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Monday, 7 October 2013

Barry Stanton - Teenage Idol


I Don't Want To Be A Teenage Idol/Indeed I Do/
Beggin' On My Knees/Solitary Confinement


Born on 23rd January 1941 in England, Barry's parents immigrated to Australia when he was five years old. He grew up in the Sydney suburb of Cremorne and while at school he was given a guitar as a birthday present. After graduating from high school in 1957, he got a job as an apprentice motor mechanic. Inspired by Elvis Presley, he began singing occasionally with a group called Deke Drew and the Rebels at their weekly dance at Warringah Hall in Neutral Bay. He then formed his own group called Barry Stanton and the Boppers but by the end of 1958 the group had folded. Barry then formed a new backing group called the Bel Aires.
A serious car accident in 1959 resulted in Stanton suffering a fractured skull and being hospitalised for several months. After recovering from his injuries Barry and the Bel Aires first engagement was playing during the interval at the Embassy Picture Theatre in Manly. A few weeks later they were invited back to the Embassy by the manager to play at a rock 'n' roll concert. This led to Barry being invited by Johnny O'Keefe to appear on Six O'Clock Rock. Barry, with his Elvis Presley looks and singing style, was so popular with the live audience and viewers that he became a regular on the show. He also became a regular on the radio program Rockville Junction, which Johnny also hosted.
As his popularity continued to soar he began appearing regularly on Bandstand as well. He was also making short, mainly overnight, tours around New South Wales. After parting company with the Bel Aires Barry regularly performed as a guest artist at dances run by a group called the Ark Royales. Barry eventually replaced their lead singer when he left the group. Barry's first big break came in 1960 when Johnny O'Keefe signed him to a recording contract with Leedon Records. His debut single in April failed to chart. In May, he headed off on his first interstate tour with Johnny, Lonnie Lee and Booka Hyland, Ray Hoff and Laurel Lee.
The tour became infamous as it nearly claimed the lives of Johnny and his two passengers, Dee Jays' saxophonist John Greenan and his wife Jan, in a car accident. But by the time of the accident Barry had already left the tour due to exhaustion. His second single Don't You Worry 'Bout That, which was written by Johnny O'Keefe, was released in September and made the charts in most states. When his follow-up flopped he turned to his younger brother Rod, who dabbled in songwriting, for his fourth single. The song, Beggin' On My Knees, was to be his biggest hit, spending twelve weeks in the charts and reaching the Top 20 nationally in November 1961.
Barry continued recording with Leedon until 1964 and then switched to RCA Records in 1965. While he didn't have much success on the recording side he was still appearing regularly on television. Eventually, his lack of record success forced him to give up his rock 'n' roll career for that of an electrician. Between 1974 and 1977 he toured around Australia with Johnny O'Keefe's packaged show The Good Old Boys of Rock 'n' Roll. Stanton continued to perform well into the Eighties, which included a stint overseas in Las Vegas at the famous Sahara Casino Nightclub. He continues to appear regularly at Melbourne's Annual Concert and also at the Wintersun Festival.

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