Dave Berry, Frank White, Richard Hawley – Local Heritage

DAVE BERRY:

Dave Berry (born 6 February 1941, in Woodhouse, Sheffield), was a British pop singer and teen idol of the 1960s. A unique, and charismatic performer, Berry performed a mixture of hard R&B and pop ballads. He was extremely popular in Britain, and on Continental Europe.

He had an unusual ambition for a pop performer trying to make a name for himself – to appear on TV completely hidden by a prop. In his own words, to “not appear, to stay behind something and not come out”. As a rule he did a good job; hiding behind the upturned collar of his leather jacket, or even wrapping himself around, and effectively behind, the microphone’s own lead.

His early hits name checked his backing band, The Cruisers who at that time were made up of John Fleet (bass & piano), Roy Barber (rhythm guitar), Frank Miles (lead guitar) and Kenny Slade (drums). Berry parted company with this line-up (considered by many to be the best ever) around the time of “The Crying Game”. He recruited four more talented local musicians – Frank White, Johnny Riley, Pete Cliff and old friend Alan Taylor to be the second generation of ‘Cruisers’, with lead guitarist White eventually replaced by Roy Ledger until around 1965, when personel changes began to be more frequent.

FRANK WHITE:

Frank White, labelled locally as “the man that could have been King”, guitar legend, devout Christian and family man. The man the Rolling Stones wanted, the man who influenced generations of Sheffield musicians, a man who could have had it all… “With enough talent to give even Eric Clapton a run for his money his self-taught genius has been appreciated by a loyal following in his home city and beyond for 40 years”- http://www.thestar.co.uk/what-s-on/gigs-music/the-man-who-could-have-been-king-1-334400

His grandmother bought his first guitar when he was 15 years old.

“It cost about 2.50 I think and I didn’t have a clue,”

“I thought you tuned a guitar by just tightening the strings. Then, and this is true, I was walking in a field near where we lived and I found on the floor a piece of paper with instructions on how to tune a guitar. It was just lying there.

 ”Three months later I was the lead guitarist in a band, not that I was brilliant or anything but I just found a way to get the things in my head out through a guitar.”

 The ability to express thoughts and ideas through melody is a gift great musicians share, to be able to transform experience and emotion into art is the essence of creative talent.

RICHARD HAWLEY:

Richard Willis Hawley was born in 1967 in Sheffield to parents Dave and Lyn Hawley – both with fierce musical talent, Dave Hawley famous for his own Dave Hawley Combo and The Black Cats. Meanwhile, Richard’s uncle Frank White was carving his name locally as “one of the best guitarists the city had seen… along with Dave”. Frank is remembered for his “twin necked guitar which he had long before Jimmy Page became synonymous with the instrument in Led Zeppelin.

It was only inevitable that Richard, “son and nephew of phenomenal guitarists and singer and grandson of a music hall violinist and musical saw player” would become a very talented musician. He picked up his first guitar and was touring in Germany by the age of 14! Throughout his childhood and teenage years he had been building on his passion for rock ‘n’ roll and rockabilly and his enthusiasm only grew.

When he was touring he commonly sang covers or if you were lucky, his own written songs. But there is no doubt that his heart lies in Sheffield – many of his lyrics were about Pitsmoor, the area of Sheffield which he had grown up in “next to a butchers and the taxidermist and over the road from the cemetery”.

“Pitsmoor is a faded glory place. Its got a grimness to an outsider but if you know it and you look closely it has a history and a proud successful past in the steel industry; where Richards father had originally worked; at the rolling mills and furnaces once the signature of the lower Don Valley. There, in the cemetery there was a romance and pride which the modern world seemed to want to wipe off the planet. So when Richard came back to Sheffield after years of touring the world, the city he knew had been ravaged by the miners strike, the closure of the steel industry and inexplicable attempts at redevelopment which further alienated Sheffield people from Sheffield.” http://richardhawley.co.uk/about/

 

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