Unit 4 + 2
|Unit 4 + 2|
|Past members||Brian Parker
Howard 'Lem' Lubin
Rod 'Humble' Garwood
In 1962, Brian Parker, then the guitar player and songwriter with The Hunters, decided to form his own vocal harmony group. He asked his friend David 'Buster' Meikle to join him. They asked singer Tommy Moeller and Peter Moules, who were at school together, to join their group which they called Unit 4.
Unit 4 was later joined by Russ Ballard on guitar and Robert 'Bob' Henrit on drums (forming the + 2) for a six piece, four-part vocal harmony group. Moeller was lead singer and frontman, from the first show as the Unit 4 vocal group to the last show as Unit 4 + 2 as vocal group with instruments. Due to ill-health and a dislike of performing live, Brian Parker left the band, but remained involved as co-songwriter with Tommy Moeller for all of the band's original recordings. His place at live performances was taken by Howard 'Lem' Lubin.
In around 1967 when they recorded their second album, Rodney Garwood replaced Peter Moules on bass (who had taken up bass when the band changed from a vocal group to a pop band) and Hugh Halliday replaced Bob Henrit. As Unit 4 + 2, they issued their debut single, on Decca Records called "The Green Fields" (which included the only performance with the band of banjo player Nigel Snook) which reached number 48 in the UK in 1964. Their second single release "Sorrow and Pain" was less successful.
Unit 4 + 2's song "Concrete and Clay" became a big hit the following year, reportedly thanks to exposure on pirate radio stations, most notably Wonderful Radio London. The radio station's music director, Tony Windsor, later recalled in an interview that he had initially rejected the song for the station's playlist, but was persuaded to change his mind by DJ Kenny Everett. The song was recorded using session musicians Russ Ballard and Bob Henrit (who had played with the Roulettes). As well as reaching the top of the UK chart, "Concrete and Clay" was popular worldwide. In America, a competing cover version by Eddie Rambeau (produced by Bob Crewe) split sales, with Rambeau reaching No.35 on the Billboard Hot 100 and Unit 4 + 2 peaking at No.28. Cashbox bracketed the two competing versions together on its chart, and they reached a combined peak of No.12.
Decca released a hastily put together album, entitled 1st Album. The next single release, "(You've) Never Been in Love Like This Before", reached the Top 20 in the UK, and No.95 on the Billboard Hot 100 in America.
In 1967, Russ Ballard (who went on to form Argent) joined the band full time, having already played some of the guitar work with Brian Parker on the original recording for "Concrete and Clay".
Unit 4 + 2 released 10 singles on Decca between 1964 and 1967 including one four track EP, and many of the songs ended up on their first album, 1st Album. The album later changed in title, cover art and track listing and was re-released as #1 featuring Concrete And Clay. Also, singles that became hits like the fifth single "(You've) Never Been in Love Like This Before", were not on the 1st Album, but were added on the re-released version.
Hugh Halliday replaced Bob Henrit for the second and final album in 1967 on Fontana Records. With Ballard and Henrit on board as full-time members, the Unit 4 + 2 sound had gelled, but their cover of Bob Dylan's "You Ain't Goin' Nowhere" was outsold by a cover version by The Byrds. Their last single, "3.30", used harpsichords and other orchestration . The song appears on the 1984 compilation album, The 49 Minute Technicolor Dream. The B-side, "I Will", appeared on the 1984 compilation album The Psychedelic Snarl. "3.30" failed to chart, and with next album, Unit 4 + 2, also failing to chart, the group broke up in 1970.
The label change was a result of Decca being acquired, its new owners also owned Fontana. Unit 4 + 2 released six more singles on Fontana up to 1969, disbanding in 1970 and have never reformed. One of the Fontana releases was for Spain, and was a reissue of the four tracks from two previous singles, as one EP.
Band member details
- Brian William Parker (born 1940, Cheshunt, Hertfordshire died 17 February 2001): vocals, guitar; later taught guitar playing in his local area, but died whilst playing tennis in 2001. Co-writer of "Concrete and Clay".
- Thomas John George 'Tommy' Moeller (born 23 February 1945, Liverpool): lead vocalist, guitar, piano; was the brother of Billy Moeller, who became public face of the one-hit wonder, Whistling Jack Smith, and took "I Was Kaiser Bill's Batman" to number five in 1967. Tommy Moeller was lead singer, frontman and main songwriter in Unit 4 + 2 with Brian Parker with their biggest hit being "Concrete and Clay".
- 'David Ian 'Buster' Meikle (born 1 March 1942, Goff's Oak, Hertfordshire): vocals, guitar; former lead singer of Buster Meikle & The Day Breakers, (which included Russ Ballard, Roy Ballard, Russ's older brother on keyboards and Bob Henrit) and a founding member of Unit 4 + 2. Left in 1967 and had chart success overseas as half of Bill & Buster, along with Billy Moeller. Now living in Norfolk.
- Peter Charles Moules (born 14 October 1944, Barnet, Hertfordshire): original member and bass vocalist and later bass guitarist. He was replaced by Rodney Garwood on bass for the second Unit 4 + 2 album on Fontana.
- Rodney 'Humble' Garwood (born 27 March 1944, Diss, Norfolk): bass guitar; joined in 1967.
- Howard 'Lem' Lubin (born 20 January 1944, Hampton Court, Middlesex): replaced Parker (above) in the group's early days. Was a member of Satisfaction and then Christie, before becoming a record producer.
- Hugh Maitland Halliday (born 29 December 1944): drums; joined in 1965, replacing original drummer Bob Henrit. He subsequently became a dancer, and then an opera director with English National Opera, Victoria State Opera, and other Asian, Australian and New Zealand opera companies.
- Nigel Ian Norman Snook (born 26 February 1944, Poole, Dorset - died 5 November 2007): He played banjo on the first single "The Green Fields".
- Russ Ballard (Russell Glyn Ballard), who came from Waltham Cross, joined in 1967 from Adam Faith's one-time backing ensemble, The Roulettes. He later joined Argent and became and remains a successful songwriter performer.
- Bob Henrit (Robert John Henrit) performed as a session drummer on "Concrete and Clay". He joined as a regular member in 1967, also from the Roulettes.
|1964||"The Green Fields"||48||-|
|"Sorrow and Pain"||-||-|
|1965||"Concrete and Clay"||1||21|
|"(You've) Never Been In Love Like This Before"||14||38|
|"You've Got To Be Cruel To Be Kind"||-||-|
|1966||"Baby Never Say Goodbye"||49||-|
|1967||"I Was Only Playing Games"||-||-|
|"Too Fast, Too Slow"||-||-|
|1968||"You Ain't Goin' Nowhere"||-||-|
- 1st Album - released by Decca (LK 4697) in 1965 (later re-released on London label with new artwork as album title #1 featuring Concrete And Clay, with "500 Miles", You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'" and "Swing Down Chariot" being replaced by "Tell Somebody You Know", "(You've) Never Been in Love Like This Before" and "Woman From Liberia".
- Unit 4 + 2 - 1969
- List of artists under the Decca Records label
- List of artists who reached number one on the UK Singles Chart
- List of 1960s one-hit wonders in the United States
- List of performers on Top of the Pops
- Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 576. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
- "Biography by Bruce Eder". Allmusic.com. Retrieved 7 December 2008.
- "Unit 4+2* - 1st Album (Vinyl, LP, Album) at Discogs". Discogs.com. 2012-09-17. Retrieved 2013-11-02.
- Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 178. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
- Thedeadrockstarsclub.com/2000 - accessed October 2009
- Rice, Jo (1982). The Guinness Book of 500 Number One Hits (1st ed.). Enfield, Middlesex: Guinness Superlatives Ltd. p. 91. ISBN 0-85112-250-7.
- "Unit 4+2* - #1 (Featuring Concrete And Clay) (Vinyl, LP, Album) at Discogs". Discogs.com. Retrieved 2013-11-02.
- "Unit Four Plus Two - Unit Four Plus Two (Vinyl, LP) at Discogs". Discogs.com. Retrieved 2013-11-02.
- 40 Years of NME Charts, by Roger Osborne, Dafydd Rees and Barry Lazell, Boxtree Limited, First Edition. 1992 - ISBN 1-85283-746-2