Ray Brown & The WhispersRay Brown & the Whispers were in the vanguard of the first wave of Australian beat pop, from 1964-67, and during their brief career they were one of the most successful and celebrated bands in the country. Aided by his boyish good looks and considerable charm, singer Ray Brown ranked alongside Stevie Wright, Billy Thorpe and Normie Rowe as one of the most popular stars of the period, and The Whispers are now widely recognised as being one of its most accomplished bands. Although they enjoyed unprecedented success at the time, the group was short-lived, and their contribution to Australian music, both during and after the beat boom, is still sadly under-appreciated.
The Whispers originated with Sydney band The Impacts (1961-62) comprising John Leslie (gtr), John Manners (bs), Bob Pierse (gtr), Alan Roberts (dr) and Bobby Thomas (vcls). Around 1962 The Impacts evolved into Shadows-style instrumental outfit called The Nocturnes, which brought together the core members of the future Whispers -- John Manners, guitarist Lawrie Barclay and drummer Pat Jeffrey. John's interest in music started when his brother bought a guitar, which John constantly borrowed and eventually mastered . Lawrie Barclay, who came from a musical family, began by studying piano and eventually branched out to organ and guitar. Pat Jeffrey originally hailed from Kempsey in NSW, and made his debut when he filled in for his brother on drums at a local dance. He moved to Sydney in his mid-teens and played with various groups before joining the Nocturnes. Several guitarists passed through the band during this period, including Terry Vincenzi; the guitarist at the time Ray Brown joined was Bob Richardson.
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