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Silver Discs

Hello Everybody,
Welcome to my October & November newsletter.

Wild Wind

In September 1961 with JOHNNY REMEMBER ME at No.1 and fighting off all comers to replace it, I had to accept the fact that I was now a singer and not just an actor who sings a bit. No longer a contender but a major pop star. As I have previously mentioned, having a No.1 hit record was life changing. I had already had some success as an actor but this was a huge step in a different direction. I remember my first concern was that the success of JOHNNY REMEMBER ME and becoming a pop star would have a detrimental effect upon my career as an actor. I didn't want the actor to be overwhelmed and replaced by the pop star. The two had to be compatible and ride amicably side by side and not interfere with each other. It was a big call and initially from August 1961 and for eight months to April 1962 the pop star was in the ascendency and in pole position. It was not until April 1962 that the actor stepped up to the plate and took over once more playing "Willie The Tunnel King" in THE GREAT ESCAPE.

When life changing success comes along as big as this it also puts up a problem and the problem was ....... How the hell do you follow this?

The period between the release of JOHNNY REMEMBER ME and starting work on THE GREAT ESCAPE was all about singing and being a pop star and within two weeks of the record's release it was decided by management that we should strike again whilst the iron was hot and Geoff Goddard was immediately put to work to write a follow up. In early September I was back in Joe Meek's studio recording WILD WIND and working on an album - the TWO SIDES LP.

WILD WIND was released on September 29th 1961 with YOU TOOK MY LOVE FOR GRANTED on the B side. In the Record Mirror chart the following week in October 1961, JOHNNY REMEMBER ME which had been at No.1 for four weeks was now at No.3 and WILD WIND had gone straight past the rest of the Top Twenty and into the charts at No.8. So now I had two records in the Top Ten. WILD WIND went on to be No.1 in all the charts except the New Musical Express chart and in this it ended up at No.2, held off the top spot by Helen Shapiro's "Walking Back to Happiness".

By this time things were becoming seriously hectic. Everything was going crazy and demands on me and my family had become huge. The press were everywhere digging and delving into my past and wanting a stream of interviews. My sister, Sarah, who had just turned 14 was at Frances Holland an all girls' school in London and had been pestered for photos of me by virtually the whole school, which she had dutifully supplied and distributed. She remembers arriving slightly late one morning for prayers and had to sit on the balcony in the school chapel. She looked down on all the girls below and as they opened their prayer books there were photos of me everywhere. She looked down on a sea of photos of her brother. At the time she was very concerned that she would get into trouble for supplying the photos and causing disruption in the school but thankfully no action was taken by the teachers but nevertheless it was a worrying time for her.

Thank your Lucky StarsJOHNNY REMEMBER ME and WILD WIND had now entered the charts in many countries and life became one long round of appearances and performances - BBC Radio Parade of the Pops, Saturday Club, a week's variety show at the Brighton Hippodrome, standing in for Billy Fury at the Ritz in Romford, concerts in Dover, Gloucester and an eight day tour of northern cinemas. On top of all this I was in Joe Meek's studio recording and in November 1961 THE TWO SIDES LP was released along with an EP. Numerous TV appearances were set up including the two major pop shows at the time - THANK YOUR LUCKY STARS and JUKE BOX JURY. It was onwards and upwards.

Thank Your Lucky Stars

At this moment in my career the pop star was in full flight and the actor was looking on in bewilderment.

Interesting Facts.
The musicians that provided the backing for Wild Wind and took part in many of the sessions for the forthcoming album were later to become the TORNADOS. They also formed the Charles Blackwell Orchestra who backed John on his northern cinema tour in November 1961.
Whilst the Two Sides Of John Leyton album was released to much acclaim and received a 5 Star rating in the music magazines it did not chart. However the 4 track John Leyton EP was to spend 13 weeks in the UK EP charts.
John was presented his Silver Discs for Johnny Remember Me and Wild Wind on the BBC Television programme The Billy Cotton Band Show on 20th October 1961.

Harpers West One.
The episode that features John can currently be viewed on youtube.
The songs performed are ‘Goodbye Teenage Love’, ‘Three Cute Chicks’ and ‘Johnny Remember Me’. Some debate in Joe Meek Circles exists about the original plans for release of ‘Three Cute Chicks’, was it to be John’s debut single on Joe’s Triumph label or was it going to be the ‘b’ side of ‘Johnny Remember Me’ Whatever the reason it did not see the light of day until the CD release of ‘Joe Meek - Work in Progress’ in 1994.

Radio Borders interview.
John is being interviewed ‘live’ by Hugh Brown for his Golden Brown show on Radio Borders at 11.15a.m. on Sunday 9th October.

Radio Verulam interview.
John is also being interviewed ‘live’ by Dereck Staines for his Solid Gold Music Show on Saturday 29th October at 10.05a.m.

Gigs update.
Amersham Rock ‘n’ Roll Club – Saturday 15th October.
Tickets for this event have NOW SOLD OUT. This should be a great evening and as mentioned in John’s previous newsletter is being filmed for a forthcoming John Leyton in Concert DVD.

Friday 9th March 2012.
Hit Parade Heroes.
John Leyton, Mike Berry and The Flames.
Bocking Arts Theatre.
Bocking Road.
Tickets: Tel. 01279 815464

Details of concerts at the Medina Theatre, IOW and Exmouth Pavilion in 2012 will be posted on the website in December.

Always yours.

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