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Page updated 19 September 2013
David St John BLOG 2013
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Welcome to this latest webpage following on from previous years and featuring miscellaneous news of my comedy shows plus related updates on my Southampton based Sixties Music side and you can read all about this via the Site Map page. Latest news first and then descending order. Please come back soon as this new blogpage is updated with new input throughout the year. As usual, many thanks to those who have been in touch with more info and those all important rare old photos that help bring the memories alive. I have a backlog of these so please let me know if I have left anything out over this early 2013 webpage that will be updated from time to time.
19th September 2013
More sad news of the loss of Southampton's Roger Pope- regarded as one of the finest drummers in the business and I have featured him with some of his local groups on this website- see:
I was one of the lucky ones who first saw him practising away on his basic drumkit in his bedroom back around 1961- the neighbours certainly heard him too! Playing away to Sandy Nelson 45s on the trusty Dansette and in perfect time. Within a couple of years, he had teamed up with one of the new local 'beat groups' called the Countdowns who played at my own Itchen Grammar School as bass player Duncan Campbell was a fellow pupil but a couple of years above me. The 63/64 British R&B scene saw the advent of hair growing longer and Roger then joined the brilliant Soul Agents who released a few records as well as being the backing group for a young 'beatnik' type guy with an unusual voice plus great character - Rod Stewart (I wonder what became of him?) You can read more about Roger on my webpages and all over the internet as he is well documented and his later bands (Hookfoot/Loot combinations) ended up as the backing band for another 'new' talent who had himself played keyboards with Rod Stewart, Long John Baldry and others on the London R&B scene of the early 60s. This piano player found a voice- teamed up with a lyricist called Bernie Taupin- changed his name from Reg Dwight and you know the rest of the story.....
Roger later played with Hall & Oates (1980s) and many more top names as a respected session drummer but ill health caused him to retire, spending his final years back 'home' in Southampton with long time partner Sue who looked after him like no other could. He was rushed into hospital a few days ago and in a critical condition when I heard the news through my contacts- I understand that a marriage ceremony was held at his bedside at 6pm on Tuesday 17th September and he passed away a few hours later around midnight. We will always remember 'Popeye' as an early nickname and he joins that sad list of 'absent friends' that will be read out at the forthcoming 'Back To The Sixties' show at Southampton's Concorde Club. This annual show features another amazing lineup of original 60s musicians- great bands, singers and DJS who recreate the best decade ever with hours of live music plus the chance for local 'baby boomers' to dance to the old hits as well as raising funds for local kids' charity. Its also a great hook-up for musicians and old fans plus a segment in which we pay a tribute to those we have lost, but have certainly left their mark in the world as well as showcasing more talent from Southampton.
ROGER POPE'S FUNERAL WILL TAKE PLACE AT WESSEX VALE CREMATORIUM BUBB LANE WEST END SOUTHAMPTON MONDAY SEPTEMBER 30th 2013 AT 1 PM.
FOLLOWED BY A WAKE AT THE BROOK PORTSWOOD SOUTHAMPTON
466 Portswood Rd Southampton SO17 3SD
023 8055 5366
THEN- THE FOLLOWING MONDAY- WHAT A BLAST!
219 Portsmouth Road, Woolston, Southampton, SO19 9BG
Telephone: 02380 447747
Limited carparking in this area so best to grab taxis or a lift- then have a good p***-up! Great bands, musos, guests, jams etc.
Thanks to Wally Phillips of The Music Shop Bitterne Southampton for his help (with others) in organising the follow-ups-please contact him if required and we all hope for a good turn-out as we give Roger Pope a traditional musical send-off. If you are not able to attend any of the above, it would be very much appreciated if a donation could be sent to help Sue Pope and family. Thank you.
If you recall Carole Hamilton-popular female DJ from the Adam & Eve Club Spa Road Southampton (back of the old Echo offices in Above Bar) late 60s or Fridays Club on the London Road (70s on) then why not relive these great days? If you are younger but love the classic Soul, Motown and Stax days- this is the place to be!
THE WOOL HOUSE SOUTHAMPTON
This historic landmark dating from the 14th C faces the Southampton Waterfront across the road from the Royal Pier, I.O.W. Ferry Terminal adjacent to the Town Quay. It housed the Maritime Museum until 2011 when the exhibits were moved to the new Civic Centre buildings, but the building now faces an uncertain future. This great image dates from the early 20th C with the Royal Pier Hotel on the right but long gone. Take a walk up Bugle Street on the left and it takes you to more great historical places such as Tudor House and St Michaels Church in the Square. Many are praying that the Royal Pier jetty be renovated and developed back to its former glory with leisure facilities such as a dance venue? See my many webpages dedicated to the most popular venue in the South where 50s and 60s pop groups, singers and DJs provided fantastic nights out for everybody. The old entrance hall has been beautifully restored by Kutis Thai Restaurant- see their website too by searching the net. Sadly, the twisted broken ruins of the old Victorian jetty give visiting passengers on cruise ships a rather poor view of Southampton Waterfront and a bad first impression.
The Wool House has been taken over by a non-profit group of talented people within the arts movements for the summer of 2013 and well worth a visit. You can read all about this on their new website and I have just had this e-mail from Steph May plus a link. If you are local then please call by and see what is going on or read about on their website as well as contacting them with any ideas of your own.
26 June 2013
A sad e-mail from Australia:
Johnny Watson was an amazing talent and an important of my early start in showbusiness back in 1958 at the Royal Pier Pavilion Ballroom near Southampton Docks. This popular dance hall was THE place to go - especially during the exciting late 1950s as rock n roll hit our shores. The enterprising manager- Len Canham- immediately installed a house band at the Pier in the shape of the Three Stars - a rock n roll trio who covered the latest hits as well as backing many local singers around the area. As a young 'nipper' I loved going to any dance hall during the Fifties with my family/friends etc. I watched the musicians play as well as enjoying themselves in the process plus soaking up the atmosphere as the dancers jived around the floor, and the seeds were sown for the rest of my life. The Pier had the prestigious Gil Hulme Dance band and other visiting musicians who played the ballroom type repertoire but these were being phased out by the new breed of young musicians- often self taught and not reading music sheets as such, much to the disdain of their elders who had studied for years! The regular Teen Dances at the Royal Pier soon took off and packed the place out night after night, much to the delight of Len Canham who later formed the much acclaimed Avenue Artistes agency. Another perceptive booker and manager was Reg Calvert so he and Len worked together on many rock n roll nights although mixed with some rivalry! Reg later moved to Rugby and concentrated on developing his 'School Of Rock N Roll' and you can read more about these two incredible managers on these pages below:
1958 David St John (age 10) + Johnny Watson
Like many people, I can recall certain moments in my life in between forgetting large chunks of it! However, this special night has remained crystal clear ever since I made my first real public performance although I had 'entertained' my family, friends and anyone else if out on a day trip- just singing or even cracking gags. Weaned on Bill Haley, Elvis Presley, Everly Brothers, Gene Vincent, Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Richard and many more I could often be found sitting next to a jukebox in Southampton coffee bars which were springing up. The teenagers often asked what I would like to hear and gave me the chance to listen, sing along and absorb the lyrics as well as having some idea of the music arrangements, keys etc due to playing basic piano. My mother worked at the Pier and mentioned this to Len Canham who was intrigued by having a ten year guest singer as an unusual attraction- never one to miss an opportunity! I went backstage and had a quick runthrough with the Three Stars- Johnny Watson on guitar, Alan Fraser on Double Bass and Brian 'Fergy' Ferguson on drums. They picked up my keys and my songs were 'Rock Around The Clock-Tutti Frutti-Jailhouse Rock-I Traced Her Little Footprints In The Snow-Last Train To San Fernando' I was then introduced as as 'special surprise guest singer' and ran out to the mike with the spotlights blocking everything out for the first few seconds plus a few girls screaming for me! No nerves and just got stuck straight in for my first ever rock n roll set-loved it and was hooked. You can read more on the page below- one of my first webpages on this site so needs checking over and tweaking at some stage
I forwarded the e-mail onto my many Southampton music pals and have received a few tributes which I share for now, and I'm sure that a few more will surface in the near future
1 June 2013. Just had an amazing e-mail from 'Tommy D' - a USA based musician who has been on tour with Paul Revere and the Raiders- top 60s bands but never cracked the UK charts. He was with our very own Eddie Harnett for many years when in Hawaii and Tommy has sent loads of rare photos so I will be adding these to the Eddie Harnett webpage on this website (see Site Map) In the meantime, Tommy sent these great You Tube links and you can now enjoy a glimpse of Ed's talent and it will bring a tear to the eye of those of lucky enough to have known him from the 60s until early 70s when he left the UK to cross the Big Pond. He was then known as 'Eddy Zany' in line with his fun stuff on top of fantastic musicianship.
I need some time to update Eddie's info as I will be checking out Tommy D's own memories and you can read more about Paul Revere on their own official website at: http://www.paulrevereandtheraiders.com/ Great stage act full of crazy antics- take a look and you will see that they are always touring the USA after so many years.
You will have read about Eddie's final 'difficult' years and I have had several messages with regard to his involvement with his last group- 'Heet' featuring a 'Tiffiny Bond' -female vocalist. I refrained from adding any links to their website as there were many personal problems on the 'management' side but I have just checked and rather concerned that they are still advertising Eddie as part of the existing line-up, despite passing away over two years ago! They even advertise music downloads, but Eddie's own copyrights were 'signed' away in rather mysterious circumstances and he certainly had no money in his last years. This website is obviously out of date as it contains much of the same content from when Eddie was alive and well, but I find it distasteful to see that they indicate that he is very much a part of the whole set-up. As far as I know- Heet does not exist and much of the 'Tiffiny Bond' website is phoney- I have e-mailed the 'manager' a Mr Joe (Moxley) More -King Music etc and presumably back in Hawaii now? The message was bounced back as expected and I'm hoping that someone will know of these people involved and (hopefully) edit the pages accordingly. I did try a couple of cellphone numbers from before but another dead end
This is the weblink and you may wish to follow it up yourself or please contact me with any information? http://www.tiffinybond.com/index.html
Announcing the ever popular Shadows Celebration - a full day/evening of amazing sounds at the prestigious Lakeside Club in Frimley Green Surrey. Contact venue for tickets!
If you are familiar with many of my webpages that celebrate the 60s music scene around my hometown of Southampton, you will note many links to the big names that either passed through on concert tours or ballroom dates etc. Rod Stewart's early backing group being our very own Soul Agents and there is more information on this website plus links to Rod's fansite (Smiler)
Many of us young musicians were inspired by many of the stars that made their mark on the pop charts and much more as part of those two amazing decades of the Fifties and Sixties. The UK experienced the 1950s American invasion that saw rock n roll imported into our culture thanks to Bill Haley, Elvis Presley and other great artistes and within a few years we saw our own wave of new artistes led by Tommy Steele then Cliff Richard and co. The name of top manager Larry Parnes is well remembered as he produced a stable of British rock n rollers and groomed them into major recording stars as well as giving them more 'interesting' names! The solo artistes were eclipsed by the next wave of 'beat groups' from 1962/63 and due to the Beatles, Stones and other big names that made the former stars look rather 'old fashioned' despite the talent that has left its legacy across the next few decades.
Larry Parnes acts:
Marty Wilde (Reg Smith) Vince Eager (Roy Taylor) Dickie Pride (Richard Knellar),Lance Fortune (Chris Morris),Duffy Power (Ray Howard)Johnny Gentle (John Askew) Terry Dene (Terence Williams)Nelson Keene (Malcolm Holland) Georgie Fame (Clive Powell). He also managed Tommy Bruce, and Joe Brown, but failed to persuade Joe to change his name to Elmer Twitch! The most successful of these stars was in the shape of young singer/songwriter from Liverpool- Billy Fury (originally Ron Wycherley) and evolved into one of the UKs most successful recording artistes from 1959 but sadly passed away in 1983 at the age of only 42 (as did Elvis...) Just search the net and you will discover more about this great talent as well as being able to hear his classic hits plus rare footage of Billy in action on stage or film etc. There are also many tribute acts who pay homage to Billy Fury and I have just seen one of the best in action- Michael King who is currently on tour as we commemorate 30 years since losing Billy Fury and you can find out more by visiting his own website (see below)
Mike's great show played at the Prince Of Wales Theatre in Cannock Staffs and split into two halves in which he portrays the young and older Billy Fury with uncanny accuracy. Backed by a brilliant set of musicians, including a real showman on double bass who plays it- spins it-jumps on it in the style of Bill Haley's Comet bassman! Mike King looks the part with a great voice, movements and wearing same style of flashy stage clothes as worn by Billy Fury. The first half of the show in a real rock n style with swept back hair and performing many rare singles and album tracks in between the major hits that everybody knows. He nips offstage for costume changes whilst the band play some great fills and the show is enhanced by a back projection screen with stills and movie clips from Billy's years that help convey the great years. The second half sees the long haired phase of Billy's later years through the Sixties and Seventies with hits to match, keeping the audience (all ages) singing along with the classic numbers. I can thoroughly recommend this superb show that is playing at major venues all over the UK, so take a look at the website above and try and catch it!
ROCK ATLAS- David Roberts
I am often contacted by various writers, researchers, movie makers and much more, thanks to the way in which my 60s music webpages have become well established over the last few years. The very successful Rock Atlas has become a much desired read on the very locations that hosted many stories of famous (and infamous!) names over the rock n roll years and the latest edition can be purchased via Amazon and other outlets. London figures prominently as the centre of the 60s pop universe and you can use it as a travellers' guide that leads you to the site of many a great venue or where the stars lived, loved and died.
I have been asked to review this latest edition and this is a copy of the Amazon submission dated 3rd April 2013:
THE MANFREDS 2013 TOUR
Concorde Club Southampton Thursday 14th March!
Fans will recall that the original group appeared at the old Concorde Club at the Bassett Hotel near the Common (back room jazz/blues club) before the hits.
Or elsewhere via their own webpage: http://www.themanfreds.com/tourdates.php
5th February 2013
My 28th TV quiz show aired on Channel 4 at 3-30 pm. 'Face The Clock' a fast moving race against an unseen clock and 5 rival contestants, hosted by impressionist Rory Bremner.
What a week! These are the current press article links (below) and possibly more on the way. I was also interviewed on the following radio stations- iTalkFM Marbella Spain, Talk Europe FM Malaga Spain, BBC Wales, BBC WM (Midlands) and Radio 4 'Saturday Live' as well as noting several TV quiz related press articles and radio coverage, linked to the whole subject of quizzing, pub quizzes and much more!
TalkRadioEurope(Spain) Hannah Murray
I have known Susan Calvert for a while, thanks to links to my 60s music webpages and she is one of the daughters of Reg Calvert who was an early promoter/manager of several pop singers, bands from the late Fifties through the Sixties. Reg and Dorothy moved down to my hometown of Southampton before relocating to the Rugby area in 1961, looking after the likes of Screaming Lord Sutch, Pinkertons Assorted Colours and the early Fortunes. Reg's 'School Of Rock N Roll' was way ahead of its time as he encouraged new talent as well as grooming young artistes in his 'university of pop music'. His flair for publicity and marketing saw great advances, followed by his involvement in the new wave of 'pirate radio' that opened up a whole new way of letting teenagers listen to the new exciting sounds of the Swinging Sixties. This shook up the whole record buying business as well as cocking a snook at the tired BBC output which was the only way in most kids could hear the chart music, not forgetting Radio Luxembourg etc.
Sadly, this new 'pirate radio' move led to the usual competitive and often underhand business dealings as there was a lot of money being made when commercial interest soon realised how lucrative this new wave could be. Most 'pirate stations' were operated on converted ships- often rust buckets moored offshore in international waters so not 'regulated' by the UK broadcasting authorities and especially rocking the establishment led BBC of the time. Reg, along with other people, set up Radio Sutch-later Radio City on a disused WW2 fort in the Thames Estuary and transmitting to the London and South East area as did most of the other 'pirate radio' stations such as Radio Caroline, Radio London and many more. In 1966, the public were shocked to hear of how Reg Calvert had gone to the Essex home of a retired major- former business colleague Oliver Smedley, in order to try and resolve a bitter dispute on the Radio City set-up. Smedley had arranged for a bunch of thugs to board the radio station, sailing out from Kent in the middle of the night and recover a crystal component from the main transmitter. Reg had gone to Essex, with a few hundred pounds in his pocket, to settle their differences. However, this resulted in a cowardly attack by Smedley who had grabbed a shotgun and blasted Reg on the doorstop, allegedly in 'self defence' and this led to a 'trial' for murder but the charges were dropped to manslaughter then a full acquittal. This was one of the worst miscarriages of so-called 'justice' not helped by biased press coverage which had portrayed Reg as a 'violent' individual plus the usual hysterical attack on pirate radio stations and the shadowy figures behind them- suggestions that the criminal underworld were all linked to many of them. Vital witnesses were not called, and there was talk of pressure against certain people to remain quiet and the court notes were then subject to private archives and not allowing the public to read the whole story or make up their own minds. These documents have only recently been released under government jurisdiction and freedom of information acts. You can read some of Reg Calvert's story on my dedicated webpage:
You can also search the net and read much more on the story which soon led to a massive clampdown on the 'illegal' radio stations and saw the BBC get its act together with the advent of Radio One in 1967. Reg's wife Dorothy carried on as best as she could in the aftermath of this terrible tragedy that befell the family, and an amazing woman whose tough stances against the
NEW FOR 2013- BOOK EARLY!
Celebrating 28 years of the UK’s original and premier 60s
show. They say that if you remember the 60s you weren’t there! Fill that gap in
your memory with The Solid Silver 60s Show and relive the 60s with original
artists singing their greatest hits! Now in its 28th year the show features the
unforgettable talents of Mike Pender the original voice of The Searchers, Dave
Berry and Wayne Fontana, all backed by New Amen Corner, and with special guests
HEAR THE CLASSIC HITS PERFORMED BY THE ORIGINAL HITMAKERS! CHECK TOUR DATES AT:
PLUS- THE AMAZING JOE BROWN
Premier rock ‘n’ roll legend Joe Brown goes from strength to
strength as his contemporary achievements continue to gather momentum.His ‘Very
Best Of’ album achieved a Gold Record for a massive 120,000 sales and was on the
UK charts for eight weeks staying four weeks in the Top 20. In September the
same year his 50th anniversary was celebrated with a wonderful sell-out show at
the Royal Albert Hall.
He has continued to break box office records and recently received MOJO magazine’s coveted Outstanding Contribution To Music Award as well as a much deserved MBE. You may have seen Joe performing on Later With Jools Holland or at the cinema playing his part closing the show at the Concert For George Harrison. You may have witnessed his critically acclaimed set at Glastonbury Festival or caught him on tour. If you have you’ll already know just what a terrific live talent he is. Joe, with his five piece band including his son and record producer Pete Brown, will be on stage all evening and the musical styles incorporated into his new show break more boundaries and are as unique as the man himself.
His new CD The Ukulele Album has been riotously well received and several of the tunes from it appear on this tour which is also packed with timeless classics, rockabilly, gospel, country, folk, and rock ‘n’ roll, all interwoven with Joe’s effervescent delivery and humorous reminiscences this sensational show is a musical journey not to be missed.
6th Annual 'Back To The Sixties' reunion night at Southampton's Concorde Club- Friday 1st November 2013 Check this and previous years:
There will be a new dedicated webpage for this great show soon-please check back
I received this sad e-mail from Jacqueline (Jackie) Ryan who has run the Troggs fanclub for many years and a good pal of Reg Presley:
REG PRESLEY 1941-2013
I was aware that Reg had been in hospital over the last few weeks but his family did not want to let anybody know. His passing means another great 'pop' character has left this world a little greyer as Reg was a great character, talented performer and songwriter who put Andover on the Swinging Sixties map. There is a wealth of information on Reg and the Troggs all over the net so I don't really need to say much more- you can read some of my earlier writings on the Ten Feet Five page via Site Map. I sang with an Amesbury based pop group- The Cellars Of Sound (get the pun?) back in 1966/67 and our drummer Dave Maggs has been with the Troggs for some 25 years and it was good to have hooked up with him and the band on a recent Birmingham 60s pop tour. The Troggs blew everybody else off the stage and you can read about it here: http://www.davidstjohn.co.uk/blog2010.html
Had a nice chat with Reg in the pub across the road after the show and usual stuff about the business plus the inevitable flying saucers, crop circles etc! Very down to earth guy and he will be remembered for many years as will the great Troggs hits plus that hilarious 'bootleg' recording as they argued and swore at each other during a session! Seek and ye Shall Find.........
I reproduce this message from Reg just over a year ago and quite poignant, although I guess he knew that his health was not to good over recent years
I'm sure that many Hampshire musicians and fans alike will remember Reg as we have enjoyed their amazing successes ever since 'Wild Thing' hit the charts back in 1966, followed by many more great follow-ups. Reg was a 'one-off' and we will all miss him very much, although the current Troggs continue to perform by huge public demand so try and catch them sometime! Otherwise, enjoy the many great clips on YouTube and elsewhere - they were a 'fun' band with the perfect front man whose 'suggestive' lyrics caused some hits to be 'banned' which was great publicity in itself! We will always remember Reg's cheeky grin and 'innocent' looks as he sang many a 'naughty' line or two - teasing the girls who would be screaming throughout many a 60s show and all part of the fun.
Mike Joyce- DJ has just informed me of this great reunion show at the Bridge Inn Woolston Southampton and this great venue has staged live music for many decades. Formerly the old Railway pub- it changed to the Woolston followed by New Bridge Inn and finally the Bridge Inn- just by the new Itchen Bridge that was opened in 1977, replacing the much loved Floating Bridges that ferried locals across to Southampton centre. Read about it on my Biography Page as my last group had a residency from 1968-1972 plus the Venues Page with more information. This looks to be a great night so spread the news!
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