At the end of 1961, four young English guys known as the Rocking Tuxedo had been rehearsing R & R music for more than a year, when they got luck. Larry Parnes one of the main managers of the American singer’s tour in Great Britain, offered them to play in the Gene Vincent and Eddie Cochran tour. The young guys were just 16 years old, but they really could play and were fascinated by
R & R.
When the tour is over, they take a boat for Hamburg, where they were going to stay nine months in the wellknown Star club, not far from the top ten where the Beatles played. The Krewkats become soon the houseband in the star club, where they backed people like Alexis Korner, Ricky Barnes, Tony Sheridan,King Size Taylor, Georgie Fame…
The Krewkats were Ted Tunnicliffe, lead guitar and the band leader, his father was a minister; Rob Nichols was on rhythm, Norman Bradley on bass and Don Hawkins on drums, Ian Hines on piano, Ricky Barnes on sax tenor, and Tony on sax alto. Their set was made of genuine r & R: Kansas city, New Orleans, Summertime, Twist and shout, Whole lotta shaking going on and also some R & B.
After such a long stay in Hamburg, with such a stage experience, a part of the Krewkats decided to go to Paris. Ted, Rob, Norman and Don were to young to have a driving licence, so that a young German guy, who wanted to join the French Legion drove them to France. Don has often dreamed of Paris, since his father took part to the landing in Normandy in June 1944 and told Don often what a beautiful country France was.
The life in Paris appeared quickly expensive and they ran short of money. The playboy in the band had a flirt with an attractive fellow country girl, looking like Romy Schneider and as sexy as Brigitte Bardot. She took them to the Golf Drouot, the teenager place in Paris, where she used to go and to sing under the name of Gillian hills.
Our four lads were fast to take their chance and went on the stage, they started with a powerful whole lotta shaking going on followed by a tremendous New Orleans and then a furious Twist and Shout2. The audience went wild, and they had to sing played one more song, they played a Shadows tune. Among the young teenager, there were some talentscout and journalists. One of them was their countryman Bob Lampard, who used to be reporter and photograph in Disco Revue, a monthly Rock magazine for the teenagers. Bob rang immediately one of the popular French rock singer: Dick Rivers. He had left his band Les Chats Sauvages and was looking for a band. Dick came with his manager. They asked the Krewkats to pay one more set.
When the set is over, the contract to back Dick Rivers was ready to sign. Dick was billed for a show at the Theatre de l’Etoile in 10 days. The following day they met in the Pathe studio to make a try. When they left the studio they had a signed contract with Pathe in the hand. Some weeks later they recorded four tracks as an instrumental band: Tonight, Tuxedo, whistle down the wind and you are my sunshine. The record sold good enough to cut a new one in January 1963. They played Diggedle Boeing penned by Franck Pourcel, a well established conductor, Polaris, Bleak house and ice cream man.
Then they went on tour with Dick. They also backed dick on several records like comme pour une fille, J’ai choisi l’amour (my good fortune), it’s all over now, whole lotta shaking going on, maybe baby, sweet little sixteen, it’s gonna be alright, that’s what love will do.
During the summer 1963 they left Dick, and they disbanded: Don Joined the Playboys (former Vince Taylor band making now a solo career, Ted was going to join Joe Dassin one of the top French singer and became a session man and then a conductor. Rob and John went home and back to school.
- (Pas de titre) (La Voix de son Maître EMF 338)
Tonight / Tuxedo twist / Whistle down the wind / You are my sunshine.
- Instrumental guitars vol 2 (Magic Records 5301572)
Tonight / Tuxedo twist / Whistle down the line / You are my sunshine / Diggedle Boeing / Ice cream man / Polaris / Bleak House / For my good fortune.