Rick Hardy, A Man whose paths have crossed with Adam Faith, Cliff Richard, The Shadows, Vince Taylor, Joe Brown, Lonnie Donegan, The Beatles and many more...
Born in October
At the height of the Skiffle Craze, he joined the Johnny Makins Skiffle Group, where he met up bass player Tex Makins who later had fame with Georgie Fame and french rocker Johnny Halliday.
When the leader of the band, Johnny Morton left with his girlfriend and second singer, Lena, Rick took over the group who became the 'Rick Richards Skiffle Group' after his new professional name.
They made some recordings that were not released at the time, such as "Shake It Daddy".
They reached the final of the National Skiffle Contest at the Hammersmith Palais in 1957.
But they disbanded soon after the other guitarist of the band Johnny d'Avensac got called up.
In early 1958, Rick started guesting at the 2.I's Coffee Bar, in Old Compton Street, then joined the resident group there "The Worried Men", as a replacement for future pop star Adam Faith who was booked by Jack Good in his rock and roll TV shows '6-5 Specials' and 'Oh Boy!'.
During those days, Rick was roped in to play with a local outfit called the "Drifters" because they needed an amplified guitar when they performed at the 2.I's. He helped them out on a talent competition at the old Trocadero cinema in the Elephant and Castle district of South London.
After these gigs, the leader of 'The Drifters' Harry Webb asked him to join his group, but Rick turned down as he had already accepted the job with the Worried Men.
Soon afterwards the Drifters were offered a gig at the Regal Ballroom at Ripley, near Nottingham, by a dance hall manager named Harry Greatorex who wanted them billed as a singer and a group (as in Tommy Steele & the Steelmen or Gene Vincent & the Blue Caps). But he felt that "Harry Webb & the Drifters" didn't sound right, so another name had to be found for Harry who finally had adopted Rick's stage name and became "Cliff Richard".
The Drifters were later renamed the "Shadows" featuring two guitarists, Hank Marvin and Bruce Welch, booked in October 1958 by Cliff on Rick's personal recommendation.
Before they joined the Drifters, they both backed Rick Hardy at the 2.I's and at a bar in the East End of London alongside Jet Harris on bass and Tony Meehan on drums who became the new drummer of the Worried Men in summer 1958. Other future members of the Shadows passed through the ranks of this band leaded by Rick : drummer Brian Bennett and bass player Brian "Licorice" Locking.
Many other great musicians depped for the Worried Men until they finally disbanded in spring 1959 such as bass players Vince Cooze (Gene Vincent & the Beat Boys), Vic Pitt or drummers Red Reece and Clem Cattini (Johnny Kidd & the Pirates, The Tornados...).
In May 1959 Rick became the resident singer in the 'Top Ten', in Berwick Street, Soho, a club newly opened by the Anglo-American rocker Vince Taylor.
Then during summer 1959, he was asked to join a rock group called Clay Nichols & the Blue Flames to Play at Butlins holiday camp in Filey, Yorkshire.
There he played alongside two of the most skilled guitarist in Britain at that time: Joe Brown and Tony Harvey who replaced him.
Joe Brown left them for Jack Goode's 'Boy Meets Girl' TV show where he backed Gene Vincent on his first british tour then had fame with own tunes such as "Pictures of You" (1962). Tony Harvey later was to play with great success with Vince Taylor & his Playboys.
By 1960, Rick worked with Lonnie Donegan in a recording session at the Lansdowne studios backing the singers Mickie and Griff for an LP.
In june 1960, he was asked to be part of The Jets, the first English rock band to play in Hamburg Clubs.
Booked by a German club owner named Bruno Koschmieder to play in his club, "Der Kaiserkeller" in Saint Pauli, Hamburg, they pioneered the way for many british bands whose career really started out there...
As they moved to another club called the "Top Ten", Koschmieder had to book other english rock bands but this once from Liverpool such as "Derry & The Seniors" then an unknown quintet named the "Beatles".
The Jets often jammed with these newcomers and the Beatles actually made their very first release as the backing band of Tony Sheridan the Lead guitarist for the Jets.
But after a five month stint in Hamburg the Jets broke up. Indeed most of them as the members of the Beatles were evicted from Germany in late 1960 apart from Rick Hardy who had to joined a package show that was touring the American bases in Southern Germany playing country & western standards.
This led to his first experience of cabaret and then his staying in the Frankfurt area for around ten years.
Rick had been backed by the Beatles at the Star Club just before their career took off in May 1962. Then he carried on his career in cabaret circuit as a great cockney entertainer...