Barry Stanton

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Barry Stanton
Barry Stanton singer.jpg
Performing at Melbourne Concert Hall in 1997.
Background information
Birth name Barry John Stanton
Born (1941-01-23) 23 January 1941 (age 76)
Origin London, England
Genres Rock & Roll
Occupation(s) singer, guitarist, songwriter
Years active 1958–present
Labels Leedon Records, Festival Records, RCA
Associated acts Johnny O'Keefe, The Delltones, Johnny Devlin, Jimmy Little, Lonnie Lee

Barry Stanton (born 23 January 1941) is an Australian rock'n'roll musician. Discovered by fellow recording artist Johnny O'Keefe in 1958, Barry regularly performed on many Australian music programs such as Bandstand, The Johnny O'Keefe Show, Six O'Clock Rock, Sing Sing Sing, Saturday Date, and Woody's Teen Time.

He released six singles on Australian label Leedon Records, the first being Don't Let Go in 1960. His second release, the Johnny O'Keefe composition Don't You Worry 'Bout That, reached number 3 on the Sydney Top 40 in September 1960. Two other singles were issued, but his fifth and biggest release Beggin' On My Knees - written by Barry's brother Rod - reached number one in 1962.[citation needed] Signed by RCA in 1964 he released A Tribute To The King - a song written for Barry by fellow musician and good friend Johnny Devlin - followed by My Little Emmy in 1965.

Even though he was one of the most popular performers of his era, Stanton achieved minimal success outside of Australia. He continues to perform regularly around the country along with other artists from the JO'K era.

Early life[edit]

Barry was born in London, England in 1941. After the Second World War had ended, a five-year-old Barry and his family packed up and moved to Australia, settling in the Sydney suburb of Neutral Bay. By early teens Barry had fallen victim to the rock'n'roll craze that was sweeping the world and was soon writing his own songs while teaching himself to play guitar. Leaving school at 16 to become an apprentice motor mechanic, he used any spare time he had with his guitar doing what he truly loved. It wasn't long before he started his own band 'Barry Stanton & the Boppers' and was playing regular gigs at the local dancehalls. Word spread quickly about Barry's raw style of rock'n'roll and his popularity continued to grow considerably with each performance.

Lee Gordon/Leedon[edit]

Discovered by 2SM radio DJ and JO'K associate Allan Lappan in 1959 while playing during the interval in between Marlon Brando and James Dean movies at Manly's Embassy Theatre, Johnny O'Keefe didn't waste any time in recruiting Barry as a regular spot on Six O'Clock Rock. Doing his first television appearance at eighteen years old, Barry quickly became one of the most popular Australian rock'n'roll singers of his time.[citation needed] One of the few artists to use his real name, O'Keefe branded him the 'Big Boy of Rock' due to his solid physique.

Signing to the Lee Gordon label (which would later become Leedon Records) later that year, he released his first single - a cover of Roy Hamilton's Don't Let Go/I Got A Woman. During this period he began touring with several other popular artists at the time including Digby Richards, Jimmy Little, and Warren Williams.

May 1960 saw Barry take part in the longest rock'n'roll tour ever undertaken in Australia with a star-studded line-up consisting of Johnny O'Keefe and The Dee Jays, Laurel Lea, Booka Hyland, Lonnie Lee, The Sapphires, Ray Hoff, and himself. This would be the tour that would almost end O'Keefe's life after losing control of his Plymouth Belvedere near Kempsey on 27 June 1960. Stanton's follow-up single Don't You Worry 'Bout That/You Are Gone was well received in most states, reaching #37 on the Sydney music charts. A 'viewers' choice' poll for the most popular artists of 1960 showed Barry to be the fourth most requested artist to appear on Six O'Clock Rock,[citation needed] with Lonnie Lee taking out the #1 position, JO'K coming in second, and Digby Richards at third.

Following Johnny O'Keefe's sacking as A&R Manager[citation needed] and departure from the Leedon camp, a large number of the label's other artists also left. It was during this time that Stanton was approached by Johnny Devlin proposing he ask to be released from his recording contract with Leedon and switch to RCA, for whom Devlin had recently been appointed A&R Manager. With Barry's request for release granted, he immediately signed to RCA and began recording new material. The following year Leedon was taken over by Festival Records.


Signing to RCA in 1964, Stanton's first single on the label Tribute To The King/That's Right, All Right was released. Tribute To The King - a song written for Barry by fellow musician and good friend Johnny Devlin - was a dedication to rock'n'roll superstar Elvis Presley. With both Presley and Stanton signed to the same record label, it wasn't long before the song was heard by the man himself. A few weeks later Barry was informed that he had received a personal telegram from 'The King' congratulating him on the record.[citation needed] Ecstatic as he was on being told of this, Barry would never lay eyes upon it himself, being told it was being used for promotional purposes by the record company. Unsurprisingly the telegram was mysteriously misplaced, never to be recovered. Truth of this story has been confirmed by several artists, including Devlin, who was A&R Manager for RCA at the time.[citation needed]

His next single My Little Emmy/Dancing Partner was released in 1965. This year would also see Barry become a father with the birth of his son, whom he had to fellow singer and wife Kelly Green who he had met on Six O'Clock Rock. They would go on to have a daughter the following year before splitting up shortly thereafter.

During this time Barry did several interstate tours performing alongside Billy Thorpe & The Aztecs and Ray Brown & The Whispers.

Though only releasing two singles while at RCA, Stanton recorded several more songs intended for release during his time on the label. Parting ways in 1966, these recordings remain unreleased.


Due to changing music trends and feeling somewhat let down by the industry that created him, 1965 saw Barry Stanton's career fall to an all-time low, with only the odd show here and there it seemed that rock'n'roll had been laid to rest forever. Groups seemed to be taking the place of the individual singer, with bands such as The Beatles and The Rolling Stones taking up most of the music chart's top positions. With almost no work left for these stars of yesterday most had to get regular day jobs in order to pay the bills. Stanton having felt the full brunt of this took up work as an electrician. Until 1974, when he received a phone call from Johnny O'Keefe inviting him - along with other big names from the sixties like Ray Brown, Lonnie Lee, Jade Hurley, Johnny Devlin, and Dinah Lee - to be part of his new show called The Good Old Days of Rock 'n' Roll. This re-surge of the sixties rock'n'roll era would prove to be a successful one, running for four years in total. Rock'n'roll was back it seemed, though this would prove to be another testing time for all involved as the 1980s saw the music styles change considerably once again.

During this time Stanton remarried and had two daughters, born in 1976 and 1979.


Mona Lisa & Others in 1981 saw the return of Barry to the recording studio, putting down an official recording of the song that launched his career on Six O'Clock Rock some 20 years earlier. Though never released through a major recording label, this album showed a more mature side of Barry musically with most of the songwriting done by himself and brother Rod. Included is a cover of the Johnny O'Keefe & Margaret McLaren hit Mockingbird which would see Stanton team up with good friend Pattie Towers. The pair would also perform it live on The John Singleton Show later that year. A re-recording of his hit song Beggin' On My Knees with a slightly more laid-back feel would have him call upon old friends and label mates The Delltones for backing vocals, and Warren Carr on piano - both of whom appeared on the original 1962 recording. Considered by many fans to be some of Barry's best work, it has become somewhat of a rare gem to collectors due to its limited pressings. However, concert bookings were few and far between, and with a wife and young family at home Barry had to go back to working a day job as a warehouse manager.

1981 would also see the birth of his son, the youngest of three children to wife Rena, and having two children from a previous marriage to singer Kelly Green.


Contrary to many poorly researched articles,[according to whom?] Barry has never left the music industry. He continued to play shows Australia wide from the time he began in 1959 until 2006 when he took a well-deserved break from showbiz to spend time with his grandchildren. But once a rocker always a rocker, and after only two years of retirement Barry was talked into doing a comeback concert in Melbourne playing to a sold-out crowd.[citation needed] The 'Big Boy of Rock' proved he still has what it takes to get the crowd moving.


  • Don't Let Go (1960) Lee Gordon
  1. Don't Let Go (I. Hayes)
  2. I Got A Woman (R. Richard/R. Charles)
  • Don't You Worry 'Bout That (1960) Leedon
  1. Don't You Worry 'Bout That (O'Keefe)
  2. You Are Gone (Dempsey-Zoeller)
  • Barry Stanton Sings EP (1960) Leedon
  • A Teenage Idol (1961) Leedon
  1. A Teenage Idol (O'Keefe)
  2. Indeed, I Do (Scharr)
  • Beggin' On My Knees (1962) Leedon
  1. Beggin' On My Knees (R. Stanton)
  2. Solitary Confinement (Colijah-Pori)
  • Back In Your Arms (1962) Leedon
  1. Back In Your Arms (R. Stanton)
  2. For Now And Always (R. Stanton)
  • Little Miss Heartbreak (1963) Leedon
  1. Little Miss Heartbreak (Bass-Boyer)
  2. You'll Never Learn, Will Yer? (B. Stanton)
  • Little Miss Heartbreak EP (1963) Leedon
  • A Tribute To The King (1964) RCA
  1. A Tribute To The King (Devlin)
  2. That's Right, All Right (R. Stanton)
  • My Little Emmy (1965) RCA
  1. My Little Emmy (B. Stanton)
  2. Dancing Partner (Crane/Wisner/Paddy)
  • City Of Armidale (1978) Bunyip
  1. City Of Armidale (R. Stanton)
  2. Big Front Door (R. Stanton)