Drawings by John Moss
& Rock Music of the North-West
Elkie Brooks, who was born Elaine Bookbinder on 26 February
1946, a bakery owner's daughter from Cavendish Road, Salford,
was almost certain to follow many of her family members into
show business. Tony Mansfield, her brother, was leader of the
then well-known group, "The Dakotas"; another brother had a
quartet. Her uncle, Nat Bookbinder was a bandleader in Manchester,
and uncles Brian and Alan were in the pop music business as
a group called "The Chapters". She adopted the stage name "Elkie
Brooks" in the 1960s to make her way as a singer of jazz and
rhythm and blues music around the North West of England, eventually
joining Robert Palmer in the Vinegar Joe group in the 1970s.
Though much acclaimed, the group failed to grab headlines, and
as a result Elkie went on to release her own solo debut album
'Rich Man's Woman', quickly followed up by 'Two Days
Away'. One song from this album, 'Pearl's A Singer',
became probably her best known song. From this point she never
looked back. She began to develop an almost cult following,
and though rarely in top listings during the 80s and 90s, she
maintained a respected position and devoted fan club, which
has persisted till today when she performs mostly live shows
in clubs around the country, with occasional big tour venues
at National Concert Hall level. Some of her other best music
Love Can Break Your Heart' ·
'Fool If You Think It's Over' ·
'Love Potion No.9' ·
'He's a Rebel' ·
'No More the Fool'
known as the Bee Gees, Barry, Maurice, and Robin Gibb's career
began when the three gathered in a bedroom in their home in
Manchester, working out the natural harmonies that were to become
one of the distinguishing features of the Bee Gees' sound. Their
talents were not exactly unexpected - their father, Hugh Gibb,
was a Manchester bandleader in his own right, and their mother
Barbara had been a former professional singer, so that music
was already in the blood. So aged 6 to 9 years they began performing
as "The Rattlesnakes" in local cinemas between films. In 1958,
the family moved to Australia in pursuit of a warmer climate.
The family settled in Brisbane where the brothers Gibb continued
singing and song writing, performing at local racetracks, and
on radio and television. In March 1960, they were given their
own half-hour weekly television show in Brisbane (Barry was
only 13, and the twins were 10).It was at this time that the
Brothers became first the BG's (for Brothers Gibb), and soon
after the "Bee Gees".
In 1963, they signed a recording contract with Festival Records
in Australia, and released their first Bee Gees' single,
"Three Kisses of Love". They were a virtual instant success
and much in demand to perform at concerts, on radio and television,
releasing many records, and making several abortive attempts
at break-ups and solo careers. Inevitably, they came back to
each other, and seemed better as a group than as soloists.
It was in the early 1970s, probably as a result of working with
Arif Mardin, that the group changed direction and had instant
success with "Mr Natural" and perhaps their best remembered
song, "Jive Talkin". "Saturday Night Fever"
which became the biggest selling film soundtrack of all time,
really came as a result of the success of "Jive Talkin"
and threw them into the forefront of the world arena. They were
now the highest paid musicians in the world, a position they
held through the 1980s.
By the 1990s, however, their style had changed little and fallen
out of favour. It was then that their attentions turned to song
writing for other well known performers, among them included
best-selling albums for Barbara Streisand, Dionne Warwick, Kenny
Rogers and Diana Ross. It was in the 1990s that Las Vegas welcomed
the Bee Gees, and they have had a successful live stage career
there ever since that time. In
1997 they had a major American concert, "One Night Only",
filmed as a world-wide television spectacular and released as
a live CD, home video, and DVD. Also in 1997, the Bee Gees were
inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and received Lifetime
Achievement Awards from The American Music Award, Brit Awards,
German Bambi Awards, Australian Record Industry, and World Music
continue to perform in Las Vegas today. Maurice Gibb tragically
died in LA in 2002.
That & Robbie Williams
Pop" rave of the early 1990s, this talented Manchester-based
vocal group restored the ballad to the popular music charts.
In some ways reviving the youth adulation which the Beatles
received during the 1960s, Take That became the role models
for many young people. Their clean cut wholesome music and image,
complemented by slickly choreographed on-stage dance performances
was a winning combination. Despite not actually playing any
musical instruments, they topped the music charts for several
years. However, by the end of 1995 Robbie decided to leave and
make a solo career, amid a great deal of acrimony, and in April
1996 the group made their last performance and split up.
When Robbie Williams (who was actually from Stoke-on-Trent),
ended his association with Take That, effectively signing a
death warrant to the group, he also took what amounted to a
big personal risk into possible oblivion himself. Other ex-members
of the group fared less well, including Gary
Barlow. However, he has proved to be a supreme pop performer
in his own right and confounded all the critics, with hit after
hit. This success has not come easily and at times has seemed
rather tenuous, with forays into drink, drugs, and promiscuity
all highlighted loudly in tabloid newspaper headlines.
However, musically there have been very few setbacks. 'Freedom',
his first solo single sold more than a quarter of a million
copies, and later in 1997, his debut solo album, 'Life thru
a Lens' was received with tumultuous acclaim by music critics,
and is approaching quadruple platinum status at the time of
writing, thanks largely to the popularity of the track, 'Angels'.
The 1999 song, 'Let Me Entertain You' was very popular
with record buyers, and has virtually become his personal anthem,
earning large volumes of record sales, has received much critical
acclaim, and attracted a number of awards.
Despite prophets of doom, his career promises to continue to
prosper, and he has won many awards for his music over the past
few years, having established himself firmly at the top of the
so-called Brit Pop music scene. In recent times, Take That reformed,
reached number 1 position in the music charts again and seem
to have regained their extensive fan base.
of 6 musicians whose debut album should have been in the Guiness
Book of Records on account of its title alone: "Happy Mondays'
Squirrel and G-Man Twenty Four Hour Party People Plastic Face
Carnt Smile (White Out)". The original group included Sean Ryder
(vocals), Paul Ryder (his brother - bass), Mark Day (guitar),
Gary Whelan (Drums), Paul Davis (keyboards), and Mark Berry
(percussion) - later they were joined by the black singer, Rowetta).
Their music featured strong dance rhythms and by 1990 they had
reached the UK's Top Ten, when "Pills 'N' Thrills And Bellyaches"
reached number 1 and established them as a major British band,
hailing from Manchester. A great deal of backing from Factory
Records combined with a consistently good output of music kept
the Happy Mondays in the forefront of British popular music.
Other music includes :
Hermits & Peter Noone
British band formed in 1963 and included Manchester-born Peter
Noone (lead vocals), Keith Hopwood (guitar), Derek Leckenby
(guitar), Karl Green (bass), and Barry Whitwarm (drums). Noone
came to the forefront with his boyish looks and toothy smile,
when producer Micky Most saw him acting a cameo role in Granada
Television's "Coronation Street". Working under the new
name of "Herman", Noone became the face of 1964, and the group's
musical offerings were to finally achieve thirteen number 1
hits in America, as well as innumerable hits in the UK. Most
of their records used session musicians, and Noone was promoted
as a star in his own right. Despite much adulation in the USA
for their clean cut image, they fared less well in Britain,
and by 1970, Noone went solo under his own name, and the band
effectively broke up. Music included :
Brown You've Got a Lovely Daughter
Henry the Eighth I am
Into Something Good
a Kind of Hush
You Pretty Thing