Barry Class

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Barry Class
Nationality UK
Known for Entrepreneur, businessman, Record Producer, Band Manager
Partner(s) Sylvia

Barry Class was a property tycoon and owner of the Disci record shop chain in the UK. He became the manager of the Multi-racial group The Foundations who are known for the hits "Baby, Now That I've Found You" and "Build Me Up Buttercup".[1]

Foundations[edit]

Class's association with the Foundations came about by his renting out the basement below his shop to a group of men who had set up a coffee club. Intrigued by the sounds coming from below he went to investigate. The eight men who were running the coffee club turned out to be the Foundations.[2]

There is some debate as to who actually first discovered the Foundations. Some sources point to Ron Fairway as being the one who first discovered them and introduced them to Class.[3] Others of course point to Class as being the one who discovered the group.[1] although in fact it was The Foundations' lead singer Clem Curtis who first approached Sylvia Class in their Disc record shop opposite the groups rehearsal basement in the Class office building. Curtis invited Sylvia to ask her husband Barry Class to come down to see and listen to the group as they were rehearsing in his building. Ron Fairway was nowhere in sight at that time.

The result of Class meeting the Foundations was his taking them to PYE records [4] and from there the Foundations had a no 1 hit with their debut single "Baby, Now That I've Found You".

Class became their manager with his wife Sylvia taking care of the band's promotion on radio and television.[5] Ron Fairway became Class's partner in managing the Foundations. Not long after the Foundations had their hit with their debut single, there was a behind the scenes bid for power and Fairway was ousted. He attempted to stir things up by spreading a rumour that the Foundations had broken up, but this only added to the group's publicity. [6]

The Foundations broke away from Barry Class in late 1969. The brothers running Class' Booking agency, Mike Dolan and Jim Dawson induced them to leave...their publicist Rod Harrod remained with Class.

After an attempt to relaunch the Foundations failed career after their earlier split, in 1971, Rod Harrod under the auspices of Class International organized a South American tour to Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil with only Colin Young from the previous line-up.

The reformed group became one of the finalists in the European Song Contest to represent the United Kingdom with the Buttercup lead singer Colin Young and half of the original band which also subsequently failed to hold it together.

The World Of Oz[edit]

Class was also manager of another sixties group, the Psychedelic pop group The World Of Oz. Class who had even set the group up in a luxury Park Lane apartment [7] made a serious mistake of leaving this group in the hands of Michael Levy while he went to the United States with the Foundations. With the World Of Oz left in Levy's charge, Levy almost immediately cut their publicity budget which cost the group their slot in Top of the Pops.[8] The momentum that had been built up over the months had now stalled their single "Muffin Man" in the UK as a result of Levy's attempt at budgeting.[9]

Other groups[edit]

Other groups (acts) managed by Class were The Flirtations who also gained entry into the top 50 charts with their first record and Clyde McPhatter the original lead singer of the Drifters all of whom were introduced to Class by Rod Harrod. Rare Amber was a unique British country band whose records are still sought after to this day from as diverse as fans from Sweden, Netherlands, and Germany.

Groups represented by the Class Agency included Warm Dust and the Greatest Show on Earth.

Multimedia[edit]

Class went on to create a sixteen studio complete multimedia complex in Hollywood where he created the very first full screen MPEG image interactive CD-ROM for interactive music and video, working on a basic 2 x disc drive and basic PC in 1994. This technology was later to become integrated into online JPEG and movies.

Property Development[edit]

Class's property development interests which started in London in the early 60's with his North Thames Development Company specializing in urban renewal projects in Earls Court and later West Hampstead, took a turn overseas to the Seychelles Islands and Balearic Islands. In 1979 Class started his redevelopment projects in Santa Monica, California, with serious urban renewal of the Santa Monica Mall. His efforts led to his being one of the two leading pioneers responsible for the complete rehabilitation of the area which after became renamed the Third Street Promenade, which is still the only European style public open space with cinemas, shopping and street-dining space in Los Angeles, a few blocks from the ocean. The Santa Monica project showed what Class could achieve with the help and cooperation of the local Chamber of Commerce and a progressive City Council who all agreed to become proactive in the revitalization of a depressed old shopping area to make it one of the most popular shopping and leisure areas for eating out and movie houses for first run releases.

Class’s real estate projects include Puerto Vallarta, Mexico; Point Dume, Malibu; Hollywood Boulevard Studios Complex 1, Los Angeles; Santa Monica Studio Complex 2; Galleries Gourmet, Santa Monica Mall; Rainbow Mall, Santa Monica; Shopping Center Dana Point, Orange County; The Auditorium, Hollywood Boulevard; Touch of Class Antique Mall, W. LA; The Market Place, Venice beach, California;

Urban renewal and revitalization of old and underused property assets has always been Class’s first and main interest coupled with his love of music and new cutting edge music and multimedia opportunities.

Cigars –Plantations[edit]

In 1994 Class went exploring into the Philippines and Sumatra to hunt down a lost old Spanish Mission Havana leaf plantation which was found, Class and a Filipino American partner developed into a hugely successful boutique cigar brand, Hannibal Cigars which was headquartered in Beverly Hills, California.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b allmusic The Foundations biography
  2. ^ Google Books Billboard 26 Apr 1969 - Page 43
  3. ^ Rawlings, By Terry (2002). Then, now and rare British beat 1960-1969 (illustrated ed.). UK: Omnibus Press. p. 82. ISBN 978-0-7119-9094-4. 
  4. ^ Google Books Billboard 26 Apr 1969 - Page 60
  5. ^ Google Books Billboard 26 Apr 1969 - Page 41
  6. ^ Dopson, Roger. Baby Now That I've Found You, Sequel Records NEECD 300 (1st ed.). UK: Sequel Records. 
  7. ^ allmusic [http://www.allmusic.com/artist/p42468/biography The World of Oz biography
  8. ^ Marmalade Skies Website World Of Oz
  9. ^ Answers.com The World of Oz