The Echoes

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The Echoes
Origin East London, England
Genres Beat, rock, pop, soul
Years active 1960–1971
Labels Fontana Records, Philips Records
Associated acts Dusty Springfield, John Rowles

The Echoes were an English musical group, established in London in early 1960 by singer Chris Wayne, for the Johnny Preston, Conway Twitty and Freddy Cannon tour of Great Britain.

During the period 1960 to 1971, The Echoes toured extensively throughout the United Kingdom and the rest of the World, playing for various artists and doing the backing on many recordings. From 1962 to 1968, The Echoes recorded seven singles in their own right. Some of the artists with whom The Echoes played were: Bobby Allen, The Allisons, The Bachelors, Madeline Bell, Tommy Bruce, Freddy Cannon, The Caravelles, The Chantelles, Michael Cox, Rolly Daniels, Kiki Dee, Terry Dean, Vince Eager, Dick Emery, The Four Seasons, Johnny Gentle, Julie Grant, Rolf Harris, Frankie Howard, Eden Kane, Jerry Lee Lewis, Lulu, Susan Maughan, The Monkees, Matt Monro, The Mudlarks, Des O'Connor, Roy Orbison, Paper Dolls, Gene Pitney, Duffy Power, Johnny Preston, Mike Preston, Joan Regan, Danny Rivers, John Rowles, Paul and Barry Ryan, Terry Scott, Screaming Lord Sutch, Helen Shapiro, Dee Dee Sharp, Anne Shelton, Dusty Springfield, Cat Stevens, Vince Taylor, Norma Tanega, Conway Twitty, Ricky Valance, Bobby Vee, Gene Vincent, Bert Weedon, David Whitfield and Mark Wynter.

Early days[edit]

The Echoes were originally made up from 'The Spacemen Skiffle Group', which was Joe Brown's skiffle group. Brown was a regular on Boy Meets Girls, a television show with Marty Wilde. The Spacemen had no other work while Brown was contracted to do the show, so they were able to do this tour with Chris Wayne as "The Echoes". Original line up was: Chris Wayne (vocals), Tony Oakman (rhythm guitar), George Staff (rhythm guitar), Peter Oakman (bass), and Bert Crome (drums). As Joe Brown was usually the lead guitarist, another one had to be found for the tour: Dave Burns.

After the tour, The Echoes disbanded with Tony Oakman, George Staff, Peter Oakman, Bert Crome returning to Joe Brown as his group, The Bruvvers. Later Peter Oakman would go on to play bass for Lonnie Donegan, which he did until Donegan's death. Chris Wayne continued to work solo; Dave Burns went to work with Wee Willie Harris in Italy.

The Echoes tour with Conway Twiity, Freddie Cannon & Johnny Preston 1960.jpg
Chriswayne & The Echoes.jpg
Gene Vincent on Stage with The Echoes (1961).jpg

1961[edit]

Chris Wayne had another tour, this time with Gene Vincent, so he decided to reform The Echoes. Wayne had a drummer, Laurie Jay, but needed guitar, piano and bass. The Dynamos agreed to do this tour as The Echoes, as they had recently parted from Sonny Stewart. The Dynamos became The Echoes to accompany Gene Vincent when he visited Britain at the beginning of 1961. The line up of this group was Laurie Jay (drums), Tony Collins (guitar), Les Smith (piano) and Douggie Reece (bass). During this tour Tony Collins had a car accident and was unable to continue. For the remainder of the tour he was replaced by Big Jim Sullivan (originally from Marty Wilde's Wildcats, and later musical director for Tom Jones).

After such a successful tour, it was decided to continue The Echoes, as with their ability to stand alone as a band and to also play for other artists, plenty of work, including touring, was assured. Les Smith (piano) left the group after the tour to continue his career as an architect. His replacement was Ian Hines (piano), brother of Frazer Hines who played Jamie in the Doctor Who television series. Tony Collins (guitar) was unable to continue due to the car accident, so interim guitarists Billy Kuy (ex-Mike Berry & The Outlaws) and Vic Briggs (later with Eric Burdon & The Animals) were used until a permanent guitarist could be found. This was Dave Burns who had just returned from Italy and was also a founder member of the original group. Ian Hines (piano) went to work in Hamburg and was replaced in 1961 by Perry Ford, a talented musician/singer/songwriter. Perry left in early 1962 to pursue his own career. He would have his own hits a few years later with The Ivy League. Ian Hines returned from Hamburg and came back to the group 1962 for a short while. On New Year's Eve in 1961, The Echoes accompanied Bert Weedon on the television show Sunday Night at the London Palladium. After this appearance The Echoes were approached by Vox who eventually sponsored them from 1962 until 1971 with all the group equipment.

The Echoes " Isle of Mann 1962 ".jpg

at The Crescent Pavillion Theatre Isle of Mann in 1962

1962[edit]

The Echoes had one last show to do on The Jerry Lee Lewis tour at The Tower Ballroom, New Brighton, playing for Jerry Lee Lewis, when Laurie Jay left the group. A drummer was needed that night, so a local drummer was brought in; this was Ringo Starr who had just returned from Hamburg playing for Rory Storm and The Hurricanes. Laurie Jay went into management, later becoming the manager for Billy Ocean and Shirley Bassey. On returning to London, Tommy Frost then became The Echoes' new drummer. After this tour Ian Hines also left for Hamburg again, and was replaced by Ray Murray on keyboards.

In May 1962, The Echoes line up at this time was: Dave Burns (guitar), Tommy Frost (drums), Ray Murray (keyboards), and Douggie Reece (bass).

The Echoes - Publicity Photograph for Vox Equipment - 1962.jpg

September 1963[edit]

After 18 months of work, recording and a summer season (1962) on the Isle of Man, and another in Jersey (1963), some of the band members decided to pursue their own dreams. Dave Burns went on to form a duo with his wife. Tommy Frost decided to stay in Jersey for a while. Pete Clifford from the Jesters took Dave Burns' place on guitar. Shortly after the group returned to London, Ray Murray left to go back to Scotland. The audition to play for Dusty Springfield was with Douggie Reece (bass), Micky Garrett (organ), Martin Gibbs (stand-in drummer for Tommy Frost) and Pete Clifford (lead guitar). After the audition, Bob Wackett replaced Tommy Frost on drums. Dusty's first Echoes were: Douggie Reece (bass), Micky Garrett (keyboards), Bob Wackett(drums), Pete Clifford (guitar).

1964[edit]

Throughout 1964, many shows were done with Springfield (including the tour of Australia with Gerry Marsden and The Pacemakers, Gene Pitney, Brian Poole and The Tremeloes), as well as a tour of America, this time with The Searchers and Eden Kane. Bob Wackett stayed with The Echoes until just before the South African tour in December 1964 with Springfield. His replacement was Johnny Dryden.

1965[edit]

Both Pete Clifford (guitar) and Micky Garrett (keyboards) then left to form their own group in early 1965. Clifford subsequently played with The 004, Floribunda Rose and The Bats. Their replacements were Vic Briggs (guitar) and Jimmy O'Brien (keyboards).

Springfield wanted to add a front line and more rhythm section to the group, so the line-up became Ian Harper (trumpet 1), Derek Andrews (trumpet 2), Derek Wadsworth (trombone), Tony Scott (percussion), Vic Briggs (guitar), Jimmy O'Brien (keyboards), Johnny Dryden (drums), and Douggie Reece (bass). All the backing vocals were done by the group at this time. Later Springfield got a female vocal group for most of the big shows. These singers included Madeline Bell, Kiki Dee, Lesley Duncan, Kay Garner, plus many others. In 1965, Peter Wolf replaced Johnny Dryden on drums, and in 1966 Gary Boyle replaced Vic Briggs, who left to join The Steampacket.

In June-July 1965, The Echoes, along with Doris Troy and Madeline Bell backed Springfield on her second album Ev'rything's Coming Up Dusty released in October 1965.

1966[edit]

The line-up became Gary Boyle (guitar), Jimmy O'Brien (keyboards), Peter Wolf (drums) and Douggie Reece (bass), whilst still retaining the brass section, percussion and vocal group. During the year The Echoes played at The Piper Club in Rome. After this booking Jimmy O'Brien resigned being replaced by Mike O'Neil on keyboards. Mike O'Neil was formerly Nero from the group Nero and the Gladiators. Mike O'Neil only stayed a short time, as did John Marsh. Gary Boyle left The Echoes and replaced Vic Briggs position in The Steampacket when Briggs joined The Animals. Gary Boyle went on to form the jazz fusion band, Isotope. Stuart Taylor became The Echoes guitarist. John Marsh left to join another group. Don Shinn then became The Echoes keyboard player.

1967[edit]

The line-up then consisted Stuart Taylor (guitarist), Don Shinn (keyboards), Peter Wolf (drums) and Douggie Reece (bass), still with the brass section, percussion and vocal group. During late 1966 through to 1967 The Echoes were doing work with Lulu. It was in July, together with Lulu, that they were the support act for The Monkees at Wembley Empire Pool Stadium. The Echoes also playing for The Monkees solo spots during the concert. Don Shinn left later that year and formed his own band The Shinn. He was replaced by Ivan Chandler on keyboards. Stuart Taylor left the group, replaced by Paul Hodgeson on guitar.

1968[edit]

Ivan Chandler (keyboards) was only with the band for a short time, subsequently joined Oedipus Complex and Daddy Longlegs groups, later becoming a record producer in England. Chandler's replacement was Chris Sparrow on (keyboards) and Sparrow recorded the lead vocal on "Searching for You Baby" while he was with the band. He left The Echoes at the end of Herman Hermits Amen Corner tour.

In June 1968, The Echoes complete with the brass section, were on the Herman Hermits tour with The Amen Corner, The Paper Dolls and John Rowles. The Echoes opened the second half and played back up for John Rowle]. During the tour Rowles asked if he could use the Echoes when they were available when not playing with Springfield. He had just had a number two hit and needed a group for many of the bookings he had coming up. This was convenient as Springfield was cutting back on her live performances work. This offer was accepted and they went on to tour with Rowles later that year, playing with him until 1970. The Echoes started backing Rowles with Douggie Reece as his musical director. Being the bass player and leader of The Echoes meant the group had to use another bass player when this happened. They were offered the job of playing in the band for Hair at The Shaftesbury Theatre in London's West End, when it opened on 27 September 1968, and Peter Woolf, Paul Hodgeson, and Brian Bennett left The Echoes to play in the band for Hair. Later Bennett became musical director for the Hair touring company.

The fact that Woolf, Hodgeson, Bennett and the brass section chose to play in the Hair band left Reece with a dilemma, as The Echoes were still committed to many bookings. To fulfil these, other members were found. They were Rod Stone (guitar), Tweed Harris (keyboards) both from an Australian group The Groove, plus Don Burrell (drums) and Douggie Reece (bass).

1969–1971[edit]

With the new musicians in The Echoes they were able to complete all the work they had. The upside to this arrangement was that Rod Stone and Tweed Harris were still able to play with The Groove, and Don Burrell other gigs he had as well as with John Rowles. There were still a few commitments that The Echoes had which they managed to fulfil. These included a cruise that they did with The Chantells, but onyl a trio was included which comprised Ian Heinz (keyboard), Peter Curtin (drums) and Douggie Reece (bass).

Early in 1971, The Echoes were disbanded. In April that year, Reece married Wendy Cook from the Australian female vocal group Marcie and The Cookies. Later that year they went to live in Melbourne, Australia, and Reece went on to become an arranger, music and record producer and for many years played in The Burlington Lodge Group.

Discography[edit]

The Echoes[edit]

  • 1962 : "Cloak & Dagger" / "Sounds Like Winter" – Fontana 267254 TF.
  • 1963 : "The Happy Whistler" / "Sticks & Stones" – Fontana TF 392.
  • 1963 : "Marchin' Thru" / "The Jog" – Fontana TF 415.
  • 1964 : "My Little Girl" / "More" – Fontana TF 439
  • 1964 : "Don't You Believe Them" / "Over You" – Philips
  • 1966 : "Got to Run" / "Thanks a Lot" – Philips BF 1480
  • 1967 : 'Stick to me Like Glue' (not released)
  • 1968 : "Searching for You Baby" / "Listen to Me Baby – Philips BF 1683

Other artists[edit]

Other tracks[edit]

  • "Needle in a Haystack" – (Something Special CD)
  • "Heartbeat" – (Pearls & Rarities CD)

Other tracks recorded for radio and television have been released on other CD's.

Bibliography[edit]

External links[edit]