The Swinging Blue Jeans were a four-piece 1960s British Merseybeat band, best known for their hit singles with the HMV label; "Hippy Hippy Shake", "Good Golly Miss Molly", and "You're No Good", issued in 1964. Subsequent singles released that year and the next made no impression. In 1966, their version of Burt Bacharach and Hal David's "Don't Make Me Over" peaked at no. 31 in the UK Singles Chart, but the group never charted again.
The group had its origins in 1957, when Ray Ennis formed a jazz influenced skiffle sextet group called the Bluegenes. The original lineup also included guitarist/vocalist Bruce McCaskill, banjo player Tommy Hughes, washboard player Norman Kuhlke, and oil drum bass player Spud Ward. There were a number of early personnel changes, as guitarist Ralph Ellis joined the band and Ward was replaced by Les Braid. Johnny Carter and Paul Moss entered the band to replace Hughes and McCaskill. They were a fully working band by 1962, playing skiffle at venues in Liverpool and at the Star Club in Hamburg. However the German audiences booed them off the stage, and the group rapidly changed direction and focus.
They switched to rock and roll, and with a name change to reflect their attire, to the Swinging Blue Jeans. This earned the band, then a quintet featuring Ennis, Braid, Ellis, Kuhlke and Moss, a recording contract with HMV with record producer, Walter Ridley. The quintet's first recording, "It's Too Late Now", which was written by Ennis, made the British Top 30. After the departure of Moss, the band became a quartet. In December of 1963, a cover of the song "Hippy Hippy Shake" took the band to second on the British charts and established them as stars.
They had a three year spell of success, rising and falling with Merseybeat itself. During this time, the Swinging Blue Jeans performed on many popular TV shows in the United Kingdom and Europe, appearing with The Beatles, Gerry & The Pacemakers, The Searchers, and The Merseybeats. The Swinging Blue Jeans had the standard Shadows line-up of two guitars, a bass guitar and drums and achieved local fame with their appearances at the Mardi Gras Club and the Cavern Club.
An album Blue Jeans a-Swinging was released in 1964 by HMV; an contemporaneous American LP composed of 45 and EP tracks, Hippy Hippy Shake included the released-in-the-US-only instrumental, "Wasting Time".The Swinging Blue Jeans performing in 2013
In early 1966, Terry Sylvester from The Escorts replaced Ellis, who had shared songwriting duties with Ray Ennis. Finding themselves trying to keep up with the rapidly changing times, the band recorded a second album at Abbey Road Studios in early 1966 which had a limited release in Canada. The band drifted into a middle of the road direction which failed to bring them any success. In 1967, the band's producer Ridley decided to try and transform Ray Ennis into a solo star, cutting the disc "Tremblin'" with session musicians and backing vocals by Madeline Bell and Kiki Dee, but it was ultimately released under the band's name. In June 1968, a one off disc credited to 'Ray Ennis and The Blue Jeans' failed to bring any change in fortune, and Sylvester left at the end of 1968 to replace Graham Nash in The Hollies. "Hey Mrs Housewife" was credited to The Blue Jeans in April 1969, after which they were dropped by EMI. The band then changed their name to Music Motor for a one off single on Deram, "Happy", after which they reverted to The Swinging Blue Jeans name, and the band eventually retired to the cabaret circuit.
The Swinging Blue Jeans, continued with Ennis and Braid until Braid's death in 2005. After fifty years as an active member, Ennis continues as the sole original member of the band and still tours.
|||This section needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (August 2013)|
- Ray Ennis - Vocalist / lead guitarist - born Raymond Vincent Ennis, 26 May 1940, Huyton, Liverpool - 1957 - present
- Ralph Ellis - Guitarist - born 8 March 1942, Liverpool - 1958 - 1966
- Norman Houghton - Washboard - born 18 September 1940, Liverpool - 1957
- Jimmy Hudson - Double bass - 1957 - 1958
- Kenneth Metcalf - Lead vocalist, guitar - 1957
- Arthur Griffiths - Guitarist - 1957
- Tommy Hughes - Banjo - 1958 - 1959 - born 7 May 1938 - died 21 September 2013
- Paul Moss - Banjo - 1959 - 1963
- Les Braid - Bassist / keyboardist - born William Leslie Braid, 15 September 1937, West Derby Road, West Derby, Liverpool — died 31 July 2005, Fazakerley Hospital, Fazakerley, Liverpool - 1957 - 2005
- Norman Kuhlke - Drummer - born 17 June 1942, Liverpool - 1957 -
- John E. Carter - Singer, guitarist - born 21 May 1938, Liverpool. Carter came from HyKatz Skiffle Group in 1959, before leaving for Canada in June 1961.
- Terry Sylvester - Singer, guitarist - born 8 January 1946, Liverpool. Sylvester came from The Escorts in Feb 1966, before leaving to replace Graham Nash in The Hollies in 1969.
- Colin Manley - Guitarist - born Colin William Manley, 16 April 1942, Old Swan, Liverpool — died 9 April 1999
- John Ryan - Drummer - born 5 April 1953, Pinehurst Avenue, Liverpool - 1980 - 1983
- Bruce McCaskill - Guitarist / vocalist - born 15 January 1940, Liverpool - 1957 - 1959
- Mike Gregory - Bass guitarist - born Michael Gregory, 7 November 1946, Liverpool Maternity Hospital, Liverpool - 1967 - 1972
- Michael Pynn - 1972-1975 lead guitar, vocals, recorded two albums & toured Scandinavia
- Kenny Goodlass - Drummer - Liverpool
- Mick McCann - Drummer - born 2 February 1949, Liverpool; occasionally deputised for Kuhlke in 1967 - 1968
- Phil Thompson - Drummer - born 18 October 1947, Liverpool; joined the band in 1983
- Hedley Vick - Guitarist - 24 April 1952, Bromborough, Merseyside; 1975/6 including tours of UK, Europe and New Zealand; brother of opera director, Graham Vick
- Alan Lovell - Guitarist - born 5 January 1952, Newtown, Wales - 1981 - 2010
- Jeff Bannister - Keyboardist, vocalist - born Jeffrey Bannister, 7 January 1943, Slough, Berkshire
- Pete Oakman - Bassist, vocalist - born Peter Andrew Oakman, 12 December 1943, Cuffley, Hertfordshire - 2010
- Spud Ward - Double bassist, bass guitar, songwriter - born 2 November 1940, Walton, Liverpool - 1957 - 1958
- "It's Too Late Now" / "Think of Me" (HMV POP 1170, June 1963) - UK no. 30
- "Do You Know" / "Angie" (HMV POP 1206, September 1963)
- "Hippy Hippy Shake" / "Now I Must Go" (HMV POP 1242, December 1963) - UK no. 2; US no. 24
- "Good Golly Miss Molly" / "Shaking Feeling" (HMV POP 1273, March 1964) - UK no. 11; US no. 43
- "You're No Good" / "Don't You Worry About Me" (HMV POP 1304, May 1964) - UK no. 3; US no. 97
- "Promise You'll Tell Her" / "It's So Right" (HMV POP 1327, August 1964)
- "It Isn't There" / "One of These Days" (HMV POP 1375, December 1964)
- "Make Me Know You're Mine" / "I've Got a Girl" (HMV POP 1409, March 1965)
- "Crazy 'Bout My Baby" / "Good Lovin'" (HMV POP 1477, October 1965)
- "Don't Make Me Over" / "What Can I Do Today" (HMV POP 1501, January 1966) - UK no. 31
- "Sandy" / "I'm Gonna Have You" (HMV POP 1533, June 1966)
- "Rumours, Gossip, Words Untrue" / "Now the Summer's Gone" (HMV POP 1564, November 1966)
- "Tremblin'" / "Something's Coming Along" (with Kiki Dee, Madeline Bell), (HMV POP 1596, July 1967)