Band members John Kaye & Geoff Dart have kindly been in touch to share some information on The Gibsons.
John's Comments are in black, Geoff's in red.
We started as a trio in Melbourne early 60’s called the Hi Fi’s. Geoff Dart and John Rigby (deceased). We did many TV shows then moved to Sydney where all the work was. We gained a recording contract with RCA Victor, changed our name to “The Cicadas” and jumped on the Beatle Bandwagon with a song called “That’s What I Want”.
Hit #1 in Brisbane and #5 in Sydney . The stadium show that Jack mention was “The Billy J Kramer Tour”. Show included, Billy J Kramer and the Dakotas, Billy Thorpe and the Aztecs, Robbie Gee and The Cicadas. We literally toured the whole of Australia and New Zealand in two weeks. Sydney Stadium (2 nights), Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth, Adelaide, Auckland, Nelson, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin.
We moved to England end of 1964 and signed with Phillip & Dorothy Solomon, Manager of the Bachelors. He gave us a recording contract with his new label “Major Minor” and we changed our name to “The Gibsons” (Cicadas were unknown in UK).
We changed our name to “The Gibsons” for the sole reason that if we were successful we might be given free Gibson guitars, which were considered the best in the world.
A recording session was booked at CBS studios and the song “Anytime” which I had written, chosen as the main “A side”. Tommy Scott, a well know recording A&R man, employed by Philip Solomon was assigned to produce the record. It was amazing how fast things were now happening.
The recording was made and set for release. The group was booked into “The Astor Club” a famous club in London. We were outfitted in Soho for expensive new suits, shirts and footwear. Sent to a famous hair salon for hair grooming, and received choreograph tuition for stage movement and presentation.
We returned to London and went back into the recording studios to cut our next record. It was a song called “Come Summertime”. The song had been written by Tom Springfield of the “Springfields”. The song had a Beach Boys feel, and the lyrics were very suitable to the Australian way of life. But again we had no success. The record failed to make any headway at all. So we went back on the club circuit again.
Phillip Solomon immediately brought the group back to London to refit suits for Paul and arrange photo sessions. He also negotiated a new record deal with Decca Records and we were contracted to a new label called “Deram Records”. We went into the Decca recording studios and recorded our first record on the new label. The song was “Two Kind of Lovers”. It didn’t make the charts but got some good airplay. The group then returned up north back into the clubs with this brand new look and sound.
Once again we went back into the recording studios in London to record our next record. We had been given a new song, written by songwriters Greenway and Cook. The song was called “The Magic Book”. It was a very simple song in its construction and had a very catchy “LA LA LA” chorus.
When we recorded ‘Magic Book” the group consisted of Geoff Dart, Paul Stevens, (who lives in Southport UK) John Bromell and myself.
When we went into the recording studio, there was a 20 odd piece orchestra waiting to do the accompaniment. This orchestra was made up of some of the best musicians in the country, which was the case in most recording sessions. Arthur Greenslade was the conductor and he had penned a very nice arrangement of the song for the orchestra.
On the first take of the recording, it was quite obvious that the arrangement was a bit complicated for the type of song. No matter how many times we did it, it always came out very busy. Arthur Greenslade decided to let most of the orchestra leave, and only retained two French horn players, lead and rhythm guitar, bass guitar, percussionist and drummer. He re-arranged the music for this number of musicians, and we re- recorded the song.
The difference was unbelievable. The song had a completely new feel about it, and the result was very pleasing. The record producer “Dick Rowe” who by the way, was the producer who had famously been the one who had knocked back the Beatles, decided that this was the final product and the song was ‘In the can”.
For a “B” side we recorded a song which I had written in conjunction with John Rigby titled “Hey Girl”. We left the studio confident we had a pretty good record.
We did many radio shows, “Jimmy Young” “Music through Midnight”, television shows, “Blue Peter” “6.05 Special” “Simon Dee Show” many working men’s clubs and social clubs, many American bases throughout England, Europe and North Africa, and had a few changes to the group.
In 1968, Geoffs’ wife Pam and Gaye joined the group making us Two Boys and Two Girls. This opened up a whole new area of venues. Summer shows at Great Yarmouth, Jersey, Blackpool Opera House, Gaiety Theatre Ayr, Pavilion Theatre Glasgow and the Andy Stewart Christmas Show, Aberdeen.
We returned to Australia at the end of 1970 after 6 fantastic years without much money but immeasurable memories and experiences. Gaye & I continued on in the business as a duo (Gaye & Johnny Kaye), working the club scene throughout Australia and West Coast USA . We still see much of our dear friends Geoff & Pam (Bro & Sis) and relive the great moments we shared together.