Friday, December 22, 2017

Dave Berry (Dave Berry and The Cruisers)

David Holgate Grundy was born in Woodhouse, Sheffield in 1941. He began singing with local groups in 1960 and changed his name to Dave Berry when he joined The Cruisers in 1962. Berry was deference to Chuck Berry and Dave enjoyed R&B. The group’s line up was John Fleet (bass and piano), Roy Barber (rhythm guitar), Frank Miles (lead guitar) and Kenny Slade (drums). The Cruisers proved a poplar R&B group building up a loyal following playing in the city's clubs’. It was after a Doncaster gig Mickie Most arranged for them to record a demo tape. This resulted in the group signing with Decca Records in 1963. A cover version of Chuck Berry's "Memphis, Tennessee" was their first release for Dave Berry and The Cruisers and made the lower reaches of the Top Twenty.

Decca used session musicians to support Dave and the group’s vocals with Jimmy Page, Big Jim Sullivan and John Paul Jones all playing on the early releases. In 1964, the group released another two cover versions; "My Baby Left Me" and "Baby It's You," both enjoyed modest success but it was the next single "The Crying Game" which gave them their best known hit.

Dave had an intriguing stage manner for a lead singer. He would try to hide his face either behind the upturned collar of his jacket or use his hands to the same effect. He also used his hand held microphone as if it were a snake. The performance suited television and he regularly performed his hits with his face half hidden by his hands whilst slowly slinking around the set clad in black. Dave Berry and the original Cruisers parted company and were replaced by four more local musicians: Frank White, Johnny Riley, Pete Cliff and Alan Taylor. In 1965 he hit the top 5 for the second time with a cover of Bobby Goldsboro's "Little Things."

The follow up single "This Strange Effect"(written by Ray Davis) flopped in the UK but sold well on the Continent.

In 1966 Dave was back in the UK top five with B.J. Thomas's "Mama".

By the end of the decade Dave Berry was no longer the hit maker and like many talented acts of the era fell back on live performances making a living touring the northern club circuit. Although Dave Berry never broke into the US market he was incredibly popular in Europe and continues to enjoy star status.

Worth a listen
Memphis, Tennessee (1963)
My Baby Left Me (1964)
Hoochie Coochie Man (1964)
Baby It's You (1964)
The Crying Game (1964)
Little Things (1965)
This Strange Effect (1965)
Mama (1966)

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