The cast

Oral histories




Of all the 1960s British beat-groups, the most undeservedly unsuccessful were The Zombies: 'She's Not There' may have been a huge hit in America and may be one of the great golden oldies, but it didn't even make the top ten in Britain. And their classic second album Odyssey and Oracle had to wait for years before its status was properly acknowledged. I know this hasn't got much to do with the 1970s, but I wanted to make the point anyway: they were truly brilliant and Colin Blunstone is still one of the great vocalists in British pop.

The tenuous connexion is that David Blaylock was The Zombies' tour manager and it was at the wedding of an erstwhile Zombie that he first met Russ Ballard, then singing with Rod Argent. Ballard was a budding songwriter, Blaylock was working in publishing and the two decided they should find a band to work with, who could play Ballard's songs and be managed by Blaylock. The group they found were Hello, who were promptly signed to Bell Records.

Hello made genuinely good records, but they never enjoyed the success they deserved. They managed only two hits in Britain - a cover of The Exciters' 'Tell Him', which they borrowed from The Glitter Band's Hey album, and Ballard's classic 'New York Groove'. In Germany they did much better, but perhaps over here they were seen as a bit of an afterthought: Bell were incredibly successful, but they weren't a big company and they already had acts like the Bay City Rollers, Showaddywaddy, The Drifters, David Cassidy, Gary Glitter and The Glitter Band. As Blaylock says, in this kind of company, 'Hello were always the bridesmaids, never the brides.'

Luckily, however, their recordings were owned by Blaylock's own company and were then licensed to Bell. The result is that of all the acts on that label, Hello are better represented on CD than just about anyone: there's masses of stuff out there, which is almost invariably wonderful. Apart from the reissues, I'd recommend Glam Rockers, a 1996 album by Hello - though featuring only Bob Bradbury from the original line-up - on Blaylock's own Arrival Records. I know that re-recordings aren't always up to much, but this one's cracking, particularly the glammed-up version of David Essex's 'Rock On', which I defy you not to love. Take my word for it, this is good stuff: it sounds like a garage band with attitude taking on the glitter legacy and wiping the gutter with it.

Eddie Amoo
Ken Andrew
Dave Bartram
Mike Batt
Wayne Bickerton
David Blaylock
Trevor Bolder
Jacko Boogie
Tony Burrows
Sally Carr
Tina Charles
David Courtney
Rob Davis
Richard Dodd
Patrick Doonan
Ray Dorset
Herbie Flowers
Ken Gold
Graham Gouldman
Dave Hill
Harvey Hinsley
John Hughes
Jim Irvin
Jimmy James
Steve Jones
Lorraine Kelly
Paul Layton
Les McKeown
Russell Mael
Johnny Moore
Mike Moran
Chris Norman
Bill Oddie
David Paton
Lyn Paul
Phil Pickett
Suzi Quatro
Chris Rae
Chris Redburn
Norman Rogerson
Ron Roker
John Rossall
Andy Scott
Eddie Seago
Mat Snow
Chris Spedding
John Springate
Ray Stiles
Alwyn W Turner
David Van Day
Phil Wainman
Johnny Wakelin
Jeff Wayne
Alan Williams
Pip Williams