PARNES, SHILLINGS and VINCE
Alan Clayson profiles Larry Parnes’ â€œthird discoveryâ€, Vince Eager, and confirms that he was so much more than a Britsh rockabilly also-ran
The principal studs from the stable of the legendary pop svengali Larry Parnes were Tommy Steele, Marty Wilde and Billy Fury. He also handled the equally charismatic Vince Eager, who, after Steele’s abdication, had everything required to usurp Cliff Richard’s crown as England’s “answer” to Elvis Presley. Yet that did not happen, and it seems less hearsay than common knowledge within the music business is that Parnes had signed Eager simply to prevent another manager grooming him as a dangerous rival to Wilde. Certainly, the sub-text of Rock ’N’ Roll Files (Magna, 2009), Eager’s engrossing book of autobiographical essays, intimates that his former manager’s repressive projection of him as a poor man’s Marty Wilde half-wrecked a career that began promisingly when a teenage Midlander became a London-based entertainer in 1958.
The distance to the storm centre of Britain’s record industry had been as measurable in years as much as miles when Roy Taylor was born on 4 June 1940 in Grantham. At the Lincolnshire market town’s Boys Central School, he grew to an imposing height of 6ft 5in, and became as renowned for his athletic prowess as the chess champion and class bullies were in their chosen fields. He was also a member of The Harmonica Vagabonds with Roy …
by Alan Clayson
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