No strangers to the Viva stage Showaddywaddy are set to perform the 3rd concert here with us on Friday July 7th. With over 40 years of performing under their belts the lads are seasoned pros, but how well do you know them?
Showaddywaddy were formed in 1973 in Leicester, England, from two groups, ‘Choise’ and ‘Golden Hammers’.
‘Choise’ wrote and performed original material and was made up of Dave Bartram, Trevor Oakes, Al James and Romeo Challenger. They also did a few covers – some of the original songs were carried over and used as Showaddywaddy songs. ‘The Hammers’ consisted of Buddy Gask, Russ Field, Rod Deas and Malcolm Allured and they were a covers band.
They both played at the Fosseway pub in Leicester and soon discovered they liked each others music. After playing together in jamming sessions, they joined together permanently and Showaddywaddy was born.
The Fosseway, Melton Road, Leicester. Seen here on 16th December 2005. Now trading as Indigos Vegetarian Indian Restaurant, it was trading as The Fosseway Pub when current owners moved in around 2000.
Thanks to Alan Keeling for tracking it down and taking the picture above and those below!
During 1973, the band were asked if they wanted to be on TV – the show was “New Faces”. They won one programme in the series and were runners-up in the “All Winners Final” which was broadcast just before new year’s eve 1973. This led to various record companies racing to sign them up. However they had already signed to Bell Records, (the Bay City Rollers and Gary Glitter were also signed to the signed to the same label).
The band’s first single, ‘Hey Rock And Roll’ was released on 19th April 1974 and reached number two in the UK charts. Showaddywaddy then hit the UK charts another 22 times until late 1982. These included 10 Top-Ten singles and one number one, racking up a total on 209 weeks in the singles chart – one of the most successful singles groups of all time.
The first few singles were all written by the band and these generally reached the top-20. Two cover versions, ‘Three Steps To Heaven’ and ‘Heartbeat’ were released in 1975. These both reached the top ten before Showaddywaddy reverted back to their own material. However, these again failed to reach the top-10, so they went back to cover-versions and entered the top-10 once more.
Romeo later quoted, “Dave and Trevor would approach the record company with a song and they would say, ‘No we don’t want that – you had a hit with a cover last time, you can do it again'”. The cover versions were mainly pop versions of old ’50s and ‘60s US rock ‘n’ roll songs – catchy tunes backed up by their colourful image, dance routines and numerous television appearances.
The original line-up – this picture is an early promo from 1974:
(Back row): Rod Deas (bass), Trevor Oakes (guitar), Al James (bass), Buddy Gask (vocals), Russ Field (guitar), Dave Bartram (vocals). Front: Malcolm Allured (drums), Romeo Challenger (drums).
With this combination of instrument players – ie two of everything – Showaddywaddy had great flexibility on stage with four or five members playing the instruments and the others doing the dance routines. At their peak, they were doing 250 gigs a year, often gigging 7 days a week, and playing both afternoon and evening performances on the same day – the guys certainly put a lot of work in!
Malcolm Allured left the band in 1984, followed by Russ Field in 1985, and Buddy Gask departed in 1987. Buddy sadly passed away in 2011.
2003 saw the band’s 30th Anniversary, and they celebrated by completing a successful 40-date UK-wide tour along with The Rubettes and Sweet.
For many years (1987 to 2008), the line up consisted of five of the original eight members: Dave, Trevor, Al, Rod and Romeo, along with Ray Martinez on lead guitar (1985 to 1995) and Danny Willson on lead guitar (1995 to 2009).
L-R: Trevor Oakes, Dave Bartram, Rod Deas, Al James, Romeo Challenger, Danny Willson
Al James and Trevor Oakes retired from the band in December 2008, and were replaced by Paul Dixon and Dave Graham, and Danny Willson left in 2009.
In 2010, the line up consisted of three of the original 8 members – Dave Bartram, Rod Deas and Romeo Challenger.
In the Autumn of 2011, Dave Bartram announced his retirement from the band, and played his last gig at The Kings Hall in Ilkley in West Yorkshire on 3rd December 2011. Dave continues to manage the band however.
A revised Showaddywaddy line up went on the road from January 2012 – Romeo Challenger and Rod Deas being joined by Andy Pelos (lead vocals), Dean Loach (keyboards, guitar), and Rob Hewins (drums, guitar, vocals), along with Paul Dixon (guitar, vocals).
2013 saw Showaddywaddy achieve their 40th anniversary, and undertaking a nationwide tour all over the UK. As well as a incredible sell out show here at Viva!
We can’t wait for the lads to join us again this July, if you want to be part of the action click the link below for more information and to book your tickets before they sell out!