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The Toggery Five

The Toggery Five were one of the more interesting failed groups from Manchester who missed in several attempts to carve a niche for themselves in pop/rock. Formed in 1963 by Mike Rabin (vocals), Frank Renshaw (lead guitar), Keith Meredith (rhythm guitar), Kenneth Hills (bass), and Graham Smith (drums), they finished second to the Bo Street Runners in a 1964 competition sponsored by the television music showcase Ready! Steady! Go! After signing to Parlophone Records in 1964, they released a debut single of "Bye Bye Bird" b/w "I'm Gonna Jump," which failed to chart. For their second single, the group was given a song co-authored by Andrew Oldham and Keith Richards, entitled "I'd Much Rather Be With the Boys," which was tuneful enough but not appropriate for the Rolling Stones (though the Stones did cut a demo that surfaced ten years later on the Metamorphosis album). The group did an admirable job, superior to that of the Stones in many ways, but the record failed to chart despite several television appearances promoting the song. During the next year, the band continued performing through several personnel changes, among those who passed through the Toggery Five were future Jethro Tull founding members Mick Abrahams and Clive Bunker on their way into the lineup of McGregory's Engine. Frank Renshaw subsequently played behind Wayne Fontana and later joined a post-1960s version of Herman's Hermits. ~ Bruce Eder
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