Vince Taylor…… I first met Vince in January 1959. I had just finished Xmas Pantomime with Vince Eager in Southport & had returned to London to play at the 2 I's. I was actually standing in the 2 I's having a coffee when the guys "Licorice" Locking, Lou Brian & Brian Bennett came in & told me that Tony Sheridan had just quit Vince's band & was I interested in joining the band. Well, Vince Eager had no gigs lined up, and I had no bread {our word for money} so could we talk about it ? We went to the Pub next door & there was Vince sitting at the bar. Not drinking, just eating cheese, onions & French bread,- A "Bar Lunch ". It was the cheapest thing on the menu & we all got to know those bar lunches eating and finding somewhere to stay was the biggest problem for most of us. Vince immediately started calling me "Joey'. It's always used in the U.S for "Joe".Then later he called me " Scotty".And as the name Scotty Moretti seemed to have an affinity with Scotty Moore - Elvis's guitarist, the name stuck while I was at the 2 I's. Vince had a very soft speaking voice and was extremely warm and pleasant. We discussed money etc. and I agreed to join the band. But there was a problem. My wife and I had nowhere to stay. Now, Vince & the guys were sharing an apartment in Knightsbridge, a few miles outside central London, & Vince suggested we go back and stay with them till we got fixed up. That sounded like a gift from Heaven because I was totally broke, and the next day I secured a tiny room in the same apartment block for my wife & myself. We all liked each other and I don't remember any arguments or fights. 

                                                                  

There was mutual respect between us and we all knew what was required musically. Vince never behaved "Big Time." He never said "You do this or You do that." All in all we were just a bunch of guys with each one contributing ideas. And it contained a lot of spontaniety. As a wise man once said, " We just pulled it out our asses. "But Vince was the main guy. He had to make sure the guys got their bread and because it was such a powerful band, He could do that "Vince Taylor Magic " with a combination of Power, Ease, & Total confidence. He BELIEVED what he was doing !! It was as simple as that. And we were " On top of the Music." and we played the shit out of it. But Vince out front was something else. As I say, that combination of being totally relaxed with so much power was quite devastating. No one moved like Vince. And the chicks loved it. Vince had a very artistic, almost ballet kind of feel for movement, "Poetic" is the word I think. The other singers looked static compared to him. It's 42 Years since we recorded "Cadillac." And during this long period I've thought of Vince only occasionally until now. When I have look back on the time, I was with him for the purposes of this article. Vince had to face a lot of opposition in the business. Jack Goode who was producer for the T,V show "Oh Boy" demanded that Vince cut his hairor he wouldn't appear on the show.Vince went fucking nuts !! " He can shove his show up his ass" he said. Now, in those days no one talked that way about the powers that be. We were all very impressed. But eventually,compromise was reached and Vince agreed to to have about a millimeter of hair cut off, and I understand he did do the show.  I didn't do the show, because Vince was still plugging "Right behind You Baby." We hadn't recorded " Cadillac" yet. So either Sheridan was with him or he used the house band.

One of Vince's greatest assets was his sense of the theatrical. In movement, as I have mentioned, and also in dress. Vince decided on the uniforms: black shirt,black pants,black & white shoes with white tie & black & white check cap. We looked a million dollars. And we didn't just wear them on stage. We wore them all the time !! And when we walked into the 2 I's everyone went crazy. So, very quickly we became identifiable. Vince Taylor & the Playboys. And soon we were the main attraction at the 2 I's. Now , the Room where we played at the 2 I's was below ground level, a basement under the main cafe. I think it was meant to hold about 40 people but it was always packed with people standing shoulder to shoulder. The heat & the sweat !! After each set I'd go upstairs to a little room where the cold drinks etc. were stored. We changed there & kept our guitar cases there also. I'd pour about half a litre of orange syrup into a basin & top it up with a litre & a half of water & drink the lot. And Vince was doing his thing. I remember one night when the groove was particularly hard and the band was so loud. Full up with the volume. I looked over at Lou Brian on Piano and his eyes were bulging, he was pouring with sweat and he was screaming at me. He was only about 3 feet away but I couldn't hear anything coming from his mouth. I put my ear right up against his mouth and screamed "WHAT ?" He screamed back-  "This is Fucking FANTASTIC !!" And it was.

It was fantastic. The band, the room, the crowd, all wrapped up in one big white-hot ball of Rock & Roll. No,- time has not distorted my memory, nor does it cause me to exaggerate. We had it down. And everybody knew it. But there were a few problems. These, I think, are the reasons that Vince didn't" break" on the U. K. scene. We were too" New. " The U.K rock scene had become quite stagnant, and most guys were churning out cover versions of U.S rock artists. That was inevitable, that's where our main influences lay. But we were blowing a lot of energy away on OTHER PEOPLE'S MUSIC. So Vince wrote "Cadillac" on a piece of paper on a table in the "Star Restaurant" {seems quite prophetic now} at the end of Old Compton St, next to Charing cross Rd. We had graduated from cheese & onions to unimaginable spaghetti and luncheon meat fritters. But there was plenty of it, & it was our one meal a day. and Vince is singing  " Yea, yea, Baby, Got a Brand New Cadillac," "Nope. that don't work !! "Yeh, the Caddy's Rollin', Rollin' & I'm never comin' back." "Nope. That don't work !" But I think it was only the next day when he turned up with the finished lyrics. It was unheard of in those days to write your own music or songs. Songwriters wrote songs, and we weren't songwriters. Or were we ? Vince wrote "Cadillac" & we recorded it at E.M.I. Abbey Rd. St. John's Wood, London. The same studio where The Beatles created Sgt. Pepper's…. Norrie Paramor was the Producer.  We didn't have much rehearsal and we did it in a couple of takes. Same with "Pledging My Love." Once we had the structure of a song we just blew the hell out of it. But-- We had no hype. We couldn't get any airplay because of the names "Cadillac" & "Ford." advertising on the B.B.C was not allowed and they were the main source of airplay. And the band had agression in it's music. The establishment didn't like that. U.K rock was mainly dominated at that time by what I call "Soft Rockers." Cliff Richard, Adam Faith, Billy Fury, Craig Douglas etc. But they didn't have that "Fuck off or I'll kick You in the Teeth" thing that we had. Rebels All. Jimmy Dean every one of us. Where's the nice deal we were promised after winning two World Wars?.  Vince Taylor and the Playboys were the first amalgamation of U.S.- U.K. rock. What does any get out of Cadillac, when they hear it? The Lyrics are not mind blowing. The melody is not in the Gershwin bracket. But it has REBELLION in it, & was revered among the ordinary kids who were just as pissed off with their lives as we were.  Where the Fuck are We going?. What the fuck are we doing.? But came there no reply. So we played "Cadillac." Just like the movies, but it was real. Vince, My Wife Pina and I moved into a lovely house in Turnham Green, Near Chiswick,London, around April 1959. Vince, my wife & I moved Into a lovely house in Turnham green, near Chiswick, London. It was divided into two apartments. Vince had the apartment downstairs & my wife & I had the one above. We still didn't have many gigs because " Cadillac " hadn't made it. Zilch airplay. It was big on the Juke Boxes but that was it . Very little publicity,and no sales. Don't forget that the band was being paid a retainer every week, and although the money wasn't exorbitant, it was a considerable amount. Joe(Singer), Vince's manager, had to support himself, Vince, & four band members every week until around June - July when the band split up, a period of 6-7 months. I reckon, at a conservative estimate, it was costing 200 Pounds a week just to keep us going, and no money coming in. Now, when we finished at the 2I's at night, around 11-30pm, we'd go to a coffee bar further up in Soho called the " Freight Train," owned by a guy called Charles McDevitt, who, with Nancy Whiskey, had a hit with a record of the same name.  In 1957-58,there were lots of folk singers, Skiffle players, rock musicians, artists, poets, Con men, and just about anyone who was interested in the night life in Soho at that time.


                                                                                

                                                                              Soho by Night

Rather Bohemian it was. The " Freight Train " was on the corner of Berwick St. and Marlborough St. Soho,and we would drink coffee and talk 'till the place closed, around 2-30- 3am. The trick in those days was to stay awake until the Metro started running again around 5-30am. It normally stopped around midnight and if you wanted to enjoy "London's Night Life" you had to pay your dues. Three or four doors down from the Freight Train was another little coffee bar called the " The Coffee Pot " run by a Greek guy called Mike. He & Vince opened A little club just across the road. They called it the " Top 10 club" & it did a little bit of business, but not enough to pay money, just enough to pay the rent. But it was a good place to blow. I had a big surprise there on my 21'st Birthday. When I walked in, Vince & the guys all sung Happy birthday. That was a nice moment. As I said, we would catch the metro around 5-30am and get home around 6am. Fall into bed, sleep till the afternoon, get up , and the whole thing would begin again. Our main source of 'food'during the day was a milk vending machine on the corner of the street. We discovered that if you kicked it in a particular place it would deliver milk for free. Boy, did we kick the shit out of that machine ! The funny thing about Vince & the Playboys was that although we had a " hard " image, we were really " non-agressiv ". We never argued, we never fought. There were no drugs, no alcohol. And we all had a ball.Wow ! What's happened to the World ?  The only time I saw Vince drunk was when a chick left him, or, rather, her mother, who was well connected in Society, made them split up. I found Vince on the floor of the " Coffee Pot " crying his eyes out. He had done nearly a bottle of Scotch trying to get this woman out of his Brain. I just let Him talk it out, told him she wasn't worth it etc. & in a couple of days he was back to his old self, on stage at the 2 I's with ants in his pants again.  The split up had to come. The guys were looking for ways to get ahead in the business, and there was a lot of head hunting going on. I was offered the gig with Johnny Duncan's blue grass Boys, a good country band, & the money was good so I told Vince I was quitting.  Unfortunately, the bass player, "Licorice" Locking, & the drummer, Brian Bennett quit at the same time, they joined Marty Wilde. But there were plenty of great rockers around.Bobby Woodman, Tony Harvey, Alan LeClaire, and more, and they all had that " hungry, must play rock and roll feel" when they played.Bobby Woodman could keep up those triplet feel things for hours, and the straight 8 things too.Piano players likewise. You know - that "Jerry Lee" thing, and at crazy tempos. It's not surprising that they joined Vince. They already knew the material and slotted in without a hiccup. I went back to the 2 I's a couple of times after that, just to say hello to the guys, and on the last occasion the manager of the I's asked if I would form a band. He said he could get me plenty of gigs & the money was good. He was also booking Vince's band at the time.So, I ask him what kind of money are we talking and he pulls out this big book of accounts. Fifty, sixty, eighty pounds a night. So, straight away I went to Vince and asked what the guy was paying Him." Thirty pounds a night " He said. I told him the story and that was END of story for me & the 2 I's. I couldn't go back. Off I went with the country band, leaving my wife, Pina, in London while I was on tour. I was actually in my home town in Glasgow, Scotland, when I got a'phone call at the stage door from Vince. - " Hi Joe " he said - " I just want to tell you that your wife is going to have a Baby."  I think that's the last time I spoke to Vince, and it's one of the nicest memories I have of that time. That was it. In approximately 6 months we had cut only 2 tracks, done a week's tour and 1 television show. The memories I have of Vince are that: he was a very sweet guy. Rather shy, and his greatest passion was Ol' Rock and Roll. I'm happy that he made it so big in France, he deserved his success, he was a HARD worker and France's gain was England's loss.  A beautiful guy - God Bless His memory . 

                                                                                                                                  

                                                                 

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 a.k.a  Richard Wayne Penniman. Born Dec.5th 1932 in Macon, Georgia. Little Richard, the 3rd of twelve children began singing in his local church choir.  He was working as a dishwasher around 1950-51 in a Greyhound bus station and won a talent competition. He signed with RCA in 1951 and released two singles neither of which made much of a showing, so back he went to washing dishes. He then cut a demo tape for Speciality Records, a young up-and-coming Los Angeles label.   Smash ! Bang ! Wallop !  - "Tutti Frutti" exploded onto an unsuspecting world. The guys in my home town of Glasgow went nuts. Everyone was still into the Teddy boy suit scene and Little Richard fitted the image from his hair style right down to down to his groovy shoes, and groove he most certainly did. But HEAVY . He knocked the living shit out that piano and the vocals were delivered with an intensity, almost a viciousness that said " You ARE going to listen to me."
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Little Richard was the King of the "Straight 8" feel. He and Jerry Lee delivered it like no one else could. The bands I was working with around 1957-58 featured Little Richard numbers.  {The Alex Harvey Band and The Rikki Barnes All Stars in Scotland }. If a fight started in a dance hall you can bet that nine times out of ten we were playing a Little Richard number at the time. He has claimed to be the "Architect of Rock And Roll"  and along with Elvis was the main fuse for the E=MC2 explosion that occurred in music in the 1950s. The name of his band said it all - "The Upsetters"  and that's what Little Richard's Music did too. It made you say " Fuck it ! I'm not putting up with all the crap in my life, I'm going to be somebody, even if I have to get into a fucking fight to do it ! I AM NOT SATISFIED !! "   Sequined waistcoats, lipstick,mascara, and a big pompadoured head, Little Richard had Glam Rock down before the word had even been invented. And He and his band had a sound then that wasn't recognised for some years to come - " FUNK" - no less an Illuminary than Mr James Brown says so. Little Richard gives two of the Prime Ingedients of his music as Rhythm and Blues and Boogie. And Boy, Did that Band Boogie. Other prime ingredients are Blues, Country, Gospel and there were Vaudeville influences too . Little Richard grew up in poverty during the depression and Vaudeville was a very important factor in the lives of the people in the Black Community.
Anyone and everyone could have a go and it gave the People an outlet for their talents, one of the few areas of employment where that was possible.  The outstanding "Tutti Frutti' was followed by a long string of hits including "Rip It Up" "Long Tall Sally" "Lucille" "Jenny Jenny" "Slippin' And Slidin" and "Keep a Knockin"  and his Film appearances include "Don't Knock The Rock" and "The Girl Can't Help It".  In 1957 he abandoned R&R and enrolled in Bible College but was back again in 1964, more popular than ever.  After more than forty years Little Richard is an Icon in the Music business, a symbol of hope for the ordinary guy in the street. Anyone can make it, all they have to do is try hard enough. As little Richard himself says " I worked harder than anyone else. I practised harder, I played harder , I sung harder because - I HAD TO !  There it is - You only get out what you put in. Little Richard was inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame in 1986 at the very first induction dinner. And he's still sending it. Check out his Tour Dates on the web. Long may He continue to Rock.  (c) Joe Moretti April 2002.
 
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