Hold Me



  James Marcus Smith born November 6th 1938 in Houston, Texas

P.J. Proby burst on to the UK music scene with this Jack Good produced ballad. The success of this record seemed out of step with a market that was becoming dominated by the steady growth of Merseyside inspired beat groups.

James Marcus Smith had previously sung in the USA as 'Jett Powers' and 'Orville Wood', but his output under these names had met with little success. Until meeting legendary British producer, Jack Good, his greatest show business successes had been in making demos and writing songs. He'd previously written 'Clown Shoes' for Johnny Burnette.

Perhaps P.J. Proby's early appeal was as much to do with his unique physical appearance as anything else. With a short ponytail, tied back with a bow, frilly shirts and tight trousers he could not fail to be noticed. The singer courted publicity- typified by an incident where his trousers split on stage- but it was his rich, deep and trembling vocal style that underpinned his popularity in the UK. He had a series of hits with numbers that could be described as 'MOR' had it not been for his inimitable interpretations.

By the end of 1964, P.J. Proby had transferred for contractual reasons to 'Liberty'- an American label- though much of his output still benefited from British production. Sadly, this never helped his record sales at home and apart from one #23 hit in 1967 his output in the states has never been highly rated. The great appreciation shown by British and European fans encouraged the singer to make his home in England. He has remained faithful to his adopted home, even during several years of comparative obscurity during the early 1980s.

P.J. Proby is still in good voice and well worth seeking out, regularly touring and recording- though perhaps the torn trousers have now been left behind. Fans may care to visit http://groups.yahoo.com/group/proby/

Not Fade Away


The Rolling Stones

F. 11845 1964


  Mick Jagger; Keith Richard; Brian Jones; Bill Wyman; Charlie Watts

'Not Fade Away' was a Buddy Holly song written in the style of Bo Diddley; it was fully in keeping with the Rolling Stones declared allegiance to Rhythm & Blues.

This record became their largest hit to date and helped establish them as Britain's number two beat group. The Beatles had already fully established their right to be considered number one.

The Stones version of 'Not Fade Away' worked much better than the original version ever did for the Crickets in 1957. And so it was with many of the numbers which they took from established U.S. artists and made their own.

In fact it was through the Rolling Stones that many of the older American Blues musicians like Muddy Waters, Howling Wolf and Sonny Boy Williamson got more attention, even in the United States. More than once the Stones took the opportunity to invite an old exponent of Chicago Blues to join their TV appearances.



The Pretty Things

TF 469 1964
  Phil May; Dick Taylor; Brian Pendleton; John Stax; Viv Prince

The Pretty Things took their name from a Bo Diddley song and the name had nothing to do with their appearance. They were thought of as quite outrageous when they first appeared making the Rolling Stones look 'pretty' by comparison.

Rosalyn was their first attempt at the charts, but this stalled at only #41. However, their second single 'Don't Bring Me Down' brought them a #10.

The Pretty Things issued a dozen singles during the 1960s, nine of them on the Fontana label. The first seven releases all reached the charts but their popularity along with that of many other groups began to fade at the end of 1966.

Despite their lack of further chart success, the Pretty Things survived several major changes in personnel over the years; acquiring John 'Twink' Alder in 1968. They still enjoy 'cult' status and all their 1960s singles are very sought after.

House Of The Rising Sun


The Animals

DB 7301 1964
  Eric Burdon; Alan Price; Hilton Valentine; Chas Chandler; John Steel

This Tyneside group were formed when Eric Burdon and Hilton Valentine teamed up with the Alan Price Trio.

'The House of the Rising Sun' was their second release and despite being over four minutes long, and thus risking restricted airplay, it became their biggest chart success.

Alan Price split from the Animals in 1966 because his fear of flying prevented him from travelling with the rest of the group. The Animals continued to be successful until the end of 1966, but both Eric Burdon and Alan Price continued issuing chart climbing singles under their own names.

(You Don't Know) How Glad I Am


Kiki Dee

TF 490 1964

  Pauline Matthews born March 6th 1947 in Bradford, England

You could be forgiven for thinking that this was Kiki's first release, but you'd be wrong. 'How Glad I Am' was actually her fourth. Her first release 'Early Night' was in 1963 and it is a tribute to Fontana's faith in her that she continued to output many singles throughout the 1960s without the chart success she deserved.

In fact 'How Glad I Am' was eventually to enter the charts, but not until 1975 when its re-issue reached #33.

Kiki Dee was actually one of the first British artists to record for Tamla Motown with 'The Day Will Come Between Sunday and Monday' which was released in 1970, but she had to wait until 1973 for her first UK chart success with 'Amoureuse'. However, it is the smash hit made with Elton John 'Don't Go Breaking My Heart' for which she is best remembered.

Nevertheless her early 45s, now hard to find, are testament to how good a singer she has been for more than thirty years.

Needles And Pins


The Searchers

7N.15594 1964
  Mike Pender; Tony Jackson; John McNally; Chris Curtis

Another great 1960s Liverpool group, the Searchers, like the Rolling Stones, borrowed heavily from the American 'back catalogue'.

'Needles and Pins' was previously recorded by Jackie DeShannon in 1963. Their new version and their next record 'Don't Throw Your Love Away' (previously recorded by the Orlons in 1963) both reached the #1 spot during 1964.

Where Did Our Love Go


The Supremes

SS 327 1964
  Diana Ross; Mary Wilson, Florence Ballard

The British male groups certainly didn't have everything their way in 1964. The USA still had a strong presence in the UK chart and this record was the beginning of a long string of UK hits for what was to become the greatest Girl Group of them all.

The Supremes managed 18 chart entries during the 1960s.

The Supremes started life at the beginning of the decade as the Primettes, but changed their name on joining Berry Gordy's Motown.

They remained unsuccessful until the song writing team of Holland-Dozier-Holland began to supply their material, after which the group thrived until the early 1970s by which time Diana Ross had departed for a solo career.

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