Dave Lee and the Staggerlees formed in 1959 in Redruth, Cornwall with a line-up of Dave Lee on lead vocals (b. David Lee, Redruth, Cornwall, UK), Amph Grigg on lead guitar (b. Anthony Grigg, 1944, Southgate, Redruth, Cornwall, UK), Terry Venton on tea-ches bass, bass guitar (b. Terence Venton, Redruth, Cornwall, UK), Eddie Harris on rhythm guitar (b. Edward Harris, Redruth, Cornwall, UK) and Morv Munday on drums.
On Tuesday, August 19, 1959 the band won first prize in a skiffle contest in St Austell, Cornwall. They sang ''Think It Over'' and ''A Fool Such As I.''
Venton sadly died in 1960. Venton was replaced by bassist John Chapman from Redruth.
In April 1962 the group won the Rock and Rhythm Championship in Truro, Cornwall.
In 1962 saw Harris leave and be replaced by rhythm guitarist Pete Bawden (b. Peter Bawden, Truro, Cornwall, UK) and Munday by drummer Merv Charleston (b. Morvin Charleston, Hayle, Cornwall, UK). At this time they were also known as The Staggerlees Rock Combo. Later in 1962 Munday returned, as he was the regular drummer, but sometimes Charleston would be a stand in. They also added new lead vocalist David Penprase from Redruth, who replaced Dave Lee.
In Spring 1963 Dave Lee and the Staggerlees went to play at the famous Top Ten Club in Hamburg and Hanover, Germany.
In 1963 Bawden was replaced by rhythm guitarist Dereck Stentaford from Plymouth, Devon, who did not stay long and left in 1963, not to be replaced. Munday also left and was replaced by drummer Stan Brown (b. Stanley Brown, Redruth, Cornwall, UK). They also added pianist Mick Partridge (b. Michael Partridge, Birmingham, Warwickshire, UK).
In 1963 the group recorded two songs ''Dance Dance Dance'' & ''Love Me,'' which were released in September 1963 on Oriole CB 1864.
Later still in 1963 Chapman left and was replaced bassist Lance Fortune (b. Christopher Morris, Thursday, January 4, 1940, Birkenhead, Cheshire, UK).
In 1964 saw Partridge leave, plus Brown who was replaced by drummer Tony Lee (b. Anthony Lee, Hayle, Cornwall, UK). They also added a new rhythm guitarist in Clive Dunn from Camborne, West Cornwall.
In 1964 they also recorded two more songs ''Sweet And Lovely'' and ''Forever And Always.''
In 1965 lead vocalist Penprase left the band and they became just The Staggerlees, with the rest of the band all taking over the vocals.
In January 1966 Gunn left and was not replaced. In October 1966 Tony Lee and the band split. They reformed in November 1966 with new drummer, vocalist Bill Covington (b. William Covington, Saturday, August 23, 1947, Plymouth, Devon, UK). Another Plymouth drummer Dave Cowse had suggested he join them. Covington had been in a band called The Rustiks that had split in March 1966. The line-up of this band was Ginger Taylor on organ, vocals (b. Keith Taylor, Saturday, January 30, 1943, Stockport, Cheshire, UK), Rob Tucker on lead guitar, vocals (b. Robert Ernest Barrie Tucker, Tuesday, May 16, 1944, Torquay, Devon, UK), Dave Gumner on bass, vocals (b. David Reginald Gumner, Sunday, December 16, 1945, Ilminster, Somerset, UK) and Covington on drums. Tucker had formed this group in Spring 1962 when he met up with rhythm guitarist Tony Mont (b. Anthony Mont, 1944). Next to join was 16 year-old bassist, vocalist Gumner. A few months later the band was joined by drummer Joe Romaine (b. Joseph Romaine, 1944).
The last line-up of The Stagerlees carried on until 1974.
"I suppose every band (and ex) member has tales to tell. A lot of water has gone under the bridge since those days. As an experience I wouldn`t have missed it for the world.
We started life here in Cornwall, the band was formed by Amph ( Anthony ) Grigg and myself. Doing gigs most nights of the week during the summer. After a couple of years or so we jacked in our jobs, took no future bookings and set off to Torquay under the Lionel Digby of Torquay set up only to find we had just the one booking ! This was supporting The Terry Young Six (John Rostill was bass , later to join the Shadows)
I feel our roadie and virtual manager at the time Dave Instance should get a special mention because although not in the band was so supportive and in his own way contributed to the bands well being and was always there for all of us.
We subsequently " lived " at The Black Cat Club in Devonport (sometimes on the club seats) and Dave Stock the owner took us under his wing, securing bookings in the Sheffield / Doncaster area, which was to become our base for some years.
The initial line up was myself, Amph ( lead ) Johnny Chapman ( Bass ) Clive Gunn ( rythmn ) Morv Munday (Drums). The band was soon split by the leaving of Clive and Morv being replaced by some of Pymouth`s best players in the shape of Derek Stenteford ( rythmn ) and Frankie Bennet ( Drums ). Frank was later replaced by another Plymouth boy Stan Brown.
We did a stint in Hamburg and Hannover and worked in The Top Ten club alongside Jimmy Powell and the Jumping Jacks (we persuaded Jimmy Powell's piano player Mick to join us) and Dave Dee and The Bostons (soon to become DDDBM&T ).
We cut "Dance Dance Dance" a cover of the American Hit by Joey Dee and The Starlighters, then followed with "Sweet & Lovely" a version to be fair we " stole " from the great band of Cliff Bennet and The Rebel Rousers.
On " D D D "the A&R man John Schroeder at Oriole insisted we use a session drummer and ex Joe Brown drummer Bobby Elliot (I`m pretty sure that was his name ) was used. That bit of deceit to our then drummer Tony ( Dixie ) Lee ( Tony later joined heavy rock band Lone Star ) shouldn`t have been allowed to happen but we were hungry for that elusive stardom and listened to others.
I was soon to have a touch of that, I had suffered with my throat more so on returning from Germany and I suppose I took advantage of this with exra time back in Cornwall. Lance Fortune (one of Larry Parnes stable with the hit " Be Mine " a John Barry song ) had by now replaced John Chapman on bass.
We had worked as Lance`s backing band for some while so not only being a good bass he could fill in for myself while I was ill and the band soon realised that they could servive without me and it increasede the cut !
So one sunny morning the band informed me that there was no need to get on board and that my space had been filled, bit of a blow at the time but to be fair my heart had probably gone out of it. Like all things in hindsight had they talked with me perhaps I could have handled it.
I went into the rag trade and my wife still runs a retail outlet today today. I went into photography a little over twenty years ago and have had my work published in three personal volumes and four compilation books. I`ve had work used for numerous book covers and a number of bands album covers, usually Goth or heavy metal American.
Its now around forty years on and sadly (according to Dave Instance still living in Plymouth now a with his own taxi business) we have lost Frankie Bennet , Stan Brown and Dave Stock. also Derek has had serious hearing problems. I lost a lung through cancer five years ago despite being a lifetime non smoker, but am doing very well and clear and enjoying life to the full.
I feel very proud to have been around for those years when rock n roll was really rock n roll ! "
I was the bass player with Amph Grigg, Dave Penprase, Dave (I think) Bowden (rthym) and drummer Mervin (parents owned a pub in Blackwater, near Redruth) in 1959 and 1960. I was from Helston - bloody wonderful days! Now live in Hampshire. Get in touch if you remember me - please!!