Music Scene

Brighton and the Doo-wop Revival

By Peter Groves

Groups founded in Brighton

I thought that while plenty of comments have been left on the site about Brighton and music, there was no specific section for bands that originated in Brighton. I then found Topics/Entertainment/Music Scene, which was the correct category, however I was surprised that there was only one page. The page relates in particular to the general music scene in the late 1950s and '60s, and not to any specific band. So what do we know about specific groups that originated in Brighton, some of whom went on to the big time?

Doo-wop

The origins of the doo-wop sound can be traced back to WWII, when the Ink Spots had a string of hits in America, although 'Blue Moon' goes back even further to 1934.  However the genre became most popular in the mid 1950s with bands such as The Platters (Only You) and The Monotones (Book of Love) and was the forerunner of the rock and roll era, although the join was seamless!

Uncle Mac (Derek McCulloch)

Until The Beatles arrived around 1962, I was uninterested in music, apart from occasionally listening to Children's Favourites with 'Uncle Mac' on the BBC’s Light Programme, on a Saturday morning. Probably from about that time my interest in music grew, and I was guided by an elder sister towards harder rock, blues and progressive music. With the likes of The Beatles, Stones and similar bands filling the charts of the late 1960s, the doo-wop scene was in the past.  However a revival started following the short appearance of Sha-Na-Na at the 1969 Woodstock Festival.

Rocky Sharpe and the Razors

Probably due to Sha-Na-Na, Brighton band Rocky Sharpe and the Razors were at the forefront of the UK doo-wop resurgence.  The ten piece line-up first performed at The Arlington in 1972, prior to the revival becoming mainstream, with the likes of Mud, Showaddywaddy, and others having chart hits.  There was a connection to Cottesmore and the De le Salle schools; I was first encouraged to go and see them at the Richmond, by a school friend, perhaps the same year.  They played in the large room above the pub, which I think had a sprung dance floor like the Big Apple above the Regent.

Split and fame

Although the nucleus of the band remained constant, fringe musicians changed often.  The band split in 1976, some went on to form Rocky Sharpe and the Replays, while others went on to fame and chart success with Darts.  I often mention how I sat not ten feet from Mick and the rest of the Stones at the Big Apple March 1971, however until now I have rarely owned up to seeing Rocky Sharpe and the Razors at the Richmond the following year.

 

Photo:Rocky Sharpe and the Razors

Rocky Sharpe and the Razors

From the private collection of Dick Duly, aka "Tricky Dicky", piano player in the band.

This page was added on 07/03/2012.

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