It was around this time that the Castaways and I played a
small but important part, in the discovery of someone who
was to become a 60s icon. Sandra
Goodrich was an unknown singer from Dagenham. Our
manager Terry Oates, had told us of this girl he had
found, and wanted us to back her on a show we were to do
at the Hammersmith Commodore Theatre. This was a
live recording for Radio Luxembourg, sponsored by Silvikrin.
On the show was, Adam Faith and the Roulettes,
the Hollies, the Swinging Blue Jeans,
us and a few others. We rehearsed with her for a
day or so, at Shirts house, and realised that
she had a pretty good voice. On the show however, she was
too nervous to come out to sing when she was announced,
and ran and hid somewhere in the theatre, crying.
We had to carry on and sing her song (Everybody
Loves A Lover), in her key! She was found
later in Adam Faiths dressing room,
having been in discussions with Adam Faith and Eve
Taylor, who soon became her manager, with great success.
She became Sandie Shaw. Needless
to say, Terry Oates who had been her manager was
not very impressed! In November of 1964, the Beach
Boys made their first trip to England and we were there
to meet them. Being EMI artists, some of us went along to
the show, for Radio Luxembourg, but featuring only EMI
acts. This was being broadcast 'live' (i.e. they
played records and interviewed the artists) at a studio
in the EMI building in Manchester Sq. in London. I
ended up in the Beach Boys dressing room, and found
myself singing Mike Lovess bass voice part, on
their great acapella, 'A Young Man's Gone' while they
were practising!! We gave Carl Wilson a lift to the
Hilton Hotel, after the show, in our old van, and then
went out for something to eat with him. We knew how
to impress! We took him to a little cafe in
Tottenham Ct. Rd, near Denmark St. Me, 'Shirt', Carl
Wilson and our 'crazy' roadie Frank. Carl paid for the
meals with a five pound note and got change! I'm
not too sure that we'd ever seen one before! We got
on pretty well with the 'Beach Boys', or at least Carl,
Al Jardine and Dennis, and their friend, Ron
Swallow and they gave us their itinerary for the week.
Carl Wilson made sure that we could tag along to any of
the recordings, such as the Beat Room (TV Show) and
Saturday Club (a radio show, recorded behind closed doors
at the BBC Playhouse Theatre) As it happened we
were playing two hotels in London that same week.
The first was Claridges, and Carl Wilson and
Al Jardine came along to watch. The next night we played
at the Savoy, and Dennis Wilson came to watch.
While we were waiting for Dennis to arrive at the River
entrance, Ava Gardner stopped and said hello. I
suppose we must have looked like a group and she was
curious! I wish I'd asked about Sinatra!
Sadly, in December of 1964, just one month later, we were
involved in a fatal road crash in Lanarkshire, Scotland,
having driven through the night from Milford Haven in
West Wales. We hit a truck that came from about two
or three miles from where we lived in the east end of
London. Brian 'Shirt' Talbot was driving and was killed.
All the band were injured except me, apart from cuts and
bruises, and I therefore had the job of phoning everyone
at home, including my wife who was seven months pregnant
with our son Anthony. Ray Brown had the worst
injuries and was in hospital for several months.
The single we had on release at the time was
'Life's Too Short', and we were heading for the Graveyard
Club in Kirkintilloch. It happened one week
before 'Shirts' 21st birthday, and that was the day he
was buried. I don't think that we could have
continued as a group without the help of 'the Tremeloes'
who gave us £300 (a fair amount of money in those
days), to get us through, 'til we could get back to
working again. I can never go past that area, which
I've had to do many times over the years, without
reflecting sadly on the events of that day, Dec 5th 1964.
In 1966 or thereabouts, (the same day I met Bruce
Johnston at the Waldorf) I asked Bruce if he'd like to
meet one of The Who, Keith Moon?
I told him that he was a big Beach Boys fan, Bruce said
sure, so I called 'Moonie' and told him to call Bruce.
He did, and later that evening the Castaways and me were
in the middle of a gig at Romford Technical College, when
through the crowd walked Keith Moon and Bruce Johnston.
We got them on stage and proceeded to 'murder' some
classic Beach Boys songs. I say 'murder', because,
Bruce had just joined the Beach Boys, replacing Brian
Wilson who was a bass player. Ray handed Bruce his
bass, but he didn't really know what to play, or even how!
He even said I'm really a piano player!
We didn't use piano! I remember we had just learned
'The Little Girl I Once Knew' which had a quite involved
bass line. Bruce looked terrified, so if you can imagine
that, and Keith Moon on drums. Sublety was
not his strong point! At the end of every
song I'd try to say "Let's hear it for Keith Moon
and Bruce Johnston" but Moonie would just say "Whatcha
doing next? Oh yeah I know that one. " On we
played! Nice as it was to have such 'stars' with us
it was great to get back to 'normal'. That's
probably the nearest we ever got to playing JAZZ.
The Keith Moon biography 'Dear Boy', tells this story,
without quite getting the facts right. This
is the correct version. Dear Boy also
goes on to say that, a day or so after meeting Bruce
Johnston, Keith brought John Lennon and Paul McCartney to
meet Bruce and to hear the new Beach Boys
album, and that they were so blown away by it
that, it inspired them to come up with SGT. PEPPER?
Can it be that, by introducing Keith Moon to John and
Paul, Id had a small hand in
helping the course of pop music. Who
knows? I know that John Lennon and Paul
McCartney were fans of the Beach Boys, because I sat on
the floor talking to John for about 20 minutes at the
Nems Enterprises Xmas Party one year, and the main part
of the conversation was the Beach Boys, and how great
they were. Praise indeed! Also many years later, I
met up with Paul McCartney at Air London Studios one
morning and he asked if I still had my Beach Boys
band? Wed split at least 15 years before that!
I was in Robert Stigwoods office in the mid 60's (maybe
late '66). He told me he'd got something to play
me, and what did I think? He'd just signed them or was
about to, and they were on their way from Australia to
England, on a boat I think! The Bee Gees! Whatever
happened to them? It must have been a year or so
later that we did our usual supporting role,
at a gig at the Saville Theatre, London which at that
time was owned by Nems Enterprises, i.e. Brian Epstein.
We opened the show, followed by the Flowerpot Men and the
Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band, then the Bee Gees + Orchestra. I
read in Q magazine that John Lennon and Paul McCartney
were there watching that night!
Immediate Records ‘singles’ Box Set. 2000.
First studio ‘photo session’
with Vic Larkin’s Fender Guitar.
I think we were the first ‘beat group’ to play in
a ‘West End’ Theatre, 1964.
Saville Theatre, London,
owned by Brian Epstein/ Beatles.
John and Paul were both there to see the show.