On New Year’s Day, 1962, Decca Records auditioned two bands at its London studios: the Tremeloes, a veteran group from Essex, and a relatively unknown Liverpool quartet known as the Beatles. Decca chose the Tremeloes over the newcomers because, as a London based outfit, they would be more easily accessible. To say it was a bad decision is more than an understatement, but the Tremeloes did produce some hits for Decca, ultimately placing thirteen songs in the British top forty.
Vocalist Brian Poole organized the Tremeloes in the late Fifties. By the time they signed the Decca contract, the group also included Rick West on lead guitar, Alan Blakely on rhythm guitar, Alan Howard on bass and Dave Munden on drums. Poole, who earlier affected a kind of Buddy Holly look (complete with horn-rimmed glasses), decided to change his image when the Tremeloes first few releases fell flat. At the same time, the band started to cover R&B classics. The first of these efforts, “Twist and Shout,” reached #4 on the British charts despite having to compete head-to-head with the Beatles’ version.
The Tremeloes’ next single, “Do You Love Me,” went mano a mano with and ultimately outperformed the Dave Clark Five’s version. Over the next year, they followed up with a series of Top 40 hits, including a cover of cover of Roy Orbison‘s “Candy Man” and a rendition of the Strangeloves’ “I Want Candy.”
By late 1965, when Poole announced plans to split from the group, the feeling around the music industry was that he was headed for stardom and the remaining Tremeloes would go nowhere. In fact, the opposite happened. Poole’s solo records sold poorly, and he ultimately quit the music business and went to work in his family’s butcher shop. Poole later returned to the music industry and still performs in 60s revival tours.
The Tremeloes signed on Chip Hawkes as their lead singer and signed a record deal with CBS. In 1967, they released their first US Top 40 hit, “Here Comes My Baby”, written by Cat Stevens. Other hits followed: “Silence Is Golden” and “Even The Bad Times Are Good” were successes in both England and the US. The band toured the US in 1968 and scored with three more singles.
While the band members always had reputations as fine musicians, they began to resent their image as a strictly commercial pop group. They spent a year working on an album that was intended to prove they could do serious songs. But in announcing their new effort, the Tremeloes referred to their fans as “morons.” The album, Master, was released a few weeks later, but their fans were too angry to buy it and the record tanked.
Though their commercial popularity waned in the early Seventies, the Tremeloes kept performing and recording, and they remain active well into the 21st century.
Where Are They Now?
While not a fulltime member of the band, Brian Poole occasionally joins the Tremeloes on tour.
Alan Blakely, who took over as the band’s leader after Poole’s departure, died in 1996.
Chip Hawkes recorded some albums in Nashville, managed his son Chesney’s music career, and toured England to mark the Tremeloes’ 40th anniversary.He’s still performing.
Fifty years after joining the Tremeloes, drummer Dave Munden is still with the band.
“Here Comes My Baby” 1967
The 2014 version of “Here Comes My Baby” sounds very much the same!
The Tremeloes Discography
Release Date | Title | UK Chart | US Chart
1963 “Twist and Shout” #4 –
1963 “Do You Love Me” #1 –
1963 “I Can Dance” #31 –
1964 “Candy Man” #6 –
1964 “Someone Someone” #2 #97
1964 “Twelve Steps to Love” #32 –
1965 “Three Bells” #17 –
1965 “I Want Candy” #25 –
1967 “Here Comes My Baby” #4 #13
1967 “Silence is Golden” #1 #11
1967 “Even the Bad Times Are Good” #4 #36
1967 “Be Mine” #39 –
1968 “Suddenly You Love Me” #6 #44
1968 “Helule Helule” #14 –
1968 “My Little Lady” #6 –
1968 “I Shall Be Released” #29 –
1969 “Hello World” #14 –
1969 “(Call Me) Number One” #2 –
1970 “By the Way” #35 –
1970 “Me and My Life” #4 –
1971 “Hello Buddy” #32 –