||This article's lead section may not adequately summarize key points of its contents. (August 2011)|
Alvin Stardust in 1974
|Birth name||Bernard William Jewry|
|Also known as||Shane Fenton|
|Born||27 September 1942|
|Origin||Muswell Hill, North London, England|
|Genres||Glam rock, rock and roll, pop, musical theatre|
Early life and career
Moving to Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, at a young age, he attended the Southwell Minster Collegiate Grammar School (now Southwell Minster School) as a boarder. He made his stage debut in pantomime at the age of four.
In the early 1960s, Shane Fenton and the Fentones were an unknown teenage band who recorded a demo tape and mailed it in to a BBC programme with the hope of being picked to appear on TV. While awaiting a reply from the BBC, the band's 17-year-old singer Shane Fenton (born John Theakstone, 1944–1961) died as a result of the rheumatic fever he had suffered in childhood. The rest of the band (guitarists Jerry Wilcox and Mick Eyre, bassist William "Bonny" Oliver and drummer Tony Hinchcliffe) decided to break up, but then unexpectedly received a letter from the BBC inviting them to come to London to audition in person for the programme. Theakstone's mother asked the band to stay together, and to keep its name, in honour of her son's memory. Jewry, who was a roadie with the group at the time, was asked to become the new Shane Fenton. The combo had a handful of hits in the UK Singles Chart, basing their sound on that of the Shadows: "I'm A Moody Guy", "Walk Away", "It's All Over Now" and their biggest hit, "Cindy's Birthday". These and their subsequent misses were all on Parlophone. Jewry later also appeared in Billy Fury's movie, Play It Cool. He was managed by Larry Parnes.
From Jewry to Stardust
Jewry disappeared from the spotlight for a decade after the break-up of the Fentones, working in music management and performing at small venues with his wife Iris Caldwell, the sister of Rory Storm. During the early 1970s, however, Jewry acquired a new persona, Alvin Stardust, as he successfully cashed in on the glam rock bandwagon. His name was given to him by Michael Levy (later Lord Levy) who owned his record label, Magnet Records. His debut hit was "My Coo Ca Choo" in 1973. Stardust had other chart successes with the hits "Jealous Mind" (UK No. 1.), "You, You, You", "Red Dress" and "Good Love Can Never Die". In total, he amassed seven Top Ten entries, in a chart span lasting almost 25 years.
Stardust was part of the Green Cross Code road safety campaign Children's Heroes (1976) with his famous tagline of "You must be out of your tiny minds" directing children to look both ways before they cross the road. He later reprised this role in a sketch on Harry Hill's TV Burp, teaching the residents of Emmerdale how to cross the road.
1980s and beyond
The singles "I Feel Like Buddy Holly", written and produced by Mike Batt and "I Won't Run Away" reach the number 7 position on the UK Singles Chart, in 1984. "So Near To Christmas" was a minor hit, #29, in the same year.
In 1986, Stardust performed the duet "I Hope and I Pray" with Sheila Walsh on her album Shadowlands, which was released as a single. That year he also performed at Windsor Castle as a lead in the Lloyd Webber–Rice musical Cricket.
He also starred in the UK tour of Godspell and played Uriah Heep in David Copperfield – The Musical and Sir Billy Butlin in The Butlin Story at the London Palladium. In 2005 he starred as the Child Catcher in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, also at the London Palladium.
Stardust has numerous television appearances to his credit, and continues to tour as a performer and singer. In 1989, he also hosted his very own Sunday morning children's TV series on ITV called It's Stardust. It featured stories, songs, poems, jokes and also cartoons and shows for younger children including Rocky Hollow, Wimpole Village, The Adventures of Parsley, Little Miss and Satellite City.
During one show, in 1994, he was performing My Coo Ca Choo when one of the pyrotechnics went wrong and blew up in his face, knocking him to the ground. After a night in hospital, he was checked out the next day with no major problems.
|Year||Title||UK Singles Chart|
|1961||"I'm A Moody Guy"||22|
|"It's All Over Now"||29|
|Year||Title||UK Singles Chart|
|1973||"My Coo Ca Choo"||2|
|1974||"You You You"||6|
|1974||"Tell Me Why"||16|
|1975||"Good Love Can Never Die"||11|
|1975||"Sweet Cheatin' Rita"||37|
|1981||"A Wonderful Time Up There"||56|
|1984||"I Feel Like Buddy Holly"||7|
|1984||"I Won't Run Away"||7|
|1984||"So Near to Christmas"||29|
|1985||"Got a Little Heartache"||55|
|Year||Title||UK Albums Chart|
|1975||Rock With Alvin||52|
|1981||A Picture Of You||Non-Chart|
|1984||I Feel Like...||Non-Chart|
Stardust has been married three times: firstly to Iris Caldwell (sister of Rory Storm), who was an ex-girlfriend of both George Harrison and Paul McCartney, having grown up with them in Liverpool; and secondly to the actress Liza Goddard. He is now married to the actress and choreographer Julie Paton.
His son, Shaun Fenton, is the head teacher at Reigate Grammar School, and was previously head teacher at Pate's Grammar School and Sir John Lawes School. His other son, Adam, is a drum and bass producer and DJ, known as "Adam F". Stardust's third child, Sophie Jewry, from his marriage to Liza Goddard, runs her own graphic design, printing, brand consultancy and coaching business and lives in Norfolk with her partner and daughter. Stardust's fourth child, Millie Margaret May, was born in December 2000. The christening was covered by OK! magazine, with Sir Cliff Richard as one of the godparents. As wife Julie hails from Swansea, a Welsh flavour was provided by a harpist and Welsh male voice choir, the Gwalia Singers from Swansea.
- Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 197. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
- Thompson, Dave. "Biography of Shane Fenton and the Fentones". Allmusic. Retrieved 31 December 2010.
- Rice, Jo (1982). The Guinness Book of 500 Number One Hits (1st ed.). Enfield, Middlesex: Guinness Superlatives Ltd. p. 156. ISBN 0-85112-250-7.
- Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 524. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
- Q Magazine, issue 100, January 1995, page 20 - from the "Stories" section.
- Moroney, David (24 October 2011). "Alvin is set to hit the stage". Greenock Telegraph. Retrieved 24 October 2011.
- Brown, Tony (2000). The Complete Book of the British Charts (1st ed.). London: Omnibus Press. p. 843. ISBN 0-7119-7670-8.
- "It's Only Love - The Beatle Girls Site - Iris Caldwell". Sentstarr.tripod.com. 1972-09-28. Retrieved 2013-09-28.
- Savill, Richard (2006-09-08). "Alvin Stardust's son swaps glam for grammar". Telegraph. Retrieved 2013-09-28.
- OK! - Issue 261, April 27, 2001, p.46