Florence Ballard was a student at junior high school in the Detroit housing projects and became friends with Paul Williams and Eddie Kendricks, (two members of The Primes, later to become the Temptations). The boys encouraged her to form a sister group called the Primettes (1959).
Ray Thomas (harmonica, vocals), John Lodge, and Michael Pinder keyboards, vocals) were members of El Riot & the Rebels in Birmingham in the early 60s. The group disbanded when John Lodge went to technical college and Mike Pinder left to join the army. Mike Pinder and Ray Thomas later formed the Krew Cats and recruited Denny Laine, Graeme Edge and Clint Warwick. They appeared as the Moody Blues in 1964 for the first time in Birmingham. Decca Records signed the band and their first single which met with modest acclaim was called “Steal your heart away.”
Before the onset of beat groups the sharpest sound around in the UK was trad jazz. This was a highbred of traditional jazz but as post-war Britain entered a period of massive social change and upheaval the new music became the sound of a generation determined to enjoy itself. Key names emerged like Acker Bilk, Chris Barber, and Kenny Ball. All were consummate musicians who had mastered their individual instruments.
Many believe his larger than life stage performances were related to Sammy’s secret desire to be liked and to overcome prejudice. He finished his army days in the entertainment section traveling across the US, gorging himself on the joy of being liked. He looked for haters in his audience and gave his performances an extra burst of strength and energy to make them acknowledge him as an entertainer. Back in Civy Street he perfected his performances
Ronald Wycherley was born in 1940 and brought up in Liverpool. As a child he suffered rheumatic fever which left his heart weak but that did not stop him from becoming a consummate performer. In almost formulaic way his father bought him a guitar, (aged 14) and he taught himself to play. Whilst not the best guitarist he was quite good at writing songs and when he saw the Girl can’t help it (1956) and a friend told him he looked like Eddie Cochrane, he was sold on a career as a rock’roller.
Robert George Meek was born in 1929 in Newent, England. Joe’s mother wanted a girl and dressed him as a girl. Whilst his three brothers were outward going young Joe was introverted and enjoyed staging magic shows for other children and dressing up for his own elaborate theatre productions. His other love was old radios and record players. Joe began building his own electrical gadgets and would rig up speakers so the local cherry pickers could listen to the radio as they worked. Later he became a mobile DJ, travelling the area with his own mobile set up,
Geoffrey Arnold Beck was born in 1944, in Wallington, England. From the age of 10 he sang in the local church choir and as a teenager learned to play the guitar. Jeff like many other UK kids became fascinated with making guitars as well as playing them. In post war England the electric guitar was a rare commodity because import restrictions from the US prevented them from general sale. The UK guitarists keen on the sound were left to build their own.
Artemios Ventouris Roussos was born in 1946 in Alexandria, Egypt. His parents were expatriate Greeks and his father was an engineer and mother, an actress. Demis was a pet name for the young Artemois who was brought up in the middle of the Muslim city and from early childhood exposed to both Byzantine and Arabic influences. Attracted to singing, he sang with the choir of the Greek Byzantine Church and became a soloist for five years.
Marion Ryan was born in Middlesbrough, Cleveland, UK in 1931. As a professional singer she worked with the Ray Ellington orchestra which springboarded her recording career. She had a good singing voice and was capable of a wide rage of styles. Her glamous good looks earned her the title "the Marilyn Monroe of popular song," but despite her popularity her recording career was mediocre. She did have one UK Top Five hit with 'Love ne forever' (1958).
Antoine Dominique "Fats" Domino was born in 1928 in New Orleans, Louisiana. He learned to play the piano aged 7, and his style was influenced by boogie woogie pianists like Albert Ammons, and Meade Lux Lewis. Later his triplet piano play came from Little Willie Littlefield.