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Cliff Bennett & The Rebel Rousers

Cliff Bennett and the Rebel Rousers started out in 1959 playing Rock & Roll but added saxes in the early sixties when they were one of the first British bands playing soul.

Merseybeat all but drowned them, but they survived to chart with One Way Love.

Their music became more fashionable, and when Paul McCartney provided them with Got To Get You Into My Life they returned to the Top 10.

Clifford Bennett grew up in Maxwell Road at the heart of a West Drayton housing estate in an outer London suburb near Slough.


His early life was not remarkable, and upon leaving Secondary school he followed his brother Ted into his father’s Harmansworth foundry.

Hooked on skiffle, he purchased his first guitar at the age of 17 to make an appearance with a local group at a dance in Colnbrook.

Searching for the BBC’s Light programme one day, Cliff tuned into an Eddie Cochran show on a foreign station and switched his allegiance immediately from skiffle to Rock & Roll.

He formed the first version of The Rebel Rousers in 1961 with a floating line-up of guitar, bass, drums and a pianist doubling on sax. An additional pianist and sax were later hired. Among those passing through the ranks were future Searcher Frank Allen who had been playing in a Hayes band called The Skyways and drummer Mick Burt, who later joined bassist Chas Hodges in Chas & Dave.

The group came to the attention of Joe Meek who produced their first three singles, beginning with the bathroom rockabilly of You Got What I Like in June 1961.

Four months later, That’s What I Said best captured the embryonic Bennett sound. A lengthy piece, it featured piano and rudimentary sax from Phillips and savage guitar interludes from Michael King.

In a year ruled by Bobby Vee and Acker Bilk, The Rebel Rousers unsurprisingly did not catch on.

Cliff Bennett
Sid Phillips
Saxophones, piano
Dave Wendells
Roy Young
Piano, organ, vocals
Maurice “Moss” Groves
Tenor saxophone
Charles “Chas” Hodges
Mick Burt
Michael King
Frank Allen
Bobby Thomson