Mike Berry (& The Outlaws)

  • Real Name: Michael Bourne
  • Birth Date: September 24th 1942
  • Birth Place: Northampton
  • As far as most record buyers were concerned Mike Berry burst on to the scene with his "Tribute To Buddy Holly" in 1961. Fans of the legendary Texan rock and roller loved and hated the record in equal measure. There is no doubt now that the song was very much a tribute because Mike and his producer, Joe Meek were Buddy Holly fanatics, but many of the late singer's followers thought it was just exploiting Buddy's name for profit. It wasn't a unique tribute; there had been the rather mawkish 'Three Stars' from Tommy Dee which had been a chart hit in the UK for Ruby Wright in 1959. Incidentally, a version was also recorded by Eddie Cochran- though, ironically, few people heard it until after Eddie's own death a few months later. 'Tribute To Buddy Holly' was a good deal closer to the style adopted by Holly on his early singles and featured a prominent drum driven rhythm not dissimilar to that on 'Peggy Sue'.

    Joe Meek had tried out Mike Berry a few weeks earlier with his version of the Shirelles' 'Will You Love Me Tomorrow'- a song with lyrics that seem quite unsuitable for a male singer to tackle. Mike was backed by the Outlaws, a band already recorded by Meek as instrumentalists, so Berry's first two singles were not the band's first outing on record. The same musicians regularly did sessions at Meek's Holloway Road studio where they were used to back other singers- Freddie Starr, Glenda Collins and John Leyton among others. Billy Kuy, Reg Hawkins, Chas Hodges and Bobby Graham were the original 'Outlaws', but as personnel changes took place by 1964 they had evolved to Ken Lundgren, Ritchie Blackmore (later with Rainbow), Chas Hodges (who became half of Chas & Dave), and Mike Underwood. They had originally called themselves the Stormers, but were renamed by Meek who thought it a good idea to promote them with a 'Wild West' image- the group dressed accordingly. Joe also thought of the name Mike Berry because it had closer 'Buddy Holly' connotations than the name previously adopted by the artist, 'Kenny Lord'. Mike's third release featured the Outlaws, but actually credited 'The Admirals'- an incident that infuriated Meek allegedly caused by a misheard telephone conversation.

    Mike had two EPs issued, both of them produced at Joe Meek's Holloway Road studio. Possibly, this one on HMV 7EG8808 is slightly the easier to find.

    Almost all Mike's records were unashamedly trying to fit the Buddy Holly mould; these included his most successful, 'Don't You Think It's Time' which, although a product of songwriter Geoff Goddard and Meek magic, could easily have come from the Holly catalogue itself.

    Mike Berry split from Meek as the sixties progressed and signed with Robert Stigwood who was trying to grow the music side of his business. Sadly for Mike this did not improve his record sales. Despite trying very hard for the rest of the decade and beyond he had to remain content with the minor hits that he'd achieved through the imaginative efforts of Meek and the Outlaws. He had much more success with acting and became a familiar face on TV in series like 'Are You Being Served?'. However, with the help of his old mate and most regular 'Outlaw', Chas. Hodges, Mike broke the charts again with a couple more singles in the early 1980s- the best of these was 'The Sunshine Of Your Smile' which reached an unexpected #9 in August1980.

    1950s & 1960s 45rpm UK Discography

    • Listings include UK 45 singles releases only
    • Collector's Items are shown In Red

    Mike Berry
    Decca F11314 1961 Will You Love Me Tomorrow/ My Baby Doll  
    HMV POP912 1961 Tribute To Buddy Holly/ What's The Matter #24
    HMV POP979 1962 It's Just A Matter Of Time/ Little Boy Blue  
    HMV POP1042  1962 Every Little Kiss/ How May Times  
    HMV POP1105 1962 Don't You Think It's Time/ Loneliness #6
    HMV POP1142 1963 My Little Baby/ You'll Do It. You'll Fall In Love #34
    HMV POP1194 1963 It Really Doesn't Matter/ Try A Little Bit Harder  
    HMV POP1257 1964 This Little Girl/ On My Mind  
    HMV POP1284 1964 Lovesick/ Letter Of Love  
    HMV POP1314 1964 Who Will It Be/ Talk  
    HMV POP1362 1964 Two Lovers/ Don't Try To Stand In My Way  
    HMV POP1449 1965 That's All I Ever Wanted From You/ She Didn't Care  
    HMV POP1494 1965 It Comes And Goes/ Gonna Fall In Love  
    HMV POP1530 1966 Warm Baby/ Just Thought I'd Phone  
    Polydor 56182 1967 Raining In My Heart/ Eyes  
    Singles up until HMV POP1142 were with the Outlaws, POP1257 to POP1314 had backing from the 'Innocents'.

    EP Discography

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

    HMV 7EG8793 1963 It's Time For Mike Berry  
    Don't You Think It's Time/Loneliness/Every Little Kiss/How Many Times
    HMV 7EG8808 1963 A Tribute To Buddy Holly #17
    Tribute to Buddy Holly/It's Just A Matter of Time/My Little Baby/You'll Do It You'll Fall In Love

    Outlaws (Instrumental releases)
    HMV POP844 1961 Swingin' Low/ Spring Is Near #46
    HMV POP877 1961 Ambush/ Indian Brave #43
    HMV POP927 1961 Valley Of The Sioux/ Crazy Drums  
    HMV POP990 1962 Ku-Pow!/ Last Stage West  
    HMV POP1074 1962 Sioux Serenade/ Fort Knox  
    HMV POP1124 1963 The Return Of The Outlaws  
    HMV POP1195 1963 That Set The Wild West Free/ Hobo  
    HMV POP1241 1963 Law And Order/ Do-Da-Day  
    HMV POP1277 1964 Keep-A-Knockin'/ Shake With Me  

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