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Harpers

Hello Everybody,
Welcome to my June and July newsletter.

July 1961.
Harpers West One – The Story Of A London Store.

Harpers

In 1961 my singing career was very much in its infancy and very much secondary to my acting. First and foremost I was an actor and therefore when I walked into my manager's office to be told that the Director and Producers of the TV series "HARPERS WEST ONE" at ATV wanted me for a guest starring role in one of the episodes, I was relieved and excited. Relieved because I hadn't done much as an actor since the end of "Biggles" and excited because I was going to be acting in a very popular TV series.
The series was based around an upmarket London department store. They wanted me for the role of 'Johnny St.Cyr' and when I read the script I discovered that the character was a pop star, who is invited to the store to open the new record department and is then confronted by various problems in the process. Also in the cast was an unknown actress who I believe was still a student at RADA. Her name was JUNE RITCHIE and the following year she went on to star opposite ALAN BATES in a very well received film called "A KIND OF LOVING" directed by JOHN SCHLESINGER, who went on to direct huge box office hits such as "MIDNIGHT COWBOY", "BILLY LIAR", "SUNDAY,BLOODY SUNDAY" and "FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD" to name just a few.
Playing 'Johnny St.Cyr' was a major role in this particular episode and a straight acting role with NO singing. I was playing the role of a character who happened to be a pop star. It was as simple as that.
Prior to all this I had been in Joe Meek's studio and after the disappointment of 'Tell Laura I love her' and 'The girl on the floor above' I had recorded 'Johnny Remember Me'. This was to be my third and final attempt at pursuing any sort of singing career. We hoped that EMI would agree to release it but although they thought it had an interestingly new and unique sound, they weren't that impressed with it. In fact they said they did not like a line in the lyrics ...."The girl I loved who died a year ago", which we later changed to...."The girl I loved and lost a year ago" but still there was no great interest from EMI.
A few days before we started rehearsals for "Harpers" my manager came up with a brilliant idea and as it happened a career changing idea. He called up the Director and suggested that when 'Johnny St.Cyr' opens the record department he should sing his latest hit recording. The Director thought about it and liked the idea and said "But can John sing?" To which my manager replied "Oh yes he certainly can. In fact, not only can he sing but he has recently recorded a song called 'Johnny Remember Me' which would fit in perfectly with the character he is playing with the same name Johnny St.Cyr". The Director now absolutely loved the idea and put it to the producers at ATV. They listened to the recording and they loved the idea too.
As soon as EMI heard I was going to sing 'Johnny Remember Me' in an episode of one of the most popular shows on television, their attitude over night completely changed and immediately wanted to release it. In fact they were really worried that another record company might get hold of it.
The rest I suppose is history - within two weeks of the episode being aired on TV, 'Johnny Remember Me' was at No.1 and Hey Presto! I was a major pop star!!
My thanks must go to ATV and the Director for being so innovative and to my manager, Robert Stigwood for being so creative and enterprising.
Finally and hopefully this puts one popular myth to rest. 'Johnny Remember Me' was NOT written for "Harpers". It was written especially for me by Geoff Goddard. It was purely coincidental that after I had recorded the song that I found myself playing the role of 'Johnny St.Cyr' in "Harpers West one". If I hadn't been playing this role it may never have been released - Who knows!
What is absolutely certain is that it was my acting that got 'Johnny Remember Me' released and sent it to No.1 and it was my acting that made me a Pop Star.

Harpers

Gig Guide.

June sees myself, Mike Berry and The Flames at The Medina Theatre, Newport, Isle of Wight on Friday 17th; myself and The Flames at Plinston, Letchworth Garden City on Saturday 18th and myself, Mike Berry, Craig Douglas and The Flames at The Thameside Theatre, Grays on Friday 24th. July sees myself, Mike Berry, Mike Sarne and The Flames at The Cresset, Peterborough on Saturday 2nd and at The King’s Theatre, Portsmouth on Thursday 14th.

New Gigs.

Saturday 1st October.
Hit Parade Heroes.
John Leyton, Mike Berry and The Flames.
Hazlitt Theatre.
Earl Street.
Maidstone.
ME1 4T.
Tel: 01622 758611
www.hazlittartscentre.co.uk

Saturday 22nd October.
Solid Gold Weekend.
John Leyton and The Flames.
Seacroft Holiday Village.
Beach Road.
Hemsby.
Norfolk.
Tel: 0844 7702915
www.richardsonsholidayvillage.co.uk

Joe Meek Update.
On Saturday 2nd April The Heritage Foundation in association with the Joe Meek Society unveiled a ‘blue’ plaque at the Newent home of Joe Meek, honouring Joe’s unique contributions to the music industry. Additionally the day also saw the naming of a road in Newent after Joe.

Russ Sainty ‘Radio Play That Song Again’
CD. Slickstone Records 001.
Russ Sainty Fellow artiste and good friend Russ Sainty has recently released his first album in 54 years. In association with Dell Richardson, Fury Records and Slickstone Records this 3 CD set charts Russ’s recording career from 1959 to the present day. A value for money package containing 76 tracks including instrumental tracks by the Nu-Notes and guitarist Rhet Stoller. Both Russ and Rhet are guests on Dell’s Radio Caroline show on Tuesday 14th June – well worth a listen. Ordering details for the CD at furyrecords@btconnect.com

Always yours.

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