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Shakin Stevens & The Band

Band- U.K.Tour, Feb/March,1988
Howard, Dick Bland ,Gavin, Ray, Irish, Chris, Ian and Roger (far right),
Dick Hanson, (behind Irish and Chris)

I first saw Shaky, when he was supporting us (Harmony Grass) on March 17th 1970, at the Kings Hall, Aberystwyth, for Aberystwyth University! I donít remember anything about it, other than someone (not Shaky), in a check jacket,  standing on one side of  the stage, clicking his fingers and leaning on an Ďampí. I think he was part of the band, but he didnít seem to do anything else! He looked good though. Years later, the bass player with Huey Lewis did sort of the same rockíníroll thing, leaning on his amp and clicking his fingers, whilst smoking a cigarette! I donít really remember watching Shaky do his show, but now I wish I had. The next time I saw him, must have been 1982, at the very first  session we did with him, the recording of,  ďA Love Worth Waiting ForĒ at a studio in North London somewhere.  I’d been asked, by the producer Richard Hewson, to get the backing vocals together with my ‘team’, John Perry, the ‘late’ Stu Calver and me. This we did, and the end product was our ‘first hit’ with Shaky. We’d worked with Richard Hewson on some stuff with Cliff Richard, and I think that’s how  the gig came up, I’m glad to say, it was the start of a successful run of ‘hit records’ with Shaky, which lasted throughout the ‘80’s. It wasn’t long before we were asked to join his band, and so for a while we were in Shaky’s, and Cliff’s band, at the same time. Our dates never seemed to clash and so luckily we were able to tour with both of them for at least a year or so, until we eventually lost the gig, after 10 years, with Cliff, when he went into ‘Time’ the West end musical for a year. Funny enough, we were at Number 1 in the charts (the only time I made number 1) with Shaky’s ‘Merry Xmas Everyone’ (still haven’t got my Gold Disc that I was promised, by Freya his manager, at the time), on the day Cliff’s band did one of our last gigs  together, at the NEC Birmingham. It was great sitting in Cliff’s dressing room watching Shaky (at no.1) on Top Of The Pops, (with me and the boys on backing vocals, singing my vocal arrangement) whilst waiting to go onstage with Cliff!!! Wonder if that had anything to do with it? NO-O-O-O!!

Shaky’s band were AMAZING!
What a rockin’ band!!  A four piece brass section who played and moved as a team, the fantastic Gavin Povey on piano, and the ‘legendary’ Mickey Gee and Roger McKew on lead guitar. The line up changed over the years, but it was always a great band, with great musicians, who were a real pleasure to work with. I’d always loved being in Cliff’s band for the great songs we got to sing, working with Shaky was very different, it was much more ‘ROCKIN’!! With Cliff, we were always being told to stop moving and just stand still, don’t distract people from looking at Cliff. The total opposite with Shaky, he wanted movement all the time, he got that alright!!! Cliff’s always going on about  being a rock and roller, he should have seen Shaky. The first tour we did with him was an eye opener. On the morning of the first rehearsal we were set to walk (out). We had our way of working, but this wasn’t  Shaky’s way! Our idea of a rehearsal, was to rehearse our harmonies first, ‘til we knew what we were doing, not to be working out ‘stage routines’ and clapping our hands all the time (on the off beat of course!) Not only did we have to learn the harmonies that did exist, on record, but as well as that, think up new arrangements as we went along almost, and put them into the songs, and make up routines and clap our hands at the same time!! Certainly different from what we were used to! Anyway by 11am, after a few heated words, we were off home. However, we came to a bit of a compromise and stayed, but it’s always been a bit volatile.


Photographs © copyright Tony Rivers
(Extremely rare gig poster)
Shakin' Stevens & the Sunsets support Harmony Grass in Aberystwyth 1970

Shaky’s former manager Freya Miller
Middle East Tour November 1988.

End of term ‘photo’ U.K. Tour March,1988

Worthing, 1995.