The Action

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The Action
Also known asAzoth (1967)
OriginKentish Town, North London, England
GenresBlue-eyed soul, folk rock, psychedelic rock
Years active1963–1969 (Reunion: 2000)
LabelsParlophone (UK), Capitol (US), Hansa (France)
Associated actsThe Boys, Mighty Baby, Ace, Sandra Barry
Past membersAlan "Bam" King
Mike "Ace" Evans
Roger Powell
Reg King
Peter Watson
Ian Whiteman
Martin Stone

The Action were an English band of the 1960s, formed as The Boys in August 1963, in Kentish Town, North West London. They were part of the mod subculture,[1] and played soul music-influenced pop music.


The band was formed as The Boys in August 1963, in Kentish Town, North West London. The original members were Reg King (lead vocals), Alan 'Bam' King (rhythm guitar, vocals), Mike "Ace" Evans (bass guitar, vocals) and Roger Powell (drums) as The Boys, who had a brief spell as a bar band in Germany, and then as a backing band for Sandra Barry, (sometimes referred to as Sandra Barry and the Boyfriends) including on her single ""Really Gonna Shake" in 1964.[2]. After the stint with Barry, Pete Watson was recruited as lead guitarist, and in 1964 they changed their name to The Action.

Shortly after their formation, they signed to Parlophone with producer George Martin. "Land of a Thousand Dances" b/w "In My Lonely Room" was well received by critics, but sold poorly. None of the Action's singles achieved success in the UK Singles Chart.

After disastrous experiences with the Rikki Farr management, Peter Watson left the band in 1966. They continued as quartet, but were dropped from Parlophone in 1967. In the late 1960s keyboardist Ian Whiteman and guitarist Martin Stone joined the band and the Action moved toward a mid-tempo psychedelic ballad style, and then into folk rock. Reg King left the band in 1967, and Alan King took over as main lead vocalist. In 1969, when signing to John Curd's Head Records, the band was renamed Mighty Baby.

Alan King later went on to form Ace, who had a US hit in 1975 with “How Long

A 1980 compilation of the Action's Parlophone tracks came with sleeve notes by Paul Weller ("the Action had it in their soul") and did much for their profile, while the Rolled Gold album demos were hailed as genuine lost classics when they were reissued in the early 1990s. In 1998, the original lineup of the Action reformed for a concert on the Isle of Wight. The band played regularly over the next six years.

Notably, they are one of the favourite bands of Phil Collins, who performed with the reunited band in June 2000.[3] "For me it was like playing with the Beatles", he later commented on the experience.[4]



as Sandra Barry and The Boys
  • "Really Gonna Shake" / "When We Get Married" (R. King) (March 1964, Decca)
as The Boys
  • "It Ain't Fair" (R. King/Evans) / "I Want You" (R. King/Evans) (November 1964, Pye)
as The Action
  • "Land of a Thousand Dances" b/w "In My Lonely Room" (Holland-Dozier-Holland) (October 1965, Parlophone)
  • "I'll Keep Holding On" / "Hey Sha-Lo-Ney" (February 1966, Parlophone)
  • "Baby, You've Got It" (McAllister, Vail) / "Since I Lost My Baby" (Robinson/Moore) (July 1966, Parlophone)
  • "Never Ever" (King/King/Evans/Powell) / "Twenty Fourth Hour" (King/King/Evans/Powell) (February 1967, Parlophone)
  • "Shadows and Reflections" (Larry Marks/Tandyn Almer) / "Something Has Hit Me" (King/Jones) (June 1967, Parlophone)
  • "The Harlem Shuffle" / "Wasn't It You" (Goffin/King) (1968, Hansa, Germany only)
  • French EP: "Shadows and Reflections" / "Something Has Hit Me" / "Never Ever" / "Twenty Fourth Hour" (Odeon (MOE 149), 1967)

Compilation albums[edit]

The Ultimate! Action
(singles and other material recorded by the original run of the band, 1964–1967)
  1. "I'll Keep Holding On"
  2. "Harlem Shuffle"
  3. "Never Ever"
  4. "Twenty Fourth Hour"
  5. "Since I Lost My Baby"
  6. "In My Lonely Room"
  7. "Hey Sha-Lo-Ney"
  8. "Wasn't It You?"
  9. "Come On, Come With Me"
  10. "Just Once in My Life"
  11. "Shadows and Reflections"
  12. "Something Has Hit Me"
  13. "The Place"
  14. "The Cissy"
  15. "Baby You've Got It"
  16. "I Love You (Yeah!)"
  17. "Land of a Thousand Dances"
Brain/Rolled Gold
(Tracks recorded in late 1967 and 1968, but released only in 1995):[5][6]
  1. "Come Around"
  2. "Something to Say"
  3. "Love is All"
  4. "Icarus"
  5. "Strange Roads"
  6. "Things You Cannot See"
  7. "Brain"
  8. "Look at the View"
  9. "Climbing Up the Wall"
  10. "Really Doesn't Matter"
  11. "I'm a Stranger"
  12. "Little Boy"
  13. "Follow Me"
  14. "In My Dream"
  15. "In My Dream" (Demo)
Action Speaks Louder Than (EP)
(tracks recorded circa. 1968, released by Castle Music in 1985):
  1. "Only Dreaming"
  2. "Dustbin Full of Rubbish"
  3. "An Understanding Love"
  4. "My Favourite Day"
  5. "A Saying for Today" (all tracks written by Whiteman)
Uptight and Outasight
(radio and TV recordings, CD bonus: 1998 live recording) (Circle Records):
  • CD1 – The Action on Television and BBC Radio 1966–1967
  1. "I'll Keep Holding On"
  2. "Land of 1000 Dances"/"Uptight"
  3. "Mine Exclusively" (BBC Radio's Saturday Club 1966)
  4. Reg King Interview (BBC Radio's Saturday Club 1966)
  5. "Baby You've Got It "(BBC Radio's Saturday Club 1966)
  6. "Take Me in Your Arms (Rock Me A While)" (BBC Radio's Saturday Club 1966)
  7. "Going to a Go Go" (BBC Radio's Pop North 1966)
  8. "Never Ever" (BBC Radio's Pop North 1966)
  9. "Love Is All" (BBC Radio's Saturday Club 1967)
  10. "I See You" (BBC Radio's Saturday Club 1967)
  11. "India" (BBC Radio's Saturday Club 1967)
  12. "Shadows and Reflections" (BBC Radio's Saturday Club 1967)
  • CD2 – The Boston Arms, London 1998
  1. "Meeting Over Yonder"
  2. "The Monkey Time"
  3. "Baby Don't You Do It"
  4. 'In My Lonely Room"
  5. "I Love You (Yeah!)"
  6. "Girl (Why You Wanna Make Me Blue)"
  7. "Ooo Baby Baby"
  8. "Crazy About You Baby"
  9. "Heatwave"
  10. "People Get Ready"
  11. "The Memphis Train"
  12. "Since I Lost My Baby"
  13. "Harlem Shuffle"
  14. "Baby You've Got It"
  15. "I'll Keep Holding On"
  16. "Land of 1000 Dances"

In addition to this in 1980, Edsel released a compilation of all The Action's original UK singles called The Ultimate Action (Edsel ED101) and after that four singles using the same material:

  • "I'll Keep on Holding On/Wasn't It You?" – E5001 1981
  • "Since I Lost My Baby/Never Ever/Wasn't It You?" – E5002 1981
  • "Shadows and Reflections/Something Has Hit Me" – E5003 1982
  • "Hey Sha-Lo-Ney/Come On, Come With Me" – E5008 1984


  1. ^ Du Noyer, Paul (2003). The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Music (1st ed.). Fulham, London: Flame Tree Publishing. p. 36. ISBN 1-904041-96-5.
  2. ^ Ankeny, Jason. "Sandra Barry Artist Biography". Retrieved 23 August 2018.
  3. ^ Phil Collins. Not Dead Yet. London, England: Century Books. ISBN 978-1-780-89513-0.
  4. ^ Hodgkinson, Will (15 November 2002). "Home entertainment: Phil Collins". The Guardian.
  5. ^ The Action: Brain (The Lost Recordings) at Discogs (list of releases)
  6. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 28 September 2007. Retrieved 8 May 2007.

Further reading[edit]

  • Ian Hebditch, Jane Shepherd: The Action – In the Lap of the Mods (2012, with Mike Evans and Roger Powell, foreword by George Martin); ISBN 978-0957345706

External links[edit]