The Fortunes

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The Fortunes
Origin Birmingham, England
Genres Pop
Years active 1963–present
Labels Decca (US Press Records),
United Artists (US United Artists),
(US World Pacific Records),
Capitol (US Capitol Records)
Website Official website
Members Michael Smitham
Bob Jackson
Eddie Mooney
Glenn Taylor
Past members Rod Allen
Barry Pritchard
Andy Brown
Glen Dale
David Carr
Shel Macrae
John Trickett
John Davy
Ricky Persell
Paul Hooper

The Fortunes are an English harmony beat group. Formed in Birmingham, the Fortunes first came to prominence and international acclaim in 1965, when "You've Got Your Troubles" broke into the US and UK Top 10s. Afterwards, they had a succession of hits including "Here It Comes Again" and "Here Comes That Rainy Day Feeling Again"; continuing into the 1970s with more globally successful releases such as "Storm in a Teacup" and "Freedom Come, Freedom Go".

In 1966, their manager, Reginald Calvert, was shot to death in a dispute over pirate radio stations.

Biography[edit]

Originally formed as a vocal trio (Rod Allen, Glen Dale and Barry Pritchard) backed by an instrumental group known as the Cliftones, the band placed an instrumental track on a compilation album, Brumbeat, issued by the local Dial record label. "Cygnet Twitch" was a working of Tchaikovsky's "Swan Lake", and they subsequently signed to British Decca in 1963. Their first single, "Summertime, Summertime", was credited to the Fortunes and the Cliftones. However, the vocalists picked up guitars, jettisoned the Cliftones, and added Andy Brown on drums, and Dave Carr on keyboards.[1] The follow-up disc co-written by the singer-songwriter and future Ivy League member Perry Ford and songwriter Tony Hiller, "Caroline", was used as the signature tune for the pirate radio station, Radio Caroline.[1]

The group's next two singles, Gordon Mills's co-composition "I Like the Look of You" and a revival of "Look Homeward Angel" — like the initial brace of releases overseen by the American record producer Shel Talmy — also failed to chart. Their fifth release, the Roger Greenaway/Roger Cook number, "You've Got Your Troubles" (1965), reached Number 2 in the UK Singles Chart[2] and was a worldwide hit, including reaching Number 1 in Canada and the American Top 10. Their next two singles were "Here It Comes Again", a UK Number 4, and "This Golden Ring" a UK Number 14. These sold well, but each less than the previous release. When Glen Dale left in 1966 he was replaced by Shel McCrae.[1] Three more singles ("You Gave Me Somebody to Love", "Is It Really Worth Your While?" and "Our Love has Gone") all failed to chart.

At this point in 1967, the Fortunes left Decca for United Artists. They reunited with Talmy for their next release, "The Idol", a song they had written themselves, and although it did get some airplay in the UK, it did not become a hit.

In 1968, they tried covering The Move's hit "Fire Brigade" for the US market, but with little airplay or sales. In 1970, they recorded an album for the US World Pacific record label, and then signed with Capitol in both the UK and US in 1971.

Then followed a steady succession of singles, some of which were hits outside of the UK and US, culminating in 1972 with the release of "Storm in a Teacup".[1] During this period, they had another worldwide hit, "Here Comes that Rainy Day Feeling" (1971).[1] The Fortunes also recorded an advertisement for Coca-Cola in the United States.[3] Their first recording in 1967 was a version of the theme tune, "Things Go Better with Coke", but they are most remembered for introducing the 1969 new slogan recording, used as the main theme for Coca-Cola on both radio and television commercials — "It's The Real Thing".

Later work[edit]

Founding member and lead vocalist Allen continued fronting an ever changing version of the Fortunes from 1963 up to his death in 2008.[4]

In 1983 and 1984 respectively, Michael Smitham and Paul Hooper joined Barry Pritchard and Rod Allen in the Fortunes. This line up of the Fortunes were awarded a gold disc in 1987 for over 100,000 sales of their All The Hits and More album.[3]

In March 1995, Bob Jackson was added to the Fortunes' ranks, after founder member Barry Pritchard left through illness. Jackson, a former member of the group Badfinger, paid homage to his former band mate on stage, with a version of the Badfinger penned song "Without You". Jackson left for a year to follow other obligations and Geoff Turton, who was originally a member of the Rockin' Berries, stood in for him.

On 10 January 2008, Rod Allen died after suffering for two months from liver cancer.[4] The remaining members of the band said they would continue touring and recruited the Dakotas lead singer Eddie Mooney.[5] During 2008, the band regrouped, recording a new album Play On and appeared in Las Vegas, the Netherlands and Belgium as well as the UK. They toured Canada, the Netherlands and Sweden, in addition to the UK during 2009. The band had a busy schedule in the UK, Netherlands, Germany and Italy during 2010 and 2011, appearing in Belgium at the Vostertfeesten Festival in August 2010. Drummer Paul Hooper left the band in early 2010 and was replaced by Glenn Taylor, formerly of Marmalade.

The keyboard player in the original line-up, David Carr, lived and worked in Hollywood, California, doing session work, frequently working with The Ventures and also Kim Fowley. Carr died on 12 July 2011, from a heart attack.[6]

Members[edit]

Original members
  • Rod Allen (born Rodney Bainbridge, 31 March 1944, Leicester; died 10 January 2008, Eastern Green, Coventry[4]) – lead vocals, bass (1963-2008)
  • Barry Pritchard (born Barry Arthur Pritchard, 3 April 1944, Birmingham – died 11 January 1999, Swindon, Wiltshire[1]) – lead guitar, vocals (1963-1995)
  • Andy Brown (born Andrew Brown, 7 January 1946, Birmingham) – drums (1963-1977)
  • Glen Dale (born Richard Garforth, 24 April 1943, Deal, Kent) – rhythm guitar (1963-1966)
  • David Carr (born 4 August 1943, Leyton, London; died 12 July 2011[6]) – keyboards (1963-1965)
Current members
  • Michael Smitham (born 29 July 1951, Nuneaton) – guitars, vocals (1983–present)
  • Bob Jackson (born 6 January 1949, Coventry) – keyboards, vocals (1995–present)
  • Eddie Mooney (born 6 August 1957, Stoke-on-Trent) – lead vocals, bass (2008–present)
  • Glenn Taylor (born 15 February 1951, Leicester) – drums (2010–present)
Touring members
Former members
  • Shel Macrae (born Andrew Raeburn Semple, 8 March 1943, Burnbank, Scotland) – lead vocals, rhythm guitar (1966-1977)
  • George McAllister - vocals, piano, melletron
  • John Trickett (born Birmingham) – drums (1977–1984)
  • John Davey (born 13 September 1955, Watford) – vocals (1977–1983)
  • Ricky Persell (born 19 October 1954, Ruislip) – guitars, vocals (1977–1980)
  • Paul Hooper (born 20 August 1948 Wolverhampton) – drums (1984-2010)

UK chart hit singles[edit]

US chart hit singles[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f Steve Huey. "The Fortunes | Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved 2014-01-30. 
  2. ^ a b Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 208. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  3. ^ a b "The Fortunes History Page". Thefortunes.co.uk. Retrieved 2014-01-30. 
  4. ^ a b c Dave Laing. "Obituary: Rod Allen". The Guardian. Retrieved 2014-01-30. 
  5. ^ "Entertainment | Fortunes singer Allen dies at 63". BBC News. 2008-01-11. Retrieved 2014-01-30. 
  6. ^ a b Doc Rock. "2011 July To December". The Dead Rock Stars Club. Retrieved 2014-01-30. 

External links[edit]