TheVernons Girls were originally a choir that were put together as part of the social activities of Vernon's Pools, the Liverpool based football pool company. The group's first performances, at old people's homes and similar venues, were made on an amateur, charitable, basis. However, they became so accomplished and sought after that the company set them up professionally in the expectation that they would bring publicity to Vernon's. At this early stage, the singers- and increasingly dancers- simply came from the young women who checked the pools coupons that had been submitted by the company's clients. As the demand for professional engagements grew, the company became increasingly selective and even added talented 'outsiders' to their ranks. However, it is claimed that girls would seek employment with Vernons simply as a means of breaking into show business.
The Vernons Girls big break came when Jack Good decided that they were what he needed for his seminal rock and roll show '6-5 Special'. As this was a BBC show and advertising was prohibited, they were fortunate that their association with the pools company did not stand in the way. There were sixteen girls in all with one or two extras standing in the wings as back-up. The list of names above, which exceeds 16, includes all the ones that I've so far come across that can lay some claim to having been a Vernons Girl though there are probably many more.
The group were an immediate success and brought a much needed feminine balance to the TV programme. They went on to do all Jack Good's early musical shows, transferring with him to independent television for 'Oh Boy!' and 'Boy Meets Girl'. In addition to work on concert tours, they were also in great demand as backing singers for many of the stars of the day and appeared on many more records than is apparent from their modest discography.
However, the original full troupe soon disbanded after the commencement of the 1960s, but a smaller unit carried on- headed up by Maureen Kennedy. Most of the girls seem to have continued- at least for a while- in show business ventures. Lynn Cornell became a successful soloist and managed a chart hit with 'Never On Sunday'- she later became one of the 'Pearls'. Vicky Haseman married singer/ guitarist Joe Brown and brought up singing daughter Sam Brown. Joyce Baker married Marty Wilde- they formed a trio with Justin Hayward called the 'Wilde Three'- and brought up world famous singing daughter Kim. Most of the others seem to have banded together as duets and singing trios; these include the 'Redmond Twins', 'The Breakaways', 'The Pearls', the 'Two Tones'; the 'DeLaine Sisters' and -probably the longest surviving and best known, 'The Ladybirds'.
For the past ten years Maggie Stredder, Sheila Bruce, together with ex-Ladybird Penny Lister, have brought new life to the Vernons Girls and now regularly recapture some of the old magic on tour with their friends as part of the Solid Gold Rock 'n' Roll Show.
If you would like to know more about the Vernons Girls then I can recommend Maggie Stredder's Autobiography 'The Girl With The Glasses' (ISBN 0-9540587-1-2) published by Showbiz Publications. P.O. Box 692A, Surbiton Surrey, KT5 8DZ [Price £7.50].
|Parlophone R4497||1958||Lost And Found/ White Bucks And Saddle Shoes|
|Parlophone R4532||1959||Jealous Heart/ Now Is The Month Of Maying|
|Parlophone R4596||1959||Don't Look Now But/ Who Are They To Say?|
|Parlophone R4624||1960||We Like Boys/ Boy Meets Girl|
|Parlophone R4654||1960||Madison Time/ The Oo-We|
|Parlophone R4734||1961||Ten Little Lonely Boys/ Anniversary Song|
|Parlophone R4832||1961||Let's Get Together/ No Message|
|Decca F11450||1962||Lover Please/ You Know What I Mean||#16|
|Decca F11495||1962||The Loco-Motion/ Don't Wanna Go||#47|
|Decca F11549||1962||Funny All Over/ See For Youself||#31|
|Decca F11629||1963||Do The Bird/ I'm Gonna Let My Hair Down||#44|
|Decca F11685||1963||He'll Never Come Back/ Stay-At-Home|
|Decca F11781||1963||Tomorrow Is Another Day/ Why Why Why|
|Decca F11807||1964||We Love The Beatles/ Hey Lover Boy|
|Decca F11887||1964||Only You Can Do It/ Stupid Little Girl|
|Decca F12021||1964||It's A Sin To Tell A Lie/ Don't Say Goodbye|
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