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Page updated 19 January 2015
I will leave this webpage as it was first written, as a great memory of a good pal-I will then add any more information as and when. Please see the bottom of this webpage for any updates, including personal tributes etc.
David St John presents:
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If you have read my other webpages, you will note that I left my hometown of Southampton in 1972 to pursue a solo comedy/vocal career after several years as lead singer/frontman with many local South Coast pop groups. Virtually penniless but with plenty of ambition and self-confidence so quite excited to try my luck in London as I was getting nowhere by staying in the provinces. You can read about this on my 'Solo Years' webpage and you will note that a very special friend by the name of Bobby Hanna was one of the most important entertainers that I ever met. I had left Southampton with another pal, known as Tony Ravel (Pancaldi) a great vocalist who was also wishing to try new avenues in showbusiness and he knew Bobby from before. We drove up to London in my old 1963 white Ford Zephyr and made our way to a beautiful quiet leafy Connaught Square - this streetname is now very familiar due to a certain family splashing out a few million pounds to buy one of the townhouses just a few doors down from where we stayed as well as an adjoining mews house at the rear of the main property.
Bobby Hanna was born in Scotland, then raised in Canada , before moving to the London scene and was appearing at many of the West End's top nightspots including the Astor Club, Churchills, The Latin Quarter as well as a residency at the world famous Talk Of The Town (later Peter Stringfellow's Hippodrome etc) Many of the top international stars appeared at the 'Talk' and you can do a net search on this famous landmark. See some great images below.
Bobby and his flatmate Stan Mouzouris kindly allowed Tony and I to 'crash' at their Hyde Park apartment near Marble Arch- one of the most affluent areas of Central London for part of the summer of 1972. Bobby then met Pauline- a gorgeous Australian girl who he soon married so we had to move on out for pastures new. Tony and I went our separate ways and I stayed in London followed by seasons at Butlins for Xmas 1972 then going fully professional in the summer of 1973 at Butlins Pwllheli in North Wales. The next couple of years were spent working for Thomson Holidays as their first professional resident entertainer in Tunisia and Greece before settling back in the UK in 1975. I am forever indebted to Bob and Stan for their great friendship and hospitality as well as being inspired by Bobby as we travelled round on a few shows in which he tore the audiences apart with his classy stage act. We all spent many an hour talking about the business plus sharing gags, singing together in that flat as well as hitting a few nightclubs around the West End where so many people fussed over Bob as he was very well known and much respected as one of the best vocalists around. On his various one-night stands as part of a variety show, this gave me valuable insights into seeing how different artistes worked as a 'package' show and how Bob worked the audience- as a communicator on top of having one of the best voices in the business. The audiences took to Bobby as soon as he hit the spotlights and he had a superb mix of songs that got them going as well as an infectious personality- often lacking in many vocal acts so I watched and learned some more.
This page highlights a little of his amazing career and I will add more to it as he sends more info but sadly lost quite a bit on a recent laptop problem. His story starts in Victoria British Columbia in Canada with one of the most celebrated groups of:
BOBBY FAULDS AND THE STRANGERS 1964-66
Click on the photo for more info on NW Pacific Bands etc.
Bobby Faulds- Lead Vocal
Barry Casson -Drums
Inducted into the New "Victoria Rock & Roll Music Hall of Fame" as: "Most Influential Group 1960-1965"
Another local young musician joined them- David Foster and more of him later.........
After these successful years with the Strangers, Bobby went solo and changed his name to Hanna and these are early publicity photographs- the first one sent to his proud parents as you can make out on the signature! You can see how Bob's style changed over the late Sixties and now based in London.
In action - on stage and TV
Bobby became quickly established on the London nightclub scene appearing at many top class venues including resident vocalist at the Talk Of The Town appearing with many international star names. These are two programme covers showing just a few names as well as photos of the production numbers that were featured as part of the floorshow
Bobby surrounded by so many beautiful dancers- tough job but someone had to do it..........
Another resident vocalist and good pal at the Talk was Billy McPhail, one of the UKs finest singers who later became Scott Fitzgerald appearing at several top song festivals plus a massive no. 3 hit 'If I had Words' in 1978
Bobby's own records received critical acclaim but not quite making the charts, although he sang the main theme to the Raquel Welch movie of 'Hannie Caulder' which can be traced on any internet search plus You Tube clips of other minor hits. In fact, he made some 14 singles as well as being selected to record his very own LP on the Decca label as part of a series "The World Of..." Here is a studio shot as well as the actual front/rear copies of this album. Many other star names were included on these successful albums and can probably be traced on the net as well. Bob also recorded for the Phillips label under the guidance of top producer Johnny Franz. He also won the Spanish Song Festival with 'Written In The Wind', which reached no. 2 in the European charts, as well as appearing with his pal Tony Christie at the Knokke Festival in Belgium plus many more events of this kind.
Naturally, Bobby enjoyed the exciting world of live appearances, TV shows and recording studios as well as the female company that 'goes with the job' One day, whilst walking along a West End street, he noticed a very pretty Australian girl so just introduced himself! Bobby suggested a date and invited her to 'come along to the Talk Of The Town where he was appearing alongside the Temptations' She thought this was a wind-up and thought he was just showing off but went along out of curiosity. Within a very short time they married and decided to live Down Under after visiting the family back in Canada.
Bobby & Pauline
Within a couple of years, Bobby became established in Australia and in 1974 was chosen as the new host of 'Blind Date'. This article was published in the August edition of TV Weekly and the photo taken on the show
He made many more live stage show appearances over the years before settling down to a 'normal' way of life but with his cherished memories in the spotlight.
1980 'Elvis' Hanna!
Bobby worked with many of the top stars and is still in touch with many fellow entertainers, musicians, producers from his home in Australia. One of these being David Foster who played keyboards with the young Strangers back in Victoria Canada during the Sixties. David went onto amazing success as a Grammy winning songwriter and producer who has worked with the likes of Chicago, Peter Cetera, Celine Dion, Andrea Bocelli in live concerts plus recordings.
David sent these handouts to Bobby and you can read all about him on his own website by clicking on the link below- you will be amazed by how many international stars he has worked with.
David Foster was named an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2006, inducted into the Canadian Music Industry Hall of Fame in 2007 and the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2010. You will find many websites that feature him across the internet and well worth a read!
Bobby met so many famous names around Swinging London during the 60s and early 70s, including a worrying encounter with a couple of nightclub guests who turned up to see one of his shows. The two 'gentlemen' caused a stir when entering the club with everybody fussing around them and one of them seemed to 'take a shine' to the good looking young singer who was invited to sit at their table. Bobby soon made his excuses and left in a hurry saying that he 'had a late night spot' at another West End club. The 'gentleman' was none other than Ronnie Kray along with brother Reg who were trying to muscle in on the Soho club scene but without success - they were soon arrested for murder, extortion and many more rackets as London's most notorious gang leaders. Ronnie Kray's sexual preferences were very well known at the time and explains Bobby's speedy exit- stage left and straight home where he couldn't sleep for fear of a knock on the door...........
Bobby Hanna's old recordings are still collectible and can be found on many websites - this link takes you to Gemm Records and check them out:
2014-The Canadian Strangers meet up!
Bobby and his son Ben were back in Canada and headed for Franchelli’s Coffee House at the Royal Oak Shopping centre on Vancouver Island. This is where the old musicians and singers meet up at 12 noon every Tuesday, for great chat about the great days of the Fifties and Sixties. They had arranged a reunion of the Canadian Strangers, one of the top Sixties bands in the country. Bob and Ben met up with Barry Casson (drums), Rich England (sax), Wes Chambers (sax). Missing members were Bill Stewart (trumpet/trombone/guitar),Mike Stymest (bass) but other musicians came along. These were Art Horseman, Bill Pick and several more including Chris Earthy who now manages the most famous ex Canadian Stranger- David Foster who is one of the most successful musicians/producers/arrangers in the world. Just Google him and be amazed at his incredible output, working with many of the global superstars across the years.
A couple of days later, Bobby had a call from David’s manager with an invite to his penthouse apartment overlooking the harbour, which was being sold for $5.5m! David is married to the beautiful Yolanda of ‘The Real Housewives of Beverley Hills’ and they were busy with packing everything up in readiness to move out. Bobby and Ben joined Chris, Barry at the building, then took the lift to the 9th floor (David avoids lifts!)
Yolanda and David Foster
Bobby Yolanda David The Canadian Strangers 2014
David and Wes
They spent some three great hours together, chatting about everything and taking a few photos, so include a couple below. David then surprised them with an offer to join him at the former Memorial Arena (now Save On Foods building) as Chicago were in concert. David had co-written and produced many of their biggest hits, so quite a thrill as they joined 10,000 people to enjoy the amazing show. They were all invited backstage to meet the group during the half time break and everybody got on so well. The sound was amazing and the atmosphere was electric so a memorable night all round for the Canadian Strangers who remain good pals over so many years. Bobby and mates will never forget these occasions when meeting up with David, and they had never dreamed how things would turn out all those years ago. Bobby had his own successful solo career, whilst David Foster went into his own life path that has elevated him to the top of the music industry.
Chicago concert- backstage.
Please come back as Bobby will send me more info and it's great to be in touch after so many years after the Connaught Crew went their separate ways in life but reunited a few decades later thanks to the all embracing internet that has offered global communication on an unprecedented scale.
Doug Edwards (guitarist and Brian Newcombe (Bass) started out with me when I formed "The Wayward Trio" in Victoria Canada. Doug and Brian were also with me as "Bobby Faulds and the Strangers". They were on the first RCA Victor International 45 single that we recorded-a song I wrote called " Walking Away". Wes Chambers (Sax) player wrote the B side. Doug and Brian didn't want to go to Britain, so we formed another group- "The Canadian Strangers" with David Foster replacing Doug Edwards & Mike Stymest replacing Brian Newcombe.
There is an internet site from Victoria called RCMP "Royal City Music Project" and it shows the whole story of each of the musos in both bands: "Bobby Faulds & The Strangers" plus "The Canadian Strangers"
Click on the above and go to 'Bands' tab for these entries and more information.
I had this e-mail from David Lloyd Glover- a much respected artist based in L.A. Check out his website- some fantastic work, including musical icons.
David Lloyd Glover. Los Angeles
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