'Hello: Front room audition provided their first break'
The front room of a suburban house is hardly the best setting for any group, but Hello's performance in their drummer Jeff Allen's home was enough to convince Russ Ballard of Argent that they had something special to offer. Now he writes for and produces the group, and in fact wrote 'You Move Me' (a single that received a lot of airplay), specially for them.
David Blaylock, who previously worked for Chappell's, the music publishers, was also present on that occasion, and now manages the group. 'They're not a commercial pop group,' he says, explaining his reasons for banking his hopes on Hello. 'They've played colleges, but there's no doubt at all that they have a tremendous appeal for teenyboppers.'
The group's appeal is easy to see. They are all only sixteen themselves, and not only do they play a good variety of music with considerable guts, but Jeff Allen, Keef Marshall, Vic Faulkner and Bob Bradbury, also have flair on stage.
'We didn't used to leap about so much,' says Bob. 'But when David started to manage us we gained more freedom, used more lively music and we feel like jumping about.' It was from their manager's record collection that the group extracted some of the rock & roll numbers that they feature on stage. But in early years several of Hello worked together as a mime group - which meant using mock guitars and miming to the latest pop records and in fact won several local competitions.
Now Hello are much more vocal and keen ears have spotted their talent. In fact Alan Freeman is full of praise for them; and himself he visited a Barkingside school to witness one of their live performances! 'I think they're excellent,' says Alan, And certainly they're no ordinary group. At sixteen they are already capable performers and have been working for three years though hindered by their schooling, which all but Vic have now left behind.
All through their career, even when semi-professional, they have found managers eager to snap them up, and under the guidance of one early manager they worked with a girl vocalist, making appearances on clubs, as well as at the Albert Hall during a fashion show!
With their success at capturing a recording contract with Bell Records, and the enthusiasm that they have been whipping up, Hello have also caused a spate of semi-pro groups to occur in their home area of Wood Green and Tottenham. 'I think they probably want to be like us,' say the group. And it's something that more people could be feeling in time to come. So look out for Hello's new single, due soon, on the Bell label.
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