littlerichard 2The day I met a Rock n Roll Legend……But didn’t know!

  A good many years ago, 1961 to be exact. I and the band I was a member of at the time were sat in a central corridor at the Atv Studios in Aston, Birmingham awaiting for our Audition to take part in a show featuring Midlands Bands. Also sat in the corridor were two black guys who we assumed were like us, Musicians waiting to be called for their audition spot, how wrong we were? As musos do the world over we struck up a conversation about music naturally. The younger of the two was very quiet and shy, but the older, a tall stocky guy who was built like a heavy weight boxer, chatted to us for quite some time until we were called to our Audition. When we returned they were gone, it was a pity we had really enjoyed chatting to them.

This was on a Sunday, the following Friday, when my copy of the Melody Maker fell through my door and the cover story was Little Richard to tour the Uk And there was a head and shoulders pic of our friend from Sunday. I couldn’t believe my eyes so I popped around to my mate, who also played in the band and he agreed with me, it was without a doubt the guy we had been chatting too.

The thing that confused us, we had seen Little Richard In cameo roles in several Films, the most obvious one being ‘The Girl can’t help it’ a vehicle to promote the late Jayne Mansfield who at that time was the current American Sex Symbol. In the films we saw Little Richard was a tall skinny guy with big hair, almost like the late Prince but obviously taller, in fact poles apart from the version that we met.

Little Richard, the man we met was kind, humble and self effacing, he was a joy to share time with and pleasure to know. May his success and music survive like himself has, it is his 85th Birthday in December 2017.

The other guy with him was a teenage Billy Preston, they were just about to embark on a UK Tour, Little Richard on piano and Billy providing backing with his organ. As a footnote we failed the Audition as also did a band from Leicester, Gerry Dorsey and the Brothers. Quite amusing when you realise that Gerry Dorsey is now Mr. Engelbert Humperdink who regularly plays Las Vegas. Aah Memories !

7 thoughts on “

  1. What a great story, Malcolm. 🙂

    Years ago, my dad and I sat in a bar in a casino hotel in the tiny Wild West town of Mesquite, Nevada.

    The hotel was owned by American TV talk show host Merv Griffin.

    My dad and I were the only ones in the bar.

    Other than the bar tender.

    Suddenly on the bar stage appeared the great musician Ray Charles who began performing.

    So my dad and I were able to say for years afterward that we had Ray Charles put on a solo show for us.

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  2. I think the strangest performance I ever did was one night our agent rang us at the last minute with a change of venue, we turned up, went in the back door set up behind closed curtains. We were introduced and went in to our theme song which was Lullaby of Birdland, so there we were playing a jazz standard, dressed in tuxedos and frilly shirts and bow ties to a full room of hells angels. we finished the first number and they sat looking stunned so we decided on a change of tack we called up a sitar patch on the synth and went plunging in to the Stones Paint it Black replete with 2 drum solos and a keyboard solo. That first spot we only did 3 songs. We came off stage to rapturous applause and the only adverse comment was don’t you dress weird. Proving the old muso’s adage ‘you can fool most of the people. all of the time’

    Regards Malkie

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