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the Pale

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Paramounts' Progress (1)

Extracted from NME by Yan Friis

These excerpts from New Musical Express, kindly selected for 'Beyond the Pale' by Yan Friis, cover all the Paramounts' press during the first year of their recording career, showing the lacklustre promotion that they received from EMI and the ferocious chart competition they were up against. Included in this page are several reviews of Paramounts' singles. Additional research by Frans Steensma ([FS]). This is part one of a two-part feature.

Poison Ivy advertisement

NME, December 6, 1963 

No big reviews, but nice mentions of The Swinging Blue Jeans' Hippy Hippy Shake and The Merseybeats' I Think Of You

NME Top 3 
1 (-) I Want To Hold Your Hand, The Beatles 
2 (1) She Loves You, The Beatles 
3 (2) Don't Talk To Him, Cliff Richard 

In the standard one-column EMI ad for new 45s (only listing artist, title of song, record label and catalogue number) we find The Paramounts' Poison Ivy on Parlophone R5093 stuck between The Outlaws' Law And Order and The Swinging Blue Jeans' Hippy Hippy Shake.

The Paramounts' were mentioned in the advert by Galaxy Entertainments: 'Solely Representing: THE PARAMOUNTS (R&B) (Parlophone). [FS]

NME, December 13, 1963

Main reviews on Elvis Presley's Kiss Me Quick and Paul Anka's Did You Have A Happy Birthday.

NME Top 3:
1 (1) I Want To Hold Your Hand, The Beatles
2 (2) She Loves You, The Beatles
3 (4) Secret Love, Kathy Kirby

Pictorial 'Poison Ivy' advertisement

The weekly 'New from EMI' ads placed sort of around the NME Top Thirty has space for a nice little Paramounts / Poison Ivy-ad with a photo. 

Another 'Ivy' advert

NME, December 27, 1963 

Main reviews on The Ronnettes' Baby I Love You and Brenda Lee's As Usual

NME Top 3
1 (1) I Want To Hold Your Hand, The Beatles 
2 (2) Glad All Over, Dave Clark Five 
3 (7) Dominique, Singing Nun 

On the singles review page there is a very nice ad for The Paramounts

Big 'Poison Ivy' picto-ad

'POISON IVY, Parlophone Records R5093: a great new recording from a new group, The Paramounts, see your usual dealer now!' 

Same photo as on December 13, but bigger and more effective in this much larger ad. 

They are also reinstalled on that weekly EMI column on the news pages, this time stuck between Mrs Mills (piano) with Orchestra's We're Gonna Throw A Little Party (Y'All Come) and Joe Powers' Midnight Mary.

But Derek Johnson did not give it a mention, silly man.

And that was all the NME (or rather EMI) did on that first single. It never charted there. I guess that's why

NME, January 10, 1964 [FS]

On the last page a unique picture of the Paramounts ... with Shirley Bassey

After her triumphant concert at London's Leicester Square Odeon on Saturday, SHIRLEY BASSEY threw a midnight party. Many celebrities were present, including Sir Joseph Lockwood, George Martin (the first time Gary met George?), Tommy Steele, Norman Vaughan, Russ Conway, Matt Monro, Vic Lewis, Alan Klein and Alun Owen (Beatles film writer). Shirley, seen above with the PARAMOUNTS who provided the music, wished them luck with their current 'Poison Ivy' release.

(See also The Pitt Report by Ken Pitt (1985). Part Three, page 1:
Shirley Bassey asked me to find her a group to play at a party she was giving on January 4 so I sent her The Paramounts, who had been playing at the Shades Coffee Lounge, Southend-On-Sea. Two of the boys went on to considerable success: Rob Trower as a seller of albums and Gary Brooker as the singer on Procol Harum's Whiter Shade Of Pale) [FS]


NME, February 21, 1964

Front page: Full page ad for Tony D And The Shakeouts' Is It True (Piccadilly) 45.

A Derek Johnson feature called Group Sound Comes From All Over Britain does mention The Paramounts - among hundreds of others. Quote:

'... Parlophone's Paramounts, who recently revived Poison Ivy, hail from Southend, which is also the home of Pye's latest protégés, the Monotones ...'

Main reviews by Derek Johnson:
The Rolling Stones, Not Fade Away
The Crystals, I Wonder

NME Top 3:
1 (5) Anyone Who Had A Heart, Cilla Black
2 (1) Needles And Pins, The Searchers
3 (3) Diane, The Bachelors


Little Bitty Pretty advert

NME, February 28, 1964 

Front page: full page ad for Cliff Richard & The Shadows British tour (March 28 - April 19). 

NME Top 3
1 (1) Anyone Who Had A Heart, Cilla Black 
2 (3) Diane, The Bachelors 
3 (7) Bits And Pieces, Dave Clark Five 

In the EMI weekly one column ad on the news pages, stuck between Tony Rivers And The Castaways' I Love The Way You Walk and The Sapphires' Who Do You Love we find The Paramounts' Little Bitty Pretty One (Parlophone R5107). 

And under the headline 'More single reviews by Derek Johnson' the Paramounts finally get their review: 

Sooner or later the Paramounts are going to register in the charts, and it could well be with Little Bitty Pretty One (Parlophone). 

There's a tremendously pungent sound to this one, with a walloping beat and background hand-clapping. 

A shouting r-and-b vocal set to a solid twist beat hallmarks the medium-paced A Certain Girl.

On the back of the NME The Roy Tempest Organisation Ltd. ('Europe's largest band agency') has a half page ad name-checking their clients. Under the headline 'Forthcoming Ballroom & Concert Attractions' we find among others: Big Three, Carter-Lewis, Georgie Fame, Fourmost, Four Pennies, Freddie & the Dreamers, Eden Kane, The Kinks, John Leyton, The Merseybeats, The Mojos, The Rolling Stones and ... The Paramounts.

Hunt for The Paramounts here!

NME, March 6, 1964 

NME Top 3
1 (1) Anyone Who Had A Heart, Cilla Black 
2 (3) Bits And Pieces, Dave Clark Five 
3 (2) Diane, The Bachelors 

Small ad on the NME Top 30 page for The Paramounts' Little Bitty Pretty One with photo (from the same session as the Poison Ivy-ad).

Pictorial advertisement for 'Little Bitty Pretty One'

This is part of the shot (on the roof) that was shown in its entirety in the insert (top right left inner page) in the Paramounts' compilation Whiter Shades Of R&B (1983) [FS]

NME, March 13, 1964

Quite big ad for Little Bitty Pretty One on page 3, but no photo this time. Big 'Little' advertisement

Main reviews by Derek Johnson:
The Beatles, Can't Buy Me Love
The Bachelors, I Believe

NME Top 3:
1 (1) Anyone Who Had A Heart, Cilla Black
2 (2) Bits And Pieces, Dave Clark Five
3 (7) Little Children, Billy J. Kramer

Biggest news story: The Beatles being No 1, 2, 3 and 4 in America.

NME, July 10, 1964

Main review by Derek Johnson:
Manfred Mann, Do Wah Diddy Diddy

NME Top 3:
1 (1) House Of The Rising Sun, The Animals
2 (7) It’s All Over Now, The Rolling Stones
3 (5) Hold Me, PJ Proby

The EMI one-column ad on the news pages:
The Paramounts’ I’m The One Who Loves You (Parlophone R5155) stuck between Margo And The Marvettes’ Say You Will and Norman And The Invaders’ Stacey.

On the news pages, a piece on forthcoming Lucky Stars Summer Spin shows on ABC-TV called
…The original bill for July 25 has been scrapped. The line-up now consists of Freddie and the Dreamers, Kenny Lynch, Sandie Shaw, Tony Scott, the Interns, Christine Holmes, the Paramounts and Danny Adams and the Challengers, with Adam Faith as compere…

And on the 'More Singles by Derek Johnson' page: 

Curtis Mayfield’s
compositions rely mainly on their beaty insistence and soulful feel, and the Paramounts’ waxing of his I’m The One Who Loves You (Parlophone) sure has both qualities, though there’s not a very pronounced melody. A pounding twister in the r-and-b style, it’s a solo-voice showcase with background humming and occasional chanting. The tempo speeds up even more for It Won’t Be Long. Mediocre material, lacking the earthiness of the top side, but a competent performance.

NME, July 17, 1964

Front page: full page ad for The Searchers' Some Day We're Gonna Love Again 45 - and their It's The Searchers LP - both on Pye.

Main reviews by Derek Johnson:
It's Only Make Believe, Billy Fury
The Crying Game, Dave Berry
She's Fallen In Love With The Monster Man, Screaming Lord Sutch

NME Top 3:
1 (-) A Hard Day's Night, The Beatles
2 (2) It's All Over Now, The Rolling Stones
3 (1) House Of The Rising Sun, The Animals

New From EMI ads on the NME Top Thirty page:
The Paramounts, I'm The One Who Loves You, Parlophone R5155, white letters on black, but no photo this time.

Same page also has ads for The Beatles' A Hard Day's Night (with photo), The Barron-Knights' Call Up The Groups (with photo) - and the Decca ads on same page: The Rolling Stones' It's All Over Now (with photo) and PJ Proby's Hold Me (with photo).

Pictorial advertisement for 'I'm the One who Loves You' single

Then, surprise surprise, quite big ad (the whole bottom of page 11) for Paramounts / I'm The One Who Loves You with cut-out photo of each member's head - all smiling.

(Placed just above this is a striking ad for Screaming Lord Sutch' new 45 (with the tempting words 'Horror + R & B') - the Lord pictured with exploding hairdo and screaming mouth.)

NME, July 31, 1964

I'm the one who loves you

Derek Johnson's main review: It's For You, Cilla Black

Ad for The Paramounts single on the NME Top Thirty page

NME Top 3:
1 (1) A Hard Day's Night, The Beatles
2 (2) It's All Over Now, The Rolling Stones
3 (7) Do Wah Diddy Diddy, Manfred Mann

And maybe I should mention that all the main booking agents / companies have their weekly ads on the second to last page of the NME. There has been one ad for weeks now (and for weeks to follow) that states the following:

Galaxy advert 1

Galaxy Entertainments, 62 Oxford Street, W.1 are 'solely representing' The Paramounts, The Outlaws, The Prestons, Gene Vincent, The Druids, The Problems. (On October 23, 1964, The Problems disappears from the ad, their place taken by the not-so-famous The Blobs, as shown below. On November 27, 1964 the list is extended with The Wayfarers.)

Galaxy advert 2

And the NME keeps ignoring The Paramounts. They show much more interest in Brian Epstein's new signing, The Rustiks. Whatever happened to The Rustiks?

NME, October 9, 1964

Front page: Full page ad for The Beatles' British autumn tour - with guest stars Mary Wells, Tommy Quickly, Sounds Incorporated, Michael Haslam, The Remo Four, The Rustiks and Bob Bain.

Main reviews by Derek Johnson:
Is It Because, The Honeycombs
Sha La La, Manfred Mann
Any Way You Want It, Dave Clark Five

NME Top 3:
1 (2) Oh, Pretty Woman, Roy Orbison
2 (1) I'm Into Something Good, Herman's Hermits
3 (3) Where Did Our Love Go, The Supremes

And at last some Paramounts stuff. Derek Johnson reviewing their new single:

  • Leiber-Stoller revival time
    Formerly recorded by the Coasters, the PARAMOUNTS inject a fiery, pungent shake beat into Bad Blood (Parlophone). The recording manager is to be congratulated for producing such a biting, pithy, all-happening sound, right in keeping with topical trends. The various vocal gimmicks are ear-catching, but I doubt if the material is sufficiently different.

    Maurice Williams, composer of Stay, wrote Do I. The tempo here is similar to the 'A' side, but the beat is not quite so vigorous.

  • List of new songs from EMI

    NME, October 16, 1964 

    Front page: Full page EMI ad for the following 45's: 
    Sha La La, Manfred Mann 
    Dancing In The Street, Martha and the Vandellas 
    Um, Um, Um, Um, Um, Um, Major Lance 
    The Boy I Used To Know, Andee Silver 

    Main reviews by Derek Johnson: 
    Baby Love, The Supremes 
    All Day And All Of The Night, The Kinks 
    Losing You, Dusty Springfield 
    Leave Me Be, The Zombies 
    Don't Bring Me Down, The Pretty Things 

    NME Top 3
    1 (1) Oh, Pretty Woman, Roy Orbison 
    2 (12) Always Something There To Remind Me, Sandie Shaw 

    3 (3) Where Did Our Love Go, The Supremes 

    On the news pages Paramounts are featured in the standard EMI one column ad: The Paramounts, Bad Blood, Parlophone R5187 stuck between Ron Grainer and his Orchestra's The Girls That Boys Dream About, Jimmy Shand and His Band's Hollyrood House (medley)

     By now it is obvious that EMI has lost their faith in The Paramounts. Advertising is down to a minimum.

    What is more strange is the fact that the NME never mention them on the news pages, not even in those small snippets where they put an endless list of unknown bands being on tour around in Britain.

    Every week NME mentions at least one hundred different names (like The Hummelflugs; remember them?) on the two news pages. It is as if The Paramounts doesn't exist - or never play live.

    In the NME Poll winners for 1964 (published on December 11, 1964, The Paramounts only would have needed 142 votes to catch the No. 15 spot in British Vocal Group-section. They didn't.

    So leaving 1964 (The Beatles' I Feel Fine topping the charts) the future certainly looked grim for The Paramounts.

    Paramounts' Progress Part 2

    Yan has also extracted copious Procol Harum journalism from NME

    Paramounts history

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