Billy J. Kramer

And The Dakotas

  • Real Name: William Ashton (Kramer)
  • Birth Date: 19th August 1943
  • Birth Place: Bootle Liverpool
  • Mike Maxfield
  • 23rd February 1944
  • Manchester
  • Mick Green
  • Former 'Pirate' of Johnny Kidd
  • Robin McDonald
  • 18th July 1943
  • Manchester
  • Tony Mansfield
  • 28th May 1943
  • Manchester
  • The Dakotas were an established Manchester band who had originally backed a singer called Pete McLaine. They were recommended to Brian Epstein as a possible backing group to a new singer he had found called Billy J. Kramer. The unfortunate McLaine, who it is argued by some was a better singer than Kramer, formed a new group and went on to record- unsuccessfully.

    Billy J. Kramer had been singing with a group called the 'Coasters' when he was approached by Epstein. Although Billy was keen to turn professional, the Coasters weren't so Epstein had to find new musicians to back his new good looking vocalist. The Coasters ultimately found a new singer called Chick Graham and they too managed to cut a couple of unsuccessful singles.


    Tony Barrow's sleeve notes on the EP illustrated here (GEP8907) claim that "Little Children" was Billy's personal favourite from all the songs that he'd performed. Considering that it became the second #1 that Billy J. Kramer and The Dakotas earned, perhaps that's not so surprising.

    Besides re-iterating the hit from which it got its name, this EP also contains Billy's interpretation of an old standard along with a Lennon and McCartney penned number, "I Call Your Name"- a track from one of their early singles- and already included in their first EP (GEP8885)!

    The new Kramer/ Dakotas team clocked up a string of chart hits based on 'spare' songs gleaned from Lennon & McCartney- a resource that Epstein had easy access to. Like many vocalists Kramer decided to turn solo when the hits began to fade. However this didn't help him return to favour and he was soon on the nostalgia circuit.

    1950s & 1960s 45rpm UK Discography

    • This list includes UK 45 singles releases only
    • See list below for EP releases
    • Collector's Items are shown In Red
    Parlophone R5023 1963 Do You Want To Know A Secret/ I'll Be On My Way #2
    Parlophone R5049 1963 Bad To Me/ I Call Your Name #1
    Parlophone R5073 1963 I'll Keep You Satisfied/ I Know #4
    Parlophone R5105 1964 Little Children/ They Remind Me Of You #1
    Parlophone R5156 1964 From A Window/ Second To None #10
    Parlophone R5234 1965 It's Gotta Last Forever/ Don't Do It No More  
    Parlophone R5285 1965 Trains And Boats And Planes/ That's The Way I Feel #12
    Parlophone R5362 1965 Neon City/ I'll Be Doggone  
    Parlophone R5408 1966 We're Doing Fine/ Forgive Me  
    Parlophone R5482 1966 Take My Hand/ You Make Me Feel Like Someone  
    Reaction 591014 1967 Chines Girl/ Town Of Tuxley Toymaker  
    CBS 3396 1968 His Love Is Just A Lie/ 1941  
    Nems 3635 1968 World Without Love/ Going Through It  
    MGM MGM1474 1969 Colour Of My Life/ I'm Running Away  

    EP Discography

    • Collector's Items are shown In Red
    • See Upper List For Singles releases

    Parlophone GEP8885 1963 "The Billy J. Kramer Hits" #13
    Bad To Me/I Call Your Name/Do You Want To Know A Secret/I'll Be On My Way
    Parlophone GEP8895 1963 "I'll Keep You Satisfied"  
    I'll Keep You Satisfied/I Know/Dance With Me/It's Up To You
    Parlophone GEP8907 1964 "Little Children"  
    Little Children/They Remind Me Of You/Beautiful Dreamer/I Call Your Name
    Parlophone GEP8921 1964 "From A Window"  
    From A Window/Second To None/Dance With Me/Twelfth Of Never
    Parlophone GEP8928 1965 "Billy J. Plays The States"  
    Sugar Babe/Twilight Time/Tennessee Waltz/Irresistible You

    Return to UK Artists Biography Index