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 FIFTIES SUPERSTARS

They entertained YOU

Remember him?
The songs are long forgotten.
But the man who became a national "name" through the Six Five Special and then Oh Boy still retains a place in rock 'n'roll history.
It was not really the music that brought Wee Willie Harris to the fore. It was the way he dressed.
His hair would change colour by the day - from bright orange, to blue, to green. And that in itself was enough to shock the prudish England of the Fifties.
Wide and long jackets, thick crepe soles on his "beetle crusher" shoes, tight drainpipe trousers and a huge polka dot bow tie created an image still remembered.
And after it was all over, when Oh Boy was consigned to TV history, he still rocked on, working in clubs and cruise ships.
We Willie Harris was never destined to be a major rock star.
But he is a part of English Fifties folklore.
******

Remember him?
Forty years on and Marty Wilde is still remembered as one of the truly great names of early British rock 'n roll.
Fifties fans will remember him on shows such as Oh Boy with his long sideburns and string of hits, among them Endless Sleep, which reached No 4 in the charts, Donna, a cover version of the Ritchie Valens hit, and Teenager in Love, which became his biggest ever record.
Born Reg Smith in Blackheath, South London it was in 1959 that Wilde, first spotted by Fifties star maker Larry Parnes in London's Condor Club two years previously, really hit the big time and became England's No 2 rock star behind Cliff Richard.
That year saw him as compere of Jack Good's new TV show Boy Meets Girl, following four major chart hits.
But after that Marty did not drive them all so wild.
His career was not helped by his marriage to one of the Vernons Girls, co-stars on Oh Boy. He tried his fortunes in America but did not make any real impact. And the hits began to fade. He was in the top 10 with Rubber Ball in 1961 and made 19th position with Jezebel in 1962. But by then his career had split and he was heavily involced in acting.
Today Wilde is still on the circuit touring with nostalgic rock shows. His daughter, Kim, following a successful pop career of her own, is now a TV gardening expert. His son, Ricky, a pop singer himself has also made a career out of song writing.

******
HE was a hit maker of the Fifties who later became a show biz legend for his unique stage style. Everybody had heard of Frankie Vaughan.
Frankie shot to fame in the Fifties with hit records such as Green Door, Garden of Eden and Kisses Sweeter Than Wine.
But it was another song which was to endear him to a generation of music fans, one with which his name would be linked for ever - Give Me The Moonlight.
Cane carrying, top hatwearing, high kicking Frankie was a one-off, a truly British show biz idol, who charmed audiences throughout the Sixties and Seventies with numbers such as Mame, Cabaret and Hello Dolly.
He also made movies and in 1960 went to Hollywood to work with Marilyn Monroe on Let's Make Love - a far cry from his effort a year earlier when he appeared alongside Arthur Askey in the very British film Ramsbottom Rides Again!
Frankie Vaughan was born in 1928 and died in 1999.
******

POP stars in the 21st Century live with the fact that their private lives are constantly scrutinised by a fascinated and prying media keen to pass on each and every move that the idols of millions make.
In the Fifties it was much more genteel.
But one singer was to find the full glare of the media spotlight on him - and to prove unable to cope with what it brought.
Terry Dene was young, good looking and talented. A stylish performer it was generally agreed he could have been an all-time British rock 'n' roll great.
But he was the first teenage idol in this country to get married, taking popular singer Edna Savage as his bride, and then he joined the army. All this proved too much and he suffered a very public nervous breakdown.
His claim to fame was the hit A White Sport Coat (And a Pink Carnation).
After leaving the rock scene he turned his back on seeking fame and fortune and went for a life of religion.
******

NO-ONE really knew very much about Sabrina.
She rarely spoke in her TV appearances, being introduced by Arthur Askey to his show simply to add glamour to it.
But although Sabrina was hardly the brightest star to hit the headlines she was certainly one of th sexies, certainly so far as television was concerned.
Askey always denied engaging the young beauty - real name Norma Sykes - because of the size of her bust, but it was that which made her famous.
After her initial TV appearance, Sabrina became headline news, with reporters and photographers swarming to the BBC's Lime Grove studios to see her.
Unable to sing or dance at the start of her career in showbusiness, she used the money she made to pay for dancing and deportment lessons and eventually finished up as a polished cabaret performer.
She later married an American doctor and went to live in Hollywood.


Written by The Editor - 12/05/2007 09:03:14

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