Noel Lawrence was bass player with the Shades.
He now lives in Canada and has kindly contributed the following items to the site
If you remember the Shades why not tell Noel. You can mail me and I'll pass it on
Hi, I am a new visitor to your site and live in London, Canada. I was the bass player in the band 'Johhny Mike and the Shades' which you show on January 25th 1964 doing a show with the Stones. We played several times with them both before they became famous and after if my memory serves me right and also did some TV shows together as part of the bill.
We toured with major stars such as Roy Orbison, The Everly Brothers and did shows with every one from Dusty Springfield to The Who.
I have lost track of all the members of the J, M and the Shades except for the guitarist Dave Sumner who eventually joined Mal Ryder and the Primitives (after I had left the Shades), and moved to Italy where he played for Cameleonti for several years and still plays in various bands, even at the age of 60+.
I cannot find any trace of our band's performances anywhere
and so I was very excited to see the name crop up on your site.
We were regular BBC Saturday Club performers and were only kept
from being a major hit by a poor record company deal with Decca.
This was orchestrated by our manager, Jack Fallon who owned the
CANA Variety Agency on Wardour Street in London.
If any one can tell me where to find info on the band I would be eternally grateful.
ps. the Band was from Bath in Somerset but moved to London when we became full professionals.
Brrrr! And what a way to start off our first newsletter. It was so cold at the beginning of January that our rhythm guitarist ‘Drive’ Ranse had to have de-icers fitted to his eyelids.
Dec. 31st. found us at Northampton and the next day, New Years day, we had to battle, with the help of a borrowed shovel, our way to Swindon. In places the snow was up to the ‘Shadesmobiles’ window but somehow we managed to arrive on time. After Swindon we raced to London for a most important appointment, the first rehearsal for our very first television booking.
Saturday Jan. 5th. we had our first breakdown. We finally restarted and nursed our ‘sick’ vehicle all the way to Peterborough from London, and we weren’t all that late either! Here was born a Shades motto, namely “The Shades always get through”.
Calling at Mansfield on Sunday we were very much keyed up for Monday's rehearsal for the BBC’s 6.25 show. On Tuesday, the great day, we rehearsed all day, right up to the show. A temporary setback was encountered when ‘Charge’ Burns managed to get held up by a swing bridge in the centre of Bristol, thus arriving 30 minutes late for the afternoon session, but fortunately the producer ( an absolute tyrant by the name of Albert Stephenson – added note from Noel), was very understanding and we all breathed again.
Sun. 13th. Jan found us groping through dense fog in Liverpool. It took us 2 hours to travel 5 miles. Actually we rather enjoyed our brief stay in ‘Beatle’ country but on our way back to London our van suffered a further ailment. This time the battery became overcharged and nearly gassed us all to death just outside Stafford. This happened at 1 o’clock. By 7 o’clock we were ready to move off again. By 10 o’clock everybody was suffering from a severe throat and stomach infection known as ‘lack of cup of tea ititis’. It was therefore decided to call on Noel Burns' unsuspecting parents for the antidote, which was hastily supplied much to the satisfaction of all concerned. Leaving Noel’s home (now tealess), which is just outside Birmingham, a trouble free cruise was envisaged. This was not to be however because to make our day complete we sustained a puncture and when we finally collapsed into the beds of our London Hotel we terminated a journey that had taken 16 hours to complete.
The following weekend we were due back in Birmingham but in the meantime we discovered that one of our members, Mike Wayne, who shall remain nameless, had left his band suit in Liverpool. Panic! Hasty phone calls and much pleading failed to stir the GPO into tracing the suit which had been expressed but, oh dear, wrongly addressed. Unfortunately we had to do the Birmingham show without it. Still, Mike looked nice in his shirt tails and underwear. He was a sensation!
On Tuesday 22nd. We were lounging about in Bournemouth when a distress call was picked up. This entailed a headlong dash up to Swindon to back Mike Berry who was having ‘group troubles’. A strange sight was seen at Aylesbury a few days later when the Shades nearly ran down people who were queuing up in the street. We found out afterwards that there had been a power cut and these people were waiting for bread.
No harm was done however and Jan 31st. found us speeding towards Doncaster. It may be a coincidence but whenever the Shades visit Doncaster the weather takes a very big turn for the worse and the fog, snow and ice are but a few of the hazards to be braved. On this occasion however we were very pleased to make lots of new friends, especially in the Sheffield area. One consolation for the cold weather was as always the warm and generous hospitality of our now old friends, Mr. and Mrs. Walker of the ‘Moorends Hotel’ in Thorne, nr. Doncaster.
Packing our bags on Tuesday, Feb 5th. ‘we set sail’ for Southampton. After the show we found that some kind and generous person had let our tyres down, which should deter a return to the area concerned until we can at least afford an armed guard. It took two hours to get going again and no sooner were we on the road than we ran into a blinding snowstorm. We had originally planned to drive to Bath and then everybody, excepting Noel and Dave, would have been able top return to their homes. This was not to be however and a very surprised mother of Mike Wayne (who shall still remain brainless after the suit episode), found six Shades and one manager draped all over her dining room when she awoke the following morning.
The next day was even better because when we arrived in London we found we were locked out and spent the early hours of the morning touring the ‘embankment’.
We were all looking forward to the show on the 9th Feb as it was a new place, Ramsey to be precise. Once again we made a lot of new friends. Folkestone also brought forth some more and altogether we really enjoyed our stay there.
Tuesday 19th. Feb. found us appearing with Mike Berry once again. On Wednesday we had a laugh when ‘Drive’ and Pete fell off the revolving stage at Stevenage. It took the rest of us 2 hours to stop laughing.
A great time was had by all on the Friday at a college dance. We only had to travel a couple of miles for this show but just in case we left a couple of hours early, that is 5 o’clock, the navigation being in the capable hands of ‘Drive’. Comes 7 o’clock and we are still looking, ‘Drive’ having been completely beaten to death by this time – a most definite improvement we all agreed. However, we finally made it and as mentioned we had a great time.
Herne Bay, another new place for us, was our next port of call and although I’m afraid we got lost again, we were not late.
A catastrophe on Sunday when Mike was taken ill with foul pest or gastro enteritis, we never found out which, and poor old Johnny Cannon had to do the show on his own. We would like to apologize to all our friends at Maidstone but this was unavoidable and the first time it had happened to us.
Mike recovered in time for a show at St. Albans on March 2nd. and a good job because once again it was a new place and new friends were very forthcoming.
Well we have decided to end the first newsletter here as the length of time to be covered is quite considerable. In the next letter we shall endeavour to catch up on the period from March to date. Hoping to see you all soon, bye’ for now. JOHNNY, MIKE, NOEL, PETE, DAVE, DRIVE AND JACK.Keep laughing!
Copyright 2004 Noel Lawrence. All rights reserved.
The line up has a very long and interesting history.