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13 November 2014

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You are in: Nottingham > People > Profiles > Alvin's life in showbiz

Alvin Stardust

Alvin's life in showbiz

Mansfield born Alvin Stardust has been a star since the 1960s and can still draw the crowds.

From rock 'n' roll to leathers to the Child Catcher in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Alvin Stardust is a show business survivor.

He's been performing since the 1960s and it's all down to the singing cowboy Roy Rogers.

Roy and Robin

Born Bernard William Jewry on the 27 September 1942 in Muswell Hill, London, he moved to 5 Clifton Place, Mansfield, Nottinghamshire at the age of one when his father got a job as a sales manager.

He went to school at Southwell Minster but it was the lure of Roy Rogers that got him into music.

The fictional cowboy could ride, shoot and sing. Young Bernard didn't have a horse or a gun but decided to learn the guitar.

Alvin Stardust

Alvin Stardust in his leathers

He was also fascinated by another folk hero - Robin Hood and continues to tell stories about the legend to his young daughter.

Valuable guitar

When he was 12 his parents bought him a guitar and in 1958 they took him by bus from Mansfield to Doncaster to see Buddy Holly.

Bernard took his guitar and managed to get backstage. Soon the 16-year-old was playing Peggy Sue with the rock 'n' roll legend.

He got him to sign his guitar and that was the start of an autograph collection.

Over the years the likes of Billy Fury, Eddie Cochran, Gene Vincent, The Beatles and The Rolling Stones all signed his guitar.

He hadn't seen it since 1964 but when his mother died in 2003 he found she'd kept it.

The guitar, which had cost £1 and 10 shillings, is now insured for $2 million.

It brings back happy memories.

"I love looking at it and touching Eddie Cochran's autograph and thinking that I remember it so well."

Alvin Stardust

Alvin as a panto villain in The Weakest Link

The name game

By the start of the 1960s Bernard Jewry had been persuaded to become Shane Fenton. Another singer, Johnny Theakston, had assumed the persona, but he tragically died, aged just 17.

The group was big in Nottinghamshire and soon signed to Parlophone records where future Beatles producer George Martin, took charge of some of their recordings.

Despite several releases they never made it big.

By the 1970s Shane had been replaced by Alvin Stardust. Riding the crest of the glam era, Alvin made an impression in his leather suits and black leather glove.

He became a Top of the Pops regular scoring hits with My Coo Ca Choo, Red Dress and Jealous Mind.

Songs like I Feel Like Buddy Holly maintained his profile during the 1980s but in the 21st century he's been treading the boards in theatre musicals like Boogie Nights and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang where he played the evil Child Catcher.

He still performs pop shows with a mixture of rock 'n' roll and 70s classics.

last updated: 29/01/2009 at 14:21
created: 25/04/2008

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