mardi 2 décembre 2008

2I’STARS


Resident Artists

  • The Vipers Skiffle Group

(July - September 1956)

  • Tommy Steele

(July - September 1956)

  • The Soho's skiffle group

(Late 1956)

  • Les Hobeaux Skiffle Group

(Summer - Late 1957)

  • Terry Dene & The Dene Aces

(Late 1957 - Early 1959)

  • The Worried Men

(Late 1957 - Early 1959)

  • Colin Hicks & The Cabin Boys

(Early 1958 - Early 1959)

  • The Vagabonds

(Early - April 1958)

  • Cliff Richard & The Drifters

(Early - Summer 1958)

  • Wally Whyton & The Vipers

(May 1958 - Early 1959)

  • Vince Eager

(Summer 1958)

  • Vince Taylor & the Playboys

(Early 1959 - Summer 1960)

  • The Jury

(1961 - Summer 1962)

Tommy Steele

Thomas Hicks aka “Tommy Steele”, the first british rock star, was discovered by his soon-to-be Manager John Kennedy in September 1956 during a 2i’s session with the Vipers.

Paul Lincoln, the owner of the Two I's, had invited John Kennedy to listen to "The Vipers skiffle group".

Kennedy wasn’t very impressed by the Vipers but his attention was captured by the performance of Hicks who took to the stage during a break in the Vipers performance and started shouting "alright kids...lets go..." then singing Elvis Presley’s number "Heartbreak Hotel", an huge hit in the states in early 1956.

After a repeat performance in the Two I's, Hugh Mendl, the A&R man for Decca Records, asked Kennedy to bring Hicks with him to do a Decca sound test was planned for the following day. The following month “Rock With The Cavemen” was released…

Terry Dene

In early, Terry Dene, who worked as a packer at HMV’s Oxford Street record shop, was spotted by rock and roll impresario Jack Good while singing at the 2 I's where he tried to emulate Elvis Presley and Gene Vincent. This made his friend bass player Brian Gregg all the more determined to make it himself.

He obtained an opportunity to record with Decca and to find a weekly spot on TV's "Six-Five Special".

Paul Lincoln rated his chances high enough to become "the next Tommy Steele".

Later Dene was backed on stage by his own backing band, the Dene Aces, evolving out of the Terry Kennedy Rock’n’Rollers and featuring great drummer Clem Cattini. Paul Lincoln booked them after he saw them in the movie “The Golden Disc”.

Adam Faith

Terry Nelhams began playing skiffle with The Worried Men and managed to get a regular booking at the Two I's coffee bar. From there he also managed to secure an appearance on Jack Good's 'Oh Boy!' rock and roll TV show.

Guitarist Rick Hardy aka Rick Richards took over him, leading The Worried Men until early 1959.

Cliff Richard

John Foster managed to get the Drifters a slot at the 2 I's in early 1958.

As Rick Richards had an amplified guitar and the 'Drifters' didn't, he was roped in to play with the group there.

A few weeks later, their lead vocalist, Harry Webb came back to the 2.I's with a new name obviously pinched from Rick’s stage name: “Cliff Richard”. Rick Hardy was finally replaced by Ian Samwell, who volunteered his services as a guitarist during a gig at the 2 I’s, then penned the first Cliff’s hit, “Move It”.

Vince Eager

Following their appearance in the televised skiffle final in late 1957, the Vagabonds from Grantham were invited to play at the 2 I's Coffee Bar. The response from the audience to their show prompted the owners of the 2 I's to offer them a residency.

They decided to take up the residency offer at the 2 I's Coffee Bar and soon after they were offered a Sunday Night concert in Coventry by Larry Parnes who offered Roy Taylor, the lead vocalist, a deal. It involved Roy became Vince Eager.

During summer 1958, Vince Eager would be back by a band that became Marty Wilde’s Wildcats.

Vince Taylor

After a two month tour in Yorkshire, Marty Wilde finally split the Wildcats and some of them ended up coing back to the fold: playing at the 2 I's. They teamed up there with Tony Sheridan who turned down the offer to be the lead guitarist for the Drifters.Vince Taylor came in looking for a band to back him on a few shows and they became his Playboys. In late 1959, Sheridan left and was replaced by another guitar hero Joe Moretti of “Shakin’ All Over” fame (Johnny Kidd & The Pirates).

Joe Moretti

“Vince decided on the uniforms: black shirt,black pants,black & white shoes with white tie black & white check cap. We looked a million dollars. And we didn't just wear them on stage. We wore them all the time !! And when we walked into the 2 I's everyone went crazy. So, very quickly we became identifiable. Vince Taylor & the Playboys. And soon we were the main attraction at the 2 I's. Now, the Room where we played at the 2 I's was below ground level, a basement under the main cafe. I think it was meant to hold about 40 people but it was always packed with people standing shoulder to shoulder. The heat & the sweat !!”

Other great musicians had their first big break at the 2 I's such as pianist Wee Willie Harris with his pink hair, drummer Rory Blackwell and his fabulous long drums solos.

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