, was destined to far outshine the other ten recordings, reaching No.1 on the British singles’ charts, in 1966, and No.12 in Australia.

http://youtu.be/zxerdh-3tc4

The names of more of my favourite recordings can be found in the suggested playlists. I shall be adding to this list from time to time.

Cream

Eric Clapton, the legendary blues guitarist, had played in The Yardbirds, and John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers prior to the formation of the trio, Cream. It was whilst playing with John Mayall that Eric met bassist, Jack Bruce and drummer, Ginger Baker.

This British trio was considered to be adventurous, even in the late 1960s, and quickly won a large following of devotees. However, the different temperaments within the group meant that, as an entity, it was to last for less than two years.

http://youtu.be/Cqh54rSzheg

“Sunshine Of Your Love”, “I Feel Free”, “Strange Brew” and “White Room” are the pick of Cream’s singles and of its albums, ‘Disraeli Gears’, is generally regarded as a classic.