Years: 1965 - 1966
Styles: Beat, Mod Rock
Alan Shacklock - Guitar (in band: 1965 - 1966)
John Glascock - Bass Guitar (in band: 1965 - 1966)
Brian Glascock - Drums (in band: 1965 - 1966)
Brian Redmond - Lead vocals (in band: 1965 - 1966)
Gerry Feley - Guitar (in band: 1966)
The story starts at Burleigh School in Hatfield in 1964, where a bunch of 14/ 15 year olds formed a group called The Juniors. Among their number were two guitarists, Alan Shacklock and Mick Taylor, a sibling rhythm section of John (bass) and Brian (drums) Glascock (who both took the surname Glass for their showbiz endeavours), and a vocalist by the name of Malcolm Collins.
With every Beat group in the country being snapped up by rabid A&R men it's no surprise that The Juniors found themselves cutting a single for Columbia. Publicity (what little there was) put great emphasis on the extreme youth of the group members, but "There's a Pretty Girl"/ "Pocket Size" (Columbia DB 7339) predictably missed the charts. Equally predictably The Juniors split soon after.
Shacklock and the Glascock brothers stuck together and recruited another school pal, Brian Redmond, as vocalist and re-named themselves The Hi-Numbers ( Townsend, Daltrey and Co changed names from The High Numbers to The Who in November 1964 but it would be surprising if there weren't some confused promoters at the time!) After making their debut at The Cavendish Hall in Hatfield The Hi Numbers spent the first half of 1965 spreading their live reputation with gigs at The Hop in Welwyn Garden City and Cooks Ferry Inn in Edmonton, sharing bills with the likes of The Birds, The Artwoods, Steampacket and The Who. They also recorded a demo disc featuring a song titled "Young Blood" (unfortunately no copies survive). Mick Taylor sat in with them occasionally, although the last time he appeared almost brought disaster when their van caught fire outside Brian's house. Mick had to struggle out of the window to get free!
The Hi Numbers played at The Two I's Club in Carnaby Street where they were approached by a chap named Ted White who had a song called "Heart Of Stone". An audition for Decca was lined-up, and the group went to London where they cut "Heart Of Stone" and a cover of "Dancing In The Street". These takes were released by Decca as The Hi Numbers' first (and only) single (Decca F 12233) on 10th September 1965. They supported the record with a promotional show at the Marquee Club (fellow Decca hopeful Tom Jones was also on the bill) where they were heard by Mike Hurst, ex member of the chart topping Springfields and now an aspiring producer/ manager. Hurst was immediately impressed not only by their youthful energy but also their "elfin, Small Faces-like image".
Mike took the by now re-named The Favourite Sons to Pye Studios in Cumberland Place where they recorded eleven songs in just one afternoon. The recordings were a mixture of the group's favoured R&B and Soul covers and a few of Hurst's own compositions, which didn't really suit their style. Two of the tracks, Willie Mitchell's "That Driving Beat" and Hurst's "Walkin', Walkin' Walkin'" were earmarked for release as a single for the Mercury label. While Mike was mixing the A side an American publisher, Al Galleco, burst into the studio and demanded that Hurst sell him the publishing because he was sure that the song was going to be a hit. Mike had to refuse the deal but it was the beginning of a long working relationship between him and Galleco.
"That Driving Beat" was released in mid-66 and duly received encouraging reviews, but it failed to register in the charts. By now Mike Hurst was devoting his time and energy into turning his new discovery, Cat Stevens, into a star, and consequently no further Favourite Sons recordings were undertaken. The group carried on gigging but on the night when they were due to play Watford Trades Club with The Birds, Alan Shacklock, out of the blue, announced that he was quitting. The others tried to keep the group going, and drafted in Gerry Feley as replacement for Alan, but things weren't the same and alas, The Favourite Sons soon split up. This though, was far from the end of the musical story for the various group members.
John and Brian Glascock teamed up once more with their old mate Mick Taylor in his new group, The Gods, alongside keyboardist Ken Hensley, but this initial line-up was short-lived as Taylor decided to join John Mayall's Bluesbreakers (by 1969 he was in an obscure Blues group from Dartford!). Ken Hensley relocated to London where he formed a new incarnation of The Gods, passing through a series of 'soon to be famous' musicians, including Greg Lake and several future Uriah Heep members, before inviting John Glascock to re-join. The Gods made two ambitious and under-rated albums for Columbia before expanding (with the return of Brian Glascock and the addition of veteran R&B vocalist Cliff Bennett) into Prog band Toe Fat. John Glascock later enjoyed extensive success in the mid-1970s as a member of Jethro Tull, but tragically he became ill with heart problems and died in 1979, aged just 28.
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