A solid silver silver anniversary

PACKAGE tours were all the rage in the sixties, when a batch of artists – usually about half a dozen – would perform in one show.

The concept has been kept alive by The Solid Silver 60’s Show, which this year is celebrating its own silver anniversary; that’s 25 years of keeping the sounds of the sixties alive.

Starting out in 1985, the line-up of acts has changed every year, although some of the artists have appeared many times.

One thing that hasn’t changed is the popularity of the tours, which consistently sell out all over the country.

For this silver celebration there is a special line-up, with no less than seven hit-makers performing during what will be a stupendous night of nostalgia and music.

In no particular order, there is Mike Pender, Dave Berry, Peter Sarstedt, Brian Poole, Vanity Fare, The Swinging Blue Jeans and The Troggs.

Mike was an integral member of The Searchers, being their lead singer from their formation until he left the band in 1985.

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As a member of The Searchers, Mike featured on a trio of classic chart toppers with Needles And Pins, Sweets For My Sweet and Don’t Throw Your Love Away.

He continues to tour with his own band, bringing those wonderful hits to life again.

Brian was the original lead singer with The Tremeloes. Among the hits he sang on, before he left the band to go solo in the mid-sixties, were Do You Love Me and Someone Someone, which reached number one and number two in the charts respectively.

Apprentice welder turned singing sensation Dave had success with one of the classic songs of the sixties – The Crying Game – back in 1964, while Mama also hit the top five in 1966.

Look out for his autobiography coming out later this year.

No one can forget the Ivor Novello Award-winning song Where Do You Go To My Lovely, a number one hit for Peter.

A true troubadour, he also hit the charts with Beirut and is the brother of Eden Kane and Robin Sarstedt, who have had hits of their own.

Keeping these four great solo acts in check are Vanity Fare, who will be backing them all.

After their first single, I Live For The Sun, hit the charts in 1968 they also charted with Hitchin’ A Ride and Early in the Morning.

The band still has three original members in Eddie Wheeler, Mark Ellen and Bernie Hagley – the baby of the group, who joined the band in 1972.

Special guests The Swinging Blue Jeans, with founder member Ray Ennis still in the ranks, was one of the foremost bands of the Merseybeat era. Thanks to their multi-million seller Hippy Hippy Shake they appeared on the very first edition of Top Of The Pops and also had hits with You’re No Good and Good Golly Miss Molly to name but two of their other smashes.

The Troggs, who are the very special guests on the night, have two founder members still in evidence with Reg Presley and Chris Britton.

Having been together for nigh on 50 years, The Troggs’ hits include Wild Thing, I Can’t Control Myself, Any Way That You Want Me and the record-breaking Love Is All Around.

Peter, whose Where Do You Go To My Lovely was at the top of the charts for three weeks in March 1969, was traveling around Europe as a musician when he wrote the song.

“I was trying to write myself an act,” Peter says during a break in rehearsals. “I needed a long song and was determined to write my own songs. It was in 1966 that I wrote the song and I’d settled down in Copenhagen for a bit. I was very happy at the time.”

Amazingly, he isn’t miffed that he seems to be remembered just for that one song.

“Not really, as a songwriter, at least I’ve one song that’s been recognisable,” he says.

“Songwriting is a muscle, you’ve got to use it or lose it, and I’m still writing today. Frank Allen [of The Searchers] says that I wrote myself a pension. It’s kind of an iconic song and quite intellectual. Also, it doesn’t have any drums on it, which was unusual.”

The pace of the show will be pretty brisk, as Bernie, of Vanity Fare, hints.

“The timings are quite tight in the show as there’s a lot to get through and we will only be able to do a couple of our own songs.”

“The show will probably run like this – a couple of solo acts, then us, a couple more solo acts then one of the bands. And the same for the second half.”

He adds: “We’ve worked with Brian, Mike and Dave before but not Peter. We’ve done some rehearsals with him and have been working on the material on our own, but it should be a great night.”

n The Solid Silver 60’s Tour 2010 is touring throughout the country and will be at the Ipswich Regent on May 5.