The cast

Oral histories



- the late genius of British soul

Mike Moran:
Biddu's stuff survives for a number of reasons. It was recorded very well, because Richard Dodd was a fantastic engineer. The songs were fairly good, but it was played excellently by great musicians. And it was well arranged by people like Gerry Shurey.

Richard Dodd:
For Biddu, his key man on the musical front was Gerry Shury and on the technical front was myself.

Mike Moran:
He was a smashing bloke, Gerry. He was a brilliant musician.

Jimmy James:
Biddu could find the pieces, but he couldn't make the jigsaw, the whole picture. And that's where Gerry came in.

Ron Roker:
Biddu had his sights set and he knew exactly what he wanted to do. The Biddu Orchestra did a beautiful record of 'Summer of 42', but it was Gerry's arrangement, Gerry and Biddu produced that together. But it takes someone like Biddu to take control: someone's got to be in the chair. Gerry could have done that himself - he had the opportunity - but there's no sour grapes. Biddu was successful because he got it right.

Richard Dodd:
At the time, of course, Biddu was desperate to claim a lot of responsibility because he wanted to further his own individual artistic credit. Gerry seemed to me to have no desire to be the front-man, and Biddu had every ounce of desire to be the front-man. Gerry was just happy to be involved in the music. He was like Winnie-the-Pooh - cuddly, you know.

Ron Roker:
Biddu realized straightaway what everyone saw in Gerry: this guy can make these things work.

Chris Rae:
Gerry was a very special person. He used to get the best out of everybody, but in such a subtle way. If the string section had played something wrong, instead of saying, 'You were wrong, could you do it again,' he'd say: 'We've got a bit of a mike fault, do you mind doing that again?'

Ron Roker:
Gerry and I did a song called 'Funk Theory', which got in the bottom part of the charts for Rokotto, who were signed to Wayne [Bickerton]. Gerry went down to a club in Brighton to see them the night after the session, knowing that that night he had to do three arrangements for a session the next day back in town. Driving back from the club, he fell asleep at the wheel and his car went off the road. Killed him instantly. And he had done those three arrangements. He'd stayed up extra-time to do them.

Wayne Bickerton:
Gerry Shury was a wonderful human being - a very talented man and a tragic loss. I was actually in bed with pneumonia and, despite what the doctor said, I got out of bed and went to the funeral, because he was such a great guy.

Chris Rae:
When I went to his funeral, there must have been about a thousand people there. This gravedigger said, 'Who was he, mate, some kind of pop star?'

Jimmy James:
I think the creative source behind it, when Gerry died, it went. It just went. It didn't go downhill, it just got totally blown out of the water. Because Gerry was so creative. For me, Biddu may have had ideas, but Gerry was the man who made them work. Biddu might have been able to write a few things, but he had to have someone put it together for him. When he lost Gerry, it fell down.

Tina Charles:
That's when it all fell apart for Biddu and me really, was when Gerry Shury died, because it's okay to produce something but you have to have something there to produce, and what Gerry did was write the most beautiful arrangements. And after he died, I think he was left a bit: well, who do I use? We never found another Gerry Shury.

Chris Rae:
Gerry died when he was 32. I feel confident that if he was still around, he'd probably be massive.

Gerry Shury

these words were brought to you by
Wayne Bickerton
Tina Charles
Richard Dodd
Jimmy James
Mike Moran
Chris Rae
Ron Roker
see also 'Blue Eyed Soul' from Black Music magazine

Gary Glitter
Top of the Pops
'The Funky Gibbon'
Fuck the critics
New Seekers
Gerry Shury
New Faces
'Rock On'
The Sweet
Sparks vs Rubettes
'Under the Moon of Love'
Generation X
Biddu's roster
Crisis, what crisis?
Glam fashion
Rock indulgence
The Drifters
The Real Thing
Bay City Rollers
'I Love To Love'
The death of Arnold