Category Archives: Retro

Teddy & the Twilights and Darts

By Gary:

1:  This post will be a “just indulge Gary” post and is a little bit of a Rattlesnake.  The two groups in this post, some or maybe a lot of you may never have heard of.  The first group is a group that recorded for Swan Records a Philadelphia Company. 

Now at the time that my first group was in the studio producing a record (that actually made it to #59 on Billboard), they were also heavily promoting another artist, Freddie “Boom Boom” Cannon and this first group was actually his backup group on “Buzz Buzz A Diddle It”, recorded in the same year.  So “Teddy & the Twilights“, who wrote and recorded “A Woman is a Man’s Best Friend” in 1962, really got overlooked.  Now, personally I just love the song and that’s why I am indulging myself.

 

2:  I listen to a Station on my Sonos System called Doo-Wop Express and I heard a version of the Duke of Earl that was just great.  The group “Darts” was based in London England and had or has a huge following.  I then listened to some more recordings and I really like this group.  They started to be noticed in 1977 with the release of Daddy Cool/The Girl Can’t Help It and had 5 recordings in the top ten from 1977 through 1980.  I am not an expert on this group, I just enjoy them.

Teddy and the Twilights

Fred Cohen (lead)

John “Odoms” Williams (first tenor)

Larry Williams (Baritone)

Ben Hart (Bass)

They were also, The Deckers, The Buddies (with Freddy Cannon) and the Tiffany’s.  They did a lot of Studio work.

 

There are NO videos available for this group

 

1962 Recordings

1962 / Swan 4102 / A Woman is a Man’s best Friend / Goodbye to Love

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1962/ Swan 4126 / Bimini Bimbo / I’m Just Your Clown

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The group began in the early 1950s in Philadelphia. By 1953 it had acquired the name “The Deckers”. They made their first recordings in 1957 for NAR Records. Within the span of just over a year, they made further recordings for Yeadon Records (a label formed for the group), and then signed to Swan Records as “The Buddies.” A change in lead singer was arranged by the group’s attorney, and they acquired Fred “Weasel” Cohen from The Mohawks. The group changed their name to “Teddy & The Twilights”

With Cohen as the lead singer, the group had one charting song entitled “Woman Is A Man’s Best Friend” written by Claridge. The single, Swan catalogue #4102, reached #59 on the Billboard charts in 1962.

The group disbanded in 1963

 

Darts (London England)

Videos:

1977 / Daddy Cool / The Girl Can’t Help it /

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1978 / Come Back My Love /

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1978 / Boy From New York City /

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1979 / Duke of Earl / Produced by Ron Wood /

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Music:

1977 / Daddy Cool / The Girl Can’t Help It / UK # 6

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1978 / Come Back My Love / UK # 2

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1978 / The Boy From New York City / UK # 2

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1979 / The Duke of Earl / UK # 6

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1979 / Reet Petite / UK # 51

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1980 / Let’s Hang On / UK # 11

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1980 / White Christmas / Sh-Boom / UK # 48

 

Founded in 1976, by Den Hegarty along with Griff Fender (Real Name: Ian Collier), Rita Ray (Real Name: Lydia Sowa) and Horatio Hornblower (Real Name: Nigel Trubridge), all former members of the band Rocky Sharpe and the Razors. Joining the band was Iain “Thump” Thomson, George Currie and John Dummer, all ex-members of the John Dummer’s Blues Band. The line-up was completed by William “Hammy” Howell and ex Mickey Jupp singer Bob Fish. They built up a large following playing clubs and universities, although their break came after they appeared on Charlie Gillett‘s show on BBC Radio London in October 1976. This secured the band a recording contract with Magnet Records, where they were teamed up with record producer Tommy Boyce who had previously produced The Monkees. Covering 1950s rock and roll hits, they scored their first UK hit in November 1977 with a medley of “Daddy Cool” (originally a US 1957 hit for The Rays), “Zing went the strings of my heart]” (originally a US 1958 hit for The Coasters) and Little Richard‘s 1957 hit “The Girl Can’t Help It“. More cover versions followed in 1978 with “Come Back My Love” (originally recorded by US R&B group The Wrens in 1955), and “The Boy from New York City” (originally a US hit for The Ad Libs in 1965). Their next single of 1978 was an original song “It’s Raining” written by band member Griff Fender (real name Ian Collier). All three of the aforementioned hits reached number 2 in the UK Singles Chart and sold a combined total of 1.25 million copies.

Following “It’s Raining” in September 1978, Hegarty left the band to tend to his terminally ill father, and he was replaced by American singer Kenny Andrews. Their final hit of 1978 was “Don’t Let It Fade Away” (written by George Currie). “Get It” (written by Horatio Hornblower, under his real name Nigel Trubridge), followed in early 1979 and they also covered Gene Chandler‘s US 1962 hit “Duke of Earl“, produced by former Wizzard frontman Roy Wood. This was their last UK Top 10 hit, their only other sizeable hit coming in 1980 with a cover of The Four Seasons “Let’s Hang On!“. During the year, the line-up changed with Currie, Fish, and Dummer leaving the band. Duncan Kerr (guitar) and Keith Gotheridge (drums), both formerly with Plummet Airlines joined, and ex-Mud guitarist Rob Davis briefly joined the band, before moving into songwriting and production work. Another later member was Mike Deacon (ex Suzi Quatro band) on keyboards. By the end of 1980, their hits had dried up and in 1983 they began to do theatre work appearing in the theatre production of Yakety Yak.

In 1979, Hegarty became a television presenter, first with the Newcastle upon Tyne-based Alright Now, and later as part of the team fronting the children’s programme, Tiswas. In 1985, Fender and Ray managed and produced the UK a cappella female group The Mint Juleps who scored two minor UK chart entries with “Only Love Can Break Your Heart” (originally by Neil Young) in 1986 and “Every Kinda People” (originally by Robert Palmer) in 1987.

The band remains in the Top 500 selling list according to the Guinness Book of British Hit Singles.

The band reformed in 2006 for occasional appearances, which consistently sell out.

Band line-up

The original line-up included
  • Rita Ray, vocals (born Lydia Sowa, 11 December 1954, Ghana)
  • Den Hegarty, vocals (born Denis Hegarty, 13 September 1954, Dublin)
  • Griff Fender, vocals (born Ian Collier, 3 June 1954, Portsmouth, Hampshire)
  • Bob Fish, vocals (born Robert Fish, 3 June 1949, Rochford, Essex)
  • Horatio Hornblower, saxophone (born Nigel Trubridge, 15 January 1957, Brighton, Sussex)
  • Thump Thomson, bass guitar (born Iain Thomson, 11 June 1946, Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, Scotland)
  • John Dummer, drums (born Anthony John Dummer, 19 November 1944, Surbiton, Surrey)
  • George Currie, lead guitar (born 14 January 1950, Dundee, Scotland)
  • Hammy Howell, piano (born William Howell 24 October 1954, Wimbledon, London – died 13 January 1999)
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