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Members: VIC COOPER

Keyboards - 1964-1966

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Vic Cooper, who joined in early 1964

 

Vic Cooper was drafted in in time for the "Lost Album" sessions in April 0f 1964.  He had previously been with the Redcaps backing Cuddly Dudley so was well acquainted with the current crew of Pirates and fitted in easily with their playing style.  Many of the 'new wave' of R'n'B bands boasted keyboards and Cooper was up to the challenge they presented.  His arrival meant that the band had to invest in a larger van to accommodate the huge organ, although he left this behind on a tour of Hamburg clubs in January 1965, taking a chance that there would be pianos available.

The soulful interpretation of Hank Williams' "Your Cheating Heart" from the album sessions was superb was rescued from oblivion to be the flipside of "Whole Lotta Woman", another LP refugee in the summer of 1964.  His organ playing allowed the bands' sound to develop and although it may be an exaggeration that Mick Green felt a little stifled by it, it gave him some competition.  It has been mooted that this was one factor in Greens' defection to the Dakotas in late 1964, however thereal reasons are much more likely to have been the groups' decline of single's success, coupled with the ensuing abandonment of the long-awaited LP.  Cooper graduated to playing the lead instrument part on "The Birds And The Bees" in 1965, the first time that a Kidd/Pirates single saw the guitar playing second fiddle to keyboards.  This single saw his television debut on "Five O'Clock Club" (although the band had made other recent TV appearances) and was tipped for a hit but sadly, it missed, in the face of competition from Jewel Aken's original version.

Toomorrow

 

Cooper stayed with the band, seeing out the departures of Mick Green's replacement John Weider, who left to find a "happening" band.  The Pirates' guitarist was Jon Moreshead at the time the Pirates split from Kidd, part of a plan to promote Johnny Kidd as a solo singer.  The group were able to keep the name of the Pirates with Kidd's blessing but broke up three months later after one unsuccessful single, "Shades Of Blue"/"Can't Understand" on Polydor.  He played on some sessions, including the keyboards on Tom Jones number one hit "The Green Green Grass Of Home".

Don Kirschner, who'd created the Monkees, had been struck by Olivia Newton-John on meeting her in London and decided to build a group around her, to be called Toomorrow (right).  Alongside Cooper were drummer Karl Chambers and guitarist Ben Thomas.  A big American build-up was planned but it took a long time to record the album and two singles, plus a film also called "Toomorrow", made in league with James Bond producer Harry Saltzman.  This was a science-fiction musical where a group of students payed their way through school by forming a pop band.  Cooper's character invents a "tonaliser", whose sonic vibrations attracts the attentions of an extra-terrestrial!  In the end, the launch, the film, and the records all flopped and the group folded well short of its five-year contract, allowing Olivia to progress to superstardom and Cooper to move on.....

 
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