The New Vaudeville Band Biography

This parodic ensemble initially comprised studio musicians gathered to record a Geoff Stephens (1 October 1934, London, England) composition, ‘Winchester Cathedral’, a tale of lost love in deepest Hampshire, England, sung in the style of a Bertie Wooster character complete with megaphone vocals. Stephens could not sing and therefore his place was taken by songwriter John Carter. Carter and Stephens worked together on numerous catchy pop songs in the 60s, including the magnificent ‘My World Fell Down’ recorded by Sagittarius. The need for a permanent line-up arose when in 1966 this contagious single became an international success, to the bizarre extent of winning a Grammy for ‘Best Rock And Roll Record’. Having failed to tempt the nascent Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band into accepting the role, a group was assembled late in 1966 around Alan Klein aka Tristram, Seventh Earl of Cricklewood (b. 29 June 1942; vocals), Henri Harrison (b. 6 June 1943, Watford, Hertfordshire, England; drums), Stan Haywood (b. 23 August 1947, Dagenham, Essex, England; keyboards), Neil Korner (b. 6 August 1942, Ashford, Kent, England; bass), Mick Wilsher (b. 21 December 1945, Sutton, Surrey, England; guitar), Hugh ‘Shuggy’ Watts (b. 25 July 1941, Watford, Hertfordshire, England; trombone), Chris Eddy (b. 4 March 1942; bass), and the line-up was completed by Bob Kerr (b. 14 February 1943, London, England; trombone/saxophone), a refugee from the aforementioned Bonzos. The septet continued the 20s style of that debut release and had a second UK Top 10 hit with ‘Peek-A-Boo’ in 1967. That same year, ‘Finchley Central’ and ‘Green Street Green’ also charted in the Top 40, but very soon their novelty appeal waned and the band underwent a gradual process of disintegration while playing out their days on the Las Vegas and English cabaret circuit. Kerr pursued the madcap angle with his new unit, Bob Kerr’s Whoopee Band.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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