The Temperance Seven

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The Temperance Seven (1962)

The Temperance Seven is a British band originally active in the 1960s, specialising in 1920s-style jazz music. They were known for their surreal performances.[1]


The Temperance Seven was founded at Christmas 1955 by students at the Chelsea School of Art,[2] though the band mythologized its foundation as dating from 1904 at the fictitious Pasadena Cocoa Rooms, Balls Pond Road, North London. The three founder members were Paul McDowell (who originally played trombone), Philip Harrison (who originally played banjo) and Brian Innes (drums).[2] Gradually the band evolved into a nine-piece ensemble with a light-hearted and humorous performing style, although they were all serious musicians. The name "Temperance Seven" was suggested by Douggie Gray, of the Alberts fame. The Alberts were cult figures in the art scene in the mid 1950s and were forerunners of the sort of humour that became Monty Python. (This was not the band's only link with Monty Python; see below). The Temperance Seven was a subtle play on words – the number seven being "one under the eight". That there were nine members or "one over the eight" implied intemperance.

In 1960, they recorded "Ukulele Lady" with vocal refrain by Peter Sellers, produced by George Martin. It was featured on Parlophone PMC 1131, a 12-inch album called Peter and Sophia (Loren).

In 1961, the Temperance Seven achieved national fame with the number one hit "You're Driving Me Crazy", arranged by Frank Skinner and produced by George Martin.[2] It was quickly followed by "Pasadena", which reached number 4 in the UK Singles Chart.[3] They toured the UK widely that year, often in shows promoted by their manager Ralph Peters and their performances acquired a set routine beginning with the last few bars of "Pasadena" (which became their signature tune) and ending with the stirring strains of the "Gaumont-British News". By the summer of 1961 their fame was such that they appeared at the London Palladium for a two-week top of the bill performance. This was arranged by Ralph in combination with an appearance at that year's Royal Variety Performance.

Before the band became known nationally, Paul McDowell had also been a member of the Experimental Theatre Club revue, with Ian Davidson, Robin Grove-White and Doug Fisher. At the time, they had been performing their show, called "****" (Four Asterisks), at the Edinburgh Fringe, but after the runaway success of "You're Driving Me Crazy", McDowell had to quit the group to tour with his band. This prompted Davidson to look for a replacement, and he found Terry Jones, future Monty Python member, who thus obtained his first chance to be part of the revue.

The Temperance Seven came to popularity during the resurgent trad-jazz era of the early 1960s. Their unique sound, coupled with their musicianship and ingeniously humorous compositions, set them apart from their contemporaries; however, they arrived at the cusp of that era and as popular tastes changed with the emergence of the Beatles, the Temperance Seven gradually slipped into obscurity, although the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band and Bob Kerr's Whoopee Band attempted to wear their mantle for several years whilst claiming no affiliation.[2]

The Temperance Seven is also listed as the band for Spike Milligan and John Antrobus' stage play The Bed-Sitting Room,[2][4] which opened at the Mermaid Theatre on 31 January 1963,[5][6] with a subsequent production opening on 3 May 1967 at the Saville Theatre.[5]

The original Temperance Seven were dissolved in the mid 1960s, but the band was resurrected in the latter part of that decade by drummer Dave Mills, who had replaced Brian Innes in 1966 and led the band for several years, firstly as The New Temperance Seven, and was instrumental in arranging their appearances in Hong Kong and Bahrain, where he eventually settled to be replaced by Ian Howarth. The band continued to perform with new personnel and, from time to time, original members made guest appearances. During the 1980s, Chris Hook took over leadership of the band. The personnel have not changed since that time and the band continues to work around the UK. Many members of the original band reunited for a BBC Radio programme about the group in 2003.


The Temperance Seven dressed in a manner appropriate to the style of music they played.[7] Some members also went under preposterous pseudonyms emphasised by the wearing of a minor yet conspicuous item of clothing – Colin Bowles a dog collar and John R.T. Davies a fez.[8] "Josef Kronk", who supposedly arranged The Temperance Seven 1961 LP, was the collective pseudonym for the band. The early personnel included:

Later members included:

  • Ted Wood (vocals)
  • Melvyn Robinson (trombone)
  • Ray Whittam (clarinet, baritone saxophone, bass saxophone, tenor saxophone)
  • Bobby Mickleburgh (trombone, trumpet)
  • Bill Greenow (clarinet, alto saxophone, penny whistle)
  • Mac White (clarinet, alto saxophone)
  • Malcolm Everson (baritone saxophone, alto saxophone)
  • Will Hastie (clarinet, penny whistle)
  • Geoff Simkins (alto saxophone, baritone saxophone)
  • Bert Murray (piano, trombone)
  • Chris Hook - (aka Chris Buckley) (sousaphone)
  • Dave Mills (percussion)
  • Ian Howarth (percussion)
  • Graham Collicott (percussion)

Selected discography[edit]


  • "You're Driving Me Crazy" / "Charley My Boy" (1961: 7" Parlophone R4757) – UK No. 1[3]
  • "Pasadena" / "Sugar" (1961: 7" Parlophone R4781) – UK No. 4[3]
  • "Hard Hearted Hannah" / "Chili Bom Bom" (1961: 7" Parlophone R4823) – UK No. 28[3]
  • "Charleston" / "Black Bottom" (1961: 7" Parlophone R4851) – UK No. 22[3]
  • "Sahara" / "Everybody Loves My Baby" (1962: 7" Parlophone R4893)
  • "Runnin' Wild" / "The Mooche" (1962: 7" Parlophone R4934)
  • "Shake" / "Bye Bye Baby" (1962: 7" Parlophone R4953)
  • "Ain't She Sweet" / "Seven And Eleven" (1963: 7" Parlophone R5022)
  • "Thanks for the Melody" / "Easy Money" (1963: 7" Parlophone R5048)
  • "From Russia With Love" / "PCQ" (1963: 7" Parlophone R5070)
  • "Letkiss" / "Tajkaedi" (1964: 7" Parlophone R5236)
  • "Miss Elizabeth Brown" / "Crazy" (1968: 7" MCA 1016)
  • "Shepherd of the Hills" (1975: 7" DJM DJS 626)
  • "Mach II March" / "Me and Jane in a Plane" (1976: 7" DJM DJS 673)
  • "Pasadena" / "You're Driving Me Crazy" (EMI EMI2336)
  • "You're Driving Me Crazy" / "Charley My Boy" (Old Gold OG 9385)
  • "You're Driving Me Crazy" / "Charley My Boy" (HMV POP 2007)

Paul McDowell solo single[edit]

  • "Frankie" (1961: 7" Fontana 267228TF)


  • "The Temperance Seven Inch Record" (1960: EP Argo EAF 14)
  • "The Temperance Seven" (1961: EP Parlophone GEP 8840)
  • "The Charleston and other selections" (1961: EP Parlophone GEP 8850)
  • "1961" (1961: EP Parlophone GEP 8857)
  • "Runnin' Wild" (1962: EP Parlophone GEP 8872)


  • The Temperance Seven Plus 1 – Tiger Rag (1957 LP: Argo RG 117) – UK No. 19[3] (re-released as The World of the Temperance Seven 1973 LP: Argo SPA 302)
  • The Temperance Seven 1961 (1961 LP: Parlophone PMC 1152 & PCS 3021) – UK #8[3] (re-released as Pasadena: World Record Club ST 10002)
  • BBC Sessions (1962 LP: Ristic) [Private Pressing]
  • Family Album (1964 LP: Parlophone PMC 1236 & PCS 3059, 1964) (re-released as Family Album: World Record Club TP 727)
  • Direct from the Ballspond Cocoa Rooms (LP: Music For Pleasure MFP 1322)
  • The New Temperance Seven (1970 LP: Hallmark HMA 205)
  • The New Temperance Seven in Sweden (1972 LP: Philips 6414 303)
  • The Temperance Seven in Hong Kong (1975 LP: DJM DJSML 2013)
  • 21 Years On (1976 LP: DJM DJM 22043)
  • Tea for Eight (1989 LP: Upbeat URLP101, 1989 CD: Upbeat URCD 203)
  • 33 Not Out (1990 CD: Upbeat URCD103)
  • The Writing on the Wall (1992 CD: Upbeat URCD108)
  • Pasadena and the Lost Cylinders: Music from the Archives (1997 CD: Lake LACD 77) [recorded 1960(1–9), 1961(10–11), 1962(12–19), 1963(20–26), 1967(27–28)]
  • Live & In Full Colour – Part 1 (2000 CD: TS101) (Private Pressing recorded at The Grayshott Club, Hindhead)
  • Live & In Full Colour – Part 2 (2000 CD: TS102) (Private Pressing recorded at The Grayshott Club, Hindhead)
  • The Parlophone Recordings Vol.1 1960–1962 (2000 CD: Lake LACD 138)
  • The Parlophone Recordings Vol.2 1962–1965 (2001 CD: Lake LACD 142)
  • Those BBC Years (2002 CD: Upbeat URCD185)
  • Diamond Jubilee Stomp (2017 CD: Private Release from website)

Other appearances[edit]

The Temperance Seven also appeared on:


See also[edit]


  • The New Musical Express Book of Rock, 1975, Star Books, ISBN 0-352-30074-4
  • The Pythons Autobiography by The Pythons, 2003, Orion books, ISBN 0-7528-6425-4


  1. ^ Massey, Anne; Seago, Alex (30 November 2017). Pop Art and Design. ISBN 9781474226202.
  2. ^ a b c d e Colin Larkin, ed. (1997). The Virgin Encyclopedia of Popular Music (Concise ed.). Virgin Books. p. 1167. ISBN 1-85227-745-9.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 552. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  4. ^ Milligan, Spike, & Antrobus, John (1973) The Bedsitting Room. Tandem: London. First published in Great Britain by Margaret & Jack Hobbs, 1970. Published by Universal-Tandem, 1972. © 1970 Spike Milligan and John Antrobus
  5. ^ a b Scudamore, Pauline (1985). Spike Milligan: A Biography. London: Granada. ISBN 0-246-12275-7.
  6. ^ McCann, Graham (2006). Spike & Co. London: Hodder & Stoughton. ISBN 0-340-89809-7.
  7. ^ David Kynaston (11 September 2014). Modernity Britain: Book Two: A Shake of the Dice, 1959-62. Bloomsbury Publishing. p. 243. ISBN 978-1-4088-4440-3.
  8. ^ David Toop (5 May 2016). Into the Maelstrom: Music, Improvisation and the Dream of Freedom: Before 1970. Bloomsbury Publishing. p. 156. ISBN 978-1-4411-0277-5.

External links[edit]