“Hey rock and roll, bring it to town let’s stroll,
Hey rock and roll, let’s go, let’s go, let’s go.”
Some artists used the early seventies to relaunch stalled careers from previous decades while others referenced the 50s and 60s in their lyrics. Showaddywaddy however wore their musical hearts on their sleeves with a 50s image and style that was directly reflected in their music. Add the colourful suits and dance routines to eight group members and you had a group that obviously enjoyed themselves whether they were playing live or miming on Top of the Pops.
The group formed in 1973 with the merger of two groups, “Choise” and “Golden Hammers”, which were active on the Leicester scene. With the merger giving the group “two of everything” (i.e. two drummers, two singers, etc) it enabled them to perform dance routines while still having enough members to play the music. Appearing on “New Faces” it was this approach that caught the public imagination and led to them being signed to Bell Records.
Their first single “Hey Rock And Roll” was released in 1974 and reached number 2 in the charts. Following this they became very much a fixture on Top of the Pops with another 22 chart entries over the next 8 years. In a time before TV special effects were readily available one of their specialities was having their suits change colour mid-song (often jumping in the air with one colour and landing with another). Their stage craft was so precise that they would play the same song twice in different suits and then the Top of the Pops technicians would splice the two performances together – not much of a TV trick nowadays but in the early 70s it looked like magic!
While the hits kept coming the releases became more focussed on pop versions of 50s hits (“Heartbeat”, “Three Steps To Heaven”) to keep the record company happy. This unfortunately led to Showaddywaddy, who were gigging constantly and believed in the music they played, being seen in some quarters as a novelty group.
Showaddywaddy’s approach to their music can be seen in their reaction when the hits dried up, there wasn’t one! They simply kept doing what they enjoyed – playing live. They still gig today with five original members eight in the group, proving that they weren’t in it for the hits, money or TV appearances but for the music itself.
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