The Fourtones aka Ricky Young and The Fabulous Fourtones aka Ricky and Dane Young and The Fourtones
Circa 1959 - 21 July 1962 See also The Deltas and The Hollies
- Allan Clarke - vocals
- Graham Nash - guitar/vocals
- Pete Bocking - guitar
- Butch Mepham - bass
- Derek Quinn - guitar
- Joe Abrahams - drums
- George Wilcowski - drums (replaced Joes Abrams)
- Terry Morton - guitar (replaced DQ)
- Keith Bates - drums (replaced George Wilcowski)
Pictured above at the Three Coins - Butch, Pete, Alan, Graham and a temporary drummer called Don.
The Fourtones (with Ricky Young) taken when we were backing Lance Fortune on his tour of NW Mecca Ballrooms.
L-R, Ricky Young (Allan Clarke), George ? (drummer), Pete Bocking (lead guitar), Butch Mepham (bass guitar), Graham Nash (guitar and vocals).
John (Butch) Mepham writes:
" I was playing in Johnny Peters and The Jets, when Pete Bocking and Joe Abrahams left the group around late 1959 ( my brain is getting too old to remember dates!) to form a new group, fronted by the Two Teens (Alan Clark and Graham Nash) called the FOURTONES.
After the first run through they decided they were short of a bass guitar player and offered me the job (I was now playing a Burns Weil solid body bass).
Somewhere about halfway through the life of the Fourtones, I seem to remember a short break when Pete, Derek and myself joined up with Alan Gracie (drums) and Phil Corbet (vocals) the group was called Phil Corbet and the Coasters, but only survived for a couple of months or so, then it was back to the Fourtones.
The group underwent a few changes over the years, with firstly Joe leaving ( I can't remember why) and being replaced by Keith Bates who was a superb drummer, and later Derek left to join the Dreamers and was replaced by Terry Morton.
The Fourtones played their last gig on 27th July 1962 (my 21st birthday) after playing at the Three Coins in Fountain Street Manchester - we were involved in a car crash on the way home.
Ricky Young and The Fabulous Fourtones as we were usually billed, had been one of Manchesters (or the North West's ) top groups for about two and a half years, playing all the top venues including The Stars and Garters, and The Two I's coffee bar in London. "
"We would like to hear from group members who are not in contact with us" - Butch, Derek and Graham.
Three of the Fourtones in 2009 - Derek Quinn, Graham Nash and John Mepham after a CS and N show at the MEN Arena.
Graham Nash and John Mepham after a CS and N show at the Royal Albert Hall 2010 (and as they were)
Graham Nash recently received a doctorate at Salford Uni - ex Fourtones were there to support (pictured: Butch and Derek plus wives who were invited to attend).
I worked at a shipping firm in Manchester, and sometime during 1960 a workmate and I called at the newsagents we used at the corner of St Anne’s Street and Cross Street to buy a New Musical Express. We were both massive Buddy Holly fans, and always looking for News of him or new release info.
Anyway this particular day we got into quite a heated discussion with the son of the news vendor, who on this day had stood in for his father, his name was Joe! The argument was over the inability of our guitarists (English) at that time to play licks like B.Holly’s “ ITS SO EASY”.
Anyway Joe said he was in a band and their lead player could play that lead and loads more, we weren’t convinced! So arrangements were made to go to the Two Js Jazz club on Lloyd Street off Albert Square Manchester.
That’s when I met the Fourtones and the brilliant Pete Bocking! Who could play that lead solo and did, with a groan! He had his “strat” with him and he played the lead unplugged (no amp was available at the time), to appease these two young lads just out of school.
I spent a lot of time then going to the gigs and hanging around the 2 Js, day and night, money permitting and once I got to know the lads I found Pete & Alan were the most approachable.
And although Pete was into jazz he had a healthy respect for Buddy Holly and used to play almost all of the more obscure Holly songs for me, on rehearsal days when they had a break, we sat in the coffee bar one evening Pete had an acoustic must have been Alan’s. Any way I was treated to the descending lead of “I’m gonna love you too” and Alan Clark & Graham Nash singing Ah, ah, ah, anyway they sang it.
I helped carry the equipment over to the B.B.C. Radio Studios in Piccadilly and I sat in while the lads did a recording, I know they sang “Wayward Wind” which they didn’t usually, I’m not sure what else they did song wise, but Joe got some stick off the producer I think he moved him a couple of times to lessen his input, I don’t think recording people in those days liked drums.
We would sometimes meet around Oxford road , I remember the lads contemplating buying a xylophone( something to do with “Everyday”) in Barrett’s! the guitar shop that used to be near the rail bridge.
Peter Fletcher my workmate at the time and I would wander round looking at guitars in Mamelocks, Johnny Roadhouses and anywhere else we could try guitars, well he would ! I hadn’t a clue !
Around this time they bought all new equipment e.g. amps! All the same make and model the first song at the next gig the bass player's amp started to “fart” (he had blown the speaker) so that uniform line up of Amps had to go. Soon after that they moved up to Cheetham Hill, I went there a couple of times to see them, but because I’d started working at Manchester Airport I found it a bit of a drag. The last time I saw them as the Fourtones was at the Bodega! The line up had changed there was no Pete Bocking! but Alan and Graham sounded just as good.
The next time was on the telly in the Vault of the Old Airport Hotel.
I was drowning my sorrow’s, and some pop programme came on , I heard some voices I knew! And looking up from my beer saw Alan & Graham with the Hollies! I exclaimed “I know them” to an empty room.
The last time I went to Manchester was to the opening of a new club on Lloyd Street the “Oasis” Joe Brown and the Bruvvers were on that night!
I did see the Hollies years later at High Wycombe, I stayed behind by the stage door to catch Alan but he legged it, never mind eh!
C. Nigel Barrow - 10/12/10
Perhaps need to explain one or two things the above comments have out of context or out of time.
I didn't join the Fourtones, I was there from the start, we were the Jets who renamed ourselves The Fourtones, plus my amp didn't blow a speaker, our roadie dropped it and one of the valves came loose, mostly just small points but now he knows.
Also the Fourtones played the Oasis 3 or 4 times before they became the Hollies (see the advert on this page. I think he is getting his years mixed up.
All the group were at the recording studio ( it wasn't the BBC ) but near them, Keith Bates was on drums in those days, Derek on guitar, Pete on lead guitar and me on bass.
The only way I know my version is correct, is because Derek, Graham and myself have discussed it quite a lot. 50 years is a bloody long time to remember anything.
Butch Mepham - 13/12/10
The Fourtones (Ricky and Dane Young and the Fabulous Fourtones) were formed in Early 1960 in Manchester, Lancashire with Ricky Young (Allan Clarke) on lead vocals (b. Harold Allan Clarke, Sunday, April 5, 1942, Salford, Lancashire, UK) (ex-The Two Teens), Dane Young (Graham Nash) on rhythm guitar (b. Graham William Nash, Monday, February 2, 1942, The Maternity Ward, The Kimberly Hotel, Blackpool, Lancashire, UK) (ex-The Two Teens), Pete Bocking on lead guitar (Fender Stratocaster) (b. Peter Bocking, Monday, November 2, 1942, Withington, Manchester 20, Lancashire, UK d. Saturday, October 31, 2009, Milnrow, Rochdale, Greater Manchester, UK) (ex-Johnny Peters and the Jets) and Joe Abraham on drums (b. Joseph Abraham) (ex-Johnny Peters and the Jets).
So The Two Teens joined forces with the two ex-Johnny Peters and the Jets to become The Fourtones. Ricky Young (Clarke) and Dane (Nash) fronted the new group. They were sometimes known as Ricky and Dane Young and the Fabulous Fourtones.
The band realised they needed a bassist and they offered the job to John 'Butch' Mepham (b. Sunday, July 27, 1941, Manchester, Lancashire, UK), who had a Burns Weil solid body bass. In Early 1960 he got a new bass, a Fender Jazz that he had ordered from Barratts in Manchester.
In June 1961 at The Bolton Palais in Bolton, Lancashire, they backed famous early 60's singer Lance Fortune (b. Christopher Morris, Thursday, January 4, 1940, Birkenhead, Cheshire, UK) as Lance Fortune and the Fourtones.
The Fourtones split in Late July 1962.
Some Fourtones (Ricky and Dane Young and the Fabulous Fourtones) concerts:
- Saturday, June 10, 1961: The Bolton Palais, Bolton, Lancashire, UK, backed Lance Fortune as Lance Fortune and the Fourtones from 4.15pm
- Thursday, May 11, 1962: The Oasis Club, 45 - 47 Lloyd Street, off Albert Square, Manchester 2, Lancashire, UK
- Friday, May 18, 1962: The Three Coins, Fountain Street, Manchester, Lancashire, UK, as Ricky and Dane Young and the Fabulous Fourtones
- Friday, July 27, 1962: The Three Coins, Fountain Street, Manchester, Lancashire, UK, last gig or
- Saturday, July 28, 1962: The Three Coins, Fountain Street, Manchester, Lancashire, UK, last gig
John H. Warburg - 4/4/14