Tommy Bruce

  • Real Name: Thomas Charles Bruce
  • Birth Date: 16th July 1937
  • Birth Place: Stepney, London
  •  (And The Bruisers)  
    •  Real Name: Peter Greene (Lee Stirling)
    •  Real Name: Bobby Coral
    •  Real Name: Peter McGinty
    •  Real Name: Don McGinty

    Tommy Bruce had one of the most individual of vocal styles to emerge during the early 1960s. His rasping "sandpaper and gravel" vocal cords were coupled with an unashamedly London accent- long before British regional accents were generally accepted as normal. Consequently, his style was unmistakable at a time when other artists were trying to move to a kind of mid-Atlantic smoothness- gradually shifting away from rock and roll and presumably towards the kind of 'easy listening' that tin-pan-alley was more comfortable with. Certainly, Tommy's lively rendition of "Ain't Misbehavin'" came as a bit of a shock and a welcome change from the stuff we were getting used to in the UK during 1960.

    Tommy had no real musical training and his rise as a pop star was as big a surprise to him as anybody else. The story of how he came to cut his first disc is now part of UK pop folklore, but well worth retelling. Tommy was working as a porter in Covent Garden- still then in its hey day as a major wholesale vegetable market. He had, however become a friend of his neighbour Barry Mason- who at that time was a struggling singer and songwriter. Barry was so taken with Tommy's unusual voice that he encouraged Tommy to make a demonstration recording of the only song Tom knew well- "Ain't Misbehavin'". The rest- as they say- is history. The song's release- previously a #17 hit for Johnnie Ray in 1956- with its backing attributed to 'the Bruisers' was a rapid success. The former vegetable handler found himself held back from the very top only by the American star Jimmy Jones and Cliff Richard.

    Although Fat's Waller's "Ain't Misbehavin'" would prove to be Tommy's only really big hit, it was enough to establish him as an exceedingly popular performer. Indeed this modest star soon found himself 'on the road' in many concerts and starring in the popular TV series "The Stars and Garters" alongside Kathy Kirby and Vince Hill. Although "The Bruisers" were originally session men employed by Norrie Paramor for work on Tommy's first releases he soon found a group of competent musicians to back him while on tour. They even managed one minor hit (the Van Dyke penned song "Blue Girl") without their coarse voiced vocalist and became a popular singing group in their own right. Despite backing Tommy, the Bruisers weren't from London at all- they were from Birmingham.

    Although Tommy Bruce's musical career turned sharply downwards during the late 1960s he nevertheless enjoyed a popular following in cabaret or along with other stars at nostalgia concerts. Sadly, Tommy died as a result of prostate cancer on July 10 2006.

    1950s & 1960s 45rpm UK Discography

    • Listings include UK 45 singles releases only
    • See Lower list for EP releases.
    • Collector's Items are shown In Red

    Columbia DB4453 1960 Ain't Misbehavin'/Got The Water Boilin' #3
    Columbia DB4498 1960 Broken Doll/ I'm On Fire #36
    Columbia DB4532 1960 On The Sunny Side Of The Street/ My Little Girl  
    Columbia DB4581 1961 You Make Love So Well/ I'm Crazy 'Bout My Baby  
    Columbia DB4682 1961 Love Honour And Oh! Baby/ I'm Gonna Sit Right Down And Write  
    Columbia DB4776 1962 Babette/ Honey Girl You're Lonely #50
    Columbia DB4850 1962 Horror Movies/ It's You  
    Columbia DB4927 1962 Buttons And Bows/ London Boys  
    Columbia DB7025 1963 Let's Do It Let's Fall In Love/ Two Feet Left  
    Columbia DB7132 1963 Lavender Blue/ Sixteen Years Ago Tonight  
    Columbia DB7241 1964 Let It Be Me/ No More  
    Columbia DB7387 1964 Over Suzanne/ It's Drivin' Me Wild  
    Polydor BM56006 1965 Boom Boom/ Can Your Monkey Do The Dog  
    RCA 1535 1966 Monster Gonzales/ I Hate Getting Up In The Morning  
    CBS 3405 1968 I've Been Around Too Long/ Where The Colour Of The Soil Is Different  
    CBS 3937 1968 Heartbreak Melody/ The Reason Why  

    EP Discography

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

    Columbia SEG8077 1961 "Knockout" w. the Bruisers  
    Shakin' All Over/Give Me Some More/Gladrag Doll/Heavens Above

    The Bruisers (Sometimes credited to "Lee Stirling And The Bruisers")
    Columbia DB4992 1963 My Heart Commands Me/ Welcome Stranger  
    Parlophone R5042 1963 Blue Girl/ Don't Cry #31
    Parlophone R5063 1963 I Could If I Wanted To/ Right From The Start  
    Parlophone R5092 1963 Your Turn To Cry/ I Don't Understand  
    Parlophone R5112 1964 Now That I've Found You/ Believe  
    Parlophone R5158 1964 Sad Lonely And Blue/ I'm Looking For Someone To Love  
    Parlophone R5198 1964 Everything Will Be Alright (sic)/ You'll Be Mine  

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