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Johnny Kidd & The Pirates

Originally a Rock & Roll band, The Pirates’ greatest days were perhaps behind them when the beat boom began.

Formed in 1958 when Rock & Roll was still in its first flush of youth in Britain, they enjoyed several hit records including the classic Shakin’ All Over, which was co-written by Kidd and his manager Gus Robinson, and was a British #1 in 1960.

They managed to sustain a seven-year career without ever releasing an album.

Kidd was a fine R&B singer and one of the few credible British pre-Beatles answers to American rock singers, and in The Pirates, he had one of the toughest-sounding groups in England.

Born Fred Heath, Kidd was an uncompromising rocker from Willesden who avoided covering US hits and scored with original material.

By the late 50’s his skiffle group (at one time called The Five Nutters) had evolved into a Gene Vincent-inspired rock group.

Kidd’s stage act saw him wearing an eye-patch over his right eye and wielding a cutlass while his Pirates sported colourful swashbuckling gear and played in front of a galleon backdrop.

The band endured a couple of barren years between 1960 – 1962 when the music they played was at odds with the public taste for teen ballads but had something of an Indian summer in 1963 as beat music was gaining in popularity.

In 1964 Green left to join Billy J Kramer & The Dakotas and was replaced by John Weider.

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After the hits dried up, the band continued working – predominantly on the Northern cabaret circuit – with various line-up changes.

Kidd was in fact on his seventh group of Pirates when he was killed in a car accident on the M1 just outside Bury, Lancashire on 7 October 1966. He was only 27.

During the late 70s Pub Rock explosion, The Pirates made a brief comeback without their famed frontman. Bassist Nick Simper went on to join Deep Purple.

Johnny Kidd 
Vocals
Alan Caddy
Guitar
Tony Doherty
Guitar
Johnny Gordon
Bass
Ken McKay
Drums
Brian Gregg
Bass
Clem Cattini
Drums
Johnny Patto
Guitar
Mick Green
Guitar
Johnny Spence
Bass
Frank Farley

Drums
John Weider
Guitar 
Vic Cooper

Organ
Jon Morshead
Guitar 
Mick Stewart
Guitar
Nick Simper
Bass
Roger Truth
Drums
Ray Soaper
Keyboards