Peter Jay and the Jaywalkers
Peter Jay and the Jaywalkers
|Genres||Rock and roll, beat music|
|Past members||Peter Jay|
Pete "Buzz" Miller
Peter Jay and the Jaywalkers were a British instrumental beat group in the early 1960s. Their biggest hit, "Can Can 62", was produced by Joe Meek and reached the British singles chart in 1962. The group toured with both The Beatles and The Rolling Stones before disbanding in 1966.
Origins and career
The group was formed around 1960 by Peter Jay (b. 29 January 1944, Southgate, North London, England), the son of Jack Jay who owned and managed the Windmill Theatre together with several cinemas and nightclubs in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, England. Peter Jay formed the group while studying at Norwich College. He played drums; other band members were Pete "Buzz" Miller (lead guitar - previously a member of rival local group the Offbeats), Tony Webster (rhythm guitar), Mac McIntyre (tenor sax and flute), Lloyd Baker (piano and baritone sax), Geoff Moss (bass guitar) and Johnny Larke (bass guitar). The band never contained the unusual set-up of an acoustic and electric bass, just two electric basses. From about 1962, the group were also noted for their use of coordinated Vox Phantom guitars on stage.
Peter Jay and the Jaywalkers signed a recording deal with Decca Records in 1962. Their first record, a rocked-up version of the can-can music from Offenbach's Orpheus in the Underworld, produced by Joe Meek at Decca's studios in Hampstead and entitled "Can Can 62", rose to # 31 after entering the UK chart in November 1962. The group released several further singles on Decca in 1963 and 1964, but none became hits. Nevertheless, the group were a popular live act and were chosen as a support act to the Beatles on their UK tour in November and December 1963. They also appeared on national TV shows including Ready Steady Go! and Thank Your Lucky Stars.
The group moved to Piccadilly Records in 1964 and released several further singles, with little commercial success. Miller left in 1965, and was replaced by guitarist Terry Reid. After further personnel changes, and billed as "Peter Jay and the New Jaywalkers", the group continued to appear on bills with leading bands of the time, and were included on a package tour with the Rolling Stones, Ike and Tina Turner and the Yardbirds starting at the Royal Albert Hall in September 1966. Following the tour, the group split up.
In the late 1970s, Peter Jay, together with his father, purchased the Hippodrome in Great Yarmouth, and gradually restored it as a theatre and circus venue with a circular performing area which could be lowered to reveal a swimming pool. He also took over the lease of the Tower Circus in Blackpool in 1983. Since his father's death in 1985, he has continued to own and manage the Yarmouth Hippodrome. 2019 marks 40 years since Peter Jay took over The Hippodrome. He has also published an autobiography, Jaywalking.
Pete Miller became a solo artist, releasing the single "Baby I Got News for You" (credited as "Miller") in 1965, with backing by Peter Frampton and other members of The Herd. He then concentrated on songwriting and worked as a session musician, before re-emerging as "Big Boy Pete" in early 1968 with the single "Cold Turkey", a track which was later anthologised as an example of "freakbeat" and covered by The Damned. Miller moved to San Francisco in the mid-1970s, and has since recorded with his band, the Wildcats, as well as collaborating with other musicians in ventures such as "Shig & Buzz".
Terry Reid continued his career in music, becoming a singer and musician.
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