The Four Pennies (Blackburn)

Lineup included

  • Lionel Morton (Blackburn) - guitar/vocals
  • Mike Wilshaw (Stoke) - guitar/keyboards
  • Fritz Fryer (Oldham) - guitar/bass
  • Alan Buck (Brierfield) - drums (ex Johnnie Kidd and Joe Brown)
  • David Graham - replaced Fritz

The Four Pennies formed in November 1963 with a line-up of Lionel Morton on lead vocals, rhythm guitar (b. Lionel Walmsley, Wednesday, August 14, 1940, Blackpool, Lancashire, UK), Alan Buck on drums (b. Wednesday, April 7, 1943, Halifax Road, Briefield, Lancashire, UK d. Tuesday, March 15, 1994, at home in Ealing, West London, UK, from a heart attack), Fritz Fryer on lead guitar (b. David Roderick Carney Fryer, Wednesday, December 6, 1944, Revidge, Blackburn, Lancashire, UK d. Sunday, September 2, 2007, Hospital, Lisbon, Liboa e Vale de Tejo, Southern Portugal, of pancreatic cancer) and Mike Wilshaw on bass, organ, backing vocals (b. Michael Wilshaw, Saturday, July 21, 1945, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, UK). 

Fryer and Wilshaw had both been to St Peters Secondary School in Byron Street, Blackpool, Lancashire. While Buck who lived in Halifax Road, Briefield, had been to Mansfield High School in Briefield, Lancashire. As for Morton he sang as a choirboy at St Paul's Cathedral. 

Fryer and Wilshaw had been in a popular Blackburn singing guitar duo called The Fables from Late 1961. They then met Morton who had been a solo artist since he was about 18 in 1958, specialising in Everly Brother material. They became a quartet in Early 1962, with the audition of drummer Alan Buck, who had played in a couple of Jazz bands and had also done brief stints with Joe Brown and the Bruvvers and Johnny Kidd and the Pirates. He had auditioned for The Lionel Morton Four at Burnley Mecca in Burnley, Lancashire. 

Buck also lived close to Fryer and Wilshaw in Halifax Road, Briefield and so was no stranger to their music. So as Morton had the best vocal range and ability, the group became The Lionel Morton Four in Early 1962.

In Late 1963, the young Lionel Morton went into the Instrument Department of Reidy’s Record Shop in Penny Street, Blackburn. As he was trying out one of the guitars he began to sing and the owner Mrs Marie Reidy noticed that he had a lovely voice. She began talking to the man and mentioned making a demo tape to send to a good friend of hers who was a Record Producer. He said that his name was Lionel Morton and that he sang with a group The Lionel Morton Four and they toured the Clubs around Lancashire and had won talent contests, notably one at Blackpool’s North Pier in ca. August / September 1963.

Mrs Reidy told Morton to make a demo tape of the group which she then sent to her friend, Record Producer Johnny Franz, and upon hearing it, contacted Mrs Reidy to tell her that a contract was on it’s way in the post. Mr Franz said 'the tape was so good they were immediately signed to a recording contact.'' Not long after signing, the group were playing with the Beatles at the legendary Cavern Club in Liverpool in 1964. 

The big break came for The Lionel Morton Four in Late 1963 when Phillips/Fontana sponsored a talent contest in Blackpool for Lancashire groups. The company was looking for a beat group to fill their books. The Four won and before they would commit themselves to a record deal, Phillips wanted the band to find a more catchier name than The Lionel Morton Four. So the band changed their name to The Four Pennies in November 1963 prior to the release of their first single ''Do You Want Me To'' in December 1963, the band being named after Reidy’s Record Music Shop in Penny Street in Blackburn. With the band re-christened they turned professional in November 1963. 

On Thursday, January 16, 1964 The Four Pennies first single ''Do You Want Me To'' entered the UK charts, reaching 47. 

In March 1964 The Four Pennies released their second single 'Juliet,'' which on Thursday, April 2, 1964 entered the UK charts and was their only number one. 

In June 1964 The Four Pennies released their third single ''I Found Out The Hard Way,'' which entered the UK charts on Thursday, July 16, 1964 and reached 14. 

In October 1964 The Four Pennies released their fourth single ''Black Girl,'' which entered the UK charts on Thursday, October 29, 1964 and reached 20. 

In Early November 1964 The Four Pennies released their first album ''Two Sides Of The Four Pennies,'' which on Saturday, November 7, 1964 entered the UK album charts and reached 13. 

In April 1965 Fryer left the band for a year and was replaced by lead guitarist David Graham (b. Reading, Berkshire, UK). While on sabbatical from the group, Fryer formed the folk-rock trio Fritz, Mike and Mo, in collaboration with songwriter Mike Deighan (b. Michael Deighan) and Maureen Edwards (b. 1931). Deighan had co-written material for The Four Pennies, including three tracks on their first album, Two Sides Of Four Pennies. 

In September 1965 The Four Pennies released their fifth single ''Until It's Time For You To Go,'' which on Saturday, October 7, 1965 entered the UK singles charts and reached 19.

In February 1966 The Four Pennies released their sixth single ''Trouble Is My Middle Name,'' which on Saturday, February 17, 1966 entered the UK singles charts and reached 32.

Graham left when Fryer returned to the line-up in April 1966. 

Guitarist Ray Monk (b. Raymond Monk) also deputised on rare occasions. 

The Four Pennies split in early? 1967 after their last single released in October 1966 ''No Sad Songs For Me'' failed to enter the charts. 

John H Warburg - 1/7/15

Discography

45's

1963 - Do You Want Me To/Miss Bad Daddy - Philips BF 1296

1964 - Juliet/Tell Me Girl - Philips BF 1322

1964 - I Found Out The Hard Way/Don't Tell Me You Love Me - Philips BF 1349

1964 - Black Girl/You Went Away - Philips BF 1366

1965 - A Way Of Love/A Place Where No One Goes - Philips BF 1398

1965 - Until It's Time For You To Go/Till Another Day - Philips BF 1435

1966 - Trouble Is My Middle Name/Way Out Love - Philips BF 1469

1966 - Keep The Freeway Open/Square Peg - Philips BF 1491

1966 - No Sad Songs For Me/Cats - Philips BF 1519

EP's

1964 - The Four Pennies - Philips BBE 12561 

1964 - Spin With The Pennies - Philips BBE 12562

1965 - The Swinging Side Of The Pennies - Philips BBE 12570

1965 - The Smooth Side Of The Pennies - Philips BBE 12571

LP's

1965 - Two Sides Of The Four Pennies - Philips BL 7642 

1966 - Mixed Bag - Philips BL 7734

 

Some Lionel Morton Four concerts: 

  • Saturday, August 24, 1963: The Imperial Ballroom, Carr Road, Nelson, Lancashire, UK 
  • ca. August/September 1963: The Butlins Metropole Hotel, Blackpool, Lancashire, UK
  • Saturday, September 21, 1963: The Imperial Ballroom, Carr Road, Nelson, Lancashire, UK
  • Saturday, February 25, 1963: The Imperial Ballroom, Carr Road, Nelson, Lancashire, UK
  • Saturday, August 5, 1963: The Imperial Ballroom, Carr Road, Nelson, Lancashire, UK 
  • Friday, October 27, 1963: The Imperial Ballroom, Carr Road, Nelson, Lancashire, UK 

Some Four Pennies concerts: 

  • Friday, November 29, 1963: The Imperial Ballroom, Carr Road, Nelson, Lancashire, UK 
  • Tuesday, December 31, 1963: The Imperial Ballroom, Carr Road, Nelson, Lancashire, UK
  • Sunday, March 22, 1964: All Star Beat Show, The Palace Theatre, Manchester, Lancashire, UK, supported Gene Vincent, as did The Kinks, The Undertakers, Shane Fenton and the Fentones, Tommy Bruce and the Bruisers, The Harbour Lights, from 6.15pm 
  • Friday, April 24, 1964: The Cavern Club, 8 - 10 Matthew Street, Liverpool 2, Lancashire, UK
  • Saturday, May 2, 1964: The California Ballroom, Whipsnade Road, Dunstable Downs, Dunstable, Bedfordshire, UK, with The Whackers, Johnny Gold and the Mavericks, The Nightshades 
  • Saturday, May 23, 1964: The Cavern Club, 11 Cromford Court off Market Street, Manchester 4, with Little Phil and the Swaggers, the clubs opening night 
  • Saturday, July 4, 1964: The Memorial Hall, (The Victory), Chester Way, Northwich, Cheshire, UK, supported by Bruce Harris and the Cavaliers, The Megatones 
  • Thursday, July 18, 1964: The Cavern Club, 8 - 10 Matthew Street, Liverpool 2, Lancashire, UK 
  • Saturday, August 22, 1964: The Imperial Ballroom, Carr Road, Nelson, Lancashire, UK 
  • Saturday, September 19 - Sunday, October 18, 1964: Freddie and The Dreamers & The Hollies Autumn 1964 Tour with Tony Jackson and the Vibrations, Marianne Faithfull. The Compère was Don Dwight 
  • Saturday, September 19, 1964: The Adelphi Theatre, Bath Road, Slough, Berkshire, UK, first date of the tour 
  • Sunday, September 20, 1964: The ABC, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, UK 
  • Monday, September 21, 1964: The Rank, Southampton, Hampshire, UK 
  • Tuesday, September 22, 1964: The Rank, Taunton, Somerset, UK 
  • Wednesday, September 23, 1964: The ABC Cinema, London Inn Square, Exeter, Devon, UK
  • Thursday, September 24, 1964: The ABC, Gloucester, Gloucestershire, UK 
  • Sunday, September 27, 1964: The ABC, Kingston-upon-Thames, Surrey, UK
  • Monday, September 28, 1964: The Rank, Luton, Bedfordshire, UK
  • Tuesday, September 29, 1964: The Rank, Birmingham, Warwickshire, UK 
  • Thursday, October 1, 1964: The Odeon, The Headrow, Leeds, West Yorkshire, UK
  • Friday, October 2, 1964: The ABC, Cleethorpes, Lincolnshire, UK 
  • Sunday, October 4, 1964: The Empire Theatre, Lime Street, Liverpool 1, Lancashire, UK
  • Monday, October 5, 1964: The Rank, Cardiff, South Glamorgan, South Wales, UK 

 

 

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