Jerry Naylor, former lead singer with The Crickets, completed his promotional tour of the UK last month.
Arriving at Glasgow on Sunday June 2, Jerry went straight to doing radio interviews at stations all over mainland Britain, including visits to the three capital cities, Edinburgh, London and Cardiff, and many places in between. Mainly centred on BBC local stations, with a few commercial providers, the nationwide coverage was achieved through co-operation of many of the centres allowing the use of their studios to conduct live and recorded interviews with presenters in other centres,
Main reason for Jerry’s visit was to promote his new CD – a celebration of his time as lead singer with The Crickets from 1961 to 1965 – and the single ‘I Still Love You Peggy Sue’.
After the tragic death of Buddy Holly, The Crickets had to complete their contract with Decca. The album ‘In Style With The Crickets’, featured Earl Sinks and David Box on vocals, with Tommy Allsup on lead guitar. The existence of this particular album quashed any suggestion that Jerry Naylor was the lead singer with The Crickets immediately following Holly’s death, as many people still believe.
It was in LA, where Jerry Allison relocated his Crickets and signed for the Liberty record label on Hollywood’s Sunset Boulevard in 1961, where Jerry Naylor’s association with the group started. Apparently, Jerry Allison shouted across a street to Jerry Naylor: “Naylor, I want you as lead singer of The Crickets.”
A shocked Jerry Naylor was so taken aback by this, he refused the offer, thinking that, as lead singer of the group that once had Buddy Holly as the front man, he would be in the front line for any item within crabbing distance which may be thrust upon him by the legions of Holly fans who could not accept the new man doing the vocals.
It was Jerry Capehart, manager of Eddie Cochran, and with Naylor at the time, who pulled him to his senses saying: “Do you know you have just turned down the job as front man with the No.1 group in the world? Get yourself back over there and tell Jerry Allison you’ll take the job”.
So a shaking Jerry Naylor did just that; the rest is history.
The album Jerry has been promoting was well-documented in the June issue of The Beat, a review of which Jerry was very complimentary.
Apart from the radio interviews, Jerry could also be seen on TV on the BBC Breakfast show, although the slot allotted was, in my opinion, too short, as Jerry had a lot more to give than was allowed for.
He also did three short live shows, accompanied by two great guitar players and vocalists, Keith Sommers and Nathan Lenz, one at The Cavern in Liverpool on Tuesday, June 4, where he, Keith and Nathan were joined, on drums, by The Beat’s own regular contributor, John Firminger who was accompanied by his son, Chris, on bass guitar.
A good number of Crickets fans joined the dozens of tourists at The Cavern, and Jerry spent quite a time after the show signing LP covers and new promotional pictures.
On Monday, June 17, Jerry was at The Half Moon pub, Putney, for the launch of the CD and single, and the UK launch of his Rockabilly Legends Foundation, to which the proceeds of the album will go; a link has also been set up with Sir Paul McCartney’s, L.I.P.A. (Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts).
The next day, Tuesday, June 18, Jerry, Keith, Nathan and Jerry Grabner, Jerry Naylor’s right hand man, travelled by train to Middlesbrough, where they recorded an interview with John Foster of BBC Tees, followed by a show at St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Cathedral in Coulby Newham on the outskirts of the town.
I only got confirmation of the Middlesbrough visit on the Sunday morning and, although hastily arranged, promotion had to be done. A good crowd turned up for the show, which was well appreciated. Jerry gave lots of time after the performance to sign posters etc., and ventured into the church hall to chat with folks who had gathered to take various beverages, which they had brought with them, or had been provided by the regulars at the Cathedral.
Jerry stayed chatting until almost 11.30pm, ignoring the fact that he had to leave directly for Manchester, where he was to catch a flight to Dallas on the following morning; he had to re-schedule his travel arrangements due to the death of his brother in Texas.
The following morning, Jerry Grabner, Keith Sommers and Nathan Lenz travelled back to London before their scheduled Thursday flight back to Portland, Oregon.
Feedback from people who either saw or heard Jerry during his visit has been very positive. I know Jerry is appreciative of all the good wishes and support he received during the visit and has given fair warning that he will be back with a full band – possibly as soon as October or November.
Paul Bowen (The Bobby Vee Connection)