The Fortunes

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The Fortunes
The Fortunes (Dutch TV, 1966)
The Fortunes (Dutch TV, 1966)
Background information
OriginBirmingham, England
Genres
Years active1961–present
LabelsDecca, United Artists, US World Pacific, Capitol, Target UK
MembersMichael Smitham
Chris Hutchison
Eddie Mooney
Glenn Taylor
Past membersChris Capaldi
Gary Fletcher
Tony Britnell
Rod Allen
Barry Pritchard
Andy Brown
Glen Dale
David Carr
Shel Macrae
George McAllister
John Trickett
John Davy
Ricky Persell
Paul Hooper
Bob Jackson
Geoff Turton
Websitewww.thefortunes.co.uk

The Fortunes are an English harmony beat group. Formed in Birmingham, the Fortunes first came to prominence and international acclaim in 1965, when "You've Got Your Troubles" broke into the US, Canadian, and UK Top 10s. Afterwards, they had a succession of hits including "Here It Comes Again" and "Here Comes That Rainy Day Feeling Again"; continuing into the 1970s with more globally successful releases such as "Storm in a Teacup" and "Freedom Come, Freedom Go".

In 1966, their manager, Reginald Calvert, was shot dead in a dispute over pirate radio stations.[1]

Biography[edit]

The Fortunes (Rod Allen, Glen Dale, Barry Pritchard as vocalists, Chris Capaldi as piano player, Gary Fletcher as drummer and Tony Britnell as saxophone player) were formed in 1961 and were resident at Clifton Hall in Rugby, Warwickshire where many 60s rockstars formed their career.[according to whom?] The three vocalists had been the Merrie Men backing Robbie Hood (A.K.A Mike West, previously co-singer with Fred Heath in Johnny Kidd & The Pirates). The Fortunes were originally backed by an instrumental group known as the Cliftones, and the band placed an instrumental track on a compilation album, Brumbeat, issued by the local Dial record label. "Cygnet Twitch" was a working of Tchaikovsky's "Swan Lake", and they subsequently signed to British Decca in 1963. Their first single, "Summertime, Summertime", was credited to the Fortunes and the Cliftones. However, the vocalists picked up guitars, jettisoned the Cliftones, and added Andy Brown on drums, and Dave Carr on keyboards.[2] The follow-up disc "Caroline", co-written by the singer-songwriter and future Ivy League member Perry Ford and songwriter Tony Hiller, is still in use as the signature tune for the pirate radio station, Radio Caroline.[2]

The group's next two singles, Gordon Mills's co-composition "I Like the Look of You" and a revival of "Look Homeward Angel" — like the initial brace of releases overseen by the American record producer Shel Talmy — also failed to chart. Their fifth release, the Roger Greenaway/Roger Cook number, "You've Got Your Troubles" (1965), reached Number 2 in the UK Singles Chart[3] and was a worldwide hit, including reaching Number 1 in Canada and the American Top 10. Their next two singles were "Here It Comes Again", a UK Number 4, and "This Golden Ring" a UK Number 14. These sold well, but each less than the previous release. When Glen Dale left in the summer of 1966 he was replaced by Shel McCrae.[2] Three more singles ("You Gave Me Somebody to Love", "Is It Really Worth Your While?" and "Our Love has Gone") all failed to chart.

At this point in 1967, the Fortunes left Decca for United Artists. They reunited with Talmy for their next release, "The Idol", a song they had written themselves, and although it did get some airplay in the UK, it did not become a hit. Around this time they released a fine version of 'Seasons in the Sun' which also failed to chart.

The Fortunes also recorded an advertisement for Coca-Cola in the United States.[4] Their first recording in 1967 was a version of the theme tune, "Things Go Better with Coke", but they are most remembered for introducing the 1969 new slogan recording, used as the main theme for Coca-Cola on both radio and television commercials — "It's The Real Thing".

In 1968, they tried covering The Move's hit "Fire Brigade" for the US market, but with little airplay or sales. In 1970, they recorded an album for the US World Pacific record label, and then signed with Capitol in both the UK and US in 1971.

Then followed a steady succession of singles, some of which were hits outside of the UK and US. It was during this period they had worldwide hits with "Here Comes That Rainy Day Feeling Again" and "Freedom Come, Freedom Go" in 1971, along with "Storm in a Teacup" in 1972.[2]

Later work[edit]

Founding member and lead vocalist Allen continued fronting an ever changing version of the Fortunes from 1963 up to his death in 2008.[5]

In 1983 and 1984 respectively, Michael Smitham and Paul Hooper joined Barry Pritchard and Rod Allen in the Fortunes. This line up of the Fortunes were awarded a gold disc in 1987 for over 100,000 sales of their All The Hits and More album.[4]

In 1991, Glen Dale, whilst living in Tenerife, reformed the group as Glen Dale's Fortunes alongside Martin Cox (guitar) (who has gone on to be one of the world's top Elton John tributes).[citation needed]

In March 1995, Bob Jackson was added to the Fortunes' ranks, after founder member Barry Pritchard left through illness. Jackson, a former member of the group Badfinger, paid homage to his former bandmate on stage, with a version of the Badfinger penned song "Without You". Jackson left for a year to follow other obligations and Geoff Turton, who was originally a member of the Rockin' Berries, stood in for him. Barry Pritchard died from a heart attack on 11 January 1999 in Swindon, Wiltshire, UK.[6]

On 10 January 2008, Rod Allen died after suffering for two months from liver cancer.[5] The remaining members of the band said they would continue touring and recruited the Dakotas lead singer Eddie Mooney.[7] During 2008, the band regrouped, recorded a new album Play On, and appeared in Las Vegas, the Netherlands and Belgium as well as the UK. They toured Canada, the Netherlands, and Sweden, in addition to the UK during 2009.[citation needed] The band had a busy schedule in the UK, Netherlands, Germany, and Italy during 2010 and 2011, appearing in Belgium at the Vostertfeesten Festival in August 2010.[citation needed] Drummer Paul Hooper left the band in early 2010 and was replaced by Glenn Taylor, formerly of Marmalade.[citation needed] The band then released a new studio album, Another Road.

The keyboard player in the original line-up, David Carr, lived and worked in Hollywood, California, doing session work, frequently working with The Ventures and also Kim Fowley. Carr died on 12 July 2011 from a heart attack.[8]

Since 2011, the Fortunes have continued to appear on various 1960s theatre package shows with other artists of the era.[citation needed] Additionally, they have appeared in their own Past and Present theatre show and in 2015 released the accompanying Past and Present live album.[citation needed] In 2018 the Fortunes successfully toured Australia and keyboard player Bob Jackson retired later in the year due to ill health. He was replaced by ex Merseybeats and Tornados keyboard player and vocalist Chris Hutchison. The band continues to feature on 1960s theatre shows such as "Sensational 60s" and "Sixties Gold" as well as cruise appearances.[citation needed]

Glen Dale died at a hospice care facility after a battle with heart disease, on 13 January 2019, at age 79.[9] Singer Shel Macrae died in 2022 at the age of 77.[10]

Streaming hits in 2021[edit]

In 2021 the Fortunes had two hit singles on the Amazon, Spotify and iTunes download charts with "Never Too Far" (Smitham/Mooney) and "One Special Moment" (Smitham) the band's first chart entries since 1972. The band resumed a UK theatre tour as part of the Sensational 60s Experience package in October 2021 and released an album "Special Moments" in December 2021. The Fortunes signed to US label "Creative & Dreams" in 2022, releasing the single "Hello My Friend" (Smitham) a hit on the Heritage Chart, hosted by Mike Read.

Members[edit]

Original members
  • Rod Allen (born Rodney Bainbridge, 31 March 1944, Leicester – 10 January 2008, Eastern Green, Coventry)[5] – lead vocals, bass (1963–2008)
  • Barry Pritchard (born Barry Arthur Pritchard, 3 April 1944, Birmingham – 11 January 1999, Swindon, Wiltshire)[2] – lead guitar, vocals (1963–1995)
  • Andy Brown (born Andrew Brown, 7 January 1946, Birmingham) – drums (1963–1977)
  • Glen Dale (born Richard Garforth, 1939, Deal, Kent – 13 January 2019, Chesterfield, Derbyshire) – rhythm guitar (1963–1966)
  • David Carr (born 4 August 1943, Leyton, London – 12 July 2011)[8] – keyboards (1963–1968)

Current members

  • Michael Smitham (born 29 July 1951, Nuneaton) – guitars, vocals (1983–present)
  • Eddie Mooney (born 6 August 1957, Stoke-on-Trent) – lead vocals, bass (2007–present)
  • Glenn Taylor (born 15 February 1952, Leicester) – drums (2010–present)
  • Chris Hutchison (born 4 April 1963, Sheffield) – keyboards, vocals (2018–present)

Former members

  • Bob Jackson – keyboards, vocals (1995–2018)
  • Geoff Turton – keyboards, vocals (2013)
  • Shel Macrae (born Andrew Raeburn Semple, 8 March 1943, Burnbank, Scotland, died 22 November 2022)[10]– lead vocals, rhythm guitar (1966–1977)
  • George McAllister (born 6 December 1945) vocals, piano, mellotron 1970 – 1974
  • John Trickett (born Birmingham) – drums (1977–1984)
  • John Davey (born 13 September 1955, Watford) – vocals (1977–1983)
  • Ricky Persell (born 19 October 1954, Ruislip) – guitars, vocals (1977–1980)
  • Paul Hooper (born 20 August 1948, Wolverhampton) – drums (1984–2010)

Discography[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Hirst, Andrew (8 October 2014). "Amazing story of pop band and pirate radio station manager Reg Calvert who was shot dead in 1966". Yorkshire Live. Retrieved 21 February 2021.
  2. ^ a b c d e Steve Huey. "The Fortunes | Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved 30 January 2014.
  3. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 208. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  4. ^ a b "The Fortunes History Page". Thefortunes.co.uk. Retrieved 30 January 2014.
  5. ^ a b c Dave Laing. "Obituary: Rod Allen". The Guardian. Retrieved 30 January 2014.
  6. ^ "Obituary: Barry Pritchard". The Independent. 17 February 1999. Archived from the original on 18 June 2022. Retrieved 11 June 2015.
  7. ^ "Fortunes singer Allen dies at 63". BBC News. 11 January 2008. Retrieved 30 January 2014.
  8. ^ a b Doc Rock. "2011 July To December". The Dead Rock Stars Club. Retrieved 30 January 2014.
  9. ^ Cumber, Robert (21 January 2019). "Tributes to chart-topping Sheffield singer – as family hunt missing gold disc". thestar.co.ul. Retrieved 20 May 2021.
  10. ^ a b "Shel Macrae, lead singer and rhythm guitarist for The Fortunes, dies at 77", ITV.com, 28 November 2022. Retrieved 28 November 2022

External links[edit]