Archive for the ‘Showaddywaddy’ Category

Showaddywaddy Sunderland Locarno 15 November 1974

showad 2Now this really is a guilty pleasure! For a few weeks in 1973 and 1974, Friday night at Sunderland Locarno became a pop night, rather than the usual progressive rock night. During those times I remember seeing the Bay City Rollers, Mud, Hot Chocolate (I have previously written about these bands), and the Rubettes (I will write about them soon). There may have been others, I don’t remember. Many of my friends decided to pass on these events, however, I decided to go along, partly out of interest, to see what the bands were like, and secretly out of fun because I actually enjoyed many pop bands. One other band I saw around this time was Showaddywaddy.

From the band’s biography on their official website: “Showaddywaddy were formed in 1973 in Leicester, from two groups, Choise and Golden Hammers…. Choise and The Hammers played regularly far and wide across the UK… during early 1973, the bands got up on stage together to play a rock ‘n’ roll revue” which became Showaddywaddy.

In 1973, Showaddywaddy appeared on the TV programme New Faces, which, as many of us will recall was a sort of Opportunity Knocks – type show where various acts performed (often including solo vocalists, groups and comedians) and a winner was eventually selected. Showaddywaddy was successful in winning one episode, and then went on to be runners-up in the “All Winners Final”.

Showaddywaddy released their first single “Hey Rock ‘n’ Roll” in April 1974 and it reached number 2 in the UK charts. After that they went from success to success, hitting the UK charts another 22 times until late 1982, making them one of the most successful UK singles groups of all time. Their style was a mix of originals and covers, rock ‘n’ roll and doo-wop.

showad 2As I recall when I saw them, which was quite early in their career, there were a lot of members on stage with two vocalists, two bass players and two drummers. They wore full Teddy Boy gear with colourful drape jackets and crêpe sole shoes (I remember once buying a pair in the late 70s during the punk era) and were lots of fun. There was lots of dancing, both by the band and the audience, and lots of good old – time rock ‘n’ roll and doo-wop. Great stuff. Of course, I stood in the bar, playing it cool, peering down at this stage, secretly enjoying the whole proceedings. I would not admit this to my friends at the time. How silly it was to be so snobbish about certain bands/groups (when did groups become bands?). But that’s how it was at the time. My recollections are patchy but are of lots of colour, lots of dancing and great fun music by a fun band. After that Showaddywaddy went on to greater fame, no longer playing clubs and ballrooms, moving upward to filling concert halls such as Newcastle City Hall. I remember that they often performed at Sunderland Empire. But of course I was too “cool” to go along and see them again. What a silly boy I was!

“At their peak, they were doing 200 gigs a year, often gigging 7 days a week, and playing both matinee and evening performances on the same day.”

As usual, I just had to go onto eBay and buy a copy of their album Showaddywaddy to remind myself of the band and their singles (see images). It brought back memories of my youth and of all their hits and how they were always on Top of the Pops. Showaddywaddy continue to perform and tour to this day. There have been many line-up changes over the years; however the current version of the band consists of only one remaining original member, Romeo Challenger, the drummer. They continue to rock their way around the UK and Europe and will soon hit their 50th anniversary, in 2023.

Other memories ……

Other memories
il_570xN.500152569_3ounI’m now at the end of my project and tomorrow I’ll do a final summing up and reflections on the whole thing. But today I wanted to cover some of the bands that I have missed along the way. These are bands that I have seen, but for one reason or another I haven’t written about; mostly because I didn’t have a programme or a ticket stub to remind me of seeing them, so they sadly got lost during my (largely) alphabetically driven journey. In fact, I could probably have continued posting for a few more weeks, covering these acts, but I had to call a halt at some point. The truth is my memories of these gigs are scant, and I would have found it difficult to construct a post for each one. Most of them were/are very fine bands so apologies for not including them as a post of their own; but as I say, I had to draw a line under this project somewhere, and today is it!
So ….. I also have memories of seeing:
Cozy Powell’s Hammer who hit the charts with “Dance with the Devil” and featured Bernie Marsden (guitar), Clive Chamen (bass), Don Airey (keyboards) and Frank Aiello (Bedlam) on vocals. Cozy Powell again in Bedlam who were a great, loud and really heavy band with Dave Ball (ex Procol Harum) on guitar.
The great and legendary Geno Washington (“Hipster Flipsters, Finger Poppin’ Daddies”) playing to a sadly pretty small audience at Kirklevington Country Club some time in the ’70s.
The Saints (Australian punk band, known for “Stranded”) at Seaburn Hall Sunderland.
The Passions, around the time of “I’m in Love with a German Film Star”, at Middlesbrough Rock Garden around 1981.
Southern Comfort (“Woodstock”), but I think after Iain Matthews had left.
Bell ‘n’ Arc featuring the awesome Graham Bell on vocals, and also with local heroes John Turnbull, Mick Gallagher, Kenny Craddock and Alan White..
Great prog acts like T2 who released the legendary album “It’ll All Work Out in Boomland”, Ginhouse and the carzy Principal Edwards Magic Theatre.
Pere Ubu with the enigmatic David Thomas at Newcastle University, around the time of “The Modern Dance”.
Elephants Memory (they were one John Lennon’s backing bank in the USA) at Sunderland Mecca.
Dirt, Poison Girls and Rubella Ballet at Sunderland Bunker.
The awesome England, from Cumbria with the great Olli Alcock, who played a twin neck and was a simply incredible guitarist, and is still playing around Cumbria (someone I should really try and see again). They released a self-titled limited private issue album in the ’70s; I found a signed copy at a car boot 10 years or so ago; bought it for 50p and sold it on though eBay for £100! Result. Wish I’d kept it actually.
Ducks Deluxe at the Marquee Club in London; I think England may have been support. One of our party got incredibly drunk and an ambulance was called; we spent the night in the local hospital.
The Pleasers who were a heavily early ’60s Beatles influenced power pop act, who were around in the late ’70s and were amazing.
Trapeze featuring Glen Hughes (and after he left), a few times. A very under-rated band.
Steve Tilston in the bar at Sunerland Poly.
Great support acts like A Band Called O, Byzantium, SNAFU and Sassafras.
The truly awesome Flying Hat Band featuring Glen Tipton before his days with Judas Priest. I remember standing right in front of Glen, totally knocked out by his guitar skill.
Guilty pleasure. The Rubettes around the time of “Sugar Baby Love” wearing the caps and co-ordinated suits: amazing! Showaddywaddy: great teddy boy suits and rock n roll that going everyone dancing. Hot Chocolate; I was a fan of their early hits; “Love is Life” and “Emma” in particular; they gigged loads in the early ’70s and I saw them many times.
The Nashville Teens (Tobacco Road) on a double bill with the Downliners Sect; great R’n’B.
The rock n roll revival act Wild Angels featuring the little bundle of energy Mal Gray.
So apologies to all those acts for not devoting a day and a blog post to them, and to all the other bands I have seen and forgotten to list; and there will be lots of them…..
Tomorrow I’ll do a summing up and reflect on my project, to finally draw it to a close.