Category talk:Musical groups established in the 1960s

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The only Cornish group to record with The Legendary Joe Meek, were Dannys Passion, formed in 1965 as “The Undecided”, (reason for the name was, they could not decide on a name!). They came together through some of the group working at Marriot Magnetics based in Penryn. Rehearsals began in the factory after work. The original line-up was Alan Foster (vocalist), Alan Toms (lead guitar), Gerald Lynch (Rhythm guitar), John Challingsworth (bass guitar) and Peter Kay (drums).

In 1966, seeking a manager, John Kay, Peter’s father approached David Peters, David had previously ran the UK fan club for Ben E. King. David, a postman colleague of John’s, had recently spent 6 months in London, where he had become friends with Alan Freeman and Joe Meek. David agreed to take them on. Danny Gill replaced Alan as vocalist, rehearsals were transferred to The Woodlane Social Club, when ready, gigs were arranged, stage suits ordered, and a demo tape was made and sent to Joe Meek (shown opposite). Among the four songs on this tape was a four part harmony version of “As Tears Go By”, possibly the only such version recorded.

In the spring of ’66 an audition was arranged at Meek’s studio at 304 Holloway Road London. The date was a Saturday morning, this involved leaving Cornwall in the early hours of the morning, with all the gear in the van and all their group and manager sitting on top of the amps, the journey began, and remember there were no motorways then. Arriving at 304 around mid morning, the group set up their equipment and the audition went ahead.   After a successful audition, contracts were offered to the group, upon returning to Falmouth, John Kay had his solicitor check the contract, after giving the ok, contracts were signed, Joe changed their name to Dannys Passion, and a demo was given to the group to learn. Which Joe intended to be their first single release.

The song was “(It’s all leading up to) Saturday Night, a Geoff Stephens composition, a date was set to record (where they would include Mitch Fenner on guitar, much to Joe’s annoyance). Mitch (shown opposite) is now known for his gymnastic coaching and commentating on the BBC. When completed, addition backing was to be added, before a release date was set. A fan club was organised, appearances in a local record shop were planned to coincide with the release.

Further group recordings, including solos by Danny, (which were to have group backing and strings added) were made, but the long awaited first release had apparently hit problems, Joe stated that legal problems had delayed the released, but it was not to be, in late ’66 Scottish group Marmalade issued “(It’s all leading up to) Saturday Night on a single CBS 202340.

Problems between the group and their manager, over gigs and fees, led to a split in the summer of ’66, and the group were taken over by Monty Banks, a local dance promoter. Towards the end of ’66 more problems within the group, led to Danny quitting in 1967, he was replaced by Gregg Young. Danny joined Peace and Quiet in 1967. But the long anticipated success had not materialised, and with the death of Joe Meek on February 3rd 1967, and hope of their recordings being released faded, and finally in late ’67, the group went their separate ways.

In 2006, forty years later, John Challingsworth, now living in Sydney Australia, planned a visit to the UK. After contacting all group members, a reunion meal was arranged at The Green Lawns Hotel in Falmouth. Alan Toms and Peter Kay were now living in London, Gerald Lynch and Danny Gill were still in Cornwall, David Peters, was also still in Cornwall, and agreed to come.

In May 2006, the group, minus Peter Kay, who was unable to be there, finally got together for the first time in 40 years. Memories came flooding back, stories retold, of the golden days of Cornish Pop Music. Even the desire to play together, for one last came was evident. A photographer from the local paper The Falmouth Packet, was present, to recapture that historic pose, (shown opposite), which 40 years ago had graced the front page of the paper, only this time it was in colour.

Their recordings (possibly along with the audition tape) remain in the infamous “Tea Chest Tapes”, which were 67 Tea Chest full of reel to reel tapes, containing about 5000 unreleased masters, demo tapes, etc, left by Joe Meek after his death. The were bought by Cliff Cooper for £300 at the auction of Joe’s estate. Cooper was a member of Joe’s group The Millionaires. Ironically Cooper is himself a millionaire now after founding the “Orange” company which manufactures sound equipment.

The tapes labelled as Dannys Passion are “(It’s all leading up to) Saturday Night”, “Wanna Lover” (a version by an ex Joe Meek artist, Neil Christian, was released on Strike JH 319 in 1966, produced by the writer Mikki Dallon), “ The World’s Not Big Enough”, (Another Geoff Stephens song, which has never been recorded by another artist), “Left Me”, “I Cried Over You”, “Over The Weekend”, also labelled as by the group is “ Who’s Gonna Fight The Lions”, which the group have heard, and is definitely not by them. Joe never wrote much information on the tape boxes, what he did were write was not always accurate, so who the group were remains a mystery.

According to sources who have seen the tapes, they are still very well preserved, but tape does deteriorate over the years, and how long these historic recordings will survive is one of grave concern. Despite many campaigns over the years, to get these tapes handed over to the Nation Sound Archives, who would restore and preserve what can be rescued, Cooper remains determined to hang on to them, depriving these artists, and music lovers, the chance to hear some historic recordings.

A demo recording of “Wanna Lover”, (Shown opposite) given to John Challingsworth by Joe, is the only recording the group have heard, this is currently in the possession of Danny Gill.

What of the future? Will their historic recordings ever be heard? Will the group perform for one last time? These questions remain to be answered, we remain hopeful, but only time will tell.