|(And The Bruisers)|
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.
|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|
|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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