The Trendsetters aka Frankie and The Trendsetters (Barrow in Furness)

previously The Tornados  

Line-up included

  • Frankie Hill - vocals (not Little Frankie, this was group's male vocalist)
  • John Duffield - drums
  • Bob Phillipson - guitar
  • Reggie Jordan - guitar
  • John Hutchinson - bass

Frankie and The Trendsetters and Hermans Hermits were both resident bands at the Plaza Ballroom on Oxford Road during Autumn / Winter 1964. The band played the lunchtime sessions on alternate days and became good friends as each band would watch the other perform on their days off. 

Both bands were signed to the same agency (name escapes me) at that time when the chap who ran the agency somehow found out that Mickey Most was in desperate need of a band as Most was self assured that the material he had collected over the previous year was good enough to challenge the Beatles for their crown. As you will know Mickey wasn't far wrong and Hermans Hermits took America by storm the next year.

According to the Trendsetters, who I can only assure you of their integrity about this, there was not much between them and HH at the time, both bands were as good as the other.

However the agent decided to send HH to Mickey Most for probably the right reasons at the time. The Trendsetters were not residents of Manchester as the Hermits were, the Trendsetters were all living in digs and more dependent on the agency providing them with gigs.

This was a factor in why the Trendsetters came back to their home town in early 1965 also - The agency chap was allocating most of the out of the city gigs in the Greater Manchester area to the Trendsetters who were in no position to refuse the work. (I have a ticket stub from a Chapel le Firth gig I can post)

The Trendsetters feel they missed out the opportunity the Hermits were very fortunate to be offered, however the lads have never been bitter about this and were pleased for HH. In fact Hutch & Peter Noone remained friends for a while.

During the period that the Trendsetters were playing the Plaza, Manchester, there was 3 prominent DJ's working there. Unfortunately I can only recall two of them at moment but if you said the name of the missing one I would recognize it (I will get all this missing info from Hutch).

The missing DJ was the best of the three and did become famous also - the other two were uugghh,- Jimmy Saville and Dave Lee Travis. On the right is a Manchester Evening news ad that shows DLT& Trendsetters on new years eve 1964. 

In the summer Autumn of 1964 , the agency chap contacted the Trendsetters to ask a favour - would they would oblige him by accepting a young female vocalist in to the band to gain some live performance experience. He had a young talented singer coming up from the south of England who had great prospects but needed experience. The lads said they would give it a try and Little Frankie joined up with the band and performed with them for around 5-6 months.

It was during this period that the single ''The Kind Of Boy You Cant Forget" was recorded and credited to Little Frankie only, yet the Trendsetters were the musicians and backing vocalists. Its quite funny that the deep vocals that are recorded on the track are the work of Trendsetters drummer John Duffield who was not the best of singers.

However, Manchesterbeat shows the single as the work of Little Frankie with The Country Gents backing her.

There is one thing that is possible, maybe the track was re-recorded when Little Frankie joined up with the Country Gents after the Trendsetters?

The image of the single (right) of the Trendsetters/Liitle Frankie is printed on a different label to the copy on Little frankie's page. I have the MP3 recording of our single so it could be sent and compaired to the other copy that you have displayed I suppose. 

I probably should have mentioned this earlier, Frankie who is named with the Trendsetters is nothing to do with Little Frankie, it is the name of the bands lead vocalist 'Frank Hill', there were two Frankie's.

Frankie and the Trendsetters were a very good band and deserve credit for their achievements which they never have received. I am sure when you hear their own single you would agree. They were as good as any of the other bands around at the time but never got the break. 

I have the bands collection of memorabilia which will make a great addition to Manchesterbeat.

There is other interesting stuff that concludes the full story of this band. 

The Trendsetters may well be the first ever band to perform at a sporting stadium venue, I have not been able to find any other stadium gig that pre-dates the trendsetter gig at Barrow rugby league club in 1963. I have The Daily Express story about this from 1963.

The Trendsetter's developed from a previous band known as 'The Tornados' (not the famous Tornado's) who were brilliant also. In 1962 the Tornado's won the 'Melody Maker All England Best Twist Band' competition at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool. Our Tornado's beat your 'Hollies' in to second place.- and look what happened to The Hollies afterwards. 

The Trendsetters disbanded again in 1965 and reformed as the old Tornado's with the new name of 'Smiths Myths' minus one member.

There is a great story you may be interested in about one of Smiths Myths gigs that was supporting the relatively unknown band 'The Who' - this gig is mentioned in the Who's official biography as their worst ever gig!! The Who does not elaborate as to why this is so.

The full story about what went on that night does explain why this was the case, there were fights and all sorts of trouble before the concert, and it was The Who that were to blame. Daltrey got floored before the gig. 

Alan Wilkinson - 10/4/13

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