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British young musicians, known under the name Johnny Taylor & the Strangers, made a short career In France in 1962 and 1963, before some them joined either Johnny Hallyday’s band or Vince Taylor’s one.

Johnny Taylor set up the band in 1962. The strangers came from Leicester. Johnny Taylor played guitar and sang, Tommy Lorne was on drums, Stu Garbett was on lead and Ralph Douthwaite on rhythm and Mike Smith on bass.

Early 1962 after a tour in the South West of France backed by the Cardinals. They played gigs in the American military base. Johnny Taylor on his way back to England went over Paris where he paid a visit to the famous Golf Drouot.

He got contact with some show business managers who offered him to play some gigs. Johnny rang the strangers, asked them to come in Paris, where they first began with the usual stage act at Golf Drouot; it was in October 1962. The audience went wild.

The daily and specialised magazines praised their show and musical qualities. Some Talentscout working for various record labels discussed with them. Claude Carrère, a young A & R man, who just launched the young Sheila proposed them to back her.

Finally they preferred to sign with the Vega label warmly recommended by Jacques Garnier, a famous RTL disc jockey.The line up was a bit renewed Ralph Douthwaite took over on lead, Alan Bugby replaced Mike smith on bass.

The first recording session remains unforgettable for Johnny Taylor; it took place on the Champs Elysees, it was likely where the studios Gabriel are today located. The session started at nine O’clock in the morning and was over by noon! They played their usual set as well as song called the Climb, which was the new coming dance.

The sound engineers were confused and did know how to handle this too loud playing band, the control screen were on the red. They set the recorder at a very low level. When Alan Bugby played they were afraid it could blow all the equipment !

When they listened to their work, Johnny & his fellows were very disappointed, it not sounded like they played. Anyway the record was selling good enough. Well known for their stage act they were high in demand for the tours. They made a “salut les copains’ tour” where they shred the bill with Lucky Blondo; they also backed him on stage, and Dick Rivers. They were programmed to open the show, but due to the audience request they ended the first part.

The never ending tours made Ralph Douthwaite and Tommy Lorne get homesick, they were replaced by Ralph Danks coming from Hamburg and Eddy Sparrow, coming from Les Toppers. In the summer 1963 they made the rock festival in Juan Les Pins and were the home band in the Club 63 where they made a wild stage act. Then they joined another Dick Rivers’ tour; The Gladiators then backed Dick. This should mean the end of the road for The Strangers. Micky Jones, lead and boots Slade, bass left the Gladiators and were replaced by Ralph Danks and Alan Bugby.

Johnny Taylor tried once more to gather a new band, he hired Guy Sheppard on drums, then moved to Hamburg and toured in Sweden, before coming back to Paris to join Alan Bugby in the Bobbie Clarke noise, the new Vince Taylor’s baking band. Finally Alan and Johnny were to join Johnny Hallyday when he was released from the army. After a while Johnny Taylor left for California where he made a duet with Ralph Danks for a couple of single records on an American label.

Today Johnny Taylor still lives in California where he organised rock operas. Ralph Danks became a painter in Japan and Alan Bugby is back in Leicester and works in the mechanic industry. Eddy Sparrow is till an active musician working most of the time in Germany.


Discographie (CD)

  1. (Pas de titre) (Magic Records 176252)
    Jezebel / Telstar / The Clim / It’ll be me / I’m going home / Perfidia / L’idole des jeunes / My girl Josephine / Sherry / Tous les garçons et les filles / Sheila.
    Avec Johnny TAYLOR
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