Robin Trower, Gary Brooker and Chris Copping went to school in Southend together. Adding singer Bob Scott and drummer Mick Brownlee they formed The Paramounts.
They played rock tunes in their local clubs until Gary Brooker replaced the departing Bob Scott as the group’s vocalist, and American R&B was introduced into their repertoire.
By 1962 The Paramounts commanded capacity audiences, particularly at Southend’s busy Shades Club.
Early in 1963 Mick Brownlee left the line-up to be replaced by Barrie “B J” Wilson, and midway through the year, Chris Copping left for university and Diz Derrick stepped in.
With this line-up – and on the strength of their demo tape that included Poison Ivy – The Paramounts auditioned for EMI Records.
They were signed by Ron Richard’s to EMI’s Parlophone label where they debuted with Poison Ivy in January 1964. It crashed into the British Top 40.
Two months later, the follow-up single, Little Bitty Pretty One, bombed. Further singles released through to 1965 all flopped also.
Towards the close of 1966 The Paramounts disbanded, leaving Trower and Wilson to work together, and Brooker to concentrate on composing with his friend Keith Reid. The two would form the embryo of Procol Harum.
Barrie J Wilson