Talent Show Success
Even before their first television appearance on New Faces Showaddywaddy had signed a contract worth £400,000 with SAS Artistes Management and were runaway winners of the Top Town Talent competition, scooping the £1,000 prize as a result.
Formed especially for the Players No. 6 and Bailey Organisation sponsored Top Town Talent competition they were effectively two groups, Choise and The Golden Hammers, combined to create an eight-piece supergroup called Showaddywaddy.
The original, all-Leicester based, line-up was;
Geoff Betts – AKA Al James (Bass), Malcolm Allured (Drums), Romeo Challanger (Drums), Rudd Field (Lead Guitar), Dave Bartram (Vocals), Bill Gask (Guitar/Vocals), Trevor Oakes (Guitar/Vocals) and Rod Deas (Bass/Vocals). Dressed in their Teddy Boy drape suits they always put on a high energy show featuring the classic rock sounds and songs of the 50s and they had audiences jiving and reeling wherever they played.
It all began for Showaddywaddy in their home town when they caused pandemonium at Bailey’s, Leicester by winning the Top Town Talent show. When they were announced as the winners the audience climbed onto tables, waved banners and young girls stormed onto the stage. They were most certainly popular winners. They were soon being advertised under the tagline of The Greatest Rock ‘n’ Roll show in the World.
Winning the competition meant they were guaranteed ten weeks work at leading cabaret venues including Bailey’s in Oldham and a recording test with Polydor Records.
First Single Released
Following their New Faces heat win and finishing runner-up in the subsequent Grand Final they signed to the Bell record label and released their first single in April 1974. Hey Rock and Roll, penned by the band, peaked at number 2 in the UK charts.
In the next twelve months they charted with a further three Top 20 hits, Rock ‘n’ Roll Lady, Hey Mister Christmas and Sweet Music before hitting number two again with a cover of the Eddie Cochran hit Three Steps to Heaven. They followed this up with another Top 10 hit when Heartbeat reached number seven in September 1975.
Their debut album was released in November 1974 and featured nine songs written by the group and three covers, Bony Moronie (Larry Williams), Johnny Remember Me (John Leyton) and Temptation (Bing Crosby). The album peaked at number nine in the UK album chart and capped a successful first year for the band.
A Number One Single
After a further two Top 40 hits (Heavenly & Trocadero) in December 1976 the band finally got their first, and only, number one hit single. Under The Moon of Love, their final single on the Bell label before moving to Arista records, topped the UK singles charts for three weeks before being replaced by When A Child is Born by Johnny Mathis to rob them of the cherished Christmas number one.
This number one hit was the start of seven consecutive Top 10 hit singles over the next two years giving the band their most successful period of chart success. Their 8 year chart career ended in August 1982 but not before they had racked up 23 Top 40 hit singles. Since their first television appearance on New Faces they have appeared on many shows, including multiple Top of the Pops appearances and their own BBC show, recorded at Pebble Mill in Birmingham, called Showaddywaddyshow.
Booked until 2020
Despite having had no chart hits for over 35 years and that Romeo Challanger is the only remaining original member the band, who are managed by former member Dave Bartram, still have a full touring calendar, with dates confirmed well into 2020.
So while they may still claim that their second place on New Faces was manufactured it didn’t really hamper their career and they must be very pleased with the outcome.