ME AND MY SHADOW
Billie Davis, the sassy 60s hitmaker, is hitting the road for the first time since the death of her close friend Jet Harris. She tells Alan Clayson about her fond memories of Jet, The Rolling Stones and her flatmate Brian Jones’s fish paste lunches
Heralded by the previous autumn’s delightfully gormless Will I What duet with Mike Sarne in the Top 20, 1963 became a red-letter year for Billie Davis. Her ebullient cover of The Exciters’ Tell Him and her follow-up He’s The One were hits: it was not a bad result for a solo singer in an age of groups.
The speed of events since 16-year-old Carol Hedges, from Woking, Surrey, won a talent contest early in 1962, had accelerated with sessions under the aegis of freelance console boffin Joe Meek, though, to his chagrin, she was soon to melt into the managerial caress of the up-and-coming Robert Stigwood, who came up with her Billie Davis stage alias.
Next, Carol-Billie took off almost immediately to become a familiar figure on round-Britain tours with the likes of The Beatles, The Four Seasons, former Shadow Jet Harris – with whom she was romantically linked – and The Rolling Stones. Particularly friendly with their Brian Jones, she was privy to his covert plans in 1965 to form a breakaway group with Harris and other well-known musicians.
That year, Billie made a celluloid debut in the Pop Gear B-feature, which, while it did not extend the frontiers of cinema’s avant-garde, brought her wide-eyed, timorous beauty and Quant-cropped, kinky-booted fashion sense to a wider public – as it did a mature …
by Alan Clayson
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