After rehearsing for a few weeks in early 1966 we started doing gigs in
around the South Coast of England.
We had very little gear and a dodgy Bedford van for transport.
soon gained a good following and had queues of people waiting to get into such places
the Indigo Vat and Birdcage in Portsmouth.
The Shulmans brother-in-law John King, who was a television producer for
came to see us one evening and agreed to be our manager.
John didn't know too much about the pop music scene, but he did have some
contacts and knew some of the right people.
John took a demo disk that we'd made of "I See The Light" ( a Five Americans
to EMI, who gave us an audition.
This resulted in a five year recording contract, which was pretty amazing
at the time.
In October 1966 we went to studio two at Abbey Road and re-recorded "I
See The Light".
Things were getting a bit hectic having a day job. On many occasions I
dropped off at my place of work after playing a gig, having had no sleep.
So shortly after signing with EMI the band turned professional.
We agreed to take a livable weekly wage out of our earnings with the rest
and shared when the band eventually folded. I was going to be rich one
Well maybe not .........
Next we acquired a couple of roadies and the mandatory Ford Transit van for transport.
On the strength of our record contract we signed with the "The Arthur
One of the first gigs we did for Arthur Howes was with "The Walker Brothers" tour
ABC Theatre - Blackpool. This was new territory for us.
We were used to playing in clubs, not in front of two thousand seated
Next came "The Beach Boys" and "Gene Pitney" tours of the UK.
"Simon Dupree" toured Sweden, Germany, Belgium, Holland and the UK.
We played over 300 gigs a year traveling thousands of miles.
Early on we purchased a Mellotron, which was used on stage and for recording.
The Mellotron was never going to be a mass market instrument, but they
important instrument for some bands throughout the sixties and seventies,
Today they are very collectable, that's if one can be found !
Many days were spent recording for EMI, mainly at Abbey Road.
It was our fourth record "Kites" that gave the band a top ten hit.
"Kites" was a psychedelic ballad, with Mellotron, xylophone, gong and
The actress Jacqui Chan, ( not Jackie Chan ) speaks the erotic spoken
words on "Kites".
( Jacqui Chan appeared in Krakatoa, East of Java, Cleopatra, The
World of Suzie Wong etc. )
Jacqui Chan couldn't speak Chinese as she was born and raised in Trinidad.
A local Restaurateur was quickly brought in to to write a few lines that
Jacqui Chan then
recited phonetically, it was all a bit of a farce really.
They sound erotic words, but nobody seems to know what they mean !
Please don't email me to ask what Jacqui is saying because I don't know.
Jacqui didn't know what she was saying either.
"Simon Dupree and The Big Sound" also recorded one record under the pseudonym
"The Moles", called "We Are The Moles", Part 1 and Part 2.
A publicity rumour was circulated to the Music Papers and Disc Jockeys
it was recorded
by "The Beatles", so for a short time it was known as a record by "The
Beatles" in disguise.
The record was doing well until none other than Syd Barrett
( The Syd Barrett, one of the early geniuses behind Pink Floyd ) gave
the game away.
Syd Barret was a regular visitor to the rehearsals of "Top Of The Pops"
at the time.
He was a bit worse for wear by then.
Syd would tell anybody who would listen that "We Are The Moles" was recorded
"Simon Dupree" not "The Beatles". So some interest was lost in the record.
Another of our publicity stunts that didn't work ...!!
However today the record is popular with collectors of Pyschedelia.
We recording our first album "Without
Reservations" at the Abbey Road studios the same time
Best Viewed at 1024 x 768.
as "The Beatles" were recording there "Sgt. Peppers" album.
They used studio two through the night, we used the same studio during
Immediately after "The Beatles" had vacated studio two the atmosphere
was really pleasant.
We could float around the studio without the use of our legs.
The doorman would complain to us that they were going to get busted, and
he would loose his job.
The poor guy was immediately given the name jobs-worth.
We only knew "The Beatles" well enough to say something like, "How yer
doing" or "Good morning".
Sometimes our paths would cross in the studio or in the studio's small
They seemed a good humoured bunch of guys who treated Abbey Road as their
"The Beatles" never had their equipment taken out of studio two, it was
packed away neatly into
the corner of the studio by their roadies.
What was the point of our roadies unloading gear, when perfectly good
in the same studio ?
So apart from their guitars, we used "The Beatles" equipment.
Our biggest problem was remembering how it had been packed and repacking
correctly at the end of the day.
With apologies to Paul, Ringo ... etc... eerrrr ... the cheque's in the
During this time we discovered the magic Mellotron that "The Beatles"
using on "Sgt. Peppers".
This was pulled out, experimented with, and used on a few of our tracks.
We acquired a Mellotron of our own shortly after this.
I think we were the second or third band to use one on stage, after "The
"Simon Dupree and The Big Sound" appeared frequently on British and German
television, and were also a favourite of the BBC's for live radio shows.
The band eventually broke up in late 1969.
In 1970 Derek, Ray and Phil Shulman together with Kerry Minnear, Gary Green
and Martin Smith formed
the UK music band "Gentle Giant".
( They don't approve of Labels like "Progressive Rock" )
If I've broken any copyright please let me know.
If we can't come to some arrangement I will remove the offending
Acknowledgments : - EMI Records Ltd | See For Miles Records Ltd |
Fab208 Magazine | Jackie Magazine | New Musical Express | Record Mirror
The News | Disk & Music Echo | BBC | The Beano | Beat Cub - Germany
Jim McAlwane | Joachim Wunschick | Tim Bale | Grant Gillanders | Nick Brand
Ueli Frey | Steven Becker ............
:: Email ::::::::::::::
© P. O'Flaherty 2003.
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- Simon Dupree
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