Biography


Vince Taylor was born Brian Maurice Holden on July 14th 1939 in Isleworth, Middlesex, England.
In 1946, his family immigrated to America and settled in New Jersey where Brian's father took work in a coal mine.

By 1955, his sister married Joe Barbera aka “Joe Singer”, who was claimed by some to have been Joe Barbera of Hanna-Barbera productions, the successful animated cartoon company who had produced Tom & Jerry cartoons. As a result, the Holdens moved to California where Brian attended Hollywood High School and studied radio and weather reports. He eventually took flying lessons at Glendale School and obtained a pilot's license.
In 1957, impressed by the music of Bill Haley, Gene Vincent and Elvis Presley, Brian began to sing at parties, school proms and amateur gigs. Backed by a local band, he started playing for the benefit of the American Legion as well as a few nightclubs along Zummah Beach. Joe Barbera, his brother-in-law, then became his manager.
When Barbera went to London on business he asked Brian to join him to check out the British music scene the following year. American rockers were high in demand in the UK. There he met a lad called Paul Taylor who gave him the address of The 2 I's coffee-bar in Old Compton Street in Soho. In August 1958, Brian went there with Barbera and Hollywood guitarist Bob Frieberg. They approached the members of the main resident band at the 2.I's comprising drummer Tony Meehan, bass player Tex Makins, and guitarist Tony Sheridan to become his backing group,The Play-Boys.
Whilst looking at a packet of Pall Mall cigarettes he noticed the phrase, “In hoc Vince’s”, and Brian very much liked the actor Robert Taylor, thus giving rise to his new stage name of 'Vince Taylor'.

The Playboys made their live debut at the Shepards Bush Gaumont. Then following gigs were few but Vince Taylor soon scored a short-term contract with Parlophone label that released his first single for Parlophone, “I Like Love”coupled with “Right Behind You Baby”, in november 1958. This record was recorded by a new line-up of The Playboys featuring guitarist Tony Harvey, bass player Brian Locking and drummer Brian Bennett who would later replaced Tony Meehan once again in the Shadows.

In December 1958, Vince Taylor, deputized at short notice, at the Regal, Colchester, for Cliff Richard who was suffering from an acute sore throat.

TV Producer Jack Good gave Vince Taylor and his band the opportunity to shine on his new show “Oh Boy” in late 1958 and early 1959 on the same bill as Neville Taylor & The Cutters... Tony Harvey soon left to join Clay Nicholls & his Blue Flames, and to be replaced by pianist Bryan Pugh aka “Lou Brian”,formerly with Colin Hicks & His Cabin Boys. Then Vince Taylor had fallen out with Tony Sheridan, who went on to front the Oh Boy’s resident trio, and replaced him with Joe Moretti, another ex-Cabin Boy. Vince Taylor went berseck after Jack Goode had demanded him to cut his hair or he wouldn't appear on the show anymore.

In February 1959, after these TV appearances, Vince Taylor & The Playboys went on the road in North England along with Johnny Duncan & The Bluegrass Boys, Billy Fury and Jill Day.

In April 1959, Vince Taylor released his second single for Parlophone-Odeon, “Pledgin' My Love” b/w “Brand New Cadillac”. The B-side “Brand New Cadillac” was probably his most-remembered work. It was an original composition, inspired by a lunch in the "Star Restaurant", on Old Compton St, and produced by Norrie Paramor, on which Joe Moretti played lead as he did a year later on Johnny Kidd & The Pirates’ British classic "Shakin' All Over".
Unfortunately they couldn't get any airplay on the B.B.C because of the name "Cadillac".
Parlophone wasn’t satisfied with the immediate results and broke the contract.

In May 1959, with help from his brother in-law, Joe Barbera, Vince Taylor opened up a club in London called “The Top Ten” in Berwick Street, Soho, where the band performed then Rick Hardy, former leader of The Worried Men, became the resident singer.

Soon after, Joe Barbera, who gave Vince Taylor 9 months to clean up and had to support him and the four band members every week during this period, finally returned to California and Vince Taylor & The Playboys parted company. No sooner had the tour finished than Barbera sacked Brian Locking and Brian Bennett, who had defected to Marty Wilde’s Wildcats – replacing Tex Makins and Bobby Woodman. Joe Moretti went on to replace Denny Wright as guitarist with Johnny Duncan's blue grass Boys and Lou Brian reinvented himself as “Perry Ford” then who would later become successful with the Vocal trio The Ivy League, after a stint in the Echoes, and as songwriter (for Adam Faith).

Vince Taylor also got to California for a short stay then return to UK where he had to find a new manager and contacted Tom Littlewood, who became the new manager of the 2i’s Coffee Bar. Taylor first was backed by the former Terry Dene’s sidemen, bass player Brian Gregg and drummer Clem Cattini, both freshly returned from Sweeden. They were often accompanied at The 2i’s by pianists Mike O'Neill or Miki Dallon. But soon after, Gregg and Cattini accepted Larry Parnes’ invitation to become the core of The New Beat Boys, backing his singers on package tours such as “The Big Beat Show” from august 1959. They actually were brought in to replace Makins and Woodman who had just been elbowed from the band after having missed some rehearsals.

Then Vince Taylor went out on a package tour, the “Big Beat Dance Of '59”, from August 21st to September 26th 1959, with Chas McDevitt & Shirley Douglas, both acts backed by Leroy Powell & the Beatniks featuring future Gladiator Tommy Brown on drums. Taylor eventually would recorded a song composed by Chas McDevitt 'Move Over Tiger', for Palette Records, the following year. After that Vince did a deal with Tom Littlewood, who put him out on the road with Keith Kelly and all-purpose backing band held together by Bobby Woodman.

Late September 1959, Woodman teamed up again with Makins and a Lancastrian guitarist called Kenny Fillingham to become the core of a trio backing Vince Taylor for a 3-week tour of Wales and Brighton. They met Fillingham, formerly with the Dominoes from Wigan during their brief stint with Rory Blackwell & the Blackjacks in Islington, London. They persuaded him to let them bleach his hair before he went back to the fold.

Just before this last tour, Vince Taylor had travelled to Southampton and contacted local promoter Reg Calvert who’d booked for the next season. Calvert then recruited a new set of Playboys: guitarist Brian Marshall and bass player John Cobb aka “Johnny Vance”, both from the Portsmouth-based Strollers, teaming up with lead guitarist Geoffrey Gloverwright aka “Buddy Britten” and drummer Johnny Watson, who had just finished a Summer season at Butlin’s holiday camp in Filey, with Clay Nicholls & The Blue Flames alongside Tony Harvey.
The quartet backed Vince Taylor but also Buddy Britten, Britain’s answer to Buddy Holly, for about 5 months. They were The New Playboys as well as The first incarnation of The Buddy Britton Trio.

Reg Calvert put them out on the road as a package show: they opened the show with Buddy Britten singing lead as The Buddy Britton Trio, Brian Marshall came on as “Tony Trent”, and then Vince Taylor would close the show with them, Buddy playing lead.

In January 1960, Brian Marshall, Johnny Vance and Johnny Watson moved to London with Vince Taylor, leaving Buddy Britten to carry on working for Reg Calvert.
They took a residency at The 2i’s Coffee Bar for 3 months until mid March 1960, backing Vince but also Tony Sheridan, Keith Kelly, Lance Fortune among others.
Weekends, they played other venues: mostly Rock’n’Roll Jamboree Dances organised by Rory “Shakes” Blackwell.
After having supported Gene Vincent and Eddie Cochran during their tour of Britain for 4 months,Tony Sheridan would eventually come back to the fold, replacing Brian Marshall, who returned to Portsmouth.
Shortly thereafter, Bobby Woodman took over Johnny Watson on drums and then rolled his mates but also original Playboys’ bass player Tex Makins who was just returned from a Scotland Tour with Vince Eager & His Quiet Three and finally filled in Johnny Vance’s shoes for a short while prior to going on the road once again with Eager.

Vince Taylor & his New Playboys took part of a benefit for the family of the late Eddie Cochran, who had died in a car crash on April 17, 1960.
On April 30, 1960, they appeared on ABC TV's "Wham!" along with Wee Willie Harris and Johnny Kidd & the Pirates featuring former Playboys Joe Moretti, Brian Gregg and Clem Cattini.
In May 1960, they were joined by another original Wildcat and Beat Boy, pianist Alan LeClaire who had begun a vain quest for solo recognition during the last part of 59.

Then Tony Sheridan was hired by keyboardist Iain Hines and went to Hamburg with the Jets, and played the Kaiserkeller Club from June to September 1960. And another original came back to the fold: Tony Harvey, this once playing on lead.

Vince Taylor moved to Palette Records and recorded with the New Set of Playboys “I’ll Be Your Hero” b/w “Jet Black Machine”, which was released on August 19, 1960.
Vince decided to get dressed in black leather from head to toe on stage after he saw a model dressed with, in a winter sports shop window, in London. This was very unusual and caught the eyes. However American Rocker Gene Vincent already used to wear black leather whe he first visited Britain in late ’59.

Vince Taylor's unstable caracter caused several arguments within the band and The Playboys parted company with him and changed their name to "The Bobbie Clarke Noise". During a British Rock Festival at The Olympia, Paris, in July, 1961, he was spotted by Bruno Coquatrix, who contacted French A&R, Eddie Barclay, who signed him to a six-year record deal on his label that issued 5 EP's and one LP from September 1961 to January 1962.
Vince went to all the top parties in Paris as “The black demon of rock”.
During 1961 and 1962, Vince Taylor toured Europe including The French Riviera, Belgium, Spain, and The Netherlands, with Bobbie Clarke's band, renamed “Vince Taylor and his Playboys”.
By the end of 1962, they even were the top of the bill at the Olympia, Paris but shortly thereafter, the off-stage relationship faltered and Taylor played engagements backed by another English band "The Dragons".

Agreements weren't scarse and Vince started to play dressed from head to toe in leather, but white.
In mid 60s, Vince met Bob Dylan, Nico and a few other people from the Acid Rock scene. A mixture of acid, amphetamines and alcohol proved fatal to his mind and he then joined a religious movement. He had a break down - coming on stage and trying to evangelize the audience, he claimed to be the prophet Matthew. But the audience thought that it was part of the shows.
After that, things went downhill for Vince.
In autumn 1969, musicpapers 'Bonjour les Amis' and 'Disco-Revue' started a support campaign for Taylor asking its readers to write in to Barclay's Record Company saying how much they would love to see the rock star make another record. Eddie Barclay, finally convinced, gave a new chance to Vince who recorded again and performed intermittently throughout the following decades.
During his last years, Vince Taylor lived in Lausanne, Switzerland, where he took work as an airplane mechanic.
He died on August 28, 1991 at 52.

1 commentaire:

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