• vernons girls / lyn cornell The Vernons Girls / Lyn Cornell (CD, £8.50)

    label: el

    The Vernons Girls were originally a choir that were formed as part of the social activities of the Liverpool-based Vernon's football Pools company. The company saw it as a unique form of promotion and initially sponsored the project. At first, the singers were drawn exclusively from the staff of young women who checked the public's pools coupons. In the event, demand for the girls to give public performances grew far beyond expectation. Remarkably, women would seek employment with Vernons simply as a means of breaking into show business.  The Vernons Girls' turning point came when the influential television, theatre and record producer Jack Good decided that they were what he needed for his seminal BBC TV Saturday evening rock and roll show, Six-Five Special. The girls, which at this point numbered 16, were a breath of fresh air and as their popularity increased they followed Good across to Independent television for Oh Boy! and Boy Meets Girl. The Vernons Girls began also to be in demand as backing singers. The Eamonn Andrews 78 featured here being an example of their contribution in a session context.  Their own earliest recordings, including the Peter Knight produced debut album which is the centrepiece of this edition, were made by the full troupe for George Martin's Parlophone in 1958 though going into the 1960's the unit downscaled and then further still to a three-piece when they signed to Decca in 1962.  Most of the original Vernons Girls stayed in the industry in some form or another; before forming The Pearls, Lynn Cornell became a successful soloist and charted with her version of the famous themesong from Jules Dassin's bawdy Greek film comedy Never On Sunday. That recording, and a quantity of long-deleted Cornell A & B sides for Decca, comprises the second half of our presentation. Lyn married the session drummer Andy White, who for a time had the distinction of being the fifth Beatle, having been drafted in by George Martin for an alternate version of Love Me Do and P.S. I Love You which temporarily relegated Ringo Starr to maracas.  Of the others, Vicky Haseman formed the Breakaways and married Joe Brown. Joyce Baker married Marty Wilde; they formed a trio with Justin Hayward called the Wilde Three, and were the parents of singers Ricky Wilde, Roxanne Wilde and Kim Wilde. Jean Owen had solo success under the name Samantha Jones, while Ann O'Brien joined Lyn Cornell in the Pearls.  Most professional longevity was achieved by Maggie Stredder, who with Marian Davies and Gloria George formed The Ladybirds. In 1966, they were recruited by the BBC as house singers for Top of The Pops. Among the chart entrants they backed on the show were the Jimi Hendrix Experience, performing Hey Joe. The voices on the Mood Mosaic track, A Touch of Velvet A Sting of Brass are theirs. They also worked with Marc Bolan, Twiggy, Sandie Shaw and John Entwistle of the Who.

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