Russ Sainty and the Nu-Notes

Russ Sainty photo

Russ Sainty


The Award for the Musician who played the California more times than any other goes to.......

Russ Sainty

1943 - 2021

Russ Sainty played the California Ballroom most weeks, and often twice a week, over a number of years.

On October 13th 1962, he celebrated his 200th appearance there. Edwin Green presented him with a desk.

In all, between 1960 and 1965 he performed 314 separate sets.


The discography has been verified by Russ


In the beginning......

Russ was born Alfred Sainty in April 1938. At the age of 20 he made his debut performance at The Antelope in Leyton with the BUDDY MONROE 5

2i coffee bar

2i's coffee bar

The place to be seen and heard in those days was a coffee bar in Old Compton Street called 2i's. It was owned by Paul Lincoln, a wrestler and promoter but was a hotbed for all the aspiring and big name acts of the day. It had an old piano and not much else but its fame was world-wide as the place to be. Tom Littlewood was the doorman, he also taught Judo and auditioned the acts. Alfred was offered a place, subsequently doing a 20 minute act every night for the next year, backed by Tony Sheridan and his friends.

A band called the 4 TEENS from Stamford Hill were looking for a singer and asked Alfred who accepted. It seems that at this time they changed their name to the NU-NOTES. They played Halls and Airbases around London covering the big numbers of the day by Elvis Presley, the Everlys etc. but although they had no original material they were known for their vocal backings.

"Alfred" was decidedly not "Rock n Roll" and something had to be done about it. A girlfriend at the time suggested that he looked more like a Russ and the name stuck.

In 1959 he passed a BBC audition which led to more than 500 radio appearances. He became a regular on the popular programme of the day - the Saturday Club.

Russ Sainty and Rhett Stoller

Russ Sainty and Rhett Stoller
on stage at the California Ballroom

The Cali years......

Around this time Edwin Green was building himself a Ballroom in Dunstable. It was to be called The California Pool Ballroom and he needed some acts. In those days it was usual for a venue to have a resident band and when Edwin saw Russ he offered him the position. Russ accepted along with Rhet Stoller, Bernie Martin, Mel Miller and Roy Toft - The NU-NOTES. The early rehearsals were done amidst builders and carpenters but on the 12th March 1960 the California opened its doors and Russ found himself on stage with RONNIE CARROLL and the RAY MILLER ORCHESTRA.

Russ and the NU-NOTES appeared almost every Friday and Saturday for the next year, often headlining for some very big names. It was a busy year. From July to October, the band had a summer season at Butlins in Bognor, and whilst there, Russ met and courted a 17-year old Redcoat called Ann.

The band made a number of recordings. Whether the promotion was wrong, timing was out or they just weren't good enough, none of them charted. It has been said that they were a great live band and just didn't come across on vinyl. Guitarist, Rhet Stoller, recorded a solo number called 'Chariot'. This reached number 26 in January 1961 and he soon left to start a group of his own called the DYNAMICS, taking drummer Bernie Martin with him.

Nothing stays the same....

Russ Sainty advert

Early California Ballroom advert

The NU-NOTES regrouped with new members. Nigel Menday came in on drums and Rhet was replaced by Big Jim Sullivan who had been with the Wild Cats. Six months later Jim was offered studio work and left. He was replaced by Roger Dean who had been a trainee manager at the Maples store in the Tottenham Court Road. 1962 was a whirlwind of work and the guys never stopped. They appeared on the BBC Radio programme "Meet the Beatles" and toured with BOBBY VEE & THE CRICKETS as well as dashing back to the California for regular appearances. Nigel Menday left the group to join Pam Cordell and was replaced by their old mate Bernie Martin.

By 1963 the beat era was coming to an end. Groups like the ROLLING STONES were beginning to surface, making waves on the music scene. Russ and the NU-NOTES carried on but gigs were beginning to dry up. They headlined for the STONES at the end of 1963 and the beginning of 1964, but on the latter of these, it was noted by a customer that the STONES were using the big stage along with Russ. By their third appearance, the STONES had charted and were now the headliners.

Russ and the NU-NOTES continued to perform at the California throughout 63 and 64 but the end was near. They made their last performance at the California on 24th April 1965.

Russ takes up the story.......

Following those heady wonderful Rock 'n' Roll days of the late 50's and early 60's, I married Ann and had two children, Michelle and Darren and am now a grandfather. Ann and I went into the catering business with a 52 seater restaurant and two take-away food outlets called Ann's Bake 'n' Take. These were in Hampshire where we still live to this day, though we have moved many times, only to come back again.

I always continued my showbiz career - broadcasting with the Beeb, recording and doing all the Northern clubs. I went to South Africa in 1976 to do a club circuit in Durban and Cape Town and in the early 80's headed for Florida to work the cruise liners. In 1982 I came back to take over as Entertainment Manager for Warners at Sinah Warren on Hayling Island. Ann was my assistant and this continued for three years. It was a great experience putting on four shows a week and all that goes with this type of job.

Russ Sainty

Russ Sainty

After this I went back to doing my solo cabaret until the late 80's when I was asked to join the Fabulous Dallas Boys as lead singer. This was also great experience, singing five part harmonies with such a great cabaret group.

In 1997 I was asked to do my own one hour Rock 'n' Roll show at Butlins in Bognor Regis. I jumped at this. I had 8 dancers and a ten piece band with click tracks and the show ran for 27 weeks. Best of all, some 37 years prior to this, it was Russ Sainty who was booked with the NU-NOTES to do the first opening season of this camp.

I have done several seasons since then at local holiday centres and continued my own solo act with backing tracks and all of my own equipment. Ann operates it for me.

Well, that's about it up to date. For the past 17 years I have been breeding and racing greyhounds as a hobby and I still have my trainers licence.

Greyhound logo



With the release of 'Send me the pillow that you dream on' they came up with a gimmick which involved throwing little satin pillows into the audience. Russ' sister used to make these. Does anyone out there still have one?


We're falling in love - 1968

We're falling in love - 1968

A Message from Russ Sainty

Dec 2003

I have only recently been made aware of this website and must say I was, and am, amazed, thrilled shocked and all that jazz, to think of all the work put in to do this. 

As for me, I'm fine and still doing the odd gig, though I have to say this past year has been fairly quiet. The past fifteen years or so has been good re gigs so I have to be happy with that. For six years up until 1998 I was singing as lead vocal with THE DALLAS BOYS, remember them? Doing that together with my own solo gigs kept me on my toes I have to say. These days as one would expect I have a strong hours cabaret show and still enjoy doing it.

The Cali was as we all know, a very special place, and we all carry our own particular memories. For me, I had so many friends/fans, it was like a big family get together every weekend. Together with THE NU-NOTES I did more shows than anyone, though I'm not at all sure how many, if any one does know the answer I would love to know. (Okay, give me a few hours to add them all up - webmaster)

I think I should mention, that I am a complete beginner on the PC so I will keep this short and have to say I'm not sure how to send this onto the site?? (You did fine - webmaster)

God Bless




Singles Happy-go-lucky-me Two other versions were released on the same day by Paul Williams and Frank Ifield Standing Around Top Rank JAR 381 1960
Too Shy Race With The Devil Decca 45-F11270 1960
Don't Believe Him, Donna Your Other Love Decca 4511325 1961
Keep Your Love Locked I've Got A Girl HMV POP 1055 1962
Send Me The Pillow That You Dream On What Do You Know About That HMV POP 1069 1962
Unforgettable Love The Twinkle In Your Eye HMV POP 1181 1963
Lonesome Town That's How I'm Gonna Love You Parlaphone R 5168 1964
This Is My Lovely Day Bless You Girl Columbia DB 7397  1964
She Saving My Tears Columbia DB 7708 1965
It Ain't That Easy And Then Columbia DB 7521 1965
We’re Falling In Love I Can Give You A Love Rediffusion RIM 8 1968
The 50's hits right here on 45   Russ Records Russ1 1983
Something tells me - EP   President 574  
With Nu-Notes Hall Of Mirrors Fury HMV POP 1232 1963
Kathy/ Sunset HMV POP 1311 1964
With Dallas Boys A pot of pure gold   President 5017447511414 1991

  Album Title Label and Number Year
  Swingin' London Saga STFID 2100


FID 2117


Swinging London 2 Boulevard 4070 1972
The Genius of Lennon & McCartney Society STSOC 1035  
  Million copy sellers made famous by the Beatles - with Johnny Arthey orchestra Russ Sainty album Boulevard 4064  
UK Teenage Jamboree

various artists includes track

Race with the Devil - Russ Sainty & Nu-Notes
CDs Legends of British Rock and Roll

various artists includes track

Race with the Devil - Russ Sainty & Nu-Notes
ECD 3406   
Rockin' the British Isles

various artists includes track

Don't Believe Him, Donna
RRR 1003 Limited Australian Pressing   
Cinebox Go Away Little Girl Cinebox films are the early 1960s version of our music videos today. They were distributed on color 16mm film with a magnetic soundtrack and had to be played on a Cinebox Jukebox.  


Russ Sainty Appearances


Saturday Night, Sunday Morning

Radio Shows

Meet the Beatles - Show 10 - 20 August 1963. 

The Saturday Club

Over 500 appearances in total


The Nu-Notes

There were various changes in line-up over the years

The Nu-Notes
Name: Instrument and order of joining
Rhet Stoller Guitar (1)
Roy Toft Guitar / Vocals
Mel Miller Bass / Vocals
Laurie Jay Drums (1)
Bernie Martin Drums (2)(4)
Big Jim Sullivan Guitar (2)
Roger Dean Guitar (3)
Nigel Menday Drums (3)

Nu-Notes Recordings
1 Hall Of Mirrors/Fury (HMV POP 1232) 1963
2 Kathy/Sunset (HMV POP 1311) 1964
Instrumental Diamonds 1


British instrumentals

various artists

Sequel NEXCD 149
nu-notes album

Fury was written by Russ Sainty

Rhet Stoller wrote the Match of the Day theme

Roger Dean went on to play with John Mayall's Bluesbreakers

Bernie Martin later achieved success in Italy with The Bad Boys

Hamilton Folk Four

45: Ballad Of A Teenage Queen/How Can I Tell Maureen (Columbia DB 7557) 1965

'How can I tell Maureen' penned by Russ Sainty and Rhet Stoller



If anyone wishes to contact Russ I'm sure he'd be delighted to hear from you.

Please send mail via the feedback form in the first instance - marked FAO Russ - and I'll pass it on


Current Album - I Am A Song

Russ Sainty current album

Russ Sainty latest CD


I'm Back
One Of These Days
Blue Velvet
Rock 'n' Roll Medley - Part 1
A Summer Love
America / You Baby Baby
Hello Again
If I Ever Get The Chance
You May Not Be An Angel
Earth Angel
Rock 'n' Roll Medley - Part 2
Through My Eyes
I Don't Know
Send Me The Pillow
I Am A Song

Not available in the shops
please contact us for details

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