Tuesday, 26 April 2016
King Of Love/Love Me Tender/It's Love Baby (24 Hours A Day)/Lotta Lovin'/We Got Love
In the Melbourne dance circuit, Merv Benton gained national attention and quickly became one of the most popular male singers in the country appearing on all national television programes. In early 1964 he signed with Melbourne's W&G Records and became one of their most prolific artists, releasing several singles and EPs, and three LPs between 1964 and 1967. In 1967, at the height of his popularity, Merv was struck down by throat problems that ended his singing career.
His career began, like many others taking to rock'n'roll listening to Melbourne radio and was captivated by the music of Elvis Presley, Sam Cooke, Gene Vincent, Chuck Berry, Little Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis. Merv saw his first Lee Gordon 'Big Show' in 1957, which featured Bill Haley & The Comets, The Platters and Freddie Bell and it was Bell especially who fired Merv's desire to become a singer.
He toured around Australia with his backing group, The Tamlas. The lineup that backed Merv on most of his recordings was Les Stacpool and Noel Watson (guitars), Murray Robertson (keyboards), Dennis Tucker (bass) and Eddie Chappell (drums), with backing vocals on most of the singles by the trio of Pat Carroll, Anne Hawker and Julie McKenna.
In the early 1980s Merv returned to the recording studio after he was approached by his old fried Ian B. Allen to perform again in Melbourne. He found a backing band, The Allstars, which included Les Stacpool on guitar, the legendary Henri Bource on sax, Murray Robertson on keyboard, Ron Chapman on drums and Ian on bass. The group recorded a 5-track EP with Merv at the helm.
In 1991, Merv migrated to the USA. However he has made occasional live musical appearances and in the early 2000s he has returned to Melbourne from his new home near Phoenix, Arizona for Australian annual Sixties concerts.