1965 Georgie Fame & The Blue Flames – Yeh, Yeh
Clive Powell grew up in England and played in bands while still a teenager. When he turned 16, he moved to London and signed with Larry Parnes, who refused to sign Clive unless he changed his name. His name became Georgie Fame.
Georgie spent a year playing with Gene Vincent and Eddie Cochran before joining Billy Fury’s band. Billy dropped his band in 1961, and they remained together and became Georgie Fame & The Blue Flames.
The band signed with EMI Columbia and recorded their first album in 1963 and a second album in 1964.
Ronan O’Rahilly did his best to get the band’s music played on BBC radio, but when his efforts did not pay off he promised to start his own radio station to get them some airplay. That radio station eventually became the off-shore pirate station, Radio Caroline.
Mongo Santamaria is probably best known for writing the song Watermelon Man. He wrote a tune that Jon Hendricks added lyrics to, resulting in Georgie’s first hit record: Yeh Yeh. The single reached the top of the UK chart and also peaked at #21 on the US Hot 100 in 1965.
Georgie had three more singles that missed in the US charts but landed in the top forty in the UK.
He finally found another hit in early 1966. He wrote and recorded Get Away, and the record became his second number one in the UK. The record doesn’t appear to have charted on WABC in New York City, but it spent most of August on WMCA’s top 57, where it peaked at#37. Nationally, the single peaked at only #70 on the Hot 100.
After one more single with the Blue Flames, Georgie moved on to a solo career. He had his last chart-topping single in the UK and his only top ten single in the US with The Ballad Of Bonnie And Clyde in 1967. His other singles during the sixties did not do well.
In 1971, Georgie teamed up with keyboard player Alan Price (who formerly played with the Animals) and they nearly cracked the UK top ten with Rosetta. The single did well in a few other countries as well, but the US did not take notice.
Georgie has since focused on more r&b and jazz-related music. He also joined Van Morrison’s touing band and produced some of Van’s music.
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