HISTORY

The Spacemen Skiffle Group in 1957 with Joe Brown, Peter Oakman and Gary Gleed standing at the back with Sid Rodwell, George Staff and Tony Oakman at the front.

The Spacemen skiffle group was formed in 1956 by Tony and Peter with some members of Wanstead Aeromodellers' Club of which Tony was a member. In 1957 Joe Brown joined the group as lead guitarist. Gradually The Spacemen changed members with the band consisting of Tony, Peter, Joe, George Staff on guitar, Sid Rodwell on washboard and Gary Gleed on double bass. Eventually Gary left and Peter became the bass player.

In 1959 the group became a backing band for impresario Larry Parnes, who was putting together rock 'n' roll package tours. The artistes on the first tour were The Viscounts, Vince Eager, Sally Kelly, Marty Wilde and Gerry Dorsey, later to become Englebert Humperdinck.

Jack Good, who was producing 'Oh Boy', the T.V. music show featuring Cliff Richard, produced the group's first record for Decca "The Darktown Strutters Ball" but we needed a new name. Joe said to Jack Good: "Well, we're like bruvvers" hence the name Joe Brown & The Bruvvers. It was around this time Gene Vincent made his first trip to the UK and it was Joe & The Bruvvers who backed Gene.

'The Echoes in 1960 with Dave Burns, Peter Oakman, Johnny Satan, George Staff and Tony Oakman with Johnny Preston, Conway Twitty & Freddy Cannon at the front.

In 1960 Joe Brown featured in Jack Good's new TV show "Boy Meets Girl" which left The Bruvvers at a loose end, so they formed The Echoes bringing in Chris Wayne on vocals and Dave Burns on lead guitar. During 1960 The Echoes worked with Wee Willie Harris and then toured with Conway Twitty, Freddie Cannon and Johnny Preston.

Chris Wayne and The Echoes are, left to right, Peter and Tony Oakman, Chris Wayne, George Staff, Dave Burns and drummer Laurie Jay who, like most drummers, is hidden!

Joe Brown with Peter and Tony Oakman rehearsing on stage at The Globe Theatre in Stockton in 1962. Drummer Bobbie Graham can just be seen to the left of Joe's guitar!

Back as Joe Brown & The Bruvvers the group switched labels and joined Pye Piccadilly where they had a string of hits including "A Picture Of You" written by Peter Oakman and Johnny Beveridge, which went to No.1 in the charts during the Summer of 1962. It was around this time that The Beatles were supporting Joe Brown & The Bruvvers at The Cavern and other venues in the Liverpool area.

Joe Brown with Peter backstage at the Rialto Theatre in York about 1962/63.

Joe Brown and The Bruvvers topped the bill at The Cambridge Hall, Lord Street in Southport on Thursday, July 26th, 1962 with support by The Beatles. Thanks to the Southport Visiter website for the use of this nostalgic poster.

Joe Brown & the Bruvvers with co-starred The Beatles at the Tower Ballroom, New Brighton in 1962.

Peter says: "I can remember John Lennon saying that they'd just recorded their first single "Love Me Do" which was to be released soon". It became their first hit in 1963. Peter has The Beatles version of "A Picture Of You" - with lead vocals by George Harrison. In 1963 Joe Brown & The Bruvvers toured with Dion and Del Shannon and also that year saw the group doing their first Summer Season in Great Yarmouth at the Windmill Theatre. On the show were The Tornadoes, Mark Wynter, Rolf Harris and the Ross Taylor Dancers, which included Ann who Peter married in January 1966. During the Summer Season, Tony and Peter rented a large house near to Caister Horse Race Track and every Sunday The Beatles played the ABC Theatre and then partied back at the house afterwards. Good times for sure!

"A Picture of You" which was written by Pete Oakman takes pride of place on this poster which is displayed in the famous Cavern in Liverpool. Joe Brown and The Bruvvers, supported by the north's greatest sound the sensational Beatles were at The Cambridge Hall in Southport on July 26th, 1962. Thanks to Tony Booth of The Beatles Posters for granting permission to use this poster.

Peter Oakman in 1964 on double bass with legendary Lonnie Donegan - the British hero who started the UK guitar craze. In December 1963 Peter left Joe Brown and a few days later got a phone call from Lonnie Donegan which started his long involvement with him which sadly ended when Lonnie passed away in November 2002. Lonnie was the person who started it all for UK guitarists in 1955 with "Rock Island Line".

The Lonnie Donegan Tribute Show

'The Lonnie Donegan Tribute Show at The Royal Albert Hall, London, June 21st 2004. Musical Director & Master of Ceremonies: Peter Oakman. On June 21st 2004 The Donegan Band played host to a multitude of artists who came to The Royal Albert Hall, London to pay tribute to Lonnie Donegan who died in 2002. The condition was that all artistes performed Lonnie Donegan songs. Stars included Rolf Harris, Gerry Marsden (Gerry & The Pacemakers), Rick Wakeman, Billy Bragg, Roger Daltrey, Mark Knopfler, Van Morrison and Joe Cocker. This really was a night to remember.

Peter Oakman with Van Morrison; Joe Cocker with Peter; Peter with Gerry Marsden & Rolf Harris.

Mark Knopfler; Peter Oakman with Roger Daltrey; Peter Oakman gives a closing speech next to Lonnie's widow Sharon. We appreciate the quality of these photographs are not brilliant but a night to remember.

Looking Back

Some of the great names Peter has enjoyed working with include:

Conway Twitty, Freddie Cannon, Johnny Preston, Brenda Lee, Johnny Tillotson, Chris Montez, Len Barry, Danny & The Juniors, Gary 'US" Bonds, Jerry Lee Lewis, Linda Gail Lewis, Don Gibson, The Shangri-La's, Lou Christie, Charley Pride, Hank Locklin, Chet Atkins, George Hamilton IV, Nat Stuckey, Connie Smith, Marvin Rainwater, Gene Vincent, Del Shannon, Little Eva, B. Bumble & The Stingers, Tim Hardin, Herman's Hermits, The Troggs, The Yardbirds, The Kinks, Justin Hayward, Peter Green, Albert Hammond, The Swinging Blue Jeans.

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