Six West Indian immigrants formed this soul, ska and reggae group in Leeds in 1966. They were originally called The Bedrock Sunshine Band and took their name from the fictional hometown of the characters in the cartoon series The Flintstones.
By 1968 the group had built up a national following and after signing a contract with Columbia Records, The Bedrocks recorded a version of The Beatles‘ Ob-la-di, Ob-la-da at EMI studios, joined by singer Lou Prinze.
The song had also been recently recorded by The Marmalade but the Bedrocks’ more authentic Carribean version received a lot of radio play and debuted in the charts at #34 on 18 December. By the first week in January 1969, it had reached #20. But Marmalade’s version was #1.
The group made their TV debut on Colour Me Pop on 9 November 1968 and their follow-up single – The Lovedene Girls (a cleaned-up version of a filthy old rugby song) – was released on 7 February 1969. A lack of airplay meant the single failed to chart.
A third single (a reggae cover of Sam Cooke’s Wonderful World) went almost unnoticed.
Tragedy struck in 1970 as band members were loading their equipment into their van after a gig in Glossop, Derbyshire. A drunk driver crashed into the back of their stationery vehicle and crushed the legs of guitarist William Hixon. He was taken to Aston-under-Lyne Hospital, where both his legs had to be amputated.
The band continued to tour and record without him – releasing the singles Hit Me On The Head (April 1970) and Stone Cold Dead In The Market (July 1970) – and by the time he had fully recovered, The Bedrocks had broken up.
William Hixon passed away in August 2008, aged 57.
William Hixon (Caswell Sylvester Hixon)