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Lord Rockingham's Xi

Lord Rockingham's XI were the house band for the TV pop show Oh Boy!, one of the first dedicated pop music shows on TV in the late '50s. Jack Good, who controlled the Oh Boy! TV show, wanted a band to segue together the guest stars and also to provide a raucous instrumental backing for them. He already had the band's name, Lord Rockingham's XI -- based on a play on the words "rocking 'em" -- and he hired musical arranger Harry Robinson to get the band together. Knowing the sort of sound that Good was looking for, Robinson put together a large collection of musicians including Red Price and Rex Morris on tenor sax, Benny Greene and Cyril Reubens on baritone sax, Ronnie Black on double bass, Cherry Wainer (from South Africa) on organ, Bernie Taylor and Eric Ford on guitars, and Don Storer and Reg Weller on percussion. The 11 of them (including Robinson) produced an instrumental wall of sound and stomping beat that quickly became synonymous with the show.

Benny Greene would go on to have a very long-lasting career on the jazz scene, but in the late '50s rock & roll was all the rage. Despite guest appearances by the likes of Billy Fury and Marty Wilde, the most popular part of Oh Boy! was often the Lord Rockingham's XI interludes as they played a brand of rocking saxophone-dominated instrumental rock & roll that would go on to greatly influence the likes of Johnny & the Hurricanes, who achieved lots of late-'50s/early-'60s hits. There were only 38 episodes of Oh Boy! and Lord Rockingham's XI appeared in 35 of them, although virtually none of the performances survive on videotape in the modern era. A talking point among viewers was "just who is Lord Rockingham?," but he did not really exist and there was a legal battle between Jack Good, who invented the name, and Harry Robinson, who created the band. The demand for their music exceeded the show's output, and it was agreed that Good should retain the name for the Oh Boy! show and the recordings, and Robinson should have the rights for the live tour that took place throughout cities in the U.K. in the late '50s. Indeed, on the record labels, the name of the act was actually credited as Jack Good Presents Lord Rockingham's XI.

They released the double-sided single "Fried Onions" b/w "The Squelch," but despite their popularity, it was not a hit. That all changed, however, with the release of their second single, "Hoots Mon," a track based on a traditional Scottish song, "A Hundred Pipers." This raucous instrumental track soared all the way to number one in November 1958, selling over half a million copies, although the bandmembers reputedly received only six pounds each (at the time around 15 dollars). Although nominally an instrumental, there were some Scottish-sounding grunts and interjections at the end of each chorus. They followed this massive hit early in 1959 with a lesser-selling title, "Wee Tom," but despite several further releases including "Ra-Ra Rockingham," "Farewell to Rockingham," and couple of predictable twist songs, "Newcastle Twist" and "Rockingham Twist," in 1962, none of their music troubled the chart again. At the end of the rock & roll era, the group disbanded and all the members went their own way.

In 1968, EMI attempted to resurrect the project with an album, directed by Harry Robinson, titled The Return of Lord Rockingham, which included their number one hit "Hoots Mon" and versions of contemporary 1968 hits "Lady Madonna," "Yummy Yummy Yummy," "Mony Mony," "Baby Come Back," "Simon Says," and "The Son of Hickory Holler's Tramp," an album described as ideal music for parties, dances, or even listening to on your own. The album did not sell well and failed to chart, and Lord Rockingham's XI were consigned to an era in time associated with the fun and extravagance of rock & roll. ~ Sharon Mawer
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: The Broons Big Braw Party Album

1. The Wanderer

3. All Shook Up

4. Do You Wanna Dance

5. Twistin’ The Night Away

7. Dream Baby

8. Stand By Me

9. It Might As Well Rain Until September

10. The Lion Sleeps Tonight

11. A Picture Of You

12. You’re Sixteen

13. Kon Tiki

14. Born Too Late

16. Claudette

17. The Wonderful World Of The Young

19. Jailhouse Rock

20. Long Tall Sally

21. Wild Wind

22. Oh Lonesome Me

24. Donna

25. Snow Coach

26. Raunchy

27. Alone

28. Summertime Blues

29. Oh Carol

30. Oh Boy

31. I Put A Spell On You

32. Sugartime

33. Rock With The Cavemen

35. Love And Marriage

36. Singin’ In The Rain

37. Bachelor Boy

38. The Deadwood Stage

40. Fever

41. Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend

43. Tulips From Amsterdam

44. You'll Never Walk Alone

45. That’ll Be The Day

46. Michael Row The Boat Ashore

47. Ain't That A Shame

48. The Ugly Duckling

50. Six-Five Special

51. Adios Amigo

52. Be Bop A Lula

53. Green Door

54. The Story Of My Life

55. Seven Little Girls Sitting In The Back Seat

56. You Got What It Takes

57. My Boomerang Won’t Come Back

59. Smile

60. Johnny B Goode

61. Donald Where's Yer Troosers

62. Bluebell Polka

72. The Song Of The Clyde

87. Can’t Help Falling In Love

88. Crazy

89. Sealed With A Kiss

90. Crying In The Rain

91. Carolina Moon

92. Blue Velvet

93. Answer Me

94. The Great Pretender

95. Bali Hai

96. My Funny Valentine

98. When The Girl In Your Arms Is The Girl In Your Heart

99. Secret Love

100. Cry Me A River

101. You Send Me

102. Ev'ry Time We Say Goodbye

103. Let It Be Me

105. Unforgettable

106. Earth Angel

107. Love Me Tender

108. Turn Out The Light

109. Finger Of Suspicion

111. I'm Walking Behind You

x

Track List: Capital Gold Fifties Legends

Disc 1

1. Jailhouse Rock

2. Rave On

3. Wake Up Little Susie

4. Lost John

5. Singing The Blues

6. Living Doll

7. The Story Of My Life

8. It's Late

9. Oh Carol

10. What Do You Want To Make Those Eyes At Me For

11. Stupid Cupid

12. Yakety Yak

13. Witch Doctor

14. Hoots Mon

15. See You Later Alligator

16. Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On

17. Ooby Dooby

18. Good Golly Miss Molly

19. C'mon Everybody

20. At The Hop

21. Move It

22. Don't You Rock Me Daddy-O

23. Please Don't Touch

24. All Shook Up

25. Be Bop A Lula

26. Willie And The Hand Jive

27. Why Do Fools Fall In Love

28. Sweet Little Sixteen

29. Endless Sleep

30. I Walk The Line

31. Blueberry Hill

32. What'd I Say

Disc 2

1. Dream Lover

2. Magic Moments

3. Whatever Will Be, Will Be

4. Smoke Gets In Your Eyes

5. Just Walkin' In The Rain

6. Kiss Me, Honey Honey, Kiss Me

7. Green Door

9. Rawhide

10. This Ole House

11. When

12. Seven Little Girls Sitting In The Back Seat

13. Feet Up (Pat Him On The Po Po)

14. Guaglione

15. That's Amore

16. Three Coins In The Fountain

17. Rock And Roll Waltz

18. Sixteen Tons

19. Day-O (Banana Boat Song)

20. Mr. Sandman

21. Dreamboat

22. Rockin' Robin

23. A White Sport Coat (And A Pink Carnation)

24. What Do You Want

25. Only Sixteen

26. Kisses Sweeter Than Wine

27. Butterfly

28. Big Man

29. All I Have To Do Is Dream

30. Travellin' Light

31. Smile

32. It's Only Make Believe

x

Track List: '50s & '60s Lost & Found Records, Vol. 1

Disc 1

1. Hully Gully Guitar

2. Sweet William

3. A House, A Car And A Wedding Ring

4. It's Almost Tomorrow

5. A Very Precious Love

6. One More Sunrise

8. Fried Onions

9. Midnight Oil

10. Desafinado (Slightly Out Of Tune)

11. Cry

12. English Country Garden

13. Move Over Rover

14. Love Means (You Never Have To Say You're Sorry)

16. The Taste Of A Tear

17. My Three Sons Theme

18. No Arms Can Ever Hold You (Like These Arms Of Mine)

19. Milord

20. Take Me To Your Ladder (I'll See Your Leader Later)

21. From A School Ring To A Wedding Ring

22. Gidget Goes Hawaiian

23. At The High School Dance

25. I Like Your Kind Of Love

26. I've Got A Secret

27. If You Want This Love

28. All I Want To Do Is Run

29. Lonesome Heart

30. Yellow Dog Blues

31. Frankie And Johnny

32. Hello Josephine

33. Almost Paradise

34. Ballad Of The One Eyed Jack

35. His Lips Get In The Way

36. The Crusher

37. When I Saw You

38. I Don't Need Lottsa Money

40. Big Name Button

Disc 2

1. I'll Love You Forever

2. Two Little Fishies

3. I'm In Love

4. Shame On Me

5. Halfway

6. Soul Meeting

7. Jimmy Love

8. Johnny Willow

9. Midnight Beach Party

10. The Guns Of Navarone

11. Beaver

12. Heartbreak Ahead

13. Only Forever

14. Just Once More

15. Witchi Tai To

16. The Masquerade Is Over

17. Does Your Chewing Gum Lose Its Flavor (On The Bedpost Overnight)

18. Boppin' In A Sack

19. The Happy Muleteer

20. What Are Boys Made Of

21. To A Soldier Boy

22. Old Payola Roll Blues, Pt 2

23. Don't Cross Over

24. One Has My Name (The Other Has My Heart)

25. A Million To One

26. Pretty Suzy Sunshine

27. Everybody Know Matilda

28. Sole Sole Sole

29. Sho, Know A Lot About Love

30. Maureen Is A Champ

31. You're Gonna Pay

32. Feelin' No Pain

33. Banned In Boston

34. What Am I Gonna Do

35. Count Every Star

36. I'm Sorry

37. Watch Your Step

38. Blue Serge & White Lace

39. Ridin' The Wind

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