Some years later, Tony went in a
completely different direction when he teamed up with a great character Roy
Denny and formed a very successful 'Cockney' style comedy duo called The
Barrow Boys. This is one of their very early publicity handouts and
tells the story perfectly:
"COCKNEY ENTERTAINMENT AT IT’S VERY BEST …" so says The Stage
newspaper. A self-contained act, (that doesn’t mean backing tapes). With its
cheeky ditties, a ‘Cor Blimey,’ humorous repartee with the audience, and all
the ‘sing-a-long’ favourites. This is an hour’s Cabaret that’s different — a
must for your ’Cockney Nights’ and variety bill.
Roy Denny and Tony Hart formed The Barrow Boys act in 1986. Friends
for many years, and frequently working together in various shows they
decided that the present computerised, electronic world of pop music was not
for them—hence the creation of this fine act with its wealth of
entertainment, experience, personality and musical ability.
Recent notable successes include live broadcasts from the BBC Radio
Kent, regular Summer Cabaret at Ladbrookes Family Holiday sites, Butlins
Hotels and Leisure Centres, seasons at Chessington World of Adventure,
featured at Gravesend Edwardian Fair and numerous appearances in Cabaret
with Mike Reid of Eastenders.
ROY DENNY -A Londoner, who started his musical
career as a schoolboy ‘Boogie Woogie’ pianist, and after a musical education
in the RAF, worked the jazz club scene with great success. He formed his own
Big Band and performed along side the big names of that era. The late Eric
Winstone was so impressed he featured the band on Southern Television.
Inevitably, followed tours of top venues, accompanying many star names of
the day. Several LP recordings featured the band. Following the decline of
the ‘Big Band Days’ Roy has made a name for himself as an MD for variety and
summer shows, and has nine successful pantomimes with top artistes to his
brand of ‘Cockney Humour’ and love of the ‘variety scene’, for which he has
had notable successes, led to this new venture in his career—the highly
successful "Barrow Boys".
TONY HART– Tony had his first drum kit at 9 years of
age and his first stage appearance at the age of 13. He was soon recognised,
not only as one of the top drummers, but also for his considerable vocal
talents as well.. Quickly he was being sought after by many Agencies as
support and backing to well-known stars of the day, one of these being the
late and great Winifred Attwell. Tony toured major Theatres of Great
Britain, including Shows at the Albert Hall alongside: Cliff Richard, The
Shadows and Joe Brown. Later he joined Emile Ford and the Checkmates, which
included an appearance on TV’s Sunday Night at the London Palladium. He then
formed his own vocal harmony trio and cruised with major shipping lines.
After numerous Summer Seasons, he went into musical comedy with his friend
Roy Denny. Tony’s sense of humour and vast experience of Theatre adds to the
success of ..…. "The Barrow Boys".
Tony's stage partner and good pal Roy passed
away a few years ago, so I'm glad that he can be remembered in these pages and
here is a picture of the two lads!
September 10th 2009
Received sad news from Mike Nevitt.
Tony Hart suddenly passed away on the 9th September, aged 75 of a heart
attack and will be missed by so many old pals from across his musical years.
I have been in touch with his wife Jacquie and she takes comfort from
knowing that some of his memories have been included on these webpages, as
he got in touch with me just over a year ago. It's quite poignant to read
through his mini story above again, as I was hoping to have met up with Tony
at some stage and maybe have him dig up some more old photos and memories of
his musical days. Like so many musicians we have lost over the years,
at least their memories can live on and be shared on this and other pages.
He was another great character and his funeral will be on those lines with
music/laughs - it would have been Tony and Jacquie's 26th wedding
anniversary. The Humanist service, opens with a Barrow Boys piece plus
one of Tony's favourite songs that he often sang 'Autumn Leaves' and
containing beautiful lyrics that say it all. Maybe a CD of one of
Tony's own self-penned songs will be included and I will add more
information in the near future.
I also discovered that Tony was very much in
demand as a session drummer on many hit records and his distinctive style
can be heard on a 1959 number one record of 'What do you want to make those
eyes at me for' by Emile Ford. The mid-verse snare shot always kicks
in and is often recalled from that superb hit that still sounds good some 50
years later. He was a modest man and accomplished quite a lot in his musical
life, so I'm sure that much more information will trickle through and keep
another talented musician's memory alive on my website.
Jacquie also mentions that it was no
surprise that Tony passed away on 09-09-09. Like a true musician with
His wife Jacquie thanks those who got in
touch and these memories were read at the service at Chichester Crematorium on
the 16th September 2009 so sum up another great musician and a family man who is
Tribute to Tony Hart
Tony Hart was born in Portsmouth on the 21st of
May 1934. His dad was a hairdresser by trade but served as a fireman during
the blitz in WW2. His mum brought up two children: Tony being the eldest,
his sister Una being the youngest.
was a practical man: when Tony’s mum required extra work top space in the
kitchen, his dad cut out a piece of hardboard and placed it on top of an
iron bath. To use this she would bend down on her knees. This was the Hart
sarcasm; this was the Hart sense of humour that Tony inherited.
His cheeky grin and chubby cheeks evident from
childhood photos, personified the person we would come to know and love. A
"cheeky chappy" was an apt description of him. His mischievous antics
inevitably landed him in trouble with his dad. Caught with fags, he was told
to smoke in front of them. He then cried saying, " Here you are mum, you
have them", and then went to bed.
Tony remembered his school days with hilarity, the tale
of the teacher with glasses like the bottom of lemonade bottles and a bent
finger who would point to a boy to stand up but, as the class never knew
which boy he was pointing at the whole class would stand. Only Tony could
describe this with such wonderful humour and wit.
This sense of humour served him well in his choice of
career. He received his first drum kit at the age of 9, playing his first
professional gig at 13. Abandoning his apprenticeship as a painter in the
dockyard, he pursued a career in the music business, touring major halls and
theatres throughout Britain, including concerts at the Albert hall with
Cliff Richard, Joe Brown and the Beatles to name but a few. He toured with
the major shipping lines, and played at top cabaret and variety venues. His
stories of these times were hilarious and unfortunately, too crude to
mention here. Quite simply, he made the drum chair his own.
National service interrupted his musical ambitions and
whilst with the RAF he met his first wife Jean, with whom he had 3 children,
Carol, Gary and Ian. His children inherited his sense of humour, when on a
fishing trip Carol, then only 3 put maggots in his friends sandwiches.
Another time she fell into a river and when Ian did the same thing a few
years later, he must have thought he had only brought children into this
world to save them from drowning; the irony being he couldn’t swim. He was a
loving and devoted Dad, and this was never more exemplified when Gary had no
boots to play a football match one afternoon so they went off searching high
and low for a pair at 8.30 in the morning.
In 1983 he married his second wife Jacqui. Tony found
in her his soul partner. Similar natures and interests, they became devoted
to each other and were inseparable. As a couple they were well liked and
well loved. Tony and Jacqui were happily married and today would have been
their 26th wedding anniversary.
Tony was a country lover at heart. His knowledge from
time spent with his maternal grandfather telling him about different birds
and the fishing trips with the family lodger led him to pursue the
activities of shooting and fishing later into his life; the latter of these
now inherent in his son.
His love and warmth extended to other members of the
family, particularly to his sister Una’s children, Trudie and Dean. Tony
became an inspiration and a guiding light to them after their mum died.
The birth of grandchildren gave him great enjoyment; he
doted on Christina with the same love and affection he had always shown
throughout his life.
Tony was quintessentially a family man. His warmth,
compassion, love and devotion knew no bounds. His humour, sarcasm and antics
brought laughter and tears of joy. Today our tears should be tears of joy in
celebration of his life. As I know this is what he would have wanted.
Jacquie Hart 16-09-09
This moving song, written by Tony Hart way back
in 1961 was played at the funeral and Grandson Jamie (14) uploaded this
memorial onto YouTube. It features Tony and Jacquie's nephew Dean Summers who is
singing 'End Of Time' and it stands up well in the style of that era so have a
listen. I have also reprinted the lyrics below and it tells its own story
From Jacquie Hart:
Since we last spoke, a couple of photos have come to
light of Tony which I am sending on to you. The first one we think was
about 1960ish (he still has his hair!! lol), the second one is on a show
doing a Flanagan & Allen routine, I don't know who the other person is
unfortunately, but perhaps someone will recognise him .. we think it was
taken about 1972, probably at a holiday Camp. Tony always wondered where
this photo was as it just seemed strange that he ended up doing the old
sing-a-long songs including theirs. I am also sending you a photo of our
grandson Jamie, who did the memorial site for Tony on YouTube ... he also
took a leaf out of his granddads book by following in his footsteps, and is
learning to make the 'drum seat' his own, he will be 15 at the end of July
and has been playing for about 2 and a half years, and along with his Band,
are appearing in a show in a few weeks time in the 'Battle of the Bands'.
Tony Hart circa 1960
Around 1972 at some holiday camp! Looks like a Flanagan & Allen routine
Tony's grandson Jamie White - musical genes still in the
Jacquie has now found even more great photos and
these were taken around 1954 as the new sounds of rock n roll were gradually
taking hold of the UK thanks to Bill Haley and those who followed over the next
A pub jazz night- with Ray Lott on double bass-
note the 'Brickwoods' darts score board!
Within days of hearing from Tony Hart (July
received another amazing e-mail from Rick Champion - a musician I knew of from
way back in the early Sixties and another young group that started out at the
legendary Royal Pier Ballroom. These great youngsters called the Infereds
(not quite the proper spelling!) were managed by the same guy who later took the
Eastleigh based 'Planets' and turned them into the 'Unforgiven' Tony Cook.
Tony was the second very influential person after Len Canham had 'discovered' me
as a ten year old rock n roll singer at the Pier just a few years before I
joined the ranks of pop groups from around '63/64. I joined the Unforgiven in
1965 and this story can be seen on my other page named
Biography and teamed
up with the very talented Eddie Harnett who later joined forces with Rick
Both Rick and Eddie moved to the USA in the
Seventies and are still in touch with each other. Eddie is mentioned on my
Groups 1 page and Rick
has been living in Las Vegas, still playing bass and singing with a resident
house band till 2am!
THE INFEREDS AT THE ROYAL PIER around
Gary Rowe - rhythm
Dave Mitchell - lead
Steve Faithful - drums
Ian Rogers - lead vocals
Rick champion - Bass
Ford social club Eastleigh Southampton
Note the old favourite Linear Concord amp on the
bottom left! We all remember those glowing valves through the mesh
grille and only some 30-50 watts to use as a p.a. amp! Many a careless
musician placed a jacket or something else on top which soon started to burn as
well as blowing the valves up as they overheated - great days.
'Cabaret' style band featuring L-R:
Steve Faithful, Rick Champion, Jimmy Keys
We Three also worked on a cruise ship - The Monte Toledo out of Bilbao Spain and when later joined by Eddie Harnett and
Danny Barbour they became a heavier land based band called Parrot. This
photo sums up one of Rick's stunts when riding a motorbike in drag!
(No - he's not.......)
Rick Champion Ronnie Allen
Danny Barbour (drums) featured below and
replacing Ronnie Allen
How about this rare photo of Danny Barbour when
out in Holland with the band! They set him up for this picture and his
expression really sums up the daft things we all did - and still do! Danny
stayed in Holland and has little contact with the UK and I am told that he no
longer plays drums, but is remembered with much fondness by so many Southampton
musicians who knew and/or played with him. Many drummers are slightly
'mad' and Danny certainly had some crazy moments in between being a superb
musician, playing with loads of different groups over the years.
Parrot is also listed in Southern Roots with Jim
Hewson (keys) and being formed out of Charleys World Premiere. Eddie later
went into 'Hair' the West End musical for a year as an acting/singing role for a
year. He then teamed up with Rick and Jim Hewson with new bands of
Creation and Lazy Face before moving to the USA in the late Seventies as did
Rick who is currently playing with a house band in central Las Vegas. If you
ever pass by then check out
Harrah's Casino which features top rated
entertainers with the very popular Toby Keith Showbar and featuring a very
talented C&W singer Tony Marques. Rick plays bass and vocals with loads of
crazy stage antics that the Americans and foreign tourists love to pieces - here
is a recent photo in which a scary 'lounge lizard' gets in amongst the girls as
he belts out 'Sweet Caroline' Lucky sod..........
STOP PRESS: August 2008
Just had a mail from John Walker - he drums and sings
on alternate Wednesdays at J.V.s Restaurant at Falls Church Virginia - not
far from Washington D.C. on the East Coast. Great houseband called the
Martha Capone Band who kick off the open mike/jam sessions. Not sure if
Martha is related to Al so be careful how you speak to her if passing!
Go to this YouTube link to see them in action!
Or go to J.V.S own website:
August 2008 Mail from John Bendall
plus more photos of linked bands
Hi Dave still keeping up to date with your fantastic
website. Have been in contact with two ex band members Ricky Champion in Las
Vegas and Steve Faithful back home in Southampton thanks to your site. Just
finished a 10 week gig in Majorca and managed to find the 3 photos that I
have attached. Hope you will have room to add them the first Misty Blue were
Gerry Gurr - John Bendall, - Leanne, Dennis on keyboards, Graham on bass
cant remember the tenor sax players name. Silhouette picture taken on the
stairs of the club must have been 1970/1971 Gerry Gurr, John bendall,
Neil Hibberd on bass, George on keyboards, Tina . Pluto picture taken in
Kuala Lumpur 1972 Gerry Gurr,John Bendall, Ricky Champion on bass and Steve
Faithful on drums. I first started playing drums in 1966 with Mike Nevitt
Mike Gaston and Steve Wholegate.Many thanks Dave please keep up the good
work. John Bendall
SEPTEMBER 08 Yet a new e-mail from Misty
Blue's sax player!
I scrolled down the page and found Mail from John
Bendall (as above)
The sax player was me! How I came to be in the band is
as follows . . .
I had received a phone-call from Gerry Gurr when I was
working full-time at Lonsdake Technical in Shirley. The conversation went
something like "You don't know me, my name is Gerry Gurr and I run a band
called Misty Blue. We've got an audition for Warners Holiday Camp in Hayling
Island and the booker has asked for a sax player. I usually use Ronnie
Taylor (!) but he's not available". He paid me a days money and gave me that
amazing blue shirt to wear at the audition. It went well and Misty Blue got
the job. Gerry said "we wouldn't have got it without you". And offered me
the gig. So, for 14 weeks I became a member of the band. I remember Leanne
and the guys were great to work with. I heard from Gerry many years later
that Dennis Smith (Smev) had gone on to work as a producer at the Police's
studio in Montserrat. I think Graham moved to Germany where he pursued a
career in music. I haven't seen or heard from John Bendall so here's your
chance John . . . drop me an e-mail!
history, in brief:
1957 The Bert Turner Quintet
Cliff Turner Drums
Pete Dawkins Guitar
John Betts Trumpet
Paul Baker Piano (later of the
Sid Carter Clarinet + vocals
1960 The Malcolm John Five
Alan Grandy Guitar
Harry Kenny Piano
Alan Tizzard String Bass
Brian Rickard Drums
Sid Carter Clarinet + vocals
George Powell Vocals
The MJ5 played at the Sir Walter Tyrell and was very
successful there. Alan Grandy was a strong minded leader and the band played
material that was a million miles away from any of the other local bands.
The only concession to popular music was me playing the Monty Sunshine
instrumental Petite Fleur and Acker Bilk's Stranger on the Shore. George
Powell was a powerful vocalist and a great hit with the ladies. I recently
met up with Alan Tizzard and Brian Rickard. It was our first meeting for
well over 40 years! If anyone has any Sir Walter Tyrell reminiscences
I'd love to hear them.
I have continued to play. In the 70's I took a band
(Hallmark) to Germany. The drummer was Larry Tolfree (who went on to play
with Joe Jackson) and the Bass player was the sadly missed Pat Bond. I
still have my own band, Sunflower, which has been going for over 30 years.
I'm fortunate to be working with Pete Smith guitar, Bob Phillips Bass, Rich
Daniels Keyboard and Stewart Marshall on drums.
I hope you find something of interest in this mail!
Cheers! Sid Carter
(see above mail for line-up) Will put
correct names to faces soon
On the entrance steps to the Silhouette Club
Kuala Lumpur 1972
I am in regular contact with Rick Champion and he will be sending me some more photos and info on his
very long career in the business and he is still one of us lucky ones who are
still making a living out of it after all these years. Likewise - check
out Jimmy Keys who also emigrated to the USA and developed a very successful
comedy musical act and is working nonstop all over the world! His own
website has some great video-clips of Jimmy in action and he has established
himself as one of the top Brit acts across America and beyond. He would also
love to hear from any old pals who worked with him during his own years on the
group scene. This is a recent e-mail that Jimmy sent:
WOW I have just been browsing your web site plus all
the amazing history of the Southampton bands and musicians. I take my hat
off to you, what a superb job you have done pulling all this information and
photos together, it is mind blowing!
I was born Jim Hewson & originally from Gravesend Kent
(which along with the Dartford area, also produced many great musicians and
famous bands) but moved down to Southampton in the 70's.
I was originally in a band with Southampton guys Rick
Champion (great bass player/vocalist who has lived and still plays in bands
in Las Vegas) Eddie Harnett (guitar) & Ronnie Allan (drums). I am still in
touch a lot with Rick Champion, I will tell him to get in touch with you as
many musos in Soton will know him. I know he drops back there from time to
time to see family and friends. Also later with Steve Faithful whom I am
certain you know. We played around town quite a bit through the 70's under
various band names including: We Three/Parrot/Lazy Face we also worked a lot
in Holland, Germany & Scandinavia as well as on a cruise ship out of
Southampton called "The Monte Toledo"..Aznar Line. We also were the backing
band for the great female singer/comedienne Marti Caine & played many of
the top northern clubs.
In 1981 I went solo and had a stage name of Jimmy Keys,
which I later legally changed my name to and after many years of living and
performing in Bermuda I moved to the States where I still live, now in
Naples SW Florida. I perform about 120-130 shows a year all over the States,
Canada, Bermuda & other countries.
love to be in touch with any musicians from Southampton that remember me!! I
also used to jam a lot with various guys around the pubs in the area, and
recognise quite a lot of the names from your great website.
My website is:
(made that up all by myself!) plus see video clips on you tube at:
Please come back soon as this new page will be
loaded with so many more memories
TO THE TOP OF THE PAGE
Click on SITE MAP
to navigate the
Back to Home Page
Copyright © David St John