You are in the Special Features section - An A-Z of British bands and songwriters of the sixties Part One A-B

An A-Z of British bands and songwriters of the sixties Part One A-B




An A-Z of British bands and songwriters of the sixties. 
Originally appearing on Digger's popular and critically-acclaimed '1960's British Pop Culture' site (now integrating into, this is the complete list of musical movers and shakers from that glorious and creative, fab and groovy decade.


50 Tracks of World Class Music From A Truly Great Voice30 Tracks of Seductive Music From A Very Famous Lady Music From The 1960s

Various Artists and Great
Compilation Albums from this magnificent Decade


Narrated by Lady Munby, this is a new title using carefully sourced original archive footage of life in London during the swinging 1960s.LONDON In The SIXTIES

Carefully sourced original archive footage of life in London during the swinging 1960s
Parts 1 and 2 Available


To the public, the Krays were celebrities, to their enemies, they were dangerous, ruthless men, dishing out violence and even murder.We Ruled London

The Story Of The Krays

In the 1950s, two men built a criminal empire...

Part one - The Groups A-B.

The Action
This north London outfit was formed in 1963, the
line-up consisting of Reg King, Alan King, Mike Evans,
Roger Powell and Pete Watson. Their material is
highly rated and collected by sixties enthusiasts
these days - along with The Creation and The (English)
Birds they were overlooked at the time but have now
achieved a cult status. Listen to Reg King's vocals
and the arrangement on Since I Lost My Baby and
it could be Smokey Robinson And The Miracles.
The band were the epitome of mod in image and
choice of material and heavily Tamla influenced,
recording Holland/Dozier/Holland and Curtis
Mayfield numbers as well as Goffin/King material.
They only released five singles but what classics.
My favourites are Twenty Fourth Hour and the pure
sixties pop Shadows and Reflections. What a soulful
voice Reg has. With production by George Martin it
seems incredible, no criminal, that they weren't up
there with The Small Faces and The Who.
Get yourself a piece of The Action.
*See Roger Powell interview in
our Star Interviews section*

The Action

Amen Corner
The band were from Cardiff, Wales & their biggest hits
were Bend Me Shape Me and High In The Sky on Decca
and (If Paradise Is) Half As Nice and Hello Suzie on
the Immediate label. The group was plagued by
contractual wranglings which affected their morale
and output. The group was fronted by Andy
Fairweather-Low who had a successful solo
career when the group folded.

The Amen Corner
Amen Corner image Chris Walter

Chris Andrews
Chris started as lead singer with Chris Ravel & The Ravers.
He was signed by powerful manager Eve Taylor, who also
looked after the careers of Adam Faith and Sandie Shaw.
Chris became a prominent song-writing talent for these
two acts, notably penning Long Live Love, Girl Don't Come
and Message Understood for Sandie. He had some single
success of his own with his Yesterday Man and
To Whom It Concerns.

Chris Andrews with 'clients' Sandie Shaw and Adam Faith

The Animals
From Newcastle and the north east, they were big on
this scene when in 1963 producer Mickie Most signed
them. Their first single was a vibrant
Baby Let Me Take You Home. Then followed
the classic House Of The Rising Sun which
combined Eric Burdon's strong vocals,
Hilton Valentine's electrifying guitar and
Alan Price's accomplished organ playing.
This was a huge worldwide hit.
Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood and We Gotta
Get Out Of This Place were two other major hits.
They perhaps could have been a lot bigger if it
were not for the internal disputes within the group.
Alan Price and Eric Burdon made a formidable songwriting
team but Price's fear of flying, his wish to seek individual
success (which he achieved in fine measure) and
arguments over 'ownership' of The Animals' version of
'Rising Sun' meant that the group went into personnel
changes, and steady decline. Burdon returned with a
successful solo career and performs to this day with the
likes of Brian Auger. Chas Chandler was a highly
successful producer in the 1970s.
*See Hilton Valentine interview in
 our Star Interviews section*

The (original) Animals. John Steel, Chas Chandler,
Eric Burdon, Hilton Valentine and Alan Price

Brian Auger & The Trinity
with Julie Driscoll
This accomplished jazz-rock organist and his group
had several manifestations over the years. Hits included
Fool Killer and Green Onions '65, although the biggest
success was when they teamed-up with Julie Driscoll
to record Dylan's This Wheels On Fire. This tune is
     currently used as the theme to BBC TV's Absolutely
Fabulous. Venturing into more ambitious projects,
Auger never maintained the prominence he once had.

Brian Auger & The Trinity with Julie Driscoll

Starting life as The Iveys in the late 60s, Badfinger should
have had everything going for them. They were privileged
to have Paul McCartney's patronage, to be signed to the
Apple label and to have their first hit Come And Get It
courtesy of McCartney. They had other hits,
No Matter What and Day After Day on both sides of
the Atlantic. They were a talented band and skilled
songwriters in their own right. They worked
with each of the four Beatles individually,
including as backing on John Lennon's Imagine album.
Although they obviously benefited from the Beatles
connection and were even described as Beatles
sound-alikes on occasion, there is no doubt that
they would and should have made it without
such help. In Britain, as often happened at that time,
people had trouble deciding if Badfinger were hip and
underground or straight pop, and so didn't know whether
they 'should' like them or not, although really, of course,
it didn't matter what label to apply if you liked their
music. Tom Evans and Pete Ham wrote the beautiful and
haunting Without You which was covered so successfully
by Harry Nillson (when Harry first heard it he thought
it MUST be a Lennon/McCartney number) and which was
a huge international hit. However, as seems to be so common
in the music industry, legal problems with ownership and
royalties for their classic creation meant that
Ham and Evans didn't receive a penny they were entitled
to for writing such a major hit. As the years went by this
lack of recognition and remuneration created other
frictions within the band. Tragically Pete Ham committed
suicide and then several years later Tom Evans repeated this
despairing act. Today, they have a huge loyal following
around the world and we have the beautiful music
that they created.

Badfinger. Joey Molland, Tom Evans,
Pete Ham, Mike Gibbins

John Barry littleoscar.jpg (837 bytes)littleoscar.jpg (837 bytes)littleoscar.jpg (837 bytes)littleoscar.jpg (837 bytes)littleoscar.jpg (837 bytes)
John was born in Yorkshire and started his career
leading the John Barry Seven. They had hits with
Walk Don't Run and Hit and Miss (which was the
theme to the popular BBC music review program
Juke Box Jury.) He also wrote several
Adam Faith hits. But John is best
known for his incredible catalogue
of film and tv scores and is
in the top rank of composers - he is
the most successful movie composer
of all time. He was awarded the OBE
for his work and has gained five Oscars.
Titles he has written include:

The Persuaders
Midnight Cowboy
The Ipcress File
The Knack
Diamonds Are Forever
From Russia With Love
You Only Live Twice
On Her Majesty's Secret Service
Born Free
Out Of Africa
Dances With Wolves
The Lion In Winter

John is still going strong with concerts of
his work as well as new albums.

John Barry

Lionel Bart littleoscar.jpg (837 bytes)littleoscar.jpg (837 bytes)littleoscar.jpg (837 bytes)littleoscar.jpg (837 bytes)littleoscar.jpg (837 bytes)littleoscar.jpg (837 bytes)
     Another major songwriter to rival the big American
names, he started with Rock With The Caveman,
Little White Bull and A Handful Of Songs for
     Tommy Steele, Living Doll for Cliff Richard
and Do You Mind for Anthony Newley. He
went into stage shows such as Fings Ain't What
They Used To Be but his tour de force was the
six-Oscar-winning Oliver! He is reputed to have
had affairs with Judy Garland and Alma Cogan and
     to have enjoyed sixties London's excesses to the full.
He had a drugs problem which he managed to overcome
and in recent years started to write again. Sadly,
he died of cancer in April 1999 at the age of 68.

 Lionel Bart ( right ) with Shane Fenton
aka Alvin Stardust

Shirley Bassey
       She was a factory worker from Wales. Her first
hits were in the late 50s - Banana Boat Song
and Kiss Me Kiss Me. By the 60s, she had
     developed a powerful and exciting presentation
style and had a string of hits. As Long As He Needs Me,
You'll Never Know, I'll Get By, Reach For The Stars,
What Now My Love, I Who Have Nothing, Something,
For All we Know, Never, Never, Never, Goldfinger
and Diamonds Are Forever amongst them. Shirley's
`theme tune' is Big Spender. These days she lives in
     Switzerland in semi-retirement but makes occasional
excursions onto TV or in concert.

Shirley Bassey

The Beatles
The history of the fab four John Lennon, Paul McCartney,
George Harrison and Richard Ringo Starkey is well
represented on the www and in print so I don't
think I should, or could, add anything much here.
All I can say is that their beautiful music is a legacy
which is still attracting youngsters today.
Their influence on a whole world generation was totally
unique. Via Beatlemania, they pioneered the British
cultural invasion of the States and the world which
created a 'can do' atmosphere in Britain and allowed so
many great groups and creative people a chance to show
the world what they could do. Thanks boys.

The Beatles Albums ( UK ):
Please, Please Me
With The Beatles
A Hard Day's Night
Beatles For Sale
Rubber Soul
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
Magical Mystery Tour
The Beatles ( AKA The White Album )
Yellow Submarine
Abbey Road
Let It Be
*See Beatles-related Sir George Martin, 
Astrid Kirchherr, Klaus Voormann, Pete Best,
Sid Bernstein, Tom Murray, Bill Harry, 
Hunter Davies, Pattie Boyd,
Victor Spinetti and Neil Innes interviews
 in our Star Interviews section*

The Beatles. George Harrison, John Lennon,
Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr

Jeff Beck
         Born in Surrey and a skilled pianist and guitarist
by the age of eleven, he joined The Tridents. He then
replaced Eric Clapton, a difficult act to follow, in
The Yardbirds. This replacement was very unpopular
with the fans but he soon won them round with his
     distinctive and impressive use of feedback and other
techniques. Beck left the group after disagreements
with Jimmy Page. The solo song Hi Ho Silver Lining,
a strong party favourite to this day, followed and
     then Tallyman. He created The Jeff Beck Group with
Rod Stewart, Ron Wood, Nicky Hopkins & Mickey Waller
which resulted in the successful albums Truth and
Cosa Nostra Beck-Ola. Stewart & Wood left to join
The Faces which evolved out of The Small Faces. Beck
had a terrible car accident but recovered within two
years to record the albums  Rough & Ready and
The Jeff Beck Group. He has tried many styles
over the years and further albums from the band
Beck, Bogert & Appice include Blow By Blow,
Wired and There & Back.

Jeff Beck (second from right) with The Yardbirds

The Bee Gees
The Brothers Gibb, Robin, Maurice and Barry were born on
the Isle Of Man, off the British coast and then moved to
Manchester. They were a child act playing regularly
in cinemas. They emigrated to Australia in 1958.
The first major event in their career was meeting
impresario Robert Stigwood, who signed them after
their Australian success Spicks And Specks and they
were back in Britain. They then embarked on two
US-inspired titles - New York Mining Disaster, 1941,
and Massachusetts as well as To Love Somebody and
I've Got To Get A Message To You. The 60s were only
the start of a career that has seen them evolve with
musical trends (such as disco and Saturday Night Fever)
and to top the charts in four decades. In addition, they
have been arrangers & writers of scores of hits for others
(Heartbreaker - Dionne Warwick, Islands In The Stream -
Dolly Parton, Chain Reaction - Diana Ross.) They
are in the top five best-selling groups of all time.

The Bee Gees

Dave Berry
         Born David Holgate Grundy in 1941 in Sheffield,
he had minor hits with Memphis Tennessee, My Baby
Left Me and Baby It's You. But he is best remembered for
The Crying Game which has become something of a classic,
even spawning a film of the same title. Little Things,
while very different in its upbeat mood, was a further
hit and then a return to the rather melancholic and
sentimental with Mama. Dave continues to
perform to this day; Dave completed a two-month
tour with the Solid Silver Sixties Show in 2001. I was lucky
enough to see him at the last night at the London Palladium.
What a great rock and roller he is, and still cool! He cites
Johnny Cash as his influence - I can see where Alvin Stardust
got his inspiration, however!!

Dave Berry

Cilla Black
Cilla's rise to fame from Cavern cloakroom girl and some-time
singer to golden girl of Brian Epstein ('the daughter he never
had') and Beatles soul-mate is well documented. During the
60s she belted-out some superb songs including It's For You,
Love Of The Loved, (which was supposedly to be for 'rival'
Liverpool singer Beryl Marsden until Epstein's intervention
on his girl's behalf) Anyone Who Had a Heart,
You're My World, Alfie & Step Inside Love. Three of
these were provided by Paul McCartney and all, apart
from Alfie which was personally supervised by
Burt Bacharach, were produced by George Martin.
Incredibly, she never 'made it' in America, but
after her singing career cooled she repeated her
success as a major TV star which continues today
where she was recently the highest female earner
 on British TV.


The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band
     Formerly The Bonzo Dog Dada Band, signifying
their surrealist influences, they emerged from a
Trad jazz band to a pop outfit. Their debut album
was the hilarious Gorilla, with classic tracks such as
  Jollity Farm, I Left My Heart In San Francisco &
The Intro & The Outro. They were the featured group
on the comedy Do Not Adjust Your Set (a training
ground for the Monty Python team) and appeared in
The Beatles's Magical Mystery Tour film singing
the tragi-comical Death Cab For Cutie.
I'm The Urban Spaceman was their only major hit,
produced by Apollo C. Vermouth, aka Paul McCartney.
Their main songwriting talent Neil Innes went on to
create the brilliant parody of The Beatles, The Rutles,
with Monty Python's Eric Idle. Viv Stanshall, the
     group's zany front man, became more eccentric and
reclusive as the years went on and sadly died in the 90s.

The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band

Joe Brown & The Bruvvers
Joe was born in Swarmby, Lincolnshire on 13th
May 1941. He based himself in London's East End and
formed a skiffle band called The Spacemen in the
mid-50s. Impresario Jack Good used them on his tv
show Boy Meets Girl. Joe played the cheeky cockney
despite being born 100 miles from Bow Church bells.
The group was then invited to join the Larry Parnes
posse of acts. They charted pre-Beatle days with
A Picture Of You, It Only Took A Minute and That's
What Love Will Do. Joe continued to be a popular
entertainer and tv regular for the next three decades,
while his daughter Sam developed a rock career
of her own.

Joe Brown


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Amen Corner image Chris Walter 

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