Like The Walker Brothers (who were neither brothers nor Walkers) neither of The Allisons were actually called ‘Allison’. Brian Alford (John Allison) first met Colin Day (Bob Allison) when they both sang in the choir at Saint Dionis Church in Parsons Green, Fulham.
By 1960, they had managed to obtain a residency at the Breadbasket coffee bar in Cleveland Street.
They also entered a national talent competition co-sponsored by the pop newspaper DISC and a tape recorder manufacturer.
They reached the finals at the ATV studio in Wembley despite a roster of 600 entries, and went on to win, appearing on Bert Weedon’s TV programme Lucky Dip.
They also won a recording session and taped several of the songs that John had written earlier. These were submitted to Fontana Records in the hope of obtaining a full recording contract.
Fontana was impressed and selected Are You Sure? for submission to the UK heats to decide Britain’s entry to the Eurovision Song Contest for 1961, where they won the British heats and narrowly missed the top spot in the actual contest in Cannes.
The record became a massive hit all over Europe and reached the UK #1 spot.
Sadly, the Allisons’ follow-ups to Are You Sure? went largely unnoticed by record buyers and they achieved only two further minor chart placings in the UK.
The pair called it a day in 1963. During the 1970s and 1980s, John teamed up with other new “brothers”- notably Mike Allison and Tony Allison.
John Allison (Brian Henry John Alford)
Bob Allison (Bernard Colin Day)