The band's story began in the late 50s when "the Dozies" as they are now affectionately called, came together from various bands of the Salisbury area. Trevor Davies (Dozy), then with the Beatnicks met Ian Amey (Tich) and persuaded him to leave his group Eddy and the Strollers to join the Beatnicks. A few months later David Harman (Dave Dee) from the Coasters and Boppers came in and Tich approached his school chum John Dymond (Beaky) who also was a member of the Big Boppers to join in as well.
"Ronnie Blonde and the Beatnicks" gigged extensively already with a repertoire of classic rockers and contemporary hits plus a few own numbers. One night their front man Ronnie did not show up and Dave ended up doing most of the lead vocals and eventually became their front man himself.
Their drummers came and went but finally around Christmas '61 it worked out with Michael Wilson (Mick) whom Dozy had met while travelling on the bus. In the meantime the band name had been changed to Dave Dee & the Bostons.
The boys had already given up their regular jobs as painters or car mechanics to become full-time musicians. Dave had been a policeman before and, as a Cadet was first on the scene of a car crash on April 17, 1960 that killed Eddie Cochrane and seriously injured Gene Vincent. A burst tyre had hurled their taxi into a lamppost near Chippenham, Wiltshire and Dave salvaged Eddie's Gretsch guitar. It was kept at the police station for a few weeks before being sent back to Eddie's family in the USA - after Dave had "had a good strum on it". In 1962 Dave finally quit his job too, when the band went pro - but occasionally would recite the 'Policeman's Definitions' - required when making an arrest - just to surprise people and remind himself of those days.
Time was hard on the local bands then. There were few places for young bands to play in England, and they had to travel far for not much money. Dave says: "I went into the music business because it was a love - not for the money. It was something I always wanted to do. I used to get on the bus and travel 30 miles to Bournemouth to play a gig in a village hall. Eventually my mum and dad could afford a car, and we'd put the band equipment on the roof rack and go and do gigs for a fiver. Once, we went all the way from Southampton to Thurso in Scotland for 17 quid."
While England was difficult the Germans were big on clubs and instead of bringing the big rock´n´roll guys in from America, it was much cheaper to import English bands to play the same music! The band played in Germany at The Storyville Cologne, Top Ten Club in Hanover and Top Ten Club in Hamburg.
At the time they all were still living with their parents, had no steady girlfriends, earned little money, and what they did earn went back home to pay the HP on their equipment.
All the bands slept above the Top Ten Club - the boys didn't complain. But the workload could be exhausting. They had to perform a minimum of six hours a night, week after week - they had to play 50-minute sets with only a ten-minute-break. As long as people were drinking, they had to keep on playing! On holidays or weekends sometimes from 4pm till 4am or 5am in the morning.
The German stint tightened the band musically with their recipe of rock'n'roll, rhythm & blues and four-part vocal harmonies.
Dave said:"When you've been through your entire repertoire twice in one night, you have to start improvising. We even started singing in German!"
1964 was a crucial year for them: All their contemporaries from the German club times had recording contracts and the boys were left behind. It would take sometime before the boys got a deal.
But at least they were booked for the entire summer season in the Butlins holiday resort in Clacton-on-sea. On one of their usual free Thursdays they were booked for a gig in Swindon to support the Honeycombs that had just topped the charts. Alan Blaikley, one of the Honeycombs´ managers watched them and was very impressed.
Alan Blaikley and partner Ken Howard realized the band's potential and took them under their wings and changed the name to Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich - their real nicknames in fact. The band just fell about laughing - but it worked: the disc jockeys had fits keeping the various names in correct sequence and so everyone easily remembered the "new group with that crazy name". A new image and a recording contract with Fontana followed.
First, they had a brief experience with Joe Meek as producer - he wanted them to record at a very slow speed and then later sped up, the same thing Meek had also done on "Telstar" - they told him no way they could play at that tempo - and after half an hour he threw them out of the studio. But finally Jack Baverstock of Fontana Records assigned them to producer Steve Rowland and so in November '64 they went into the London Phillips-Studios for their first recordings.
The first two singles "No Time" and "All I Want" didn't make it into the charts but at least the boys got some appearances on 'Ready Steady Go'. "No Time" - an odd waltz - got an absolutely wild onstage performance - with swinging guitars, choreography including ducking, swinging and jumping over things - it actually brought the audience to a frenzy, but cost Dozy three front teeth after one errant swing!
At this point, the Dozies were already working eight days a week - the equipment was on hire purchase and success still failed them - they were broke. They were frustrated and morale was low. They sat in a car in London with just two cups of tea, one cake and one cigarette between them - and wanted to give up! Luckily they called Howard & Blaikley and the two immediately went over to them and brainwashed them for three hours to sit it out.
Sure enough they were right - their next release "You Make It Move" finally made it into the charts!
Read more about the band´s development during
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[Last update of this page: 30-Apr-07]