The Vernons Girls

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The Vernons Girls were an English musical ensemble of female vocalists. They were formed at the Vernons football pools company[1] in the 1950s in Liverpool, settling down to a sixteen strong choir[1] and recorded an album of standards.

Career[edit]

As a 16-piece vocal group, the Vernon Girls appeared on the ITV show Oh Boy![1] with the house band between 1958 and 1959, and made a series of relatively successful singles for labels Parlophone between 1958 and 1961.[1] Their 1958 LP released on Parlophone was arranged and conducted by Peter Knight, with sleeve notes by Eamonn Andrews. This record is significantly different from their later pop hits, featuring such fifties standards as "We'll Gather Lilacs", "Lonely Ballerina", and the "Cuckoo in the Clock".

Led by Maureen Kennedy, from 1961 the group reduced their membership to five and then three members,[2] and by 1962 had signed to Decca Records where they recorded covers of American hits. Their cover of the Drifters' "Lover Please" and "You Know What I Mean" were both hits; the latter was also originally the B-side of "Lover Please". In the US the group charted with the first Beatles tribute album there, We Love The Beatles. As The Carefrees, they also charted with "We Love You Beatles", and made an album only available in the United States.

As session singers for Decca, the Vernons Girls were the female backing voices on many hit singles during the 1960s – one of the first being Billy Fury's "Maybe Tomorrow". The trio of Jean Owen, Frances Lea, and Maureen Kennedy also appeared on film in the 1964 TV special Around The Beatles with the Beatles plus Long John Baldry, P. J. Proby and Millie Small, in the Billy Fury film Play It Cool, and in Just For Fun; ex-member Vicky Haseman also appeared in this, with her group, the Breakaways.

However, by 1964, their chart successes had halted and they disbanded.

Later careers[edit]

Some of the girls continued in show business ventures:

Lyn Cornell married session drummer Andy White[2] (notable for replacing Ringo Starr on an early take of "Love Me Do"), and became a successful solo performer; having a chart hit with the title song to the film "Never on Sunday" in 1960 – and later becoming one of the Pearls.

Vicky Haseman formed the Breakaways, and married Joe Brown. Their daughter Sam Brown is a well-known singer in her own right.

Joyce Baker married Marty Wilde; they formed a trio with Justin Hayward called the Wilde Three, and were the parents of singer Kim Wilde.

Jean Owen had solo success under the name Samantha Jones.

Other members of the group banded together in various combinations as duets and singing trios; these include the Redmond Twins, the Pearls, the Two Tones and the DeLaine Sisters. The DeLaine Sisters had a minor hit in Great Britain with the Goffin & King song "It Might As Well Rain Until September".

The longest surviving and best known of the groups, the Ladybirds, was formed by Maggie Stredder with Marian Davies and Gloria George. The Ladybirds are best known for their long association with The Benny Hill Show, and for performing the backing vocals on BBC television's Top of the Pops. They performed the backing vocals on the Jimi Hendrix Experience's first single, "Hey Joe". [3]

More recently, Stredder and Sheila Bruce, together with ex-Ladybird Penny Lister, have performed on tour with their friends as part of the 'Solid Gold Rock 'n' Roll Show'. In the later 1990s, they appeared in Cliff Richard's show, 'Oh Boy', from the Wembley Arena.

Main personnel[edit]

  • Maggie Stredder (born Margaret Elizabeth Stredder, 9 January 1936, Birkenhead) – later in The Ladybirds – married writer Roy Tuvey
  • Vicki Brown (born Victoria Mary Haseman, 23 August 1940, Liverpool – died 1992) – later in The Breakaways – married Joe Brown
  • Joyce Smith (born Joyce Baker, 1941) – married Marty Wilde
  • Lyn Cornell (b. 1940?, Liverpool) – later in the Pearls – married Andy White[2]
  • Maureen Kennedy (born 1940, Liverpool) – married comedian Mike Hope – died in a car accident in the early 1970s[4]
  • Jean Owen (born 17 November 1943, Liverpool) – performed under her real name with the group before going solo and changing her name into Samantha Jones. She married her long term adviser, showbiz accountant Jose Goumal]
  • Frances Lee (born 1940, St Helens, died 18 May 2014, Reading)
  • Eileen Marina Byrne – (born in 1934, in Bootle, Liverpool, died in 1981 from breast cancer). She married William Percival Homewood (A Submariner in The Royal Navy).
  • Ann O'Brien (Simmons) – later in The Pearls
  • Sybil Richardson -still singing and performing in 2011

Discography[edit]

  • UK Singles -
  • "White Bucks And Saddle Shoes" / "Lost And Found" (Parlophone) (1958)
  • "Jealous Heart" / "Now Is The Month of Maying" (Parlophone) (1959)
  • "Don't Look Now But" / "Who Are They To Say?" (Parlophone) (1959)
  • "Boy Meets Girl" / "We Like Boys" (Parlophone) (1960)
  • "Madison Time (with Jimmy Savile)" / "The Oo-We" (Parlophone) (1960)
  • "Ten Little Lonely Boys" / "Anniversary Song" (Parlophone) (1961)
  • "Let's Get Together" / "No Message" (Parlophone) (1961)
  • "Lover Please" / "You Know What I Mean" (Decca) (1962) – UK No. 16
  • "The Loco-Motion" / "Don't Wanna Go" (Decca) (1962) – UK No. 47
  • "Funny All Over" / "See For Yourself" (Decca) (1963) – UK 31
  • "Do The Bird" / "I'm Gonna Let My Hair Down" (Decca) (1963) – UK No. 44
  • "He'll Never Come Back" / "Stay-At-Home" (Decca) (1963)
  • "Tomorrow Is Another Day" / "Why Why Why" (Decca) (1963)
  • "We Love The Beatles (Beatlemania)" / "Hey Lover Boy" (Decca) (1964)
  • "Only You Can Do It" / "Stupid Little Girl" (Decca) (1964)
  • "It's A Sin To Tell A Lie" / "Don't Say Goodbye" (Decca) (1964)
  • EP "The Vernons Girls" (Decca) (1962)
  • LP "The Vernons Girls" (Parlophone) (1958)

[5]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Larkin C 'Virgin Encyclopedia of Sixties Music' (Muze UK Ltd, 1997) ISBN 0-7535-0149-X p461
  2. ^ a b c Larkin C 'Virgin Encyclopedia of Sixties Music' (Muze UK Ltd, 1997) ISBN 0-7535-0149-X p127
  3. ^ Redding, Noel (1990). Are You Experienced? The Inside Story of the Jimi Hendrix Experience. London: Fourth Estate Ltd. p. 32. ISBN 0-306-80681-9. 
  4. ^ note: according to the genealogy website http://users.ncable.net.au/~hartleyb/jthbudd1855.html ' Maureen was involved in a tragic Car Accident in 1970, on the M1, on her way home after a show. She died in Northampton Hospital and is buried in Liverpool '.
  5. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 585. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 

External links[edit]