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The Fivepenny Piece are a five-piece band, originally formed in 1969 in the area of East Lancashire around Ashton-under-Lyne and nearby Stalybridge in Tameside. The band met and performed on Wednesday nights at Ashton's Broadoak Hotel, which gave them their original name The Wednesday Folk in 1967.
The band's original members all hailed from the Ashton/Stalybridge area. Many of their mostly self-penned songs reflected their roots, using Lancashire dialect, with references to the mining and weaving trades, the mills and factories, and the Lancashire characters who lived in the area. But there was another side to the group's music, perhaps best described as more pop oriented. The band's music is most often categorised as folk, though many[who?] feel that is too limiting a description.
The original personnel were John Meeks (born 24 March 1937, Stalybridge, Cheshire) (guitar, vocals); John's sister Lynda Jane Meeks (1 August 1947, Stalybridge – 22 January 2013) (vocals); brothers George Radcliffe (9 August 1937, Ashton-under-Lyne, Lancashire – 2002) (bass, vocals) and Colin Radcliffe (born 19 January 1934, Ashton-under-Lyne) (guitar, vocals); and Eddie Crotty (24 February 1942, Stalybridge – 11 April 2009) (guitar, vocals). John Meeks and Colin Radcliffe wrote most of their best-known songs, although Crotty also penned several. The unofficial sixth member of the band was the drummer Phil Barlow, who accompanied them in many of their concerts and on their albums.
During the band's 1970s heyday they released over a dozen albums for EMI and then Philips, and reached the Top 10 in the UK Albums Chart with their LP King Cotton. They performed many times on national television, and had their own BBC Television series, The Fivepenny Piece Show.
By the early 1980s the group had reached an impasse, and John Meeks's departure was followed soon afterwards by Lynda's. With John's replacement Trevor Chance (born 1 March 1942, Gilsland, Cumberland) and Andrea Mullins (formerly of the Caravelles), the band continued until 1985 when they broke up.
The band later reformed, and played occasional gigs with various personnel, including the Lancashire folk singer and comedian Bernard Wrigley - Crotty and George Radcliffe continued to play in the band, along with Mullins.
George Radcliffe died at the end of 2002, whilst Eddie Crotty, the band's only remaining original member, died in hospital on 11 April 2009, aged 67 years.
- Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 201. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
- Tameside Advertiser, Thursday 31 January 2013, page 44
- "The official Fivepenny Piece band website: Lancashire's finest!". 5pp.co.uk. Retrieved 2016-07-07.