Stage - 1978 Gene Pitney Tour
|9th November||Gloucester Leisure Centre|
|10th November||Manchester Tameside Theatre|
|11th November||Southport New Theatre|
|12th November||Coventry Civic Theatre|
|13th November||Wolverhampton Civic Hall|
|14th November||Portsmouth Guild Hall|
|16th November||Brighton Dome|
|17th November||Bristol Colston Hall|
|19th November||London Palladium|
|21st November||Bradford Alhambra Theatre|
|22nd November||Newcastle City Hall|
|24th November||Paignton Festival Hall|
|25th November||Poole Wessex Hall|
|26th November||Isle of Wight Pier Pavilion|
|27th November||Ipswich Gaumont|
|29th November||Sheffield City Hall|
|30th November||Glasgow Apollo|
Gene Pitney is a slightly-built young man with a fine sense of humour, a good-sized helping of Yankee inventiveness and a keen love of the outdoors. He is also a singer of wide international repute, well known for his recordings and personal appearances in Italy, Germany, France, England, Australia and New Zealand as well as his native U.S. Yet aside from his music, his other attributes and interests are such that he is probably capable of making his way in many fields.
He is for example, the owner of publishing companies, a tour production company, a beach and boat club, and many interests in real estate and other diversified investments.
This intelligent business awareness, and his natural talent for performing, have won Gene Pitney many awards throughout the world, and seem to have secured him a permanent place in that world of showbusiness. In late 1966, in fact, his immense popularity in Britain brought him an invitation to appear at a Royal Command Performance, an honour coveted by the many and bestowed on the few. Some of the other highlights were the performing of the song, which he sang for the movie "Town Without Pity", at the Academy Award presentations, and the winning of the "Golden Globe" award for the "Best Song in a Motion Picture for the Entire World," with the same song "Town Without Pity"! Performing at the "Grand Ole Opry" with such country & western greats as Buck Owens, Connie Smith, Eddie Arnold, Roy Clark, and George Jones was another aspect of success in another direction for Gene. His own idea of the most interesting aspect of his career is the performing with, and getting to know hundreds of great acts from the Rolling Stones, to Henry Mancini, to Claudio Villa, to Neil Sedaka, etc. Gene intends to write at least one book, reaching back on his wealth of stories concerning his music career. Some are hilarious, yet others heartbreaking.
Pitney's natural business instincts frequently come to the fore. He is amassing the string of hits which included "24 Hours From Tulsa " "Last Chance To Turn Around" "Town Without Pity " "It Hurts To Be In Love " "Liberty Valance " "Only Love Can Break A Heart " "Half Heaven - Half Heartache " "She's A Heartbreaker " "If I Didn't Have A Dime " "I'm Gonna Be Strong " "Looking Through The Eyes Of Love " "Just One Smile " "True Love Never Runs Smooth " "I Must Be Seeing Things " "Every Breath I Take " "Princess In Rags" "Backstage " and "Something's Gotten Hold Of My Heart", Gene continued to write his songs - not only for himself, but for numerous other singers: "Today's Teardrops" for Roy Orbison, "Rubber Ball" for Marty Wilde and Bobby Vee. Included in these were a pair of BMI award-winning tunes, "Hello Mary-Lou" for Rick Nelson and "He's A Rebel" for the Crystals.
The annual Broadcast Music Inc. (BMI) awards are highly prized in the music business, and are given to the writers and publishers of songs reaching the Top Ten in all leading trade charts.
Once the Musicor hits started happening for Gene, they never stopped; and as his recording career burgeoned, he took the necessary steps to assure his record sales overseas as well as at home in the U.S. When "24 Hours From Tulsa" was released, he travelled to England to sing the recording on all major television showcases. The hoped-for and predictable occurred. The record became one of the top hits in Britain that year, and Pitney has never since wanted for a hit in that country.
The British success, however, was but a single beachhead from which Pitney's fame spread rapidly. Today he is an established star in many countries of the world. He has developed major followings through frequent appearances in Italy, Germany, France, Australia, New Zealand and parts of Latin America. He has also increased his popularity in these markets by re-recording most of his American hits in the native tongue.
Appearing in the famed San Remo Song Festival in January, 1966, Pitney finished in second position, the highest placing awarded an American artist in the history of the Festival. His award-winning song, "Nessuno Mi Puo Giudicare" went on to sell over a half million copies, with Pitney's Italian coming across in the best Roman tradition.
It is possibly, in fact, Pitney's linguistic skill that has helped generate his almost matchless success overseas. He tends to fall into a dialect with ease, and his Italian is virtually flawless.
By the same token, Gene only recently became a star in the country music field by dint of his talent for duplicating the nasal drawl of the country singer. At one time, in fact, Gene Pitney's name was high simultaneously on charts in Italy and England, and on the U.S. pop and country charts with four completely different records.
Despite a schedule which keeps him on the move for many months out of the year, Pitney still immerses himself in his home scene.
Gene lives in a Dutch Colonial home in the Connecticut countryside (set in an old apple orchard), occupied by Gene and his wife Lynne and their sons Todd, Chris and David.
There are also four guinea pigs, six mice, three cats, one German Shepherd, an Irish Wolf Hound, and a Pyrenean Mountain dog. On top of this, there is an adjoining corral with a pony for the boys to ride. Needless to say, the Pitneys love animals.
Pitney has never lost his love for the world of the out-of-doors. Even now, a favourite pastime is to take off on a hunting or fishing expedition into the wilds of northern New England.
These preferences have taken him further afield as well, to such locations as the Hawaiian Island of Molokai, the Isle of Wight, Australia, Scotland, Rotarua N.Z., Porto Prince, Haiti, the Gulf of Mexico and northern Maine to pursue trout fishing and game hunting.
The years 1975 and 1976 were very hectic ones for Gene. Back in the charts with the Roger Cook production of "Blue Angel," there was only time for a 10-day vacation in Florida with his family and then off to Australia for a tour of packed houses and a top ten position for "Blue Angel." While in Melbourne, Gene was presented with two gold LPs and a silver disc for a recording of a song he wrote "He's A Rebel," which was recorded by Debbie Byrne, and held the No. 1 position in the charts for seven weeks, setting a new record! On a return, sellout tour in 1976, Gene again was awarded four more gold LPs for the trophy room.
After a return home, and working there with his producer Dave Mackay, Gene and his family left ten weeks later for London to do promotion in England, Holland, Belgium and Spain for his new single "Trans Canada Highway."
After a rest in the early summer months there were extensive promotion tours set up by the Bronze label for the new LP and these included trips in 1977 to most of the Continent and England.
The world is Gene's shopping bag for new songs. He is always on the lookout for a potential hit song, and will be looking this year while doing concert tours, cabaret, and T.V. in Britain, Dublin, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, the Continent, and the U.S.A.
In the spring of this year Gene embarked on a lengthy British cabaret tour - the highlight of which was the presentation of two silver and one gold LP awards on BBC TV's 'Saturday Night At The Mill'. These were the rewards of many months in the recording studio and many months of travelling the world. That means super busy, as usual, but he wouldn't have it any other way!
Cannon and Ball
Tom Cannon and Bobby Ball will need no introduction to many members of the audience. Their appearances on television, in pantomime and at top nightclubs and theatres throughout the country have established them as one of the most popular and successful cornedy double acts in Britain.
They began working together some ten years ago at local clubs and soon built up such a strong following in their native Lancashire that they were voted Best Comedy Duo in a Club Mirror poll.
This recognition led to an invitation from Granada Television to take part in the Wheeltappers'and Shunters' Social Club Awards Show. Since then Cannon and Ball have appeared regularly on both ITV and BBC on programmes like Seaside Special and their own show for Granada. Their forthcoming weekly slot on the new Bruce Forsyth Show is bound to establish them as nationwide television personalities.
Aside from their highly successful Summer Seasons (this year they were at Great Yarmouth with Larry Grayson) they have also toured Australia and South Africa, and look forward to working abroad again in the future.
Cannon and Ball are much in demand as pantomime favourites. Past years have seen them appear with Charlie Drake at Bradford's Alhambra Theatre, with Harry Worth at the Leeds Grand and with the Rockin' Berries at the Davenport Theatre in Stockport.
This coming Christmas they will star with Cilla Black at the Liverpool Empire for a six-week run of Dick Whittington.
Cannon and Ball's own particular blend of pathos and humour has brought warmth and laughter to delighted audiences everywhere: tonight will be no exception.
1978 could be described as Co-Co's year. In April, to be exact, Great Britain had the pleasure of being represented in the Eurovision Song Contest by Co-Co with their rendition of the Stephanie De Sykes and Stuart Slater song Bad Old Days, which reached number 13 in the charts. Co-Co were winners all the way.
Since April Co-Co have been inundated with offers of television and radio work. Some shows on which they have appeared have included BBC's Top Of The Pops, Crackerjack, ATV's Tizwas, Cheggars Plays Pop, Thames Television's Magpie and they were also added to the star-studded line-up of the Miss England contest.
For these five people.it was a dream come true. A dream which started only four years ago. Among the highlights of those four years are record breaking summer seasons with Freddie Starr at the Opera House, Blackpool in 1975, and with Frank Ifield and Ken Goodwin at Great Yarmouth in 1976. They have made numerous British and European television appearances including Vince Hill's Musical Time Machine series, the famous Wheeltappers & Shunters show and also a prestigious nationwide tour with Shirley Bassey finishing with four shows at the Royal Albert Hall.
Their cabaret appearances have seen them headline at top British clubs and innumerable European venues including Spain, Yugoslavia, Portugal and Germany, while their impeccable harmonies have meant they've always had a flood of work from television, Radios 1 and 2 and Capitol Radio, radio jingle companies. Many jingles heard on the radio have been done by Co-Co.
Terry composed their first Ariola/Hansa single The Money Song and penned all the material (except Bad Old Days itself) of their current album Bad Old Days, which included their last single entitled I Can't Talk Love On The Telephone Line. Co-Co's latest single Way Out is due for release in November.
In addition, Co-Co are appearing with Gene Pitney on his major U.K. tour in November.
Terry Bradford: Terry was born in Walthamstow, East London on 26th November 1950 and he still lives in Leyton. Terry is one of the founder members of Co-Co and before forming Co-Co and Mother's Pride he worked throughout the country in various groups and also as a solo act. He enjoys all types of music, especially the Doobie Brothers, Eagles, Clifford T. Ward and America. His hobbies include football and cricket. In fact, it was a choice between being a professional cricketer or a musician when he left school!
Josie Andrews: Josie was born in Croydon, Surrey on 5th August 1953. She likes listening to Barbara Streisand and the Carpenters. Her hobbies include collecting cuddly toys and watching The Little House On The Prairie.
Paul Rogers: Paul (the baby of the group) is twenty-one. He was born in Birmingham on 24th March 1957. He now lives in Dalston, East London. Musically, Paul enjoys listening to Gino Vanelli, Boz Scaggs and ELO and his hobbies are reading horror stories and brewing home-made beer and wine.
Keith Hasler: Keith was bom in Leyton on 7th June 1951. He is an original member of Co-Co. Keith enjoys listening to all music, but his favourites are Stevie Wonder and ELO. His hobbies are football, golf and generally keeping fit.
Cheryl Baker: Cheryl was born in Bethnal Green, East London on 8th March 1954. She too is an original member of Co-Co and previous to that she worked in a vocal trio travelling the South of England playing at folk clubs. She enjoys listening to Joni Mitchell, Emmylou Harris. Her hobbies include cooking, sport and doing crosswords.
At the beginning of 1978, when Denise Nolan decided to leave The Nolan Sisters to branch out on her own solo career, the decision was greeted with a lot of raised eyebrows.
"I suppose it was a natural reaction for people to assume that I left the group because we'd had a disagreement between ourselves," she explains. "Yet nothing could be further from the truth.
"I left with the girls' full backing.
"I've always enjoyed singing on my own and I never felt better than when I was featured singing solo during our act. I loved it. Trouble was, the more I sang solo, the more I wanted to go out on my own. So I realised that I'd soon have to make a decision - whether to stay with the group and sing the occasional solo spot, or try my luck on my own."
Denise was born in Inchimore, Dublin, Ireland in April 1952 and started singing "almost as soon as I could talk".
Indeed, before Denise was bom, her parents Tommy and Maureen Nolan, were stars in their own right in Ireland and a singing duo The Sweetheart Singers.
"Mum and Dad always wanted to bring their music to England and reach a much wider audience," says Denise. "So in the early 60's the family moved to Blackpool - and it didn't take them long to establish themselves as a very successful act.
"My parents used to take the children along to shows and before long, we'd be up on stage singing with them.
The Sweetheart Singers worked extensively throughout Britain appearing at clubs and hotels, and gained a huge reputation for themselves. Yet as time went by, the five girls became the mainstay of the act, and it was natural that they should go out on their own.
In 1974 Mum, Dad and the two boys stepped aside to leave the stage free for The Nolan Sisters. The family moved to London where the girls landed a lucrative contract with the Hanover Grand to star in cabaret at the luxurious London Room in Drury Lane. Then came the big showbusiness breakthrough when they were chosen to appear throughout the series on BBC Television's Cliff Richard Show. From then on, they were rarely off television, appearing on such shows as The Harry Secombe Show, Wednesday At Eight, Seaside Special, Night Out At The Casino, The Vera Lynn Show and two series of The Musical Time Machine.
In 1975, they were chosen to accompany Frank Sinatra on his extensive European concert tour, and next followed bill-topping appearances at all the major British provincial nightclubs.
Denise left the group in February 1978 and made her solo debut in the summer in concert with Matt Monro.
"As soon as I got out on stage on my own, I knew I'd made the right decision," she says. "It was a completely different world, and I loved every minute of it.
"Now I've proved to myself that I can do it on my own, I'm more determined than ever to succeed. And my sisters are behind me a hundred per cent. Naturally I'm ambitious, I would never have left the group if I wasn't and I want to succeed on my own. So it's now all down to lots of hard work and gaining as much experience as I can."
But for someone with a whole lifetime of showbusiness experience behind her, it won't be too long before Denise Nolan achieves her ambitions!
Oliver Spencer is a new name to the world of comedy, making his solo debut just under 18 months ago. A year ago he appeared on the much publicised New Faces, coming a creditable second. This led to him getting involved with a children's TV series called Tiswas, Oliver provides ideas and makes an occasional guest appearance on the show.
His career started some 16 years ago, as a drummer in a group. His father taught him to play the drums, and after 4 years of driving the neighbours mad with his practising, he joined Mike Sheridan and the Nightrides, a local semi-professional group. Success came quickly for just a year later the group became fully professional, he stayed with the group for 4 years.
Oliver's next group The Idle Race, found him working alongside a young man later to make his mark in the music world, Jeff Lynne, now the driving force behind the Electric Light Orchestra. The Idle Race became very successful, signing a record contract with United Artists, who released 4 singles and two albums both of which sold very well. With the departure of Jeff Lynne from the group, Oliver moved on to his third and final band, the Sight and Sound, a comedy cabaret group. Oliver's sense of humour had always been a trade mark and all who worked with him found him easy going and fun to work with.
In the Sight and Sound his natural flair for comedy came to the fore, this was the beginning of the Oliver Spencer of today. Comedy routines, impressions, and ad-libing were part of the Sight and Sound show, which also gave Ollie his first chance to scriptwrite. The band toured for six years doing TV, clubs and theatre, which resulted in the band being voted Cabaret Group of the Year 1977.
The comedy part of the show grew to such an extent, it was obvious the direction Ollie would have to take, and none of the lads in the band were surprised when he went solo.
The style is easy going and natural, he is a great lover of the theatre, and relishes a challenge. And so, here he is after 16 years of travelling every inch of Great Britain and quite a bit of the Continent making a bid to become a hit.
Maurice Merry has been Gene Pitney's Musical Director for the past eight years. Born in Leicester, more years ago than he cares to remember, Maurice was taught the piano at the age of eight. When he was thirteen, he added the trumpet to his musical talents. Now he concentrates solely on the piano, but the horn blowing came in handy when he was doing his National Service in the RAF: he played bugle for the morning parade.
As part of a Trio in 1958, Maurice did six shows a day at London's famous Windmill Theatre. But, he admits with a grin, the male patrons were more interested in the nudes than in his act. This was his first (public) experience of the now popular "total frontal nudity". (He's never been the same since)!
It was the same year that he did his first Pop Tours with Paul Anka and Tommy Steele. Since then he has worked with such names as Lulu, Clodagh Rodgers, Ruby Murray etc... He is also Musical Director for the Floral Hall Theatre Scarborough, where he has his own Orchestra for their Summer Shows.
Twelve years ago he moved to the peaceful countryside of Northamptonshire where he now lives with his wife, Caroline, and their two sons, Simon and Guy.
His musical tastes cover a wide and varied range. He especially enjoys classical music and modern jazz.
For the past few years, Maurice has toured all parts of the world entertaining for Her Majesty's Troops. This year he was in Germany, Sardinia and Gibraltar.
Maurice has recently taken up the game of Squash, initially to try and keep fit and maybe lose a few pounds in weight. Unfortunately, this loss is usually replaced by another favourite pastime, eating, particularly hot curries, a taste he shares with the other members of Gene Pitney's Rhythm Section.