This is the 50th Anniversary of THE BACHELORS most successful year and I’ll let the one and only John Stokes tell you why.
“Hi everyone - at last I get to tell you something.
Although our chart career began in 1963 with our first hit “Charmaine”, our pinnacle year by far was most certainly 1964.
We kicked off in January with “Diane” which got to number one, this was followed by “I Believe” which reached number two (number one in Record Retailer). “Ramona” in June and “I wouldn’t trade you for the world” in August both made number four while one of my favourites “No arms can ever hold you” peaked at number seven and was even voted the most romantic song of the year.
All in all it meant that in 1964 we had five top ten hits in a single year and not even THE BEATLES, THE STONES or even ELVIS achieved that!
To this day I still am proud of what the three of us accomplished back then and the fact that the songs are still popular fifty years on.
I'll now let Jonathan tell you all about the exciting things happing this year.
“Back to me, I do the web site because I can type with two fingers and I’m getting quicker - I can now do two pages in a week.
January was taken up with holidays John went to Ireland and Spain while Dave and I went to Lanzarote, though - I should stress - separately.
Looking towards the bookings for this year - it consists mostly of rebookings with the usual suspects i.e. Brian Walker, P&O cruises and quite a few dates for Warners who have even booked us for 2015! All these dates will be advertised through their brochures and in the national press.
We will also be doing our usual share of charity shows, starting with THE HEYWOOD CIVIIC HALL on Friday the 11th of April for the Lord Mayors Charity.
I’m also happy to say that Jeff and Helen Kemp, despite the loss of Vernon are to carry on with The David Whitfield Commemorative Association and have in fact booked us to headline one of their show at The Festival Hall in Kirkby in Ashfield, Notts on Thursday September the 18th at 2.30pm. For more information look up the DWCA web site and get details of all their shows.
Another exciting prospect is working for the first time with Mark Andrews. Mark has a great track record in staging all kinds of live theatre shows as you will see if you care to look up his excellent web site MA PRODUCTIONS. He was introduced to me by our good friend Jimmy Cricket,. Jimmy has been singing his praises for a long time and I must say in the few conversations I have had with Mark I was overwhelmed by his enthusiasm.
The dates are as follows
Tuesday April 1st, the Assembly Rooms Derby [Postponed due to fire]
Thursday April 3rd, the Plaza Theatre Stockport
Tuesday April 8th, the show goes to Doncaster
Mark is also putting on three shows in The Embassy Theatre Skegness on Sunday nights. Jimmy will headline one as will the lovely Anita Harris, and we will do the third on the 17th of August.
We are also in the process of lining up more dates in the Social Clubs like Wythenshawe Legion, Chadderton Reform to name but two, so as they say.
WATCH THIS SPACE.
It is now March 11th and as John would say we are heading at great speed towards Saint Patricks Day, it is also the time of year when I get a lot of phone calls, the reason being that the 13th will mark the fourth anniversary of the passing of our dear friend Kevin Neil.
Of all the fans who called I single out Sydney Hotel owner Brian Perry .He phones every year and reminisces about the wonderful times they spent together in Australia. It’s so reassuring to know that so many people down under still keep him in their thoughts. From the people in the business who called I single out Roy Walker. The reason being that I think Kevin was most likely his best friend, and from our conversations I know he misses him deeply, as do so many entertainers and musicians whom he befriended.
It goes without saying our thoughts go out to his wife Clare and all the family. As Roy would say “He had time for everyone, in or out of show business”. In other words A Lovely Man. Some people are misers with the time they give others, Kevin Neil was a spendthrift.
RIP Kevin John, Jonathan and Dave.
It is now March the 20th and I would like to just bring you up to date before I nip of to New York for a week. First of all again a special thanks to everyone who phoned, texted or emailed with their thoughts about Kevin. I know for a fact that it was greatly appreciated by his family.
Some of you may have read in the newspaper about the fire in The Assembly Rooms in Derby. Well apparently it will now be closed for two months which means our date will now be changed to sometime in the near future, which is a pity as I’m told it was nearly sold out.
However all the other dates are as advertised plus a new date has been arranged for our return to Wythenshawe British Legion. That will be May 23rd at 7.30 and we will be supported by Carnaby Street and Johnny Corrigan.
Hope you all had a great Saint Patricks Day.
It is now nearly the end of April and what a great month it has been. I got to spend a week in New York mixing business with pleasure, the pleasure being eating and drinking in my favourite bars and restaurants .We have stopped of there on cruises and I have a sister Ann that lives in Brooklyn who I have visited many times so I tend to go back to the favourite places. Namely “Jack Dempsey’s” and “Foley’s” next door on West 33rd Street who serve the best steaks in Manhattan as far as I’m concerned?
I was recommended to try a French restaurant called Pergola des Artists on 42nd street, where among other celebrities who dine there Tony Bennet is a regular while in New York; I even got to sit at his table. The food was excellent and reasonably priced and I would recommend it even if the manager hadn’t sent me over a bottle of red wine on the house. I then went to see a Broadway play starring Toni Colette and Marisa Tomei but I Would need to back again and see it sober before I could tell you what it was about.
That’s enough about me, now let me tell you about the new venues you might like to hear about. Starting with THE PLAZA THEATRE, Stockport on April 3rd this was our first of what I feel will be many shows for Mark Andrews Productions. The Show kicked off to a packed crowd with the marvellous Ian Moore as Chairman who linked the whole show in the true tradition of the Music Hall
We watched the first half from the wings and enjoyed it just as much as the audience. A great speciality act called Wink Taylor did some terrific impressions; and we loved the way he linked up with Ian the chairman. Don’t work with kids they say but I’m glad we got to hear the all-girl singing group The Mersey All Stars Choir who we were told are aged between 8 and 15. John Dave and I agreed their harmonies were excellent. “Ah, the enthusiasm of youth “.
What can you say about the comedian Johnny Casson? Apart from seeing him countless times at the VGS functions and sportsman’s dinners at Old Trafford we have worked together many times, mainly in Blackpool. The whole cast watched him from the wings as he wanders on stage looking like he has just come out on an errand and can’t remember what he came out for. He fumbles up to the microphone and within seconds he has drawn everyone into his sense of humour. He never fails to make people laugh. As Frank Carson would have said “It Must Be a Gift”.
Alfred Hitchcock always appears somewhere in his films and so apparently does Mark Andrews in his productions. Mark manages to sum up Cliff Richards career in a 10 minute medley. Which I might say is no mean feat. He had the whole audience singing along and convinced them that they were still “The Young Ones” going on a “Summer Holiday” and come to think of it he is the only one on the bill who's job is completely safe.
The second half was completely given over to us and we thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it..John still loves performing the hits he sang on fifty years ago and so do the audience which was obvious from the ovation we got which is what will keep us doing what we do the way we do it.
Last but by no means least our thanks go out to the backbone of the show, the musicians, the ones who can make or break a show. In this case they made it. The excellent Steve Warburton on Keyboards and the brilliant Carl Fell on percussion.
With a finale of "We’ll Meet Again" it was goodbye Stockport and on to Doncaster.
The show in Doncaster took place at THE CAST THEATRE on April 8th and again another bumper crowd. The bill was much the same as Stockport apart from the young girls and Wink Taylor. Wink was replaced with the very talented Kay Karman. Kay is a very experienced entertainer who can just slot into any show and like the pro that she is knows her audience.
The whole show went extremely well and when we came out to the foyer to sign pictures the feedback was terrific. Some people have come to see us so many times it’s like meeting old friends.
We would also like to thank the staff at both theatres THE CAST and THE PLAZA for all their help in the staging of these shows and it is also worth mentioning that a lot of these people do it out of love for the Theatre and receive no payment whatsoever.
The next new venue was Heywood Civic Centre on the 11th of April and it was a show in aid the Lord Mayor of Rochdale Charities. All the money raised goes to help local good causes so in this case it was especially pleasing to see a packed house..
This time the show kicked off with our good friend DAVE PRENTICE as compere getting the audience in a settled mood before introducing EMMY LOU, a very attractive young lady with a nice mixture of modern songs and oldies like ABBAS “Thank you for the music” which was well received judging by the applause. To close the first half we had CARNABY STREET and when you have them you have sixties music at its very best.
The second half belonged to us ”THE BACHELORS with John Stokes” backed by our MD Mr Clive Allan on Keyboards and John on percussion.
A lot of the girls dressed for rock 'n roll and they danced in the aisles during our sixties medley so they had a lot of fun. Yes a good time was had by all and hopefully a lot of money was raised. John Stokes Dave Pearson and I would like to thank everyone who appeared on the show, Dave Richardson and our road manager Tony Horsfield for organizing the event plus The Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress Peter and Monica Rush for inviting us along. Peter was kind enough to say that it was the best show they have ever had in the history of the event.
Finally thanks to all our fans who have supported us over the years and who give our shows purpose and who send us countless emails and letters two of which you can read below.
class="style7">We have just been to Holme Lacy and Alvaston Hall in fact we have now been to all thirteen venues and they are all terrific. My own personal favourite is Alvaston Hall , We were there last year when we stood in for Joe Longthorne so it was indeed an honour to be asked back to be the first top of the bill to appear in their new refurbished cabaret room which now holds five hundred diners. It’s always nice to arrive to a warm welcome and that’s what we got, thank you Shaun Crawley entertainments manager and all your team especially Adam who did sound & lighting, Andy and Woody for fantastic backing and not forgetting whoever made the tea. Add to that a fantastic audience who gave us a standing ovation and you have a perfect night. Hopefully we will see you all again on the 14th of March next year.
Our next Warner date is July 26th at Bembridge in the Isle Of Wight, a venue that holds great memories for John and I as it was where we filmed our DVD.
Most of our promoters publicize the shows themselves but occasionally some will ask us to put them on our site, still I should point out you will need to contact the theatres for tickets.
As Ive already mentioned Jeff Kemp from The David Whitfield Commemorative Association has us on a show at the Festival Theatre in Kirkby in Ashfield Nott’s on the 18th of September. Tickets can be purchased by calling at the theatre or, by emailing Jeff at email@example.com or contact online skiddle.com/tickets or phone 08448842920
Our old friend Brian Walker would like me to remind everyone that we are back at The Theatre Royal Coventry on the 16th of October in another Midday Melody show. Tickets can be obtained from the theatre.
The newly refurbished cabaret room at Alvaston Hall. Excellent musical backing by Andy and Woody.
As always, click on a picture to view full-size.
As I have already stated earlier on the site this year we did our first two shows for Mark Andrews Productions. You can read his comments on his own site but I think the fact that he has booked us for a further twelve shows in some of the finest theatres in England speaks for itself.
Here is the list:
August 17th THE EMBASSY THEATRE SKEGNESS
November 26th THE IPSWICH CORN EXCHANGE THEATRE (2 shows)
March 4th THE GRAND THEATRE SWANSEA (2 Shows)
April 8th THE DARLINGTON CIVIC HALL
April 15th, THE EVERYMAN THEATRE CHELTENHAM
April 21st DERBY GUILD HALL (2 shows)
April 29th, THE PALACE THEATRE, MANSFIELD
May 21st THE KINGS LYNN CORN EXCHANGE THEATRE
October 8th THE FLORAL PAVILION, NEW BRIGHTON
These are all full production shows produced by Mark himself. For further information go to his web site www.ma-productions.co.uk
My good friend agent Brian Warner phoned me the other day and asked me if we were free on January 25th.Agents always do that before they ask you to do a charity! He told me it was to help a very sick little boy called Tomas and that I should log on to his web site which I did. I was so moved that I rang John and Dave straight away and we all agreed to do it. (Which of course Brian knew we would). The show will take place on Sunday January 25th at the Middleton Civic Centre in Middleton, Manchester and if you would like to know more about Tomas go to his site tic-charity.com
There is not much more I can say about Bembridge without repeating myself so we would just like to thank the lovely Hannah (Holly had a night off) and her staff for all their help and of course Alan and Peter for their excellent backing.
Weather was fantastic, so was the audience and as the song says “who could ask for anything more”.
Monday August 18th woke up at the crack of noon, checked my emails to find Margaret, our secretary had forwarded an email she had received from a couple who had been to see last night’s show at the Embassy Theatre, Skegness. As self-praise is no recommendation it’s nice to get other peoples opinion so with that in mind I am displaying the email unedited along with a thank you letter from the Lord and Lady Mayor of Rochdale.
My husband and I have just got back to our hotel room after being in the embassy theatre tonight watching one of the best live shows we have seen in a very long time. The people of skegness who were not there missed a fabulous show, especially the second half with john, jonathon and dave. Almost an hour of terrific singing and guitar playing by them all. we bought the cd and were given an autographed photograph and I spoke to john and told him I had been at a concert in newcastle in 1964 when he was there with the original bachelors alongside del shannon and roy orbison! what a night tonight was. I will never forget it! Thank you to the boys, as Ii said , and I don't think I am alone, for a great show which puts the modern”singers” and “groups” to shame!! I hope I am somewhere in the future, on holiday, when I can see them again.
Once again, please thank the boys (I did when I spoke to john) for a great evening here in skegness.
Barbara and Derek Lawri
To get back to the show. A Mark Andrews Production so need I say more? OK I will, fetch my soap box. I am not a great fan of TV talent shows, yes we see the successes but how quickly the failures are dismissed and some in the cruellest fashion. I’m told its good television but I often wonder what effect it has on the individual, especially the young.
I know I speak for John and Dave when I say the people we admire most are the promoters of live theatre shows who year after year travel the length and breadth of the country giving talent a real chance to work before an audience.
SUNDAY NIGHT STARTIME at the Embassy is the sort of thing I’m talking about because if a show was a cocktail here are the ingredients.
Start with two great musicians Paul and Graham, and then add a compere who can sing, be funny and make the audience feel at ease. That’s Neil Hurst. Now we need some glamour (No offence Neil) which was provided by the Janice Sutton Dancers, all young girls of various ages who apart from dancing really well wore terrific costumes and really lit up the stage. Now you need someone who can make a good impression that’s Wink Taylor, a truly gifted entertainer in more ways than one. No one gets through so many impressions in such a short time as he does. You now need a dash of good old family fun provided by the lovely Wendy and a very cheeky mouse called Theo who got the attention of the kids straight away. A great act which I think Wink had a hand in and to finish a great version of “The Candy Man” accompanied by the dancers.
They call Mark the Alfred Hitchcock of Variety as he always appears in his own shows he gets everyone singing along and sets the mood for the star comedian the very funny Johnny Casson.
We have worked with Johnny many times and we are running out of complements to give him.
All you need now for the second half to complete your cocktail is a Top of the Bill Group that can sing play and entertain for one hour. So as Neil Hurst announced “Ladies and gentlemen, the fabulous BACHELORS with John Stokes".
Finally thanks to all the management and staff at the Embassy Theatre for making us feel so welcome.
It is now the 1st of November and as the year is nearly ending it’s a time to look back on how fast it’s gone. Is it me, or does time go faster the older you get. Why can’t it be the other way around?
On a social level I am a member of what is called THE WOODEN HUT CLUB. It is basically a monthly get together of show business people both active and retired so they can keep in touch. Every now and then we honour an individual who we all feel merits it and on the 28th of August it was Kenny Baker who celebrated his 80th birthday. Kenny has appeared in many films but I suppose he will always be best known for his role as R2D2 in the STAR WARS films. George Lucas said he based R2D2 on Kenny’s personality and you couldn’t get a more fitting tribute than that. Congratulations from all your friends and fans.
I always like to mention the new venues and September 18th saw us in THE ASSEMBLY ROOMS in Kirkby in Ashfield working for Jeff Kemp who as I’ve said before organizes these shows to keep the memory of David Whitfield alive with the help of his wife Helen. Always good to catch up with old friends like David Conway from The Three Monarchs (just as good as ever) and the lovely soprano Caroline Fields who we had done a season with in Blackpool a few years back. Also on the bill was another blast from the past , comedian Steve Barclay who first worked with us in 1997 great to see how polished he has become. Superb backing by Phil and Martin saint James and a good day had by all. Looking forward to going back. Incidentally Caroline has written a book made up of interviews with the many stars that appeared at the CITY VARIETIES THEATRE in Leeds. It is excellent and can be bought from the theatre itself or Amazon.
Midday Melodies was a concept conceived by Brian Walker and the late Les Wilson a great comedian who is sadly missed. Brian continues the venture with the very talented Malcolm Stent and we were more than happy to appear for them at the Belgrade Theatre in Coventry on the 16th of October. It was a great afternoon apart from the drive home, traffic and weather terrible. Anyway keep up the good work fellas see you next year.
Speaking of next year, it all looks very exciting. We will be doing lots of new theatres thanks to our association with Mark Andrews Productions. Apart from the places already mentioned he has added June 18th in Dartford and is fixing another in Cheltenham. Our next shows for him are The Corn Exchange in Ipswich 2.30pm & 7.30pm on the 26th of November.
I mentioned earlier on the site about a charity show we are doing at the Middleton Arena on Sunday the 25th of January for a little boy named Thomas, well the tickets can now be bought from the theatre price £15 for adults, £10 for children and £45 for a family ticket.
SCOOP SCOOP SCOOP
Some of our long established fans will remember when we used to do those holidays in TIFFANYS HOTEL in Blackpool. In fact it was there when John and I first sang together in December 1995. You could say it was my audition, which I’m happy to say I passed.
June Martell has booked us to appear there as part of a Saint Patricks week end package which is as follows.
THE BACHELORS with John Stokes will appear on Friday the 13th of March with our old friend Colm Mc Kinnon on accordion, Irish Dancing and of course June herself. Saturday the 14th will star top Irish comedian DUSTY YOUNG (NO Irish comedian has sold Tapes and CDs but don’t tell the taxman) Dusty will have a full supporting show which adds up to a great weekend.
Here is the deal. Friday and Saturday Breakfast, evening meal and admission to both shows. £89 and if you would like to add the Sunday it is only an extra £20. Great Value
To book just ring TIFFANYS HOTEL in Blackpool 01253 313414, email firstname.lastname@example.org or look up the web site. www.tiffanyshotel.co.uk - and don’t forget to tell them you’re our fans and you saw it advertised on our site.
I know when an entertainer dies their death should not be any more important than anybody else’s so why does it seem to be so? Where singers are concerned I think it’s that their songs are part of our childhood and our falling in love years and in a way they gave us our musical memories so just like our memories we think they’ll be there forever.
I only met Alvin Stardust a few times when he would call in to Brick Lane Music Hall to pick up his wife Julie Paton who was the resident singer/ dancer in the production shows. John, Kevin and I would chat to him back stage and like Kevin the word retirement wasn’t in his vocabulary. Our sympathy goes out to Julie and his family and whether we remember him as Shane Fenton or Alvin Stardust we’ll remember he was twice a star, how many achieve that?
Just to finish of the year - I’m happy to say the two shows we did at The Corn Exchange Theatre went down a treat. It’s a long drive from Manchester to Ipswich so we went down the night before as we wanted to be fresh for the two shows the next day. Ipswich is a lovely place especially at Christmas, its so oldie worldie and Mark Andrew’s Christmas Show really hit the mark. (No pun intended.) It was also nice to see my good friend Leo Larty one of Manchester’s finest drummers who now lives in Ipswich come along to the show with his wife and mother in law. When we put on our own shows in that area Leo is our first choice.
Mark had the same show at The Plaza Theatre, Stockport which I went along to. This time Anita Harris topped the bill. A very talented lady, who John and I met a few years back at a Water Rats Ball. As you can see by the photograph I took, she is ageless. I should mention the gentleman in the photo is the legendary entertainer Eric Devereux who I might add is the Treasurer of THE WOODEN HUT CLUB - a kind of Northern version of THE WATER RATS.