1960 The year the group hit it big with "Shakin' All Over"
January 4th Two tracks, a cover of Marv Johnson's "You Got What It Takes" and a Kidd original "Longin’ Lips" are recorded in Abbey Road.  Sessionmen are most likely used - Clem Catinni and Brian Gregg had yet to become Pirates.
January 22nd RELEASE: "You Got What It Takes" / "Longin’ Lips" (HMV POP 698).  The A-side was a good cover of an early Marv Johnson Motown record.  The Motown "house sound" proper has not quite developed at this time but Kidd could see the potential of some of the emerging numbers.  Down the line, Kidd's idea of recording more Motown numbers was scuppered by HMV who didn't believe it would sell.  Yet in what turned out to be a major coup, Tamla Motown releases were sub-let on EMI.
February 12th "You Got What It Takes" reaches 25 in the (then) UK Top Thirty.  Not bad seeing as the original which EMI wanted to beat into the charts made it into the Top Five.
Early 1960 Mike West wanted to go solo so the Pirates underwent a major re-shuffle.  The groups management decided to bring in better musicians who could read music.  Alan Caddy remained on lead guitar (he'd been to the Royal College of Music), to be joined by Brian Gregg on bass (Les Hobeaux, Terry Dene, Colin Hicks Cabin Boys) and Clem Catinni who was Britain's top first-generation rock drummer. 

Robby Hood And His Merry Men was Mike West with Tony Doherty (guitar) adding Micky Cottle (drums) and Carl Hasden (who owned the first five-string bass in the UK, custom-made by Johnny "Fruit" Gordon).  Signed by Stanley Dale their recording debut was "Tell Me When" written by Fred Heath, and they occasionally appeared on the same bill as Kidd.

JOHNNY KIDD & THE PIRATES #2 Johnny Kidd (vocals); Alan Caddy (lead); Brian Gregg (bass); Clem Catinni (drums).  (Early 1960 - September 1961)
April 10th Recording session for ABC TV's "Wham!", show number 2.  Brain Gregg recalls that suits were worn, the Pirates in lime-green while the Kidd sported bright orange, which was a pity as the show (devised and produced by the legendary Jack Good) went out on black and white television.
April 17th Eddie Cochran, on tour in England, is killed in a car crash near Chippenham, Wiltshire.  Also in the car was Kidd's friend Gene Vincent who was badly knocked about.    

TRIVIA: Young PC David Harman was one of the first on the scene - he would later find fame as "Dave Dee" with Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich.

April 30th TV Appearance on ABC TV's "Wham!", 18:00-18:30 (broadcast directly opposite the BBC's "Juke Box Jury").  Also appearing - Davy Jones, Wee Willie Harris, The Four Jays, Peter Wynne, Vince Taylor and the Playboys, and Richard Allen.  An audience of 5 million tuned in to watch.

"Wham!" would be cancelled by its makers ABC on June 4th of this year, the company responsible for making it, says "ABC thinks there is no longer a public for teenage rock-'n'-roll type programmes".  So there.

May 12th Thursday EMI had previously decided to offer the b-side of their next recording session to the group.  As of this day they had come up with no ideas as to what to record and in the evening the lads are to be found in Chas McDevitt's Freight Train club.  As they could hardly wander into EMI the next day with nothing they went downstairs and, sitting on some coke crates and without instruments, knocked up something in a short space of time.

Their inspiration came from a phrase Fred Heath would use when knocking around with some mates, and spying a pretty girl in the street might send "quivers down the membranes".  It was a phrase the future Pirate remembered because it offered a new angle on the shakes routine, and this evening helped generate a song to show EMI they had been busy.

May 13th, Friday This morning the guys rose early and collected around Brian Gregg's house to run through their new number.  They were a bit ashamed of it but despite today being Friday 13th they had nothing else to offer, besides any money on sales might be nice.  At EMI, this was the first recording session for messrs. Gregg and Catinni as Pirates - and what a session.

"Yes Sir, That's My Baby'" was the main event for release as the next single.  Joe Moretti (right), who had been befriended by the group was brought in by them to supply lead guitar, Alan Caddy stepping aside to play a picked treble version of Gregg's bass riff, alternating with some neatly controlled rhythm instead.  The B-side was the lads new number, which turned out to be "Shakin' All Over" and which was recorded in one take.  Moretti overdubbed the "shimmering" guitar effects at the end of each verse by quickly sliding a Ronson lighter to and fro on his guitar strings.  This took two takes and he consequentially received 1 extra in addition to his #5 and 15 shillings session fee which all the Pirates received as usual.  The Control Room had a quick conflab and announced that this new song knocked everybody out and would the A-side.

June 10th RELEASE: "Shakin' All Over"/"Yes Sir, That's My Baby'" (HMV POP 753).  What more can be said, although the group were actually a little embarrassed about the song they needn't have been, as it became perhaps the most influential British Rock 'n' Roll song in the pre-Beatles era.  As for the flipside, this was the second version of the song, the first version by the original Pirates line-up being considered to be a bit too rough and ready for release.  It actually saw the light of day on a re-issue of "Shakin' All Over" on EMI in 1976 by mistake, making this latter-day release of the famous topside at least a little collectable in its own right.
June 12th "Rockin' Down The River" - 1,000 fans went on a trip aboard the "Royal Daffodill", organised by ballroom owner Ed Waller.  At over 12 hours, the round-trip cost a mere 35 shillings (3.50) and went down the River Thames and on to Margate (on the tip of East Kent) and back.  Fans mingled with the stars who (apart from Kidd & co) were: the Johnny Dankworth Band; Jess Conrad; Mark Wynter; Michael Cox; Ron & The Couriers and Frank Ifield.
June 18th "Shakin' All Over" is a new entry, it reaches no. 20 in the "Melody Maker" charts for week-ending 18th June 1960.  Although not the highest new entry this week, it will go on to be far better-remembered than some of the competition listed above it this week.

At number 7 is gravelly-voiced Tommy Bruce (who sadly passed away in 2006) with his interpretation of Fats Waller's "Ain't Misbehavin" -  a not-too-distant upcoming Bruce single on Parlophone would feature "Shakin'" on the flip. 

June 22nd, Wednesday Co-Operative Hall, Torquay - "Rock & Roll" starring the group.  The photo (right) pictures Kidd with Stanley Dale, his then manager, beside the group's van.  Without his trademark eye-patch Kidd was able to walk the streets virtually unrecognised!
July 30th Seaton Town Hall, 8pm and 8.45pm.  Billed as "Special, Live on stage. Number one in the British hit parade - 'Shaking All Over' - International Favourites".
August 4th "Shakin' All Over" Reaches no. 1 for one week according to the "Record Retailer" chart (now quoted by Guinness) - the same industry-standard chart that later had the Beatles' "Please Please Me" stop at no. 2.  Another chart (there were at least four to choose from) reckon it was a no. 3 for three weeks before slowly sliding out through August and September.
August 12th "Girls who give lads 'quivers down the membranes' inspired my hit" confesses Johnny Kidd - this self-penned article appeared in the New Musical Express magazine (number 709) in the wake of his current massive hit, spilling the beans on the title's origins plus the following thoughts:  "You see, if I am to be honest, I must tell you that in my opinion there's nothing worthwhile musically in the number - no chords even!" plus the following about his next disc -

"I shall be rehearsing next week for my new record.  I can't give you any indication of what it will be like because I haven't even written it yet!  I'm thinking like mad, trying to work up an original idea - the most important thing , in my estimation, is that this new disc will have to have an unusual sound. Click here for the full article.

September 5th The group record "Restless" and "Magic Of Love".  The topside is co-written by Kidd plus Teddy Wadmore, bass player with the Ted Taylor Four.  Wadmore subsequently leaves the four to pursue a career in songwriting.  In an attempt to emulate the success of "Shakin' All Over" the group is once again supplemented by Joe Moretti on lead guitar duties.

Kidd's manager Stanley Dale continues booking engagements for the Kidd up to the beginning of October as a potential US Tour "is not expected to take place before then".

September 15/16th Kidd flies out to represent Britain at a special EMI convention of record dealers over two days in Amsterdam, and also makes an appearance on Hilversum TV.  "Shakin' All Over" is voted no.1 in Holland.
September 18th TOUR COMMENCES - 18th Aylesbury; 20th Newbury; 23rd Northwhich; 24th Aylesbury; 29th Barrow-In-Furness; 30th Whitehaven (continues into October)
September 30th RELEASE: "Restless" / "Magic Of Love" (HMV POP 790).  After the success of "Shakin' All Over" Kidd expected big things from the atmospheric follow-up to his big Summer hit.  His vocals are probably at their moodiest best here.
October TOUR CONTINUES - 1st Crewe; 14th Central Pier, Morecambe; 15th Aylesbury; 20th Rawtenstall; 21st Leeds; 22nd Barnoldswick; 29th Bury St Edmunds (continues into November)
October 6th A return to Abbey Road to record three more tracks on this day which mark a return to cover versions: "Linda Lu", "Let's Talk About Us" and "Big Blon' Baby".  "Linda Lu" is a Ray Sharpe song, which features a jaunty but cool take on the descending "Shakin" riff, preceded with a brief vocal introduction before launching into the verse proper.  A solo is dispensed with, unlike other singles this year there appears to be no second guitarist employed to flesh out the sound.  The suggestion is that this was not necessarily a session designed to produce a single as "Linda Lu" will be selected for the next single a few months into 1961, with "Lets Talk About Us" (Jerry Lee Lewis) on the flip.  The third song is sidelined for the moment, but will be released before the others.

Also on this day "Restless", which Kidd thought was probably stronger even than "Shakin" tops out at a disappointing 22 in the UK "Record Retailer" charts.  Another chart calculates this disc as reaching as high as number 18.

October 7th The second recoding session in as many days produces "Weep No More My Baby".  As with the previous day's "Big Blon' Baby" Alan Caddy's "chunky" style can be seen to have evolved rather effectively, the solo on today's recording keeping the song chugging along rather nicely without losing the plot.
November TOUR CONTINUES - 4th Grimsby; 5th Wisbech; 7th Middlesbrough; 8th Hull; 9th Bradford; 10th Scarborough; Friday 11th - five-day tour of Scotland; 16th York; 17th Warrington; 19th Shrewsbury; 20th Spennymoor.
November "Johnny Kidd", the eponymous first EP from the group is also released around this time featuring his four hit singles to date: "Please Don't Touch" and "Shakin' All Over" on side 1, with "Restless" and "You Got What It Takes" on side 2.  No material seems to be spare for a unique release, perhaps this was due to heavy touring commitments.

The sleevenotes are by James Wynn, who tells the (probably untrue) story of how whilst tuning his guitar backstage at Wandsworth Town Hall a string broke and hit him in the eye, stagehands managed to source a black eyepatch and Johnny fulfilled the show, during which he heard mumblings from a few in the audience that he looked like a pirate, he dubbed his band the Pirates, and adorned himself with the name Johnny Kidd - and never looked back....!  That's what it says anyway, finishing off with "He's been greeted with capacity audiences all long the line - a fact that constitutes proof positive that the talented Mr. Kidd is here to stay".

December 2nd "Saturday Club" album (Parlophone PMC 1130, mono) released in time for Christmas, comprising tracks from diverse acts contracted to the many EMI labels including John Barry, Ricky Valance, Bert Weedon, Tommy Bruce and the King Brothers amongst others.  The two Kidd tracks - "Big Blon' Baby" and "Weep no more, My Baby", both recorded 7th October were two of the undoubted highlights and was the first time - and sadly the last - that Kidd appeared on LP during his career.  One reviewer suggests the album contains out-takes and other leftovers - as they were all EMI recordings and not those from the BBC radio show of the same name - he might have had a fair point.  The LP today will become collectable because of these otherwise unobtainable cuts from Kidd rather than anything else.
December "NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS" poll - "Shakin All Over" is the 7th best British disc of the year, while Kidd was the 4th most requested artist for the poll concert, 9th most popular male singer and 11th British Vocal Personality.  "Shakin' All Over" had been no.5 in the best selling sheet music chart.  All in all, not a bad year.
Home Page       The Story       TimeLine       Band members       Gallery
Discussion      Recordings      Songs      Site Map      The Pirates Website
This website is maintained by Adrian Barrett.  Adrian Barrett, 1998-2006.
Use www.johnnykidd.co.uk as pages may be removed as the site develops.