The Record Deal
Shortly after recording some demos* in a small studio, ‘City of London Recording Studio’ in Osborn Street, E.1. on 4th January 1964, the demos were despatched to all the major labels of the time including, Pye (Tony Hatch), Decca, and EMI. Within days most were returned with the standard ‘regret’ letter but EMI – that was a different story! * (I still have the 15 i.p.s. tape of those demos).
It was now April 6th and with John’s ’59 Fender Stratocaster guitar in tow the quartet, Shirley 17, Johnny 19, father Richard and mum Joan drove the old beige Ford Zephyr 6 to Abbey Road Studios in north London to make a test recording. Imagine two young, green as grass kids walking into the very studio that was used by The Beatles!! Overawed is such an under statement! The prompt from staff producer Ron Richards to make some noise was heard through the speakers and the two kids rattled off a few of their well-rehearsed ditties. He seemed impressed with the pair but asked if they had anything else? Richard ‘persuaded’ them to sing his composition ‘I don’t want to know’ and that was the clincher. Ron obviously saw the potential, two young, good-looking kids, + original material on tap. ‘I don’t want to know’ was recorded on April 22nd along with two other R. Bagnall songs ‘It must be love’ (B side) and the unreleased version of ‘Breakaway’.
It was somewhere around this time that they (foolishly) traded in John’s ’59 Strat for a Gretsch ‘Tennesseean’. His old Levin acoustic also went soon after in favour of a Gibson J200, which Johnny still has.
‘I don’t want to know’ was released on 12th June 1964.
First publicity shot 1964.
What followed in the months to come was a head spinning round of TV and radio shows, interviews and photo shoots. According to Johnny’s diary of the period they did – ‘Thank your lucky stars’ with The Swinging Blue Jeans and The Applejacks – ‘Five o’clock Club’ and The Rolf Harris ‘Swinging Time’ show with Gerry and the Pacemakers. Also a number of ‘local’ TV shows in Glasgow – ‘Roundabout’, Birmingham - ‘ For teenagers only’ with The Dave Clark Five and Heinz + Southampton – ‘Three go round’ & Manchester.
Sadly, although played on every available radio show of the time (there was no commercial radio of course except Luxembourg) ‘I don’t want to know’ was not a major hit. (It made 47 in the Melody Maker chart on the 7th July for one week only).
Another recording session took place on 31st August resulting in no suitable title being found for the next single.
Publicity photo used by promoters, agents etc.1966