Some of the first vinyl LP’s I bought in 1950’s. The ‘Rock Around The Clock’ LP was the first in late 1956
This is the original Acetate for what is with out doubt the first British rock and roll record.
Cliff Richard and the Drifters Move It, it plays at 78 RPM.
This is part of a huge collection of early Cliff and the shads items I have.
I also play drums in a local Shadows band.
PHOP spoke to Howard Warren who’s been a Teddy Boy since he was 13 years old.
When he was about 11 years old he saw three Teddy Boys walking down the street in York all in suits – one in salmon pink, one in canary yellow and one in dusty blue. “They looked like they owned the road!”
He got his first set of drapes when he was 12 and has been wearing the iconic Teddy Boy style ever since. He, his brother and sister were given a record player by their parents in 1957 and the only thing they played was rock & roll.”The music that went before it was just boring – I still can’t stand crooners now. The rock & roll beat was just brilliant – it was great to listen and dance to.”
Stephen Parker spoke to PHOP about his getting his first transistor radio and how it led to a life-long interest in music.
His Dad worked in the electronics industry so for his eighth birthday he was given a selection of transistor radios to choose from. He selected this Stellar model because it had a panel on the side for putting photographs in. “It still has the original photos in the display panel – the photo behind the one of Bob Dylan is of Jimi Hendrix!”
Listening to Radio Luxembourg late at night in his bedroom introduced him to bands like the Beatles and the Rolling Stones but it was Bob Dylan and Eric Clapton that were his first major influences.
This is a picture of just a few pieces from my Lonnie Donegan memorabilia collection.
IT WAS 1955 THAT FIVE FRIENDS AND i FORMED THE CONEY ISLAND SKIFFLE GROUP (I WAS 16 AT THE TIME). IT WAS AFTER lONNIE DONEGAN CAME ON THE SCENE AND GROUPS WERE FORMING ALL OVER THE COUNTRY. i THINK UNTIL THEN THE YOUNG WERE QUITE HAPPY TO LISTEN TO MUSIC, THE LIKES OF JOHNNY RAY, GUY MITCHEL AND FRANKIE LANE ETC. BUT NOW THE SAME PEOPLE WEREN’T SATISFIED WITH THAT, THEY WANTED TO CREATE THEIR OWN MUSIC.
IN THE CONEY ISLAND THERE WAS BRIAN CURTIS ON LEAD GUITAR, COLIN RIMMER, VOCAL AND GUITAR, NEIL SHORT WASHBOARD, MYSELF BANJO AND DERICK HAINES ON PIANO (ALTHOUGH DERICK WAS SHORTLY TO LEAVE AND ANOTHER FRIEND ROGER PLANCHE TOOK HIS PLACE.
WE STARTED PLAYING IN LOCAL CHURCH HALLS, THEN PROGRESSED TO PUBLIC HOUSES AND WHEN WE HAD LEARNT MORE THAN THREE CHORDS! WE WERE PLAYING ALL OVER MERSEYSIDE AND CHESTER.
In 1956 the only record player in our house was an old wind up model with a sound box directly above the needle which had to be changed every time you had played about five records. The record collection consisted of a few old 78s like, “The Sabre Dance” and “Buttons and Bows”. One day my father came home with the latest “hi tech” arm for our record player, and this could be plugged directly into a radio. We had to update our record collection so with my hard earned pocket money I bought my favourite record of the day “The Dam Busters March”, while Mum bought the latest record by a certain Lonnie Donegan called “Don’t You Rock Me Daddy-O”. Soon I was playing “Don’t You Rock Me Daddy-O” most of the time, and when Lonnie’s next record “Cumberland Gap” was released, and reached number one in the charts, I was hooked and began buying everything he had ever recorded.
When I bought Lonnie’s first album “Showcase” I found a track that has always been one of my all time favourites, “Frankie and Johnny”. It’s such a heavy track, and I’ve always likened it to Ravels “Bolero”, fourteen verses that build to a frantic crescendo at the end and Nick Nicholls opening drum pattern is heavy enough to grace any modern day Rock track. It was the first track recorded along with most of the “Showcase” album on 22nd August 1956 and in those days there were no overdubs, you went into the studio, recorded the performance and that was it. The performance on Frankie and Johnny is amazing except that at one point Lonnie forgets who is doing what to whom, because he says that Nellie shot Johnny when in fact it was Frankie.
In 1957 around the time of Lonnie’s next release, the double sided number one hit
“Putting on the Style” / “Gamblin Man”, I was in hospital with a serious kidney complaint. When I got out of hospital I had several months off school and by now all I wanted to do was play the guitar and sing like Lonnie. I pestered my father for a guitar and he, being a woodworker by trade, decided to make me one. A few months later the guitar was finished and I started to learn how to play. At first I would tune the top two strings until I thought they sounded OK and bash out Lonnie’s songs before buying a book (not Bert Weedon’s) which taught me how to play the chords properly. I would practise every spare moment I had playing and singing along to Lonnie’s records. Sometimes I would be Lonnie singing and playing rhythm guitar and other times I would be Denny Wright or Jimmy Currie. (Lonnie’s lead guitarists) and concentrate on playing the lead guitar parts.
Lonnie Donegan was at the height of his popularity and I decided that I wanted a Skiffle Group. I recruited my brother Nigel, who was only eight at the time, to play washboard and Colin Hurst, a school friend, on tea chest bass. We called ourselves the Satellites which was a pretty cool name at the time as Russia had recently launched the first ever space satellite called “Sputnik 1. My father worked at De Havillands aircraft factory in Hatfield and secured our first booking playing for the children’s Christmas parties in the works canteen. We performed on three consecutive Saturdays playing the same three Lonnie Donegan songs, “My Dixie Darling”, “Gamblin’ Man”, and “Jack O’ Diamonds”, and paid three pounds between us. I was well impressed thinking that at the age of 13, I was already a professional musician.
On 6 July 1957 my dad took this photo of us playing banjo and washboard, Sometime later that day the Quarrymen appeared at the St. Peter’s Church Fete and I was on stage with John Lennon and his skiffle group when Paul McCartney first saw us perform.
On Friday February 14th 1958 I saw Lonnie Donegan on Stage for the first time at the Finsbury Park Empire in North London. In those days there were no Pop Concerts, just variety shows which featured various variety acts and a top of the bill. I still have the programme for this show and among the acts with Lonnie were, Freddie Harrison (The Tricky Pianist), The Three Brittons (Juggling Cyclists), Jimmy Webster and Jill (Thrills on Wheels), and a certain Mr. Des O’Connor (Comedy in the Modern Manner). Finally after what seemed like an eternity of nine acts and an interval Des O’Connor announced “Ladies and Gentlemen Lonnie Donegan and his Skiffle Group”. The curtains opened and there was the man himself singing “Wabash Cannonball” a track from his first LP. This may sound a bit daft in this day and age, but my first reaction was, “it’s in colour”. In the days before colour television and magazines I had only seen Lonnie and his group, and their instruments in
black and white, now here before me was the real thing and in colour. Lonnie’s guitarist Jimmy Currie was playing a beautiful sunburst Gibson L175 guitar. I was transfixed and wanted one immediately. The show was over far too quickly but the night was complete when Lonnie came out to the stage door to sign autographs and I was one of the lucky ones. I understand that when Lonnie played The Liverpool Empire around this time a certain George Harrison was getting his own autograph book signed.
On the afternoon of 6 July 1957 John Lennon’s skiffle group – The Quarrymen – were taking part in the St Peter’s Garden Fete and Rose Queen. Proceedings started with a procession round Woolton village near Liverpool and as it came down Kings Drive my father came out of our house, number 129, and photographed the entire procession. The last lorry contained the Quarrymen. They are- from the left: Pete Shotton -washboard, Eric Griffiths, guitar, Len Garry – teachest bass, John Lennon (in check shirt seated) – guitar, Colin Hanton – drums and myself, Rod Davis, standing in white shirt, For some reason I had given up playing and my banjo is in its case at my feet. This photo was taken a couple of hours before Geoff Rhind’s more famous shot. I discovered it amongst my father’s negatives in 2009! Later that day of course, Paul McCartney and John Lennon met for the first time.