My blog about Bob Dylan was probably deliberately told to make me look as hip as possible from the earliest age. Before I’d discovered the wonders of Bob aged seventeen, I’d been into Elvis, Buddy Holly, the Everly Brothers, Roy Orbison, Gene Pitney and then The Beatles. Now for a bit of honesty, after a reminder I received earlier this week. In 1960 and 1961, when I was fourteen and fifteen, we’d play football all day on Bedford Park in Birkdale. Young ladies maybe a year or two younger would sometimes come to watch, though even at that young age, they were able to effect a studied air of disinterest. Their primary conversation was of pop music, particularly the relative merits of Cliff Richard and Adam Faith. For some reason, I decided to be an Adam Faith fan, perhaps because he was considered less wholesome than Cliff, although to be fair Cliff was more the rocker.
I was originally from the Blackpool area and in 1960 Adam played a summer season at the Blackpool Hippodrome. He topped the bill, with Emil Ford and the Checkmates closing the first half. The compere was a chap called Don Arrol who went on to do Sunday Night at the London Palladium. Adam had the leather jacket image but in fact came on in a suit and slim tie, for What Do You Want, Poor Me, Someone Else’s Baby etc. They were good songs written by the intelligent Johnny Worth, with great backing arrangements by the brilliant John Barry. The John Barry Seven had played their own slot earlier, including the wonderful Juke Box Jury theme, and then backed Adam, as they did on most of his records.
Not only that though. The other supporting act was The Lana Sisters, including Mary O’Brien, who were good if a bit screechy. Yes, Mary O’Brien. Dusty Springfield, before The Springfields, before she became Dusty on her own, and the greatest female vocalist of my life, by a mile. I was just naturally with it, wasn’t I?
1961 saw Adam booked for the Liverpool Empire. My sister worked at the Walker Art Library and got me a ticket. Aged 15. I went to the big bad city of Liverpool from Southport on my own. The comedian was that great master Jimmy James with his drunken routine (Policeman, “ Anything you day may be taken down…” JJ, “Trousers”). Then he was with his partner Our Eli and a small box which Eli claimed contained animals such as a giraffe and a lion. Finally an elephant was mentioned. JJ-“Where do you keep the elephant. In the box?” Eli- “Don’t be silly, you can’t fit an elephant in that box. He’s in a cage.” JJ- “And where’s the cage?” Eli- “In the box.” Still keeping my hip reputation, yes?
Unfortunately, down the bill was a singer called Gerry Dorsey, who seemed quite good. You might know he went on to become Englebert Humperdinck. Hipness quotient down to zero from hero? Yet I still had Bob Swarbrick sing “Am I that easy to Forget?” to his daughter in Where’s Sailor Jack? and it certainly was Englebert’s version.
After that I was off into Beatles, Dylan, Stones, The Who, The Kinks etc and forgot all about Adam. Then I did my Oxford entrance exams in December 1963 at New College. I finished there mid Friday afternoon and was travelling home on a Crosville coach overnight to Liverpool, followed by an early morning train to Southport. I had about eight hours to kill until the midnight departure time from Gloucester Green Bus Station. Appearing at the New Theatre was Adam Faith. I booked one of the last available tickets, filled my face at Crawford’s before hearing again the songs that had once charmed me. It was good. I caught the bus and train home landing back home for breakfast. Just over a week later I heard I’d got my Oxford place.
Of course Adam went on to have a fine acting career after a while in the wilderness. Rest in peace, Adam Faith, John Barry, Dusty Springfield and Jimmy James and long life for Englebert.
My very first concert was “The Adam Faith Show” at the Savoy Theatre Burnt oak Broadway, It was April 1960. Don Arrol was the Compere’ He was very good, The John Barry 7 were excellent and Adam was very entertaining and wore a light blue leather jacket.
Half way through the song” Singing in the rain” Don stopped the show to announce that one of the 7 had just had baby! delivered that very night!
I also remember the John Barry 7 were augmented by 4 lady violin players they only played on “Someone Else’s Baby” Adam made an appearance at the local record shop on the following Saturday, Signing copy’s of his latest release.
the concert had a great impact on me, I have since become a musician, And have recorded with Jimmy Stead Saxophonist with the wonderful “John Barry 7” How About That!
Great stuff about happy memories, Mike. The period between the six five special and the Beatles gets missed in UK. The US had the greats like The Evs, Roy Orbison, Gene Pitney after Elvis and Buddy Holly but our own stuff was listened to as well. Recording with Jimmy Stead is impressive. He would have been playing the concerts we saw. My novel mainly has the music from a bit later as the theme, but there are even some references back to Bing. Let me know what you think if ever you get round to reading it.
Loved the above John. I was a crazy Beatles fan so was in my element when they played here in Southport, for a week in the 1960’s. They stayed at the Prince of Wales hotel, remember walking by with pals one day , we had to stop to allow a car to enter the hotel. Guess what? You got it the Beatles were in the car. We were hysterical on Lord St, not a good look ! Good old Beddy Park hey? Remember you there with your 🐕 dog. Fond memories of a super time in our lives we were so innocent the world was our oyster . Thanks for the reference .
I came here from the LJ crossword link. Great article which bought back a flood of memories. My high time was mid sixties to early seventies. Living in London I was lucky enough to have The Marquee club, Klooks Kleek and the Roundhouse on my doorstep. I saw pretty well all the top bands at the time. Can you imagine Led ZEP banging out communication Breakdown at full blast in a small room above a pub in Kilburn? Great days. Thanks for reminding me of them. Francois (rosedeprovence)
Thank you, Francois. Have you any hearing left? You’re that bit younger than me. Quite a few of the TfTT posters also belong on a site set up by Sotira which she bequeathed to me to administer.I’ll email an invite to you.
Sorry, what did you say again? 🙂 I’ll look forward to the mail. Francois.
also came from the crossword link – being a child of the fifties brought back memories and
one from my dad referring to ADAM FAITH with what religion is that !
I’d say good luck in the Division One play-offs but I was actually born in Blackpool. Hope you beat Sunderland though.
Yes it looked over early & maybe luck was needed
as we lost a penalty shootout in trophy game
for a Wembley trip last month
Remember the JAN 2010 cup game when
over a quarter of the crowd were visitors
I was born in Rochdale with family in Blackpool
Bad luck against Blackpool. You’ll be playing my beloved Wanderers next season now. Good results for me recently. And we just beat those Yorkies in the County Championship too.