…Following on from home page…..
For the next few years Pete worked at developing his talent, learning to play Jazz, then Rock’n’Roll from the dance bands who played at his fathers club; then aged 11 he put his first band together at Birkenhead School. This was an assortment of very young musicians (11 year olds) playing all sorts of existing and invented instruments, including tuned milk bottles filled with different levels of water. They went on to win many inter-house competitions. Dave Boyce, who was with Pete through school from the age of 3 played (from memory) a snare drum and later went on to become the drummer in The Roadrunners and a drummer in the School Combined Cadet Force Band. Here’s a great picture of the CCF band on the school playing field. Can you spot Goodall (on bugle) and Boyce on snare drum.
Mike “Henry” Hart of The Roadrunners was also at Birkenhead School. Mike sang and blew sax in The Roadrunners, but not in Pete’s band. Incidentally Lance Fortune who had a number four hit with “Be Mine” was 6 years older than Pete but like Billy Fury joined the Larry Parnes stable of “identikit” young Artistes and given their stage names. Lance was Chris Morris and “Fury” Billy Wycherley. Try singing “Pop Stars From Birkenhead” to the hook of the song “Tulips From Amsterdam” quips Pete ……
Pete’s first real Merseyside working band was Lee Crombie and the Sundowners. This started in his second year when he was 13. Led by (then) 18 year old Dave Calverly who was a brilliant guitarist with Lee (real name Keith Ambler) on excellent vocals, the next 5 years saw much work and more bands, such as The Bluestones, The Black Diamonds, Mike Daly’s Keystone Cops and Savva and the Democrats. Life with Savva was great. The band never stopped working as they were managed by Liverpool promoter Wally Hill, playing alongside The Undertakers, Rory Storm and The Hurricanes(with drummer Ringo Starr), and many others.
In 1961, 16 yr old Pete was playing a gig every Saturday with the Black Diamonds, from 1st April straight through to 2nd December. At the beginning of the year, the band were averaging £5, but by September this had risen to the dizzy heights of £7.10 shillings( or £7.50!).
They had regular monthly slots at various social clubs across the Wirral and were particularly popular at the Cleaver Hospital Social Club, literally singing for their supper on 22nd November, as they weren’t to be paid!
1961, and still only 16, Pete with Savva and the Democrats, pictured below 2nd right.
Savva and the Democrats (Available for all functions, according to their advertising), were playing every night from November ’63 to April ’64, at places such as The Grosvenor Ballroom in Wallasey for £7, The Royal Lido in Prestatyn, New Years Eve ’63 for 10 Guineas (£10.50), and the Co-Operative Society Ballroom in Warrington for £12.
These smart venues demanded smart suits, and at the time, everyone who aspired to be anyone went to “Eric’s”. Eric’s Ltd, Tailors and Men’s Outfitters of Manchester St, Liverpool, supplied everything from suits to shoes.
Savva was managed by Wally Hill, the famous Liverpool promoter, who owned Peak Promotions. It was Wally who staged regular weekly shows at Holyoak Hall on the corner of “Penny Lane” (actually, Smithdown Road but that didn’t sound the same!) and Blair Hall. “He’d have us playing a 45 minute spot at each on a Saturday night” groaned Pete – “worse than Hamburg”
At a Savva gig, from right, Pete and his family, Mum Dorothy, Dad Ernie, Auntie Elaine. Look at those haircuts!!