In 1963 I was fifteen years old and just getting into my stride with pop music. There was little opportunity to listen to pop music as the BBC rigidly controlled the airwaves and looked down on popular music with considerable distaste. The best we could aspire to in those days was “Family Favourites” on the radio (on Sunday dinner time, thats midday for those who live in the south), which would very occasionally play something “new”. Most of the time it was music requested by families (many in the forces) and was of the 30s, 40,s and occasionally 50s eras.
In 1963 the Beatles had begun to make waives and not long after the “beat boom” exploded with bands pouring out of many major cities, but particularly Liverpool.
Many of the British bands had been influenced by American R&B, country blues and gospel music (It was Bonnie Raitt who said “it took the British pop groups to introduce us to our own folk music” and when the Stones appeared on the Shindig TV show in America, so the story goes, they insisted that one of their heroes, Chester Burnett aka Howlin Wolf opened for them).
Gradually the music scene expanded and more artists began to visit the UK to tour, and in 1963 Granada TV booked Little Richard to do a full half hour show in front of a live audience and backed by the excellent Sounds Incorporated band. Recorded in Manchester, November 1963 when Little Richard was invited into the Granada TV studios to tape this special while headlining a UK tour featuring, amongst others The Everly Brothers and a virtually unknown band at the time called The Rolling Stones.
I can remember sitting down in front of a small black and white Ferguson 14inch TV and watching this show and after the 40 minute programme finished just sitting there trying to take in what I had just seen. This was sheer excitement and showmanship that we had never seen, allied to the musical ability and total exuberance of the performance. It was so unlike anything that we had seen from British groups or single artists.
The performance is raw and earthy but oh, what a performance. The whole concert is on YouTube but I have selected what I consider the outstanding song from that set “Whole Lotta Shakin Goin on”
No wonder many parents at the time were somewhat shocked at the performance…………but we teenagers loved it.