Top Picture: The Dakotas in 1960
Bottom Picture: Old Spice for old men!!!!!
Firstly a message from Griff:
Would Patrick John Wilson please contact Griff asap on 01793770927
The Dakotas were formed in the Manchester 1960, the name being suggested by a local promoter who wanted the band to dress up as American Indians! The very first line-up comprised Bryn Jones (guitar), Tony Bookbinder (drums), Robin MacDonald (guitar), and Ian Fraser (bass). The band's first gig was in Lees, Oldham, They teamed up with local singer Pete Maclaine and played the club venues the band becoming well known as Manchester's top group, being regarded as being more sophisticated than the Liverpool bands.
By the early 60s the band had turned professional, Bryn Jones was replaced by Mike Maxfield on guitar and Ian Fraser by Ray Jones on bass. A regular gig was the now the Cavern, where the band were virtually the only Manchester band frequently booked. They often shared the bill with the fledgling Beatles. Meanwhile, future Beatles manager Brian Epstein wanted to add local boy Billy J Kramer to his ever-increasing stable of stars. Billy's backing band the Coasters didn't want to go full-time, so Brian approached the Dakotas. and when he asked them to back Billy J Kramer, it was an offer too good to refuse. Sadly, original singer Pete Maclaine was the first casualty of this arrangement.
By the early 1963 the Dakotas were signed to Brian Epstein and, thanks to the success of the Beatles, signed up to EMI records subsidiary label, Parlophone. Billy J Kramer had been friends with John Lennon for some time and John gave the group a demo of a new song, "Do You Want to Know a Secret", which they perfected whilst working in Hamburg. On returning to Britain, the song was recorded at Abbey Road studios, with producer George Martin. It reached No.2 in the spring of 1963. Strangely the Dakotas and Billy each had separate recording contracts with Parlophone, and that they were billed as "Billy J Kramer WITH the Dakotas". To maintain the group's identity, the guitar instrumental "The Cruel Sea" was released as a single, and it reached the Top 20 around the same time as "Secret". Whilst the first two singles were still in the UK charts, another single, "Bad To Me" made it three in the Top 30 at the same time. This Lennon-McCartney song went to No.1 that summer. Yet another Beatles song was given to the group for the next single, "I'll Keep You Satisfied" which reached No.4 late in 1963.
The first Billy J Kramer with the Dakotas album, "Listen...", was released at the end of 1963, and reached No.11. Early in 1964, the group felt they needed to release a single that wasn't written by the Beatles and chose "Little Children” and this went to No.1 in the spring of 1964. Later that year, both "Bad To Me" and "Little Children" made the American Top 10, and the group visited the 'states. "From A Window", however, reached only No.10 in the UK charts and the group had turned down Paul McCartney's "Yesterday"!. In 1965, the band recorded "When You Walk in the Room", but lost out to the Searchers, who took their version to No.1. The Dakotas and Billy J Kramer's last Top 20 chart entry was "Trains and Boats and Planes" in the spring of 1965. By this time, bassist Ray Jones left the group and in 1966, to be replaced by Mick Green from Johnny Kidd & the Pirates. As the Beatles own career went into overdrive, Brian Epstein became an increasingly remote figure. Following his death in 1967 the Dakotas forged ahead, Drummer Tony Bookbinder left and another ex-Pirate Frank Farley took over in 1966. March '67 saw their next single, "I'm 'n 'Ardworkin' Barra Boy" released on the Page One label while a year later saw their last recording, "Can't Break The News" on the Philips label. By 1968, Billy had gone solo and the band soldiered on as backing band for Billy Fury until Robin MacDonald and Mick Green joined Engelbert Humperdinck and the Dakotas disbanded. It would be twenty years before they took to the stage again.
During the 70's Billy J Kramer turned to cabaret and it was not until a chance meeting that the Dakotas were reborn in 1989. Original drummer Tony Bookbinder was introduced to Manchester musician Eddie Mooney. Eddie had been in various 70s bands including the Glitter Band, as well as releasing solo records. They discussed reforming the Dakotas as early as 1986, rehearsing with original guitarist Robin MacDonald but this project never got off the ground. By the late 80s, it was decided to get the Dakotas back on the road, in order to join the popular revival of 60s music. In April 1992 the Dakotas did a three week tour of Sweden with fellow Manchester act, Herman's Hermits. Between 1992 and 1994 the band appeared all over the UK, as well as Germany. However, the rigours of touring were taking their toll on Pete MacDonald and following a health scare before a show in Lubeck, he was replaced in 1994 by session keyboard player Toni Baker. During 1994 and into 1995 the band toured Britain, Germany and Ireland and appeared with Herman's Hermits, the Searchers, the Merseybeats, Wayne Fontana, the Animals, the Yardbirds and many others. The next Dakotas album "The Beat Goes On", a mix of live and studio recordings was released in September 1995., Also in 1995, the Dakotas appeared with The Animals, Yardbirds on the UK "Rock Roots '95 British Tour"
In 1996, the Dakotas rejoined Billy J Kramer, after almost thirty years, to appear at the Chelmsford Festival. In the summer of 1998, the band appeared in America and were approached to appear in Fayetteville, North Carolina, doing arena shows with Billy J Kramer, and other US acts. In the spring of 1999, they again teamed up with Billy J Kramer for the first of several "Solid Silver 60s" theatre package tours. By this time, drummer Tony Bookbinder had decided to leave to concentrate on his business interests. Replacing him was Pete Hilton, formerly drummer with Freddie and the Dreamers. During the summer of 1999 the Dakotas made a third trip to America, appearing with the Miracles. In 2000 the Dakotas teamed up to do concerts backing Wayne Fontana and ended 2000 by playing a New Year's Eve show at the President's Ball, Krakow, Poland. The show took place at the Opera House and was attended by senior Polish officials!
In February the band undertook a 56 date UK tour with Peter Noone, Wayne Fontana, Dave Berry and Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick and Titch. In May 2001 they appeared on the "Oriana" cruise ship. There was a UK reunion with Peter Noone in June 2002 and gigs with Wayne Fontana. In August the Dakotas returned again to America.
The band released their fourth, and biggest selling, studio album, "Everlasting", since the band reformed in the late 80's, to co-incide with a 70-date "Solid Silver 60's" tour of the UK and Ireland. The tour also featured the Searchers, Wayne Fontana, Dave Dee and Barry Ryan. Later that year, the band's keyboard player, Toni Baker wrote the music, and the Dakotas recorded for the British TV comedy series "Phoenix Nights", starring Peter Kay.
In spring 2004 the Dakotas undertook another major 50 date UK theatre tour, teaming up again with Peter Noone and Wayne Fontana, plus Bryan Hyland and John Walker. During the early summer the Dakotas were filmed to appear in an episode of Peter Kay's "Max and Paddy", which was eventually broadcast in October 2004.Dressed as various 80s characters, the band performed to their recordings, including "Love Train", "Baby Now That I've Found You" and also backed Peter Kay on "I Guess That's Why They Call It The Blues".
In August 2004 that tragedy struck, when guitarist Mike Maxfield suffered a stroke and had to stop performing. His replacement was Richard Benson, former guitarist with the Dooleys. Richard had guested with the band briefly in 1999 and had worked on the Peter Kay TV series with Toni Baker, and was the obvious choice. Richard became a permanent member though Mike is still involved with the Dakotas behind the scenes. During the latter part of 2004 the Dakotas continued touring the UK, During 2006 the band has continued touring. and were booked to do another UK tour in the spring of 2007 with the Searchers, Merseybeats, Wayne Fontana and John Walker of the Walker Brothers. In December 2006, Richard Benson left the band to concentrate on his guitar teaching and solo work and was replaced by Alan Clare formerly of Freddie and the Dreamers
The Dakotas kicked off 2007 including gigs with the Merseybeats and Union Gap, and a notorious date in Berkshire with Wayne Fontana, where the latter left the stage following a dispute with an audience member. Prior to the 54 date UK Solid Silver 60s tour, the Dakotas made a one off appearance at the Freddie Garrity Tribute Concert in February with Brian Poole, the Tremeloes, Dave Berry, Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich, the Fortunes, Hermans Hermits, the Merseybeats, Mike Pender's Searchers, Mike Sweeney, and the Swinging Blue Jeans.
The 2007 UK tour commenced in February finishing at the London Palladium in April, their last date of 2007 was a New Year's Eve show at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, Oldham, along with Mike Sweeney & the Thunderbirds. Further tours followed in 2008 and 2009 and the same goes for 2010 as they continue touring with John Walker.
Take Care and keep in touch
I did enjoy reading this weeks blog. I used to love the good old westerns. If my brother and I were at the Odeon in Cosham High Street, it was great fun to watch them all. They do not seem to have films like that now. We enjoyed the TV ones too. Wagon train was a great favourite, also Rawhide. I was madly in love with Dale Robertson of Wells Fargo and always hoped he would appear at my front gate. Alas, he never did! When we moved out in to the country I thought I stood a better chance- more room for the horse! But no luck!
News and Views:
At the end of January Connie Francis returned to Fort Lauderdale Beach to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the film "Where The Boys Are," which she filmed there.
On this day 20th March 1960-1965
On 20/03/1960 the number one single was Running Bear - Johnny Preston and the number one album was South Pacific Soundtrack. The top rated TV show was The Larkins (ATV) and the box office smash was Psycho. A pound of today's money was worth £13.68 and Burnley were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.
On 20/03/1961 the number one single was Walk Right Back/Ebony Eyes - Everly Brothers and the number one album was GI Blues - Elvis Presley. The top rated TV show was No Hiding Place (AR) and the box office smash was One Hundred and One Dalmations. A pound of today's money was worth £13.25 and Tottenham Hotspur were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions
On 20/03/1962 the number one single was Rock-a-Hula Baby/Can't Help Falling In Love - Elvis Presley and the number one album was Blue Hawaii - Elvis Presley. The top rated TV show was Coronation Street (Granada) and the box office smash was Lawrence of Arabia. A pound of today's money was worth £12.89 and Ipswich Town were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions
On 20/03/1963 the number one single was Summer Holiday - Cliff Richard & the Shadows and the number one album was Summer Holiday - Cliff Richard & the Shadows. The top rated TV show was Conservative Party Political Broadcast (all channels) and the box office smash was The Great Escape. A pound of today's money was worth £12.64 and Everton were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.
On 20/03/1964 the number one single was Little Children - Billy J Kramer and the number one album was With the Beatles - The Beatles. The top rated TV show was Conservative Party Political Broadcast (all channels) and the box office smash was Dr Strangelove. A pound of today's money was worth £12.24 and Liverpool were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.
On 20/03/1965 the number one single was The Last Time - Rolling Stones and the number one album was Rolling Stones Number 2 - The Rolling Stones. The top rated TV show was Coronation Street (Granada) and the box office smash was The Sound of Music. A pound of today's money was worth £11.69 and Manchester United were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.