Sixties legends tour again
THE music of the 1960s is alive and well with many of the bands from that decade still touring – albeit minus a few band original members.
These days, quite a few package tours gather together, on one bill, a number of artistes from that magical time. One such tour is heading our way in the autumn. The 50th Anniversary Solid Silver Sixties tour has a handful of such music legends. Headliners Gerry & The Pacemakers and The Searchers both celebrate the 50th anniversary of their first chart hits, with which they made their chart debuts in 1963.
They were responsible for memorable songs like ‘I Like It’, ‘Ferry Cross the Mersey’ and ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ (from Gerry), ‘Sweets for my Sweet’, ‘Needles and Pins’ and ‘Don’t Throw Your Love Away’, from their fellow Liverpudlians.
The Fortunes first hit the charts in 1965 with hits ‘You’ve Got Your Troubles’, ‘Storm in a Teacup’ and ‘Here It Comes Again’.
Former Tremeloes Brian Poole and Chip Hawkes appear together on stage- subject to Chip’s health as he has been undergoing treatment recently. Pony-tailed and controversial P J Proby completes the bill.
P J, whose trousers split on stage which led to him being banned from performing in many theatres, won the Melody Maker Teen Idol award in 1964.
His rendition of ‘Somewhere’ from the musical “West Side Story” is rightly regarded as a classic and he went on to enjoy 91 weeks on the charts.
Hits like ‘Hold Me’, ‘Maria’ and ‘I Apologise’ (released in answer to his theatre ban) cemented his place in music history. He returned to the charts in 1996 with ‘Yesterday Has Gone’. P J is now 74 and the voice is still as magnificent as ever, but he had his problems. Alcohol was his downfall, and for a while he lived in Bolton and Bury. “I used to fall asleep in the pub and the landlord had to carry me home, but once I woke up in a flowerbed,” he once said.
But that’s all behind him now, as he tells me: “I feel fantastic nowadays.” I basically dropped dead in ’92 through alcohol, but I’m OK now – I haven’t had a drink for 21 years.”
“I actually had to learn to walk and talk again, but I could always shuffle about and sing a bit. Then Bill Kenwright hired me, even though I was still in therapy and I appeared in the show “Good Rockin’ Tonight” and on the first night, ‘Somewhere’ got a standing ovation.”
Things improved dramatically for the singer after that. “I used my audience as therapy. I stayed with the show for a year, and all my functions returned. Then Bill put me in the Roy Orbison show, Only The Lonely.” Of all his songs, he picks out ‘Somewhere’ as the song that gives him the most pleasure.
“I was in Hollywood when they made the film and I knew all the actors and dancers, and that song takes me back to those times. They were really good days.”
Being around as long as he has, P J has worked with all the artists in the 50th Anniversary show. Speaking of the show, with so many artists, time is limited.
“I’ll be doing about 15 or 20 minutes, and The Pacemakers will be backing me. I’m also going into the studio soon to record a CD of everything I do on stage and hopefully it’ll be ready for the tour.”
The 50th Anniversary Tour, starring Gerry & The Pacemakers, The Searchers, PJ Proby, The Fortunes and Brian Poole & Chip Hawkes, tours from September 25 to November 29.