Whilst browsing the Internet this morning I came across information about the pop group Johnny, Mike & The Shades. Way back in 1959 I met Johnny Cannon for the first time when he was the singer for a group called The Ray Stevens Combo. At that time I worked for a men's tailors and we made a new stage outfit for the Combo. The band members had black with purple trimmings and Johnny had a purple jacket with black trousers and black trimmings. We became friendly, and soon I joined them as resident compere, trailing around with the group on any number of gigs for about three years under the watchful eye of manager Jack Steed.
After Johnny Cannon and Mike Long left the group to set up on their own with The Shades I lost touch, although every now and then I would get some news about them. I remember that they cut a disc in the '60's with Decca, and called 'Poison Ivy', although I never managed to get a copy. If anyone reading this has a copy of any recording by the group then I would greatly appreciate a copy which will help to fill in the 'gap years'. You can email me if you have, or if you have any other news about this great group.
Now, all these years later, I have found a whole raft of information about them, and even a track that they recorded of the Lennon/McCartney song, 'This Boy', for BBC Radio's 'Saturday Club' introduced by Brian Mathews (1963 or 64). This was recorded at Shepherds Bush studios at 8 O'clock in the morning!
The life of pop groups is often a relatively fleeting thing, and Johnny, Mike & The Shades finally split up in 1967, but they certainly left behind some great memories for many people, including me.
Why not read about them for yourself on the Kinema:gigz website.