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Elkie Brooks

Back in 1960, this lady was still named Elaine Bookbinder, a fifteen-year-old from Manchester who after leaving school replied to an ad in a local newspaper placed by impresario Don Arden who was in search of new talent.

Passing her audition, Arden signed her up and changed her name to Elkie Brooks and began promoting her as the UK’s answer to Brenda Lee.

She then had to wait until 1964 before being signed to Decca, releasing three unsuccessful singles after which she found herself on HMV with a song written by Kenny Lynch and Jerry Ragavoy, He’s Gotta Love Me.

In the mid-1960s, she supported The Beatles in their Christmas show in London, then, as an established act, helped the Small Faces in their early career by introducing them at several venues. She went on to tour the US with several bands, including The Animals.

After she met guitarist Pete Gage, whom she would marry, she joined the short-lived fusioneers Da Da before forming Vinegar Joe with Gage and Robert Palmer.

Brooks gained a reputation as the wild woman of rock ‘n’ roll due to her wild stage performances, but after three albums, the band split up in 1974, and Brooks and Palmer pursued separate solo careers.

It wasn’t until 1977 that she finally found her breakthrough hit with Pearl’s A Singer.

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