John Smith – Biography
John thinks he’s a clown”, said my final school report!....it was the only time the school got anything right ( for me anyway ).
I started playing the Ukulele in 1955 during my lunch-hour at my first job. I learnt 3 chords, D, G, & A7. Then I heard Josh White, Big Bill Broonzy, & Lonnie Donegan and formed my first skiffle group called “Jubilee”. For our first job, we earned £5.00 between four of us for a 4 hour gig (not bad money for 1955 considering we were only worth 5 shillings). By 1958 we were doing 6-8 gigs a week and learning all the time.
After being offered a solo recording contract in 1964, I recorded “More & More” with a new name…..”Bobby Dean”. It got quite a lot of airplay but never did well.
The name had to go, Bill Wellings, my manager, was a great friend and fan of mine, as I was of him. He introduced me to EMI & the “Top Six” label in 1964. Bill got together some of the best musicians around and we copied the original hits of the day. We were known as “The Ghost Squad”. Our slogan was:
“Six Hits for 6s & 8p”
I had the best couple of years recording about 75 hits of the time and, boy oh boy, did I learn a lot, but how could you miss with the following line-up, all directed by the great Johnny Harris and produced by Bill Wellings at the Pye Studios in London.
MUSICIANS MD : Johnny Harris (also piano, trumpet & backing vocals) Piano / keyboards: Johnny Harris & Laurie Holloway Guitar: Big Jim Sullivan, Bass: Vic Pitt, Lennie Bush Drums: Kenny Clare, Bobby Kevin, Jimmy Nicol ( the Beatles deputy drummer) Organ: Roger Coulan (also percussion) Various Brass & Strings
BACKING VOCALS The Mike Sammes Singers I will be eternally grateful to these very talented performers who were always a joy to work with. During this time I was still recording under my own name
“John Smith & The New Sound” and “John Smith & Co.”
I was very lucky to have my recording of “Winchester Cathedral” make number 2 in Germany and “Snoopy Vs The Red Baron” get to number 8 with a self-penned song “Send her Home” on the ‘B’ side. I worked a lot in Germany (see the video clip of “Beat Club” above) & had a few other successful recordings there such as “Make it Me”, “Don’t Break it Up” and a couple of 12” albums did quite well.
At the ripe old age of 28, I was offered a Job working on a cruise ship (guitar/vocals/comic). I was supposed to stay on the ships for about 4 months, but retired from the sea in 1993. ( See my book “A Laugh on The Ocean Wave”)
During my time ashore, I worked with some of the greats:
Guy Mitchell, Frankie Laine, Al Martino Eddie Fisher Bobby Rydell Del Shannon The Village People Chubby Checker John Rowles Tom T.Hall Blood Sweat & Tears Harry Secombe Dick Emery the wonderful Vera Lynn, and many more
I now reside in Devon with my two favourite ladies Pat & Lily…. (by the way, Lily is a Golden Retriever)
01 - High Time
02 - Send Her Home
03 - Got To Get You Into My Life
04 - No-one Knows
05 - Wrapping Paper
06 - Stop Stop Stop
07 - Snoopy VS. The Red Baron
08 - I'm On The Up
09 - Big Time Operator
10 - Here's A Heart
11 - When I Come Home
12 - All Or Nothing
13 - Wait For Me Baby
14 - Winchester Cathedral
from lp va "original beat aus england" vol. 20
15 - See Emily Play
16 - You Keep Me Hangin' On