Friday, June 30, 2017

Brian Poole and the Tremeloes

Brian Poole and the Tremoloes formed in 1958 when the lads were still at Park Modern School, Barking, Essex. They loved the music of Buddy Holly and the Crickets and Brian was chosen as lead vocalist because he wore Buddy Holly glasses. The Tremeloes came from a misspelling in the local paper and the group liked it and kept the name. The original line-up was Brian Poole (vocals), Alan Blakely (guitar and keyboards), Alan Howard (bass), Dave Munden (drums) and Ricky West (guitar). The group built up a large following playing at US airbases and dancehalls and their first big break came in 1961 when they turned professional. Brian Poole and the Tremeloes became regulars on radio and frequently appeared on BBCs "Saturday Club." They were keen to get a recording contract and auditioned for Decca on New Year Day in 1962. Only one band was getting a contract and the Trems won over the Beatles (reported heavily overhung after a night of celebration). At first the group members were used as studio musicians and backing singers but in 1962 they got their first record which was a cover version of the Isley Bros’ “Twist and Shout” (1963).

The similarities to the Beatles version were no coincidence and a clever rouse by Decca to cash in on the popularity of the Fab Four. The Beatles had released their version of Twist and Shout on an EP (10/6d or 52.5 new pence) and Brian Poole and the Tremeloes single was 6/8d (or 33 new pence). “Do you love me,” a Contours song took them back to the charts in the same year.

Other hits followed in 1964 with Candy Man (a Roy Orbison cover) and Someone someone (previously recorded by The Crickets).

Norman Petty, Buddy Holly’s former manager played the piano on the recording. After their initial popularity peaked, Brian Poole left the group in 1966 to pursue a solo career but after a couple of singles, his career faltered. He retired from performing to work in the family's butcher business and run his own record company, Outlook Records. Alan Blakely took over leadership of the group and they continued as the Tremeloes. Alan Howard left and was replaced by Len 'Chip' Hawkes and in the absence of a lead singer the group shared vocals although Chip Hawkes and Dave Munden sang on most of their hits. In 1967 they released ‘Here comes my baby’ (written by Cat Stevens) the single sold well in the UK and the US.

Other singles followed “Suddenly You Love Me”, “Hello World”, and “My Little Lady”, but their biggest success was ’Silence is golden’ (previously recorded by the Four Seasons) which again charted in the UK and US.

Rick West took credit as lead vocalist on the recording. "Me and My Life" was a hit in 1970 and their last UK was in 1971 with Hello Buddy.

The group line-up changed several times from 1972 onwards with Dave Munden the only constant member. Chip Hawkes pursued a solo career for a while before rejoining the Tremeloes where he remained until 1988. Before he died in 1996 Alan Blakely produced records for other acts, including the Rubettes, Bilbo and Mungo Jerry. Dave Munden and Rick West to continue and in 1983 the original quartet reformed for a short time. In 2006 Brian Poole, Chip Hawkes and The Tremeloes toured the UK as part of their 40th anniversary reunion.

Worth a listen:

Brian Poole and the Tremeloes
Twist and shout (1963)
Do you love me (1963)
I can dance (1963)
Candy Man (1964)
Someone someone (1964)
I want candy (1965)

The Tremeloes
Here comes my baby (1967)
Silence is golden (1967)
Suddenly you love me (1968)
Helule helule (1968)
My little lady (1968)
Hello World (1969)
Call me number one (1969)
By the way (1970)

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