Yes – that’s my opinion about him and his band Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich. Legendary. I have totally avoided the passing of musicians on the blog. I prefer to keep this a bit of a fantasy flashback, about all the great things music brought into our childhoods, teenage years and lives in general, timeless in a way. But an exception is the loss of Dave Dee.
Like everyone, I’ve had many favorites through the years, always feeling, at the moment, they were irreplaceable forever – then life goes on and others move in to that top spot. But still, an absolute favorite in so many ways is Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich. My soundtrack to being a kid, and an aspiration to living someplace where people could dress in wild colourful clothes, as this band did while my upstate NY peers did not.
I began writing their US label, Fontana and started a dialog (above) with Claranelle Morris, who would send along their photos, bios, promotional oddities and occasionally records (see more scans at end of post). A year or two later when I had her trust, she would sneak the latest releases by The Mindbenders, The Troggs, The Pretty Things and The Herd in the post to me as well. I do wish I knew her whereabouts now to say thanks a million.
Listen: Okay / Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich DDDBMTOkay.mp3
I love all of their records, but for some reason, ‘Okay’ has a sentimental thing about it. That opinion is clearly just mine, as most of their singles are wonderfully eclectic musically, and possibly more interesting, whereas ‘Okay’ is fairly straight forward singalong pop. Still it reached #4 in the UK charts doing just as well as their others. This band, if fact, during 1966, sold more records in the UK than either The Beatles or The Rolling Stones, as well between ’66-’68 chalked up more weeks in the British charts than, believe it or not, again, The Beatles or The Rolling Stones. Watching them do ‘Okay’ on Piccadilly Palace made my summer that year – and that’s saying a lot given it was the infamous summer of ’67! See the below clipping from the local newspaper.
They only ever made two appearances on National US television: Cleveland’s Upbeat, which was shown locally in Syracuse too, (May 28, 1967) performing ‘Hold Tight’ and ‘Bend It’, and then on the above mentioned, nationally syndicated Piccadilly Palace (August 26, 1967) doing ‘Okay’ and ‘If I Were A Carpenter’.
Listen: Bend It (Original Censored Version) / Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich DDDBMTBendItUKVersion.mp3
Listen: Bend It (Clean US Version) / Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich DDDBMTBendItUS.mp3
A last ditch attempt was made by US Fontana to find a way for ‘Bend It’, a worldwide smash, to be heard in America. So they had Dave go in and re-vocal it, taking out a few suggestive lyrics – which clearly were about sex, and changing some words into an implied dance routine, ‘The Bend’. The single was re-serviced with a dance instruction sheet (see scan below). Unfortunately, they couldn’t change the important line “when night’s ending, we’ll be bending” and hence a failed experiment.
To think nowadays the original would be on Disney Radio right next to Lil Kim, no problem. For the real fussy collector, you can tell the rare ‘dirty’ version from the ‘clean’: the ‘dirty’ leaves out the comma between Dozy Beaky on the label as opposed to the ‘clean’, whereby the punctuation is correct ie: Dozy, Beaky. Luckily, this was a hit in the northeast, including my hometown Syracuse, where it went #1 on the WOLF chart. Unfortunately, I don’t have a copy from that particular week’s survey, but do have one from two weeks prior (see scan below). Anyone with a copy – name your price.
In the late 80′s, I made friends with Safta Jaffery, an English manager who looked after (still does) some prominent producers. He came to see me at Elektra, we got to talking and I discovered he knew Dave Dee. My excitement was obvious, so he graciously said “Next UK trip, give me a heads up and I’ll get you an introduction”. He went a few steps further, arranging a lunch. I trembled waiting for Dave in the lobby of the studio that housed his office. I’m pretty sure it was Mickie Most’s RAK. Although I arrived on time, to the minute, he finally came barreling down the circular staircase about half an hour late (the longest half hour of my life), all smiles and very apologetic. As we walked to the restaurant, he said he’d been tied up on the phone with a musician friend who needed some advice. I asked who, being rather casually curious. “Scott Walker” he replies. Holy shit. I almost passed out. Walking down a London street with Dave Dee as he spoke nonchalantly about a Scott Walker telephone conversation he’s just had. I wasn’t ready.
We spent a good hour together, talking non stop about the 60′s, answering all kinds of questions, just the nicest, most courteous guy. Of course he was only too happy to fill out a jukebox tab for me too:
Above: Jukebox Tab signed by Dave Dee
Today is a sad one, that I won’t ever forget.
The Guardian Obituary: