The Four Pennies

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This article is about the British band. For the American band, see The Chiffons.
The Four Pennies
Origin Blackburn, Lancashire, England
Genres Pop music
Years active 1962–1966
Labels Philips
Associated acts Fritz, Mike and Mo
Past members Lionel Morton
Mike Wilsh
Fritz Fryer
Alan Buck
David Graham

The Four Pennies were an English, 1960s pop group, most notable for their 1964 UK chart-topping song "Juliet". The group's name came after a meeting above the Blackburn music shop owned by Mary Reidy, the shop being situated on "Penny Street", where it remained until 2013 as "Reidy's Home of Music".[1] The name was chosen as a more commercial alternative to "The Lionel Morton Four". The shop is still owned by the Reidy family.

Career[edit]

The Four Pennies were the most important UK group not to chart in America during the 1960s British Invasion.[citation needed] In their homeland, the group was famous for having a Number one hit in the UK Singles Chart in 1964 with "Juliet". It was written by Fritz Fryer, Mike Wilsh and Lionel Morton. The ballad was originally intended for release as a b-side (b/w "Tell Me Girl").[2]

"Juliet" was the only 1964 Number one by a UK group not to chart in America. The US division of Philips Records issued only two of the Four Pennies' singles stateside.[citation needed] Both were major European hits, "Juliet" and "Until It's Time for You to Go". Neither saw any significant chart presence or airplay in the US.

Following the chart-topping success of "Juliet", the Four Pennies racked up subsequent 1964 UK hits with their original "I Found Out The Hard Way" and a cover version of Lead Belly's, "Black Girl". In 1965, they hit with "Until It's Time for You to Go", written by Buffy Sainte-Marie, backed with "'Til Another Day". The A-side was recorded by Elvis Presley in 1972. This followed the failure of their previous single, "The Way Of Love" / "A Place Where No-One Goes". ("A Place Where No-One Goes" found huge success in Turkey in 1965). From then on, their original material remained on the b-sides of their singles.

1966 saw one last UK chart entry for the Four Pennies, with a cover version of Bobby Vinton's "Trouble Is My Middle Name". This was followed by a cover of the UK songwriter Charles Bell's "Keep The Freeway Open", but the release failed to reach the chart. The Four Pennies folded in 1967, after their last single release, written by the ex-Springfields member Tom Springfield - "No More Sad Songs For Me" - also failed to chart.

Other activities[edit]

While on a sabbatical from the group, Fritz Fryer formed the folk-rock trio, Fritz, Mike and Mo,[2] in collaboration with songwriter Mike Deighan and Maureen Edwards (born c. 1931).[3][4] Deighan had co-written material for the Four Pennies, including three tracks on their first album, Two Sides of Four Pennies. Fritz, Mike and Mo recorded two unsuccessful singles for Philips, "Somebody Stole the Sun" c/w "Let Me Hear Your Voice" and "What Colour Is A Man" (a cover version of a US release by Bobby Vinton, who also provided the Pennies' "Trouble Is My Middle Name") c/w "So Now You're Gone". After the failure of Fritz, Mike and Mo, Fryer returned to the Four Pennies. After the group's dissolution, Fryer worked as record producer for Motörhead among others.[2]

Lionel Morton recorded two solo singles for Philips in the wake of the Pennies' dissolution. He also recorded a version of "Waterloo Road," a song written by ex-Penny Mike Wilsh and Mike Deighan, for RCA Victor. "Waterloo Road" was originally recorded by the pop-psychedlic band Jason Crest, who were discovered by members of the Four Pennies. Morton was, at one time, married to the actress, Julia Foster.[2] Alan Buck had drummed for both Joe Brown's Bruvvers, and Johnny Kidd's Pirates, prior to joining The Four Pennies.

The Four Pennies appeared in two films. British Big Beat (1965) had the group miming to their no. 1 hit, "Juliet", whilst Pop Gear (also 1965) contained performances of both "Juliet" and "Black Girl".

Band members[edit]

From April 1965 to early 1966, when Fryer left the band he was replaced by David Graham, a guitarist from Reading, Berkshire. Graham left when Fryer returned to the line-up. Ray Monk also deputised on rare occasions.

Discography[edit]

Singles[edit]

UK[edit]

Year A-side B-side Label and catalogue reference UK Singles Chart[9]
1964 "Do You Want Me To" "Miss Bad Daddy"
Philips BF1296
no. 47
1964 "Juliet" "Tell Me Girl"
Philips BF1322
no. 1
1964 "I Found Out The Hard Way" "Don't Tell Me You Love Me"
Philips BF1349
no. 14
1964 "Black Girl" "You Went Away"
Philips BF1366
no. 20
1965 "The Way of Love" "A Place Where No One Goes"
Philips BF1398
-
1965 "Someone Stole The Sun" "Let Me Hear Your Voice"
Philips BF1427
-
1965 "Until It's Time for You to Go" "'Til Another Day"
Philips BF1435
no. 19
1965 "What Colour Is A Man" "So Now You're Gone"
Philips BF1441
-
1966 "Trouble Is My Middle Name" "Way Out Love"
Philips BF1469
no. 32
1966 "Keep The Freeway Open" "Square Peg"
Philips BF1491
-
1966 "No More Sad Songs For Me" "Cats"
Philips BF1519
-
  • Note: "Someone Stole The Sun" and "What Colour Is A Man" were credited to Fritz, Mike & Mo.

US[edit]

Year A-side B-side Label and catalogue reference Billboard Hot 100
1964 "Juliet" "Tell Me Girl"
Philips 40202
-
1965 "Until It's Time for You to Go" "'Til Another Day"
Philips 40333
-

UK EPs[edit]

Year Title Label and catalogue reference
1964 The Four Pennies
Philips BBE 12561
1964 Spin With The Pennies
Philips BBE 12562
1965 The Swinging Side of The Four Pennies
Philips BBE 12570
1965 The Smooth Side of The Four Pennies
Philips BBE 12571

UK albums[edit]

Year Title Label and catalogue reference UK Albums Chart[9]
1964 Two Sides of Four Pennies
Philips BL 7642
no. 13
1966 Mixed Bag
Philips BL 7734
-

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Musical map of East Lancashire (From This Is Lancashire)". Thisislancashire.co.uk. 2007-02-07. Retrieved 2014-01-30. 
  2. ^ a b c d "The Four Pennies | Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved 2014-01-30. 
  3. ^ "Fritz, Mike and Mo on Manchesterbeat - the group and music scene of Manchester in the 60s". Manchesterbeat.com. Retrieved 2014-01-30. 
  4. ^ "Fritz Fryer". Ross-on-Wye.com. Retrieved 2014-01-30. 
  5. ^ "Lionel Morton". IMDb.com. Retrieved 2014-01-30. 
  6. ^ "Musical map of East Lancashire (From Lancashire Telegraph)". Lancashiretelegraph.co.uk. 2007-02-07. Retrieved 2014-01-30. 
  7. ^ [1][dead link]
  8. ^ "Burnley Message Board: Knowhere Guide". Knowhere.co.uk. Retrieved 2014-01-30. 
  9. ^ a b Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 210. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  • Parham, Alan, liner notes to Four Pennies CD Complete Singles & EP Tracks, Beat Merchant 3694, 2004

External links[edit]