Rory Blackwell

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Rory Blackwell

Rory Blackwell (born 22 June 1933 in Battersea, London, England, died 19 December 2019 in Devon, England), was an English former rock and roll musician, bandleader of The Blackjacks, singer, drummer and songwriter.


Blackwell founded the first British rock and roll band, and put on rock and roll at Studio 51 in September 1956, and at The 2i's Coffee Bar and on 24 January 1957 gave his first job to Terry Dene, then Terry Williams, fronting him at the Razzle Dazzle Club billed as "the new singing sensation Terry Williams".

Rory and his Blackjacks starred in the 1957 film Rock You Sinners.[1]

In 1959, Blackwell spotted the 16-year-old pianist Clive Powell (Georgie Fame) in a summer holiday camp in Wales, where he offered him a job as a piano player with The Blackjacks.[2] After the season ended, Powell left as new opportunities arose.

They recorded "Bye Bye Love", later covered by The Everly Brothers. Blackwell had a number of successes with "Bony Moronie", "Red Roses", "Daddy Don't You Walk So Fast", "Great Balls of Fire", and "Rory's Rock", then toured Europe and the UK with stars from the US.

In 1968, Rory Blackwell's 1968 Rock'n'roll Show Live (EMI/Parlophone) was released with the tracks: "Let's Have a Party", "Rock Around the Clock", "Great Balls of Fire", "Be Bop a Lula", "Shake Rattle and Roll", "Hound Dog", "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On", "Bony Moronie", "Heartbreak Hotel" and "Rory's Rock". After the launching of the Apollo 11 in 1969, Blackwell wrote and released the orchestral piece Apollo 11 : Sea of Tranquility (EMI/Parlophone).

In 1978, another album was released, The Two Sides of Rory Blackwell (Ellie Jay Records)[3] with tracks including "Bony Moronie", "Amarillo", "Teddy Bear", "Beatles Medley" and "Wipe Out".

He appeared in many television programmes such as Six-Five Special, Cool For Cats, and the Oh Boy!, where he acted with Lord Rockingham's XI. Later Blackwell toured with the Beach Boys.[4]

During the 1960s, Blackwell worked with the young bassist Nick Simper, who later joined Johnny Kidd's band and went on to become one of the founding members of Deep Purple.[5]

He attempted many world records for charity, mainly involving feats of longevity or speed on musical instruments. Many of these appeared in Guinness World Records editions, but musical feats are no longer featured in the same quantity as they were previously.[6]

In the 1980s, Blackwell worked as the Entertainments Manager at the Welcome Family Holiday Park, Dawlish Warren, Devon, where he continued pleasing the crowds and breaking drumming records.

According to a 2008 local news article, Blackwell was retired and living in South Devon.[7] He died, aged 86, on 19 December 2019.[8]


  1. ^ Rory Blackwell at IMDb
  2. ^ Andrews (3 February 2007)
  3. ^ "Vinyl LPs A-M". 10 May 1989. Retrieved 26 August 2014.
  4. ^ Spokane Chronicle (29 May 1985)
  5. ^ "In His Own Words". Nick Simper. 18 August 1966. Retrieved 25 August 2014.
  6. ^ "Reg Calvert". Retrieved 26 August 2014.
  7. ^ "The original rock 'n' roll star". 25 November 2008. Retrieved 26 August 2014.
  8. ^ "Death announcement".