|Labels||Decca (US Press Records),
United Artists (US United Artists),
(US World Pacific Records),
Capitol (US Capitol Records)
|Past members||Rod Allen
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".
Originally formed as a vocal trio backed by an instrumental group known as the Cliftones, the aggregation placed an instrumental track on a compilation album, Brumbeat, issued by the local Dial record label. "Cygnet Twitch" (similar to "Saturday Nite at the Duck-Pond" by the Cougars) 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 after Mike Redmond — drummer with popular local band the Sunrays — declined their offer, and Dave Carr on keyboards. 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.
The group's next two singles, Gordon Mills's co-composition "I Like the Look of You" and a revival of The Four Esquires/Johnnie Ray's "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 No. 2 in the UK Singles Chart and was a worldwide hit, including reaching No.1 in Canada and the American Top 10. Their next two singles were "Here It Comes Again", a UK No. 4, and "This Golden Ring" a UK No. 14. These sold well, but each less than the previous release. Glen Dale left the band in the summer of 1966 seeking a solo career, and was replaced by the Scottish guitarist, Shel McCrae. 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. Minor controversy arose when they admitted they did not play on their classic hits.
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". During this period, they had another worldwide hit, "Here Comes that Rainy Day Feeling" (1971). The Fortunes were also the voices for the American Coca-Cola advertisements. 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".
Founding member and lead vocalist Allen continued fronting an ever changing version of the Fortunes from 1963 up to his death.
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.
In March 1995 vocalist/keyboard/guitar player Bob Jackson was added to the Fortunes' ranks, after founder member Barry Pritchard left through illness. Jackson, a former member of the group Badfinger, has been paying homage to his former band mate onstage, as of late July of 2013, 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 Birmingham based band, the Rockin' Berries, has been standing in for him. Turton also had a certain amount of success under the nom de plume Jefferson both at home and in the US.
On 10 January 2008 Rod Allen died after suffering for two months from liver cancer. The remaining members of the band said they would continue touring and recruited the Dakotas lead singer Eddie Mooney. 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 have 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 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 well-known American guitar band The Ventures and also Kim Fowley (for example Carr played keyboards on the last album by Fowley's The Runaways). Carr died on 12 July 2011, from a heart attack.
On the BBC Radio WM breakfast show on 27/6/2012, one of Barry Pritchard's sons announced that a trunk full of unreleased Fortunes recordings and outtakes were discovered in an abandoned garage in Tamworth, formerly owned by his father.
- 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
- Geoff Turton - keyboards, vocals (2013-present)
- Former members
- Rod Allen (born Rodney Bainbridge, 31 March 1944, Leicester; died 10 January 2008, Eastern Green, Coventry) – lead vocals, bass (1963-2008)
- Barry Pritchard (born Barry Arthur Pritchard, 3 April 1944, Birmingham – died 11 January 1999, Swindon, Wiltshire) – guitars (1963-1995)
- Andy Brown (born Andrew Brown, 7 January 1946, Birmingham) – drums (1963-1977)
- Glen Dale (born Richard Garforth, 24 April 1943, Deal, Kent) – guitars (1963-1966)
- David Carr (born 4 August 1943, Leyton, London; died 12 July 2011) – keyboards (1963-1965)
- Shel Macrae (born Andrew Raeburn Semple, 8 March 1943, Burnbank, Scotland) – lead vocals, guitars (1966-1977)
- 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)
- Gadzooks! It's All Happening, 1965
- Discs a Go-Go, 1965
- Stramash!, 1965
- Hollywood a Go Go, 1966
- Whole Scene Goinghank Your Lucky Stars, 1965–1966
- New Musical Express Poll Winners' Concert, 1966
- Ready, Steady, Go!, 1964, 1965, 1966
- Dee Time, 1967
- Time for Blackburn, 1968
- Colour Me Pop, 1969
- Vera Lynn, 1969
UK chart hit singles
- "You've Got Your Troubles" – 1965 – Number 2.
- "Here It Comes Again" – 1965 – Number 4.
- "This Golden Ring" – 1966 – Number 15.
- "Freedom Come, Freedom Go" – 1971 – Number 6.
- "Storm in a Teacup" – 1972 – Number 7 (written by Lynsey de Paul and Ron Roker).
US chart hit singles
- "You've Got Your Troubles" – 1965 – Number 7.
- "Here It Comes Again" – 1965 – Number 27.
- "This Golden Ring" – 1966 – Number 82.
- "That Same Old Feeling" – 1970 – Number 62 (Originally recorded by the Foundations; competing with a version by Pickettywitch).
- "Here Comes That Rainy Day Feeling Again" – 1971 – Number 15.
- "Freedom Come, Freedom Go" – 1971 – Number 72.
- List of Capitol Records artists
- List of NME covers
- List of performers on Top of the Pops
- List of artists under the Decca Records label
- Arts in Birmingham
- Allmusic biography – accessed January 2008
- Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 208. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
- The Fortunes official website
- The Guardian obituary on Rod Allen – 17 January 2008, by Dave Laing
- BBC.co.uk - website news - accessed January 2008