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24 September 2014

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Coventry crooner Vince Hill
Coventry crooner Vince Hill

Pop into the Past

Local music expert Pete Chambers continues his look at pop music with a spotlight on Vince Hill. Remember, Pete goes into more detail, and you can hear the music, every other Friday on the Bob Brolly Show.

Fascinating Vince Hill facts

Vince was born in Holbrooks, Coventry on 24 April 1937

Apart from Vince, The Raindrops included Jackie Lee, who would go onto to chart with the songs White Horses and Rupert The Bear, and songwriter Johnny Worth who wrote What Do You Want for Adam Faith.

Vince’s first production credit for an album was the 1997 In Thine Eyes, CD a collection of Classical church music and voices.

In a new feature on the Bob Brolly afternoon show on BBC Coventry and Warwickshire, local music expert Pete Chambers takes a look back at the best in pop music from the past.

Every other Friday from 3pm, Pete will be on air to talk about the bands, singers and songs that made Britain swing during the 50s, 60s, 70s and beyond You can also take a trip down memory lane with the songs themselves.

This week, Pete looks at Coventry crooner Vince Hill , who is still going strong today.

Vince Hill, by Pete Chambers

Vince Hill has become one of Coventry’s enduring entertainers. With his smooth approach and mellow voice, Holbrooks' most famous son became a household name in the 60s through to the 80s.

He had been a baker and a coal miner, but singing professionally was where his life was leading. His first public performance was at the Prospect Public house in Margate at 15.

He and his brother Jack would begin singing in local pubs like the Bantam and Stag and various clubs around Coventry. He continued his craft in the Royal Signals band during his national service and as part of the cast of the musical Floradora, later joining the Teddy Foster Band in 1958.

His first real taste of fame however came when he became part of Len Beadle’s singing group The Raindrops They featured on the BBC radio show Parade of the Pops, basically singing the current songs of the day.

He left the Raindrops in 1961 to go solo, although he continued to appear on Parade of the Pops and appeared on other shows such as TV’s Stars and Garters. This was to help him launch his solo career.

In 1963 he gained his first chart entry with the Rivers Run Dry on Pye records. He moved to Columbia Records and more hits followed like Take Me to Your Heart Again, and of course Edelweiss that reached number two in the chart.

It was to become his signature tune for the rest of his career, a career that saw him top the bill at the Palladium and Talk of the Town. Plus starring in his own successful shows They Sold a Million, Musical Time Machine and Gas Street, a show that would highlight his presenting and interviewing talents. He still found time to turn out more hit singles like the popular Roses of Picardy and Love Letters in the Sand.

Although known mainly for his superb voice he has composed songs as well. He and his musical Director Ernie Dunstall wrote a song for Brendan Dougan that went to number one in the New Zealand charts.

Such is his global popularity, his records sell not only in the UK, but in the likes of Canada (where he has also had his own TV series) and Australia. In 1976 he was the subject of honour on This Is Your Life.

By 1983 he had added acting to his CV, first in the radio drama Tolpuddle (he also wrote this) and playing Ivor Novello in the stage play My Dearest Ivor he also managed to find time to write the stage musical Zodiac.

His last big hit was to be (well, so far) Look Around (and Find Me There). He still continues to release albums and tour all over the country, his current I’m still Standing Show, is so named because of his recent battle with cancer.

In his spare time he likes to encourage his son Athol in his musical career. Plus spending time with his wife Annie on their boat, and he still looks out for the Cov City results. Good man!

last updated: 04/04/05
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