Sixties City presents a wide-ranging series of articles on all aspects of the Sixties, penned by the creator of the iconic 60s music paper  Mersey Beat

Chris Farlowe

The relationship Virginia and I had in the music scene in London was quite a close one. We worked seven days a week in the business, went to gigs almost every night and to the clubs with the musicians in the evenings. In addition to promoting numerous bands, I was also PR for clubs such as Tiles, the Speakeasy, the Revolution and Blaises. As a result we had drinks and chats regularly with artists over a long period of time.
Chris Farlowe was an artist we liked, although I do remember my surprise when he took me to a shop he'd opened in Islington. It was full of Nazi memorabilia. You could buy an SS officer's complete uniform from him for £60 or a Nazi helmet for £3. He even had 150 Nazi knives in his house. I remember it did cause some controversy at the time. He revealed that he'd first become interested in Nazi 'antiques' when he was in Hamburg and spotted an Iron Cross for sale in a junk shop and couldn't resist buying it.

Chris's real name was John Henry Deighton and he was the nephew of author Len Deighton, popular in the Sixties for his Harry Palmer novels. Here is an interview I had with Chris, published in the Record Mirror, although I can't remember the lead caption or date:

The lights were on and the atmosphere was smoky, the wine was red and plentiful, the spotlight centred on Chris Farlowe singing 'Handbags and Gladrags' and the mood was melancholy. As Chris's voice touched at the sadness and soul of the song the young girl opposite me began to cry. The tears trickled down her cheek…and her false eyelashes fell off. Had I ever seen anyone so sincerely moved by an artist before?

The girl's name was June, she was Chris Farlowe's fiancée, is now his manager and I met them both in the cold light of day recently. He smiled when he said, "June became my manager four months ago and I had no option, no option whatsoever because she is a very strong person." But on a more serious note he commented, "She's very good as a manager. If she says anything, it's done…if it isn't done, all hell breaks loose." June explained that the fact that they loved each other aided their new business relationship rather than hindered it. "I believe in him so much that I don't consider business hours. There's no 9 to 5 nonsense, I work every minute of the day for him. I first saw him three-and-a-half years ago and he still knocks me out and affects me like that (the eyelash incident)".
Chris Farlowe  

Chris Farlowe Although it's eight months since he had a major hit here, Chris still pulls in maximum crowds "....... and I work a lot on the Continent, too. I went abroad about 20 times this year and have had several hits outside Britain. I've had a No.3 in South Africa, a hit in Poland, Australia and odd little places around the world. My record 'Yesterday's Papers' has just gone into the charts in the Philippine islands".

"Mike D'Abo wrote and produced the new record. It's his first major production and his first production for Immediate. He's very good as an A&R man, he knows what he wants. He considers that the material I write now is good enough for 'A' sides and I hope that my next single will be one of my own numbers. I've written a few dozen songs over the years and I can still only work in a room where there are lots of people around. Chris Andrews works the same as well - he gets his little boy crashing piano keys if he's creating a terrible racket. The type of songs I write are sentimental because I'm a very emotional person. I worry a lot. If anything happens to my family, even to my cat and dog, I get very emotional about it."

Pausing for a moment for a bit of self-analysis, he said, "I've got quite a few weak points. I'm very easily led. If I ever have a row with anyone I either smooth it over or agree with them at the end of the argument. If I'm talking business I usually get excited and reveal a few things I'm not supposed to talk about." Chris is now a businessman and his new shop sells German and Nazi war souvenirs.

"I've always been collecting things concerned with the war, ever since I was a schoolboy - even when my dad brought home war medals. I don't think there's anything wrong with selling German war souvenirs because for the vanquished there's no honour at all. No, I wouldn't sell British medals. For instance, if I ever came across a Victoria Cross I would sell it to a collector of British medals, not to kids. "I can't really spend much time on my business, but I've got a fellow working for me who knows a lot about the subject - Jimmy Justin. He's been collecting for about eighteen years now."

Mersey Beat Magazine Bill Harry attended the Liverpool College of Art with Stuart Sutcliffe and John Lennon and made the arrangements for Brian Epstein to visit The Cavern, where he saw The Beatles for the first time. Bill was a member of 'The Dissenters' and the founder and editor of 'Mersey Beat', the iconic weekly music newspaper that documented the early Sixties music scene in the Liverpool area and is possibly best known for being the first periodical to feature a local band called 'The Beatles'. He has worked as a high powered publicist, doing PR for acts such as Suzi Quatro, Free, The Arrows and Hot Chocolate and has managed press campaigns for record labels such as CBS, EMI, Polydor. Bill is the critically acclaimed author of a large number of books about The Beatles and the 60s era including 'The Beatles Who's Who', 'The Best Years of the Beatles' and the Fab Four's 'Encyclopedia' series. He has appeared on 'Good Morning America' and has received a Gold Award from the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors.

Article Bill Harry 2017               Original Graphics SixtiesCity 2017

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