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Hello Everybody, Welcome to my August & September newsletter. tell Laura recording session It was in August 1960 that I made my debut as a recording Artiste.

It was during the making of the TV Series "Biggles" based on the popular books by Capt.W.E.Johns about the Air Police that I started to build a fan base of teenage girls. My manager decided that this was the perfect launch pad to become a pop star and I was asked if I could sing. Well, you never ask an actor if he can do anything, so without hesitation the answer came back as a resounding YES. It was only a little while later, after the wheels had already been put into motion that I thought, "Oh hell, what have I let myself in for!" I have always loved all forms of music and I knew I could sing in tune because I used to sing along to the Frankie Laine and Johnny Ray records. In fact sometimes I even sang harmonies with them but that was at home on my own - being in a recording studio in front of a mic singing with a band and making a record myself, well that was a whole different ball game and the thought of singing on stage in front of a live audience was something that hadn't even crossed my mind.
I continued living in Manchester and making "Biggles". The fan mail continued to grow bigger by the week, when one day I received a phone call from my manager asking me to come down to London at the weekend to meet a record producer called Joe Meek. I had never heard of Joe Meek, in fact, I don't think anybody had heard of Joe Meek at that time.
On the Saturday I met Joe and Charles Blackwell and did an audition. Joe signed me up and Hey Presto! suddenly I had a recording contract albeit with an unknown independent record producer. Little did we know what was in store! Much to my embarrassment I learned later that Joe had been quoted as boasting that he had discovered a James Dean who could sing.
Once again I returned to Manchester to continue working on "Biggles". Several weeks passed and then another phone call, telling me to get down to London at the weekend, to record a cover of a big American hit called "Tell Laura I Love Her". Panic stations !!.....I'd never heard of the song. I'd never heard of Joe Meek and I'd never been inside a recording studio let alone actually sing in one.
Review I was duly sent a copy of the original recording by Ray Peterson and Charles Blackwell sorted out the arrangement and key for me to sing it in. I arrived with my manager at Olympic Studios situated just off Baker Street. Olympic Studios used to be a Synagogue before becoming a recording studio and had a very nice feel to it. I remember walking in and being greeted with stoney silence from the professional musicians. They were all sitting around concentrating on their music scores. They looked up and nodded as I walked over to the booth where I would be singing. I nodded back. They all looked so totally calm, in fact everybody looked totally calm except me, I was petrified.
After a couple of rehearsals I began to feel more relaxed. Finally it was time to do a take. I recorded "Tell Laura" and another song called "Goodbye To Teenage Love" for the B side and when I left the studio I actually felt quite elated.
So it was back once again to Granada TV in Manchester to continue working on "Biggles". Some weeks later in August 1960 "Tell Laura I Love Her" was released on the Top Rank label. I even remember the number JAR 426. Unfortunately within days of the release Top Rank was taken over by EMI and EMI had their own excellent recording of the song by Ricky Valance with the consequence that my version was understandably left on the shelf. Also at the same time the original American version by Ray Peterson was withdrawn by Decca as they considered the lyrics too controversial. This left the way open for EMI and Ricky and it went all the way to No.1 in the charts.
My debut and introduction to the world of Pop Music was a huge disappointment and everything momentarily stuttered to a halt. However, all was not lost. Exactly one year later in August 1961 I would find myself at No.1 in the charts...But that's another story.

Craig Douglas.
Craig Douglas As many of you will have heard my good friend Craig is currently unable to perform owing to ill health. As such Craig has unfortunately been forced to cancel all his future bookings. Craig was due to appear with myself and The Flames on Saturday 2nd October at Hartlepool Town Hall Theatre. Mike Berry will be replacing Craig on the bill. Craig was originally joining myself and The Flames on Saturday 16th October at the Joe Meek Event in Newent. Original Joe Meek group ‘The Saints’ are replacing Craig. Those of you who attended our recent concert at the Amersham Rock ‘n’ Roll Club will agree that ‘The Saints’ are an excellent replacement.
Craig was also due to appear with Mike Berry, myself and The Flames on Sunday 7th November at the Regent Centre Theatre, Christchurch. The Outlaws will be replacing Craig.

Craig Douglas – Latest News.
Sadly, it now seems highly unlikely that Craig will physically be able to perform in Concert again. A number of fellow artistes, including myself, have agreed to stage a ‘Benefit’ concert to raise funds to assist him. We are currently in the process of arranging such an event and will be communicating details as soon as we are able.
Craig is a true professional and a great show business personality. I know it has been a very difficult decision for him to take the decision to ‘retire’ from the business.

Hit Parade Heroes - Medina Theatre, IOW.
John and Mike BerryAs a result of the ‘sell-out’ of our recent concert the Theatre has re-booked Hit Parade Heroes in 2011, more details in future newsletters. The concert was filmed for possible DVD release and once the editing process has taken place we hope to make the DVD available for purchase.

NEW GIG
Saturday 4th December.
Rock Back The Clock.
John Leyton and The Flames, Mike Berry and The Outlaws.
Blackfriars Arts Centre.
Spain Lane, Boston.
Lincs. PE2 16HP
www.blackfriarsartscentre.co.uk
Tel: 01205 363108

CD NEWS.
We Never Had It So Good.
This 25 track compilation is Alan Wilson’s Western Star label’s tribute to British Rock ‘n’ Roll & Pop of the late 50’s and early 60’s. Contains 3 John Leyton tracks:- ‘Johnny Remember Me’, ‘You Took My Love For Granted’ and ‘Voodoo Woman’. ‘Johnny Remember Me’ and ‘Voodoo Woman’ are previously unreleased. All of John’s tracks are Western Star productions.
The CD also contains 2 tracks by ‘The Flames’, ‘Man Of Mystery’ and ‘There Are 8 Million Cossack Melodies’.
The CD is available to purchase from the website shop and will not be available at John’s concerts.

‘The Versatile Flames’ CD.
The Flames debut solo album on Lone Rider Records is currently at an advanced stage and hopefully will be available for release by the end of September.

Always yours.

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