Thursday, January 10, 2013
Little Richard/Gene Vincent/Eddie Cochran 1957 Australian Tour
Promoted by the Big Show Lee Gordon Little Richard Gene Vincent and the Blue Caps Eddie Cochran Alis Lesley Johnny O'keefe and the Dee Jays Dates- Wollongong Crown Theatre October 1st 1957 Newcastle Stadium October 2nd 1957 Brisbane Stadium October 3rd 1957 Sydney Stadium October 4th and 5th 1957 Broken Hill Masonic Hall October 6th Adelaide Wayville Stadium October 7th Melbourne Stadium October 8th,9th and 10th Sydney Stadium October 11th and 12th This tour in October 1957 was the second rock n roll tour of Australia and it was to become in the period an dramatic time in the history of space with the launch of Sputnik the first satellite as well as to be an dramatic in the history of rock n roll. Little Richard(Richard Penniman) who had been on the scene since 1955 with hits like Tutti Frutti, Lucille, Long Tall Sally, Jenny Jenny, slippin and Slidin etc, Gene Vincent and the Blue Caps who had been on the scene since 1956 with hits like Be Bop A Lula, Lotta Lovin, Race With the devil,Blue Jean Bop and others and an incredible band the Blue Caps which featured Drummer Dickie Harrell, guitarist Cliff Gallup who left in 1956 which was taken by Russell Williford before eventually taken by Johnny Meeks, Tommy Facenda,Bobby jones and Paul peek, Eddie Cochran who had been on the scene in that year with sittin in the Balcony and Drive In Show and all those 3 performers had been in the 1956 movie The Girl Can't Help It which Little Richard sang the title track. Alis lesley was called the female Elvis and an single on the Era label with He Will Come BAck To Me/Heartbreak HArry. this tour would also feature an Australian act that was to be Johnny O'keefe and the Dee Jays and O'keefe had singing around Sydney since the early 50's doing Johnny Ray impersonation and was performing with the Gus merzi quartet and had gotten into rock n roll when he went to see the movie the Blackboard Jungle @ St James' Theatre in June 1955 which he realised that the kind of music he wanted to perform. He formed the Dee Jays in late 1956 and had played around the dances in sydney.O'keefe began recording for Festival Records in 1957 and had singles You Hit the Wrong Note Billy Goat (which did'nt get airplay in Sydney but did airplay in Melbourne due to Stan Rofe) and Am I blue. Johnny O'Keefe and the Dee Jays were not originally selected to be on the tour but when Gene Vincent and His Blue Caps were offloaded in Honolulu on the way to Australia both Lee Gordon and Alan Heffernan who were aware that Johnny and the Dee Jays had an strong following in Sydney went to Valentine's restaurant which was below O'keefe's father's furniture store where Johnny and the Dee Jays were rehearsing and asked him about getting the group to play Gene Vincent's music as well as backing up Alis Lesley and Eddie Cochran which O'Keefe would only agree if he could perform 3 songs in his own segment so they did. The tour began in Wollongong on October 1st which O'keefe got booed but he won the crowd over and the same thing happend in Sydney but after that never got booed again and the rest of the tour was very successful packing out the venues which in Adelaide there was an problem was when the police appoarched Alan heffernan that if the crowd become too wild the police would close the show down and in Melbourne an near riot occured in the ringside seats when Little Richard threw the clothes he had shedded into the crowd which it took the attendants some time to break the group trying to gain possession of it and the police told him not to do the striptease in the second session. it was in Melbourne where Little Richard saw the appearence of the russian sputnik on it's orbit around the earth which got him into an panic and that was when he thought the world was going to an end as well he decided to become an minster when he got back to the USA which in the second show in his robes reading the bible for 20 minutesand it was in Newcastle where he threw his rings,bracelets and necklaces into the water when the tour was crossing the Hunter River which the tour finished in Sydney on the 12th. Little Richard did go to the ministry as well as recording gospel music but came back in secular music in the early 60's and still performing to this day. Eddie Cochran went on to have successful hits like Come On Everybody, Summertime BLues, Somethin ELse etc until his tragic death in an car crash in England on April 17th 1960, Gene vincent went to record and perform even though he would one more top 40 hit in the USA with Dance To the Bop as well as survivng the car crash that killed Eddie Cochran in 1960 and he passed away on October 12th 1971 from an ulcer. Johnny O'keefe would go on to have great successs with hits like the Wild One, Shout, She's My baby, Come on and take my hand, Right Now, Sing, Move Baby Move, Mockingbird and many others as well as hosting Six O'Clock Rock, The Johnny O'Keefe Show, Sing Sing Sing and Where the Action Is and really opened the doors for Australian rock & he passed away on October 6th 1978 and also his old band the Dee Jays are still around with drummer Catfish Purser as they play around the Gold COast area.