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8th February 2014
Top Picture: Terry Dean
Bottom Picture: Edna Savage
Terry Dene was born Terrance Williams in Lancaster Street, Elephant & Castle, London and was discovered by Paul Lincoln at the famous 2i's Coffee Bar, the London club in Soho in the late 1950s it was this coffee bar that helped launch Tommy Steele, Adam Faith and Cliff Richard. Jack Good, producer of Six-Five Special and Dick Rowe heard him at the 2i’s and helped him get a recording contract with Decca. At the time he was regarded as the British Elvis and recognised as one of the best voices of the rock and roll era of pre-Beatles Britain.
His first single "A White Sport Coat" in the first seven weeks sold in excess of 300,000 copies, together with "Stairway Of Love", which remained in the chart for eight weeks and his own version of "Start Movin'" at number 14, put his records in the Top 20 twice in the same year UK Singles Chart and secured his name in the Guinness Book of Records. He toured Britain, was one of the first artists to appear in the BBC Television's Six-Five Special he and appeared in a film, The Golden Disc.
However Terry Dene was soon branded as a 'bad apple' and an example of the 'evils of rock and roll' by the press after being arrested for public drunkenness and breaking a shop window in 1958, and ripping out a telephone box from the wall whilst claiming his passionate love for Edna Savage.
Her was conscripted in 1958 into the Army for National service where he was originally expected to report to Winchester Barracks, where he was due to join the King's Royal Rifle Corps on 7 July 1958, but his call-up was deferred until contractual commitments had been completed. When he finally did go in, it was so badly handled by the press (who filmed and publicised his arrival at the barracks) that after two months he had to be discharged on medical grounds as he received threats from his fellow conscripts. By that time the press had almost ruined his career and the Army offered him a pension as a form of compensation which he refused.
Disheartened by the bad publicity in 1964 he turned his back on the British pop scene and became an Evangelist singing and writing spiritual and gospel music and recording three gospel albums. He travelled abroad as an itinerant preacher playing in churches, prisons and other venues and preached in the Lutheran Church for five years in Sweden.
In 1973, he released a book, I Thought Terry Dene Was Dead, and in 1984 reformed his group, the Dene Aces and released an album, The Real Terry Dene, in 1997 which was voted as one of the top 40 best listening CDs. His Decca compilation was released in December 2004 and in October 2007, he created his own company and label with his partner, Countess Lucia Liberati and in December 2012 released his new CD, The Best Of Terry Dene, featuring a compilation of 12 tracks of his own choice including his own version of "Mystery Train", a remix of "Com'in And Be Loved, So Long", which was written by Terry himself.
On a personal basis he was married in 1958 to, and subsequently divorced from, fellow pop singer Edna Savage, who died in 2000 at the age of 64. He married and divorced another three times and he is now settled with an Italian countess, Lucia Liberati, 21 years his junior, whom he met in London in 2000.
He has appeared on Juke Box Heroes in 2011 and played in September 2004 at the Rock 'n' Roll Weekend Festival in Chippenham alongside Little Richard, the Comets and Charlie Gracie. In February 2005, he appeared in the Best of British magazine and on 2 November 2006, as a 'mystery guest' on series 19 episode 2 of Never Mind the Buzzcocks.
He performed at the 100 Club in London in October 2007, January 2008 and January 2010, in comnemoration of the first Six-Five Special, where he was a regular guest. He is also featured in The British Music Experience at The O2 Arena in Greenwich, an exhibition which is dedicated to the history of British popular music in the UK over the past 60+ years.
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News and Views:
On this Day 8th February 1960-1965
On 08/02/1960 the number one single was Why - Anthony Newley and the number one album was South Pacific Soundtrack. The top rated TV show was not listed and the box office smash was Some Like It Hot. A pound of today's money was worth £13.68 and Burnley were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions. The big news story of the day was Margaret Thatcher had given her first Commons Speech.
On 08/02/1961 the number one single was Are you Lonesome Tonight? - Elvis Presley 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 08/02/1962 the number one single was The Young Ones - Cliff Richard & the Shadows 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. The big news story of the week was US bans imports from Cuba.
On 08/02/1963 the number one single was Diamonds - Jet Harris & Tony Meehan and the number one album was Summer Holiday - Cliff Richard & the Shadows. The top rated TV show was Coronation Street (Granada) 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. The big news story of the week was Liz Taylor films Cleopatra
On 08/02/1964 the number one single was Needles & Pins - Searchers and the number one album was With the Beatles - The Beatles. The top rated TV show was Steptoe & Son (BBC) 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 08/02/1965 the number one single was You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin' - Righteous Brothers and the number one album was Beatles For Sale - The Beatles. 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.