It wasn’t all bad times though – they both loved motorcycles and they did some hill climbing together. They could happily while away the time playing Passport, a board game for people who like travelling.
There was a party at the Hilton Hotel to promote the UK tour. The Everlys said they would be performing their new record on tour although they didn’t perform ‘The Girl Sang The Blues’ and ‘Love Her’ anywhere. Nor did they sing their previous chart hit, ‘It’s Been Nice’ or anything from their new album of country hits. Awkward buggers really: the promotion team at Warner Brothers must have loved them.
Despite a lack of hit records from the start, the Everly Brothers were well known in Germany. Many of their songs had been covered by German artists and these local versions had sold. They had had regular releases but they had only once made the German Top 50 when ‘Cathy’s Clown’ reached No 41 in 1960. Warners wanted to break them with some German language titles.
On September 16 and 17, 1963, the Everlys recorded four songs in German at the Teldec Studio in Hamburg. With producer Wolf Kabitzky, they recorded ‘Warum (Why)’, ‘Du bist niche so wie die andern (You are not like the others)’, ‘Wo sind die schönen Tage (Where have the beautiful days gone?)’ and ‘Susie’. The titles were issued on two singles in Germany as well as being combined on an EP. The result is low-key German Schlager: pleasant listening with ‘Warum (Why)’ coming off best, but nothing memorable and nothing chart worthy. Among the publicity photographs, the Everlys are holding German steins. Were they also auditioning for The Student Prince?
On September 23, 1963 the Everlys went to Paris to play the famed Olympia (capacity 2,000) alongside Peter, Paul and Mary and Hugues Aufray. In January 1964, a similarly styled show at the Olympia featured the Beatles, Trini Lopez and Sylvie Vartan. The Everlys’ set was recorded and broadcast in France and, in 1997, it was released by Big Beat under the title, Live In Paris. I was glad to hear this as it confirms that the dire performance I saw in Liverpool a few weeks later was not a one-off.
In his Vegas years, Elvis often threw away his early successes, hurtling through them with little regard for structure or meaning. Here, several years earlier, the Everlys rush though their material as though they have catch the Métro. Indeed, they whizz through their eight-song set in 19minutes. The openers, ‘Lucille’ and ‘Wake Up Little Susie’ are a garbled mess, although ‘Susie’ does incorporate a Bo Diddley riff. Clearly, the Everlys are in it together as Phil is harmonising with Don’s superfast vocal at the same speed. In ‘Be Bop A Lula’, it sounds like they had had a row before they went on stage and the frenzied drum solo from Jim Gordon turns it into a disaster. And just what is the point of ripping up ‘Rip It Up’?
Jerry Allison of the Crickets, who recently heard the recording, says that Jim Gordon had joined the Everlys after playing in a University marching band which might explain why he’s playing like that!
Don’s diction is slurred, though that is nothing unusual. His drawled introductions may have been the effect of medication but he might have been speaking slowly for a French audience.
There are a few bits to salvage from the wreckage. ‘Bye Bye Love’ is relatively unscathed although I could have done without the invitation to “Come on, sing now”. They show some feeling for ‘All I Have To Do Is Dream’ and are probably having most fun with the bluesy ‘Baby What You Want Me To Do’. ‘Cathy’s Clown’ would have been okay but the sound technicians are at fault here. On the whole the message seems to be, “We’re no longer interested in these songs but we have to do them, so here they are.”
‘All I Have To Do Is Dream’ is included on the 2CD set to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the Olympia, Olympia 50 Anniversaire (LaserLight, 2004) and it sounds fine amidst the live recordings from other performers and is a good deal better than Vince Taylor’s ‘Fever’.
Phil Everly has said, “We tended to pick the up-tempo songs and we found that, when we were in concert, we did the up-tempo songs faster and the ballads slower.”
Albert Lee, later to play with the Everlys, recalls, “I saw the Everly Brothers in the early sixties and they really annoyed me because they did their slow songs really slow and their hard ones at breakneck speed.”
Why did the Everlys do the songs so fast? I thought for many years that it was boredom but recently I was talking to Tom Paley from the New Lost City Ramblers. He told me that he had reservations about bluegrass because so many of the musicians want to play the songs as fast as they can. Don and Phil came from Kentucky and so it’s possible that they had picked up this trait. Did they come off stage and say, “That was good. We knocked another four seconds off ‘Cathy’s Clown’ tonight.” Not only does this make them sound like an old-time bluegrass band but it also foresees the Ramones who did nearly everything in under two minutes.
The Star-Club in the St Pauli area of Hamburg had opened in April 1962 and its owner, Manfred Weissleder, wanted to attract top American rock’n’roll names to the club. The British rock’n’roll singer, Roy Young, was a resident performer and he told Weissleder that he could arrange this through Don Arden. Bearing in mind that Weissleder and Arden each wanted to rip each other off (and possibly apart), this was a surprisingly successful partnership and the Star-Club boasted appearances from Bill Haley and his Comets, Little Richard, Fats Domino and Ray Charles. The Star-Club regulars were keen music fans and the shows always did well.
On September 20 and 21, Bo Diddley with Jerome and the Duchess appeared at the Star-Club. Sam Hardie, the pianist from Kingsize Taylor and the Dominoes, says, “Bo Diddley was handing out publicity badges to everyone. Our drummer at the time, Jim Doyle was a jazz drummer, and no lover of rhythm and blues. He covered his coat with Bo’s badges and Bo thought he was one of his biggest fans. He didn’t realise he was taking the mickey.”
Unlike the Everly Brothers, Bo Diddley was fully aware of what was happening in the UK and he saw it as an opportunity to advance his popularity. A posthumous release of ‘Bo Diddley’ by Buddy Holly had made the Top 10, thus giving Bo a plug every time it was played.
Because he was so keen to make an impression, he gave Don Arden no trouble at all. “Bo Diddley wasn’t a star,” said Arden, “He was just a well-known name. So there was no ego, just a happy-go-lucky guy. All he ever asked me was, ‘What time am I on and when do I get paid?’ I liked that.”
Although Bo wanted to establish himself in the UK, he was not doing anything out of the ordinary. Pat Boone, also on tour in 1963, agreed to anything and found himself playing in a charity cricket match for the New Musical Express against Sussex. Astonishingly and very impressively, he caught out the England captain, Ted Dexter.
Pye International chose the right single to promote him to a wider public. Bo had recorded ‘Pretty Thing’ in 1956 and even though it was a classic track, it had not been widely covered and so it was, to all intents and purposes, new. The B-side was the remarkable ‘Road Runner’ from 1959, a tour de force of guitar playing and special effects.
Melody Maker had a column with celebrity reviewers called Blind Date, which was popular because the reviewer, who had no advance notice of the records and wasn’t even told the performers’ names, could make an idiot of himself. Not that it would have been too hard for Heinz. When Heinz was played the single, he said, “Is it Bo Diddley? This is too much like his last one. It’s thin. There’s nothing much there. It’s the worst one I’ve ever heard by him. It won’t get into the charts. He’s supposed to be a brilliant guitarist but I can’t hear it. I don’t know who did the arrangement but I’m sure I could have done it better myself.” Mind you, when Jet Harris was played Heinz’s ‘Just Like Eddie’ in June 1963, he thought it was either Gene Vincent or Jess Conrad.
On September 22 Bo Diddley went to Birmingham and mimed to ‘Pretty Thing’ in a gold brocade suit for Thank Your Lucky Stars, which was transmitted six days later. There is a wonderful group photograph of the cast with Bo, the Duchess, Jerome, Freddy Cannon, Mike Berry, the Big Three and the Tornados. Also featured is the Manchester band, Pete Maclaine and the Clan. They promoted but their Decca single, ‘Yes I Do’, but unfortunately for them, there was a strike at the pressing plant and the record was not available in the shops when it should have been.
Bo also appeared on the north-west news programme, Scene At 6.30 and on Ready, Steady, Go! Alan Dixon from the Wirral wrote to the NME: ““So that was the great Bo Diddley on Thank Your Lucky Stars. Whoever said he was the greatest just hasn’t heard of the Beatles”
The Rolling Stones were keen Bo Diddley fans and their act at the time included ‘Cops And Robbers’, ‘Crackin’ Up’, ‘Diddley Daddy’, ‘Mona’, ‘Pretty Thing’, ‘Road Runner’ and ‘You Can’t Judge A Book By Its Cover’. The Rolling Stones came to the Cumberland Hotel in Marble Arch and gave Bo some cuff-links with his initials on them.
Bo recorded a set for Saturday Club on which Bo, Jerome and the Duchess were backed by Charlie Watts (drums), Brian Jones (harmonica on ‘Pretty Thing’) and Bill Wyman (bass). They recorded ‘Bo Diddley’, ‘Road Runner’, ‘Pretty Thing’ and ‘Hey Bo Diddley’. The Stones recorded a set at the same time. Bo was impressed and said, “Brian was the only white cat that ever got my rhythm.” He wanted the Stones to back them on tour but their manager, Andrew Loog Oldham, said an emphatic no.
The Everlys were back in Hamburg on 27 and 28 September for four shows at the Star-Club. A well-known trumpeter, Horst Fischer, played the intro for their version of ‘When The Saints Go Marching In’. The supporting acts were Tony Sheridan and Cliff Bennett and the Rebel Rousers. On the second day, the Everlys also appeared on the TV programme, Die Aktuelle Schaubude.
Almost as infamous as Don Arden was his tour manager, Peter Grant. Born in South Norwood, Surrey in 1935, Peter Grant was raised by his mother in the East End and the family had little money. He left school at 13 and became a sheet metal worker. He was an army corporal and then a bouncer at the 2I’s coffee bar. As Grant was six foot five and 22 stone, the owner Paul Lincoln called him Count Massimo and arranged wrestling bouts.
Peter Grant played tough guys in films including A Night To Remember, The Guns Of Navarone and Cleopatra and he was also Robert Morley’s double. His tough upbringing and his physical strength made him the ideal tour manager, and he worked with Don Arden handling Gene Vincent, Little Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis.
On Sunday September 29, 1963 the acts for the tour rehearsed all day and the running order and the length of the sets was worked out with Peter Grant. They would use house PAs and as the venues were mostly cinemas, this might not always be a good solution.
Joey Paige from the Nashville Three commented, “Nothing could have prepared me for that first sight of the Stones. When I saw them, I thought they just couldn’t afford to buy clothes.” As it happens, they too would soon be going to Dougie Millings but they would order yellow jackets and red trousers.
Phil Everly, who wore a tuxedo on stage, added: “They were just bringing in that not dressing for the stage and they looked quite peculiar but they did a good job and they stood out. They were an easy bunch of guys to be around.”
The results of the Melody Maker Pop Poll in September 1963 were hardly encouraging reading for Don Arden. Only two of his tour acts were even mentioned and then not encouragingly. In the vocal group section, the Four Seasons topped the poll with 24% of the votes, followed by the Beatles (11), the Crickets (10), the Springfields (9) and the Everly Brothers (8). The Brightest Hope category was topped by Billy J Kramer (really) and the Rolling Stones were down the list with 4%. Still, momentum had been gathering since the poll had been announced.
Don Arden didn’t want to risk the tour losing money and perhaps putting him out of business. He had a Plan B. Instead of adding a current chart-maker to the bill, he would call Little Richard in Sugar Hill, California and ask him to come over. Since his UK tour in 1962, Richard had returned to religious studies and was again renouncing rock’n’roll as evil. “You’ve got to remember that Little Richard was paranoid,” says his biographer, Chas ‘Dr Rock’ White. “He had experienced racism in the States and he had seen Chuck Berry go to prison. Whether or not Chuck Berry was guilty doesn’t really matter here: Little Richard simply thought that the authorities might be coming for him next, but if he were a minister he would be protected.”
Don Arden knew that the right approach was to flatter Little Richard. “I phoned Richard and said, ‘You’ve got to help me. I’m in the shit.’ Richard still wanted the dough he would have got for topping the bill but that was all right and bless his heart, within two days, he was here.” To some degree, Richard was being hypocritical. He could rock’n’roll in the UK and as nobody in America would know about it, he could return to his studies.
“I’m not surprised that Don Arden got Little Richard,” says John Steel of the Animals, “He was a tough guy but he also had a lot of charm and could be very convincing. He could talk anybody into anything.”
This was at a time of high competition for package tours. Peter Walsh had Roy Orbison and Bob Luman touring with the Searchers and Brian Poole and the Tremeloes, and Arthur Howes had two tours – Tommy Roe with Billy J Kramer and Del Shannon with Gerry and the Pacemakers.
The Everly Brothers had been the biggest band in the world and, according to the annual NME poll, were still considered the World’s Top Vocal Group. But their success was in the past, admittedly the recent past, but still the past. They had to come to terms with what was happening and Phil Everly certainly wanted to be back with the hitmakers.
PART 3 – GONNA HAVE SOME FUN TONIGHT
“The Everlys were very polite, but distant.” (Keith Richards)
The autumn tour featuring the Everly Brothers, Bo Diddley, the Rolling Stones, Julie Grant, Mickie Most, the Flintstones and compère Bob Bain opened at the New Victoria Theatre in London on September 29, 1963. There was also an unbilled act on the show.
The owner of the Star-Club in Hamburg, Manfred Weissleder had been telling the promoter, Don Arden of the popularity of a beat group, the Rattles at his venue. Weissleder managed them and he wanted to see how they would perform in the UK. Arden saw no value in having the German band on the bill but he didn’t want to upset his client. He told Weissleder that yes, the Rattles could join the tour and they could travel on the tour bus but he couldn’t afford to pay them. They would open the second half with one or two songs, depending on the timing. The songs were usually their German singles, ‘Mashed Potatoes’ and ‘The Stomp’.
Herbert Hildebrand of the Rattles recalled, “We did not speak English well, but Henry Henroid, our tour manager, told us to use our accents and say ‘We like to be here’ and ‘We like you very much’, and all the girls would scream.”
Julie Grant says, “I was backed by the Flintstones on the Everlys tour and they were London based. They were a fabulous band and they played for Mickie. Bo was backed by the Duchess and Jerome. I loved them.”
Mickie Most recalled, “I was making up the numbers, I suppose. It was the first tour for the Rolling Stones and I was the second act on. The Flintstones came on first and then I used to leap out and do 15 minutes of other people’s rock’n’roll songs. Nobody threw anything at me anyway.” Well, not at the New Victoria, but we’ll come to that.
The opening show was perfect for the new kids on the block (although Bill Wyman was 27) as this was the Rolling Stones’ home territory. They performed ‘Poison Ivy’, ‘Fortune Teller’ (both of which had been considered for A-sides) and their current success, ‘Come On’. Chris Hutchins commented in the NME commented that they got “great appreciation but not from me”. Julie Grant was described as “pleasing” with ‘Count On Me’, ‘Bad To Me’ and her latest single, ‘Don’t Ever Let Me Down’ and the Rattles were “entertaining”.
There were loud calls of “Bo Diddley, you’re great!” and Bo performed three songs, all in extended versions, backed by the Duchess and Jerome as well as a couple of the Flintstones. Chris Hutchins wrote in the NME: “The unusual style of Bo Diddley had Sunday’s first house perplexed as the curtains opened, but the familiar strains of the song to which he gave his name earned Bo a warm reception that had turned to something approaching red heat before his startling, though comparatively brief, set was completed.”
Writing to Melody Maker, B A Woodridge said, “Many R&B fans left the theatre after the Rolling Stones and Bo Diddley had appeared and those who stayed chanted for the reappearance of Bo Diddley and the Stones – much to the annoyance of the Everlys’ fans.”
Two girls, L A Terry and M Brown from Ilford also wrote to Melody Maker: “We must say how appalled we were by the disgusting performance of the Bo Diddley fans at the New Victoria concert in London. They showed absolutely no appreciation for the efforts of the other stars on the show. In fact, many of them walked out during the Everly Brothers’ performance – and they were top of the bill. Surely the star concerned is as disgruntled as we were with this moronic downright rude behaviour.”
The Everly Brothers performed ‘Lucille’, ‘Walk Right Back’, ‘Wake Up Little Susie’, ‘Cathy’s Clown’, ‘Rip It Up’, ‘Bye Bye Love’, ‘All I Have To Do Is Dream’, ‘Keep A-Knockin’’ and ‘So Sad’ (with clowning from Joey Paige who attempted to join them for some of the lines) and, for an encore, ‘Be Bop A Lula’. They didn’t include their recent hits (‘Crying In The Rain’, ‘It’s Been Nice’) nor their latest single (‘The Girl Sang The Blues’, ‘Love Her’). Note the inclusion of Little Richard’s ‘Lucille’ and ‘Rip It Up’ as he had yet to join the tour.
Ian Wallis, the author of American Rock’n’Roll – The UK Tours, 1956-72 called it “a superbly polished performance”. In view of their shambolic performances around this time, I find this unlikely but to each his own. It’s just possible that the Everlys had got their act together for the start of the tour. Chris Hutchins, in a wonderful knowing way wrote in the NME: “The Everly Brothers are back – in fighting form!”
Record Mirror realising that the Stones were the way to go carried a series of five weekly articles about the tour, one by each Stone starting with Brian Jones. Brian revealed that Bo was always laughing and cracking jokes. Brian added, “We had a few friends at the opening on Sunday. One got chatting to Bo and started showing him some of our dances. He was so knocked out that he asked her if she’d like to join the tour for five weeks and do them on stage with him.” Sorry, Bo, it’s a no.
The New Victoria show was also reviewed by Tony Noakes from Disc: “‘Bo, you’re great’ screamed the girl immediately behind me at the opening of the Everly Brothers and Bo Diddley tour at the New Victoria, London on Sunday, and despite the fact that she almost split my eardrums, I must agree. Bo played his guitar with fantastic skill and did the splits as he beat out the rhythm in ‘Hey Bo Diddley’. His act alone makes the show worth a visit.
“The Everlys’ whole act including a wonderful comedy number with Joey Page was great. The Rolling Stones really moved the audience with ‘Poison Ivy’ and ‘Come On’. Mickie Most and Julie Grant had a harder time with the R&B fans who made up the majority of the audience. The Rattles really swung.”
There was no tour date the following day and the Stones played the Rex Ballroom in Cambridge. They all came back together for two shows at the Odeon Streatham on October 1.
The next night Tottenham Hotspur was playing Birmingham and would go to the top of the league with a 6-1 victory. Unfortunately, Bob Bain and a couple of Flintstones got caught in the traffic and arrived late at the Regal, Edmonton. Mickie Most was the compère until Bob turned up but he couldn’t perform his set until the Flintstones were all there.
That night, the Stones’ fans were out in full force and the local press reported, “Girl after girl rushed the stage, only to be rammed back into their seats by staff.” This didn’t happen everywhere but there was certainly a buzz around the Stones.
Mickie Most would sometimes return to London in his Porsche and give Mick Jagger a lift. “I remember driving back to London one night and it was pouring with rain. The lights of the cars coming in the opposite direction would light up the inside of my car, I remember looking across at Mick and thinking, ‘If this guy wasn’t so ugly, maybe this band could make it big.’”
Only the Everlys and their group, Bo, Jerome and the Duchess, and Little Richard plus two had hotel rooms booked by Don Arden. The rest had to look around when they hit town. They sometimes slept on the coach or hoped that some girl would take them home. Although, Mickie Most had a Porsche, he had invested in the tour and usually did not have enough money for petrol. He was often on the tour bus and he would bum beds for the night.
Mickie Most said, “The Everly Brothers travelled separately from the rest of us, but I still got to spend quite a lot of time with them. I got the impression that they were having their problems even then. Don was still in his drug days and was beginning to put on weight. I never saw them fighting but they were certainly cool to one another.”
Julie Grant recalls, “It was all male company except for me and my mother. Mummy was my chaperon and they all knew her as Mrs Grant when she was really Mrs Foreman and she was always backstage and she would slip the Stones a couple of bob for fish and chips if needs be. She was like a little mascot as she would make sandwiches on the bus. Many years later I was performing at the Americana Hotel in the Bahamas. I was doing a show with my own group and Mick Jagger was on his honeymoon with Bianca, downstairs playing roulette. I went downstairs to see him and he said, ‘What are you doing here, Julie and where’s your mother?’ Everybody knew Sadie.”
The tour played the Odeon Southend-on-Sea on October 3, with two shows at 6.45 and 9pm and ticket prices, 7/6, 10/-, 12/6 and 15/-. There was a good choice of entertainment in Southampton – live music Robb Storme, the Whirlwinds and the Paramounts (who became Procol Harum). The films included Lolita (James Mason), Mutiny On The Bounty (Marlon Brando), Sparrows Can’t Sing (Barbara Windsor), The Raven (Vincent Price) and Sodom And Gomarrah (That’s yer Lot!) as well as a documentary on Marilyn Monroe.
An anonymous reviewer in the Southend Standard wrote, “Thursday saw the long awaited visit to Southend’s Odeon of two of the most talented exponents of vocal harmony – Phil and Don, the Everly Brothers. Starting with real swingers such as ‘Lucille’ and ‘Claudette’, they gave really polished interpretations of some of their best sellers – ‘Cathy’s Clown’, ‘Walk Right Back’ and ‘All I Have To Do Is Dream’. The criticisms: They tended to ‘hot up’ too many of their numbers until they tottered on the verge of rowdiness and secondly, the programme was over-amplified.
“And another big name on the bill, also from the States, was Bo Diddley, the bespectacled Negro with the inimitable style. Backed on guitar by his half-sister the Duchess and on maracas by Jerome Green, Bo rendered a handful of foot-tappers with the distinctive Diddley beat which included the inevitable single which shot him to fame and his latest recording, ‘Pretty Thing’.
“We couldn’t really give a verdict on the Rolling Stones, the up-and-coming young group with the caveman hairstyles because we hardly understood a word they sang, but the teenage girls screamed and they are the ones who put such groups on the recording map.
“Mickie Most and Julie Grant provided two very pleasant spots. Mickie’s selection was up-to-date but kind on the ear, while Julie – one of Britain’s most underrated female singers – really bounced through ‘Count On Me’ and others. Bob Bain compèred the show and the Flintstones, as well as having a swinging spot of their own, backed up.
“A surprise addition to the programme was the Rattles, a four-man beat group from Hamburg. They could be classed as Germany’s answer to the Beatles – and should go down well over here.”
It’s churlish to criticise the Southend Standard reviewer who was watching so attentively, but you missed the main story, mate. You should have been backstage.
That day Ringo Starr had been recording a new vocal for the Beatles’ ‘I Wanna Be Your Man’. Then, after taping a radio interview, he drove to Southend to catch the show. Ringo was introduced to Don Arden’s 11-year-old son David. A journalist made a joke that his father was out looking for birds and the tour manager, Peter Grant, was so incensed that he told Arden what the journalist had said.
Arden went after the journalist, writing in his autobiography, “I just walloped him – hard – and watched his feet lift off the ground. He landed on top on my car, a lovely white Chevy Impala. It was a soft-top and so he bounced off the roof. I hit him again for being a cheeky shite and denting my car.” He then made the journalist crawl on his knees and apologise to his son.
Ringo came to Southend with the blonde journalist June Harris who wrote for Disc. Mickie Most recognised her and they exchanged business cars. Years later he would give her exclusive access to Herman’s Hermits.
Melody Maker featured a profile of Bo Diddley by Max Jones. Bo told us that he weighed 14 stone and that he preferred the violin to the guitar. He had been making records you could twist to for years, but “I’ve advanced so much that I can hardly play like I did in 1955.”
At the Odeon Guildford on October 4, Bo Diddley and the Everlys jammed backstage and they were joined by the Stones. Mick sang ‘La Bamba’ with the Evs. Bo was impressed when he heard the Stones playing Elmore James songs with Brian Jones on slide guitar. Bo showed Mick how to move his legs on stage.
Dicky Tarrach from the Rattles says, “The Rolling Stones went separately in their Bedford van but sometimes Mick and Keith travelled on the bus and were sitting with Bo Diddley and learning his guitar grooves. Once the tour was over they recorded ‘Not Fade Away’ and that had a real Bo Diddley groove even though it was a Buddy Holly song.”
Jerome held four maracas and gave Bo an African sound. He didn’t have much to do and could perform when he was drunk. Keith Richards became his roadie and he would always find him in the nearest pub. The locals loved Jerome, who was a born comedian, and they bought him drinks as they hadn’t met a six foot black man from Chicago before. Jerome desperately wanted some good hamburgers. He’d been taken to the Wimpy bar but he didn’t consider what they sold was hamburgers.
The BBC Saturday teatime programme, Juke Box Jury, for October 5 featured a panel of Bunny Lewis (pop songwriter and manager of David Jacobs and Jimmy Savile), actress Julia Lockwood, Helen Shapiro and author Wolf Mankowitz. Before the programme, the panel had been told to put more bite and criticism into their comments.
When ‘The Girl Sang The Blues’ was played, Bunny Lewis spoke of the familiar thump thump thump of a record by the Everly Brothers. Wolf Mankowitz added, “I don’t know why Bunny Lewis should imply that this thump is inferior to his own thump that gets him a fantastic living as a lyric writer and composer.” Still, ‘The Girl Sang The Blues’ was voted a hit, but a hit meant the Top 20 and the record stuck at No 25.
That night the tour played the Gaumont Watford and the make-up artist, Sarah Monzani, recalled her younger days, “The Stones finished playing and we must have come out during the interval. I was up a drainpipe at the back, trying to get to the Stones through the gents’ loo. I was dragged off and put in a Black Maria.”
The girls also wouldn’t have known which van to paint with lipstick as Ian Stewart, the Stones’ unlisted pianist and roadie, collected a new Commer van.
Little Richard hated flying and he had sailed to the UK for his 1962 tour. As Don Arden wanted him urgently, he had to fly, admittedly with great reluctance. He had a new look to his act – he would wear close-fitting shiny suits and unlike 1962, he would not feign a collapse on stage followed by a wild revival. No, he had something far more spectacular in mind. He had met the Beatles and other UK bands previously and he knew that something was happening and that he had to outshine everybody.
Don Arden had considered an R&B first half with the Rolling Stones, Bo Diddley and Little Richard but he dropped this idea, preferring Richard to close the first half and Diddley to open the second.
Little Richard arrived in the UK the day before and gave an interview to Record Mirror. He was talking in the language of billboards by saying, “Little Richard Is Something To See, Something To Hear. It Will Be The Electrifying Little Richard In His Amazing Role Like An Atomic Bomb.” He commented on the new beat trends with this unlikely comment, “I used to have my hair four and a half inches long and my wife hated it.”
Richard’s first appearance was at Watford. He sang ‘Long Tall Sally’, ‘Rip It Up’, ‘Tutti Frutti’ and ‘Lucille’, obviously provoking the Everlys who had ‘Rip It Up’ and ‘Lucille’ in their set list. More to the point, this was no 10 minute act. Little Richard went berserk, shedding his jacket, tie, shirt and shoes. He climbed onto the piano and sang amongst the audience. The effect was sensational: he stopped the show and encored with ‘Jenny Jenny’ and ‘Hound Dog’, excellently supported by the Flintstones. The closure of the first half was delayed by 20 minutes.
JH reviewing the show for Disc said, “Little Richard’s dynamic debut on the Everly Brothers package tour at Watford on Saturday proved that he is still the greatest, wildest performer in the world. Every Little Richard hit from ‘Lucille’ to ‘Good Golly Miss Molly’ was hurled at the audience which stamped, raved and yelled with the artist. The old wild action was there and Little Richard’s complete performance was charged with shouts of ‘All right!’ between songs. By the end of his act, he was stripped of all his clothing except for his blue mohair pants. After he closed the first half, the yells for an encore lasted almost five minutes. This man is tremendous.”
The Everlys’ manager, Jack Rael, complained to Don Arden that Little Richard was allowed too much time, but Arden sided with Richard. Arden had already asked Richard to stay on for the Shirelles tour which would also feature Duane Eddy or Chuck Berry. He had been thinking of making an Everly Brothers special with the ITV producer, Johnnie Hamp, for Granada, but now Little Richard was a better bet.
Although the Everly Brothers loved Little Richard’s music, they became increasingly antagonised by the way he would overrun and effectively act like as the billtopper. Richard also knew how to wind up Bo Diddley and they would frequently argue as to which of them was going on first. If Bo got on before Richard, he would add a couple of numbers to his set. The tour was coming together for the audience and falling apart round the back.
Bob Bain and Little Richard worked out an entrance. Bob would ask the audience whom they had come to see and Richard off-stage would then sing the titles of 10 of his hits one after the other. This would make the audience hysterical. Phil Everly would watch Little Richard and Bo Diddley most nights, fascinated by their showmanship.
The next night of the tour, October 6, was at the Capitol in Cardiff. Little Richard was told not to overrun because it was a Sunday, there were two houses and a curfew of 10pm.
Little Richard took no notice. Bill Wyman told Record Mirror, “Richard brought the house down when he jumped off stage, went up the centre aisle followed by members of the audience, out of the front doors, then back in through a side-exit and on stage. He partly undressed and threw pieces of clothing into the crowd. He performed way past his scheduled time and his manager had to yell to him, ‘Richard, stop preaching,’ to get him off.” The next day Bill West who was in charge of productions at Rank Theatre told him that he must not jump off stage again. Naturally he disobeyed the order and would say, “It’s the music, it just gets to me. I can’t help it.”
Bill Wyman’s thoughts are verified by Derek Wayland who reviewed the show for the Cardiff And Suburban News. Under the heading, “Little Richard Hypnotises Audience”, he wrote:
“Little Richard’s guest appearance in the Everly Brothers Show was the most exciting performance ever given in a pop package visiting this city. I thought the days of rock’n’roll were over – until I saw America’s fabulous Little Richard. For almost 30 minutes, I relived the rock’n’roll era as this dynamic entertainer sang the songs I enjoyed singing several years ago. There was ‘Long Tall Sally’, ‘Tutti Frutti’ and many others. Fans mobbed Little Richard after he threw his shirt to a lucky member of the packed audience. If he decides to make a comeback, everything is in his favour. He is the star other stars make a point of seeing.
“The Everly Brothers were back in fighting form. They swung their way through 10 big hits in the second half with the superbly polished performance that was expected of them and an added effort to please. They rocked in with ‘Lucille’, stomped through ‘Walk Right Back’ and made sure their presence was known with ‘Wake Up Little Susie’ before slowing down for ‘Cathy’s Clown’. But the beat was back for an all-stops-out version of ‘Rip It Up’ which was followed by their first-ever disc, ‘Bye Bye Love’. A reassuring glance for Phil from his brother Don and they were set for alternate moods with the final four numbers,- ‘All I Have Do Is Dream’, ‘Keep-A Knockin’’, ‘So Sad’ – which was cleverly spiced with comedy from bass player Joey Paige – and ‘Be-Bop-A-Lula’. A great act from a duo whose future was thought to be in doubt so few months ago.
“The unusual style of Bo Diddley aided by his sister the Duchess and Jerome had the audience perplexed as the curtains opened on the trio which has yet to find chart success here.
“The pleasing style of Julie Grant made her an ideal choice to precede the Everlys. I particularly enjoyed her great version of Billy J Kramer’s ‘Bad To Me’.
“Of the groups – the Rolling Stones were five young me in need of a haircut and considerably more stage experience, while the Rattles from Germany were almost as good as the Beatles. The Flintstones provided able backing for other artists. Bob Bain compèred.”
Here’s a contrasting view from Tez Courtney, who reviewed the show for Cardiff University’s Broadsheet. He recalls, “The Everlys topped the bill but unjustifiably in my view. They did their hits but essentially they were popsters for the girlie section of the packed audience. Little Richard and Bo Diddley, on the other hand, were explosive. Bo was a revelation – doing the splits, for example. Richard was at his deranged peak with a thunderous three-sax blasting from the Flintstones. It was the second greatest rock’n’roll show I’ve ever seen, just below Little Richard’s 1962 tour. A bubblegum beat group called the Rolling Stones was down the bill. They were remarkably short little chaps and Jagger’s mincing was met with derision by the Teds, who included Breathless Dan and his friends.”
Graham Knight recalls, “I remember Richard leaping off the stage and running up the centre aisle. The fans were dancing in the aisle and blocking him in. There were no wireless mics then and so he was just hollering at the top of his voice. Eventually, Peter Grant and Graham Knight got him back on stage.”
Watching the show was an up-and-coming Welsh singer, Tom Jones, then dressed as a Teddy Boy. After the show, Tom knelt in front of Richard as though he had an audition with the Pope. “Well, baby,” said Little Richard, “you sure am some Georgia peach.”
Part of Little Richard’s small entourage was his Bible college friend Walter Arties IV. He started praying for Richard in Cardiff as he thought he had been possessed by the Devil.
Don Arden: “Richard always carried a bible with him, so that he could preach to people on the street. My son David picked it up and looked inside it and found that down all the margins, Richard had written the names of his lovers, along with descriptions of what they did when he shagged them. That was his message to God.” Leonard Cohen is often said to mixed the sacred and the sexual –but Richard was first.
Little Richard told Record Mirror, “I want people to forget me as a rock’n’roller. I’m going to be an evangelist like Billy Graham.”
Keith Richards was skeptical of Little Richard’s religiosity for other reasons. He thought that Little Richard was a preacher for tax concessions. “Very little to do with God, a lot to do with money,” he concluded in his autobiography, Life.
I put this to Little Richard’s biographer, Chas ‘Dr Rock’ White: “Richard was paranoid, there’s no doubt about that. He did fear racism and he thought that religion might be some sort of protection for him. I don’t think Richard was doing it for the tax concessions but certainly some ministers did. Johnny Otis was a bishop and he was proud of exploiting the tax advantages.”
Mick Jagger told Record Mirror: “At Cardiff on Sunday night, we played to two packed house and Richard drove the whole audience into a complete frenzy. It reminds me of the rock’n’roll riots with the whole theatre jumping as the audience, mainly boys, jumped up on the stage and jived in the aisles.” Some fans came backstage and offered the Stones some grass. The Stones freaked out and told them to leave the theatre. How times would change.
After the show most of the performers were in St David’s Hotel, Cardiff with Don Arden and Colin Berlin, and everyone was paying individually for drinks and sandwiches. Arden asked Richard if he was happy with his spot on the show and Richard said that he was happy as he could get back to the hotel early. Arden wanted to move him the bill to put more pressure on the Everlys. It wouldn’t have made much difference if they had pulled out. Jack Rael told Bob Bain, “The Everlys will never cancel. They will do their contracted time. They need the bread, and I need my share of the money too.”
The next day was a day off and the Rolling Stones cut their next single, ‘I Wanna Be Your Man’ in London, a lightweight Lennon and McCartney song but enhanced by a stinging guitar break from Brian Jones. The Everlys did some sightseeing.
The next night, October 8, 1963, at the Odeon Cheltenham was always going to be difficult for Brian Jones. The local Stones’ fans wanted to see their home boy, but not necessarily to applaud the music. Pat Andrews wanted to see him about their baby. He told her to contact the office and leave, but he was to have nothing further to do with her. By way of contrast, Bill Wyman found a girl for the night.
For the first time, the tour had poor houses although there were good receptions. Many of the musicians went on the town, such as it was, after the show. The Everlys’ drummer, Jim Gordon demonstrated how easy it was to beat one-armed bandits: he had six big wins and then promptly lost it all.