The V.I.P.s (band)

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The V.I.P.s
Also known asArt (1967)
OriginCarlisle, England
GenresR&B, psychedelic rock
Years active1963–1967
LabelsIsland, CBS, Star-Club
Associated actsSpooky Tooth
Past membersMike Harrison
Greg Ridley
Frank Kenyon
Jimmy Henshaw
Luther Grosvenor
Walter Johnstone
Mike Kellie
Keith Emerson

The V.I.P.s were a British R&B musical ensemble formed in Carlisle, Cumberland, (North West England) in late 1963, out of an earlier outfit known as The Ramrods, who had formed in Carlisle in 1960. After a change of personnel in April 1967, the band changed their name to Art, and released the album Supernatural Fairy Tales. They also participated in a bizarre psychedelic album entitled Featuring The Human Host And The Heavy Metal Kids by a collective known as Hapshash and the Coloured Coat, formed by Guy Stevens and an influential British graphic design and avant-garde musical partnership between Michael English and Nigel Waymouth. The musicians involved in that project were Mike Harrison on keys and vocals, Luther Grosvenor on guitars, Greg Ridley on bass and Mike Kellie on drums, as well as Stevens, English and Waymouth. It was the first time that the term heavy metal was ever used in music, even though that album had nothing to do with heavy metal music, being closer to psychedelic music. The album was issued in 1967 by Liberty Records and contained only five songs from two minutes to more than 15 minutes of psychedelic and almost meditative state kind of music.


The band members at various times were: Mike Harrison (lead vocals) (ex Dino and the Danubes, The Dakotas, The Ramrods); Greg Ridley (bass guitar) (ex Dino and the Danubes, The Dakotas); Frank Kenyon (rhythm guitar) (1963–67) (born 12 October 1945, Carlisle) (ex The Teenages, The Ramrods); Jimmy Henshaw (lead guitar) (1963–67) (born James Henshaw, 20 October 1941, in Newarthill, near Motherwell, North Lanarkshire, Scotland died 1 May 2007, Carlisle) (ex The Ramrods); Keith Emerson (organ) (ex-Gary Farr & The T-Bones) (1966–1967); Luther Grosvenor (lead guitar) (1967); Walter Johnstone (drummer) (1963–67) (born 11 March 1943, Carlisle) (ex The Teenages, The Ramrods); and Mike Kellie (drummer) (1967).

When Emerson left in early 1967 to form The Nice, Harrison, Ridley, Grosvenor and Kellie changed their name to 'Art', and released one album, Supernatural Fairy Tales, produced by Guy Stevens, covering Stephen Stills' For What It's Worth and Felix Cavaliere's Come on up. The band then disbanded, with all four members of the group's final line-up forming Spooky Tooth with American musician Gary Wright later that same year.


Studio albums[edit]

Compilation albums[edit]


  • "She's So Good" / "Don't Keep Shouting at Me" (UK RCA, 1964)
  • "Mercy Mercy" / "That's My Woman" (U.S. only single, produced by Derek Lawrence)
  • "Wintertime" / "Anyone" (as The Vipps, CBS)
  • "I Wanna Be Free" / "Don't Let It Go" (Island)
  • "Straight Down to the Bottom" / "In a Dream" (Island)
  • "Sunshine Help Me" (Island - as 'Spooky Tooth')


  • Larkin, C: The Virgin Encyclopedia of Sixties Music p18 (Muze Uk Ltd, 1997) ISBN 0-7535-0149-X

External links[edit]