The Four Pennies formed in November 1963 with a line-up of Lionel Morton on lead vocals, rhythm guitar (b. Lionel Walmsley, Wednesday, August 14, 1940, Blackpool, Lancashire, UK), Alan Buck on drums (b. Wednesday, April 7, 1943, Halifax Road, Briefield, Lancashire, UK d. Tuesday, March 15, 1994, at home in Ealing, West London, UK, from a heart attack), Fritz Fryer on lead guitar (b. David Roderick Carney Fryer, Wednesday, December 6, 1944, Revidge, Blackburn, Lancashire, UK d. Sunday, September 2, 2007, Hospital, Lisbon, Liboa e Vale de Tejo, Southern Portugal, of pancreatic cancer) and Mike Wilshaw on bass, organ, backing vocals (b. Michael Wilshaw, Saturday, July 21, 1945, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, UK).
Fryer and Wilshaw had both been to St Peters Secondary School in Byron Street, Blackpool, Lancashire. While Buck who lived in Halifax Road, Briefield, had been to Mansfield High School in Briefield, Lancashire. As for Morton he sang as a choirboy at St Paul's Cathedral.
Fryer and Wilshaw had been in a popular Blackburn singing guitar duo called The Fables from Late 1961. They then met Morton who had been a solo artist since he was about 18 in 1958, specialising in Everly Brother material. They became a quartet in Early 1962, with the audition of drummer Alan Buck, who had played in a couple of Jazz bands and had also done brief stints with Joe Brown and the Bruvvers and Johnny Kidd and the Pirates. He had auditioned for The Lionel Morton Four at Burnley Mecca in Burnley, Lancashire.
Buck also lived close to Fryer and Wilshaw in Halifax Road, Briefield and so was no stranger to their music. So as Morton had the best vocal range and ability, the group became The Lionel Morton Four in Early 1962.
In Late 1963, the young Lionel Morton went into the Instrument Department of Reidy’s Record Shop in Penny Street, Blackburn. As he was trying out one of the guitars he began to sing and the owner Mrs Marie Reidy noticed that he had a lovely voice. She began talking to the man and mentioned making a demo tape to send to a good friend of hers who was a Record Producer. He said that his name was Lionel Morton and that he sang with a group The Lionel Morton Four and they toured the Clubs around Lancashire and had won talent contests, notably one at Blackpool’s North Pier in ca. August / September 1963.
Mrs Reidy told Morton to make a demo tape of the group which she then sent to her friend, Record Producer Johnny Franz, and upon hearing it, contacted Mrs Reidy to tell her that a contract was on it’s way in the post. Mr Franz said 'the tape was so good they were immediately signed to a recording contact.'' Not long after signing, the group were playing with the Beatles at the legendary Cavern Club in Liverpool in 1964.
The big break came for The Lionel Morton Four in Late 1963 when Phillips/Fontana sponsored a talent contest in Blackpool for Lancashire groups. The company was looking for a beat group to fill their books. The Four won and before they would commit themselves to a record deal, Phillips wanted the band to find a more catchier name than The Lionel Morton Four. So the band changed their name to The Four Pennies in November 1963 prior to the release of their first single ''Do You Want Me To'' in December 1963, the band being named after Reidy’s Record Music Shop in Penny Street in Blackburn. With the band re-christened they turned professional in November 1963.
On Thursday, January 16, 1964 The Four Pennies first single ''Do You Want Me To'' entered the UK charts, reaching 47.
In March 1964 The Four Pennies released their second single 'Juliet,'' which on Thursday, April 2, 1964 entered the UK charts and was their only number one.
In June 1964 The Four Pennies released their third single ''I Found Out The Hard Way,'' which entered the UK charts on Thursday, July 16, 1964 and reached 14.
In October 1964 The Four Pennies released their fourth single ''Black Girl,'' which entered the UK charts on Thursday, October 29, 1964 and reached 20.
In Early November 1964 The Four Pennies released their first album ''Two Sides Of The Four Pennies,'' which on Saturday, November 7, 1964 entered the UK album charts and reached 13.
In April 1965 Fryer left the band for a year and was replaced by lead guitarist David Graham (b. Reading, Berkshire, UK). While on sabbatical from the group, Fryer formed the folk-rock trio Fritz, Mike and Mo, in collaboration with songwriter Mike Deighan (b. Michael Deighan) and Maureen Edwards (b. 1931). Deighan had co-written material for The Four Pennies, including three tracks on their first album, Two Sides Of Four Pennies.
In September 1965 The Four Pennies released their fifth single ''Until It's Time For You To Go,'' which on Saturday, October 7, 1965 entered the UK singles charts and reached 19.
In February 1966 The Four Pennies released their sixth single ''Trouble Is My Middle Name,'' which on Saturday, February 17, 1966 entered the UK singles charts and reached 32.
Graham left when Fryer returned to the line-up in April 1966.
Guitarist Ray Monk (b. Raymond Monk) also deputised on rare occasions.
The Four Pennies split in early? 1967 after their last single released in October 1966 ''No Sad Songs For Me'' failed to enter the charts.
John H Warburg
Do You Want Me To/Miss Bad Daddy
Philips BF 1296
Juliet/Tell Me Girl
Philips BF 1322
I Found Out The Hard Way/Don't Tell Me You Love Me
Philips BF 1349
Black Girl/You Went Away
Philips BF 1366
A Way Of Love/A Place Where No One Goes
Philips BF 1398
Until It's Time For You To Go/Till Another Day
Philips BF 1435
Trouble Is My Middle Name/Way Out Love
Philips BF 1469
Keep The Freeway Open/Square Peg
Philips BF 1491
No Sad Songs For Me/Cats
Philips BF 1519
The Four Pennies
Philips BBE 12561
Spin With The Pennies
Philips BBE 12562
The Swinging Side Of The Pennies
Philips BBE 12570
The Smooth Side Of The Pennies
Philips BBE 12571
Two Sides Of The Four Pennies
Philips BL 7642
Philips BL 7734
Some Lionel Morton Four concerts:
Saturday, August 24, 1963: The Imperial Ballroom, Carr Road, Nelson, Lancashire, UK
ca. August/September 1963: The Butlins Metropole Hotel, Blackpool, Lancashire, UK
Saturday, September 21, 1963: The Imperial Ballroom, Carr Road, Nelson, Lancashire, UK
Saturday, February 25, 1967: The Imperial Ballroom, Carr Road, Nelson, Lancashire, UK
Saturday, August 5, 1967: The Imperial Ballroom, Carr Road, Nelson, Lancashire, UK
Friday, October 27, 1967: The Imperial Ballroom, Carr Road, Nelson, Lancashire, UK
Some Four Pennies concerts:
Friday, November 29, 1963: The Imperial Ballroom, Carr Road, Nelson, Lancashire, UK
Tuesday, December 31, 1963: The Imperial Ballroom, Carr Road, Nelson, Lancashire, UK
Sunday, March 22, 1964: All Star Beat Show, The Palace Theatre, Manchester, Lancashire, UK, supported Gene Vincent, as did The Kinks, The Undertakers, Shane Fenton and the Fentones, Tommy Bruce and the Bruisers, The Harbour Lights, from 6.15pm
Friday, April 24, 1964: The Cavern Club, 8 - 10 Matthew Street, Liverpool 2, Lancashire, UK
Saturday, May 2, 1964: The California Ballroom, Whipsnade Road, Dunstable Downs, Dunstable, Bedfordshire, UK, with The Whackers, Johnny Gold and the Mavericks, The Nightshades
Saturday, May 23, 1964: The Cavern Club, 11 Cromford Court off Market Street, Manchester 4, with Little Phil and the Swaggers, the clubs opening night
Saturday, July 4, 1964: The Memorial Hall, (The Victory), Chester Way, Northwich, Cheshire, UK, supported by Bruce Harris and the Cavaliers, The Megatones
Thursday, July 18, 1964: The Cavern Club, 8 - 10 Matthew Street, Liverpool 2, Lancashire, UK
Saturday, August 22, 1964: The Imperial Ballroom, Carr Road, Nelson, Lancashire, UK
Saturday, September 19 - Sunday, October 18, 1964: Freddie and The Dreamers & The Hollies Autumn 1964 Tour with Tony Jackson and the Vibrations, Marianne Faithfull. The Compère was Don Dwight
Saturday, September 19, 1964: The Adelphi Theatre, Bath Road, Slough, Berkshire, UK, first date of the tour
Sunday, September 20, 1964: The ABC, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, UK
Monday, September 21, 1964: The Rank, Southampton, Hampshire, UK
Tuesday, September 22, 1964: The Rank, Taunton, Somerset, UK
Wednesday, September 23, 1964: The ABC Cinema, London Inn Square, Exeter, Devon, UK
Thursday, September 24, 1964: The ABC, Gloucester, Gloucestershire, UK
Sunday, September 27, 1964: The ABC, Kingston-upon-Thames, Surrey, UK
Monday, September 28, 1964: The Rank, Luton, Bedfordshire, UK
Tuesday, September 29, 1964: The Rank, Birmingham, Warwickshire, UK
Thursday, October 1, 1964: The Odeon, The Headrow, Leeds, West Yorkshire, UK
Friday, October 2, 1964: The ABC, Cleethorpes, Lincolnshire, UK
Sunday, October 4, 1964: The Empire Theatre, Lime Street, Liverpool 1, Lancashire, UK
Monday, October 5, 1964: The Rank, Cardiff, South Glamorgan, South Wales, UK
Tuesday, October 6, 1964: The Rank, Doncaster, South Yorkshire, UK
Wednesday, October 7, 1964: The ABC, Chester, Cheshire, UK
Thursday, October 8, 1964: The Odeon, Oxford Street, Manchester, Lancashire, UK
Friday, October 9, 1964: The City Hall, Barker's Poole, Sheffield, South Yorkshire, UK
Saturday, October 10, 1964: The Rank, Worcester, Worcestershire, UK
Sunday, October 11, 1964: Unknown venue, UK
Wednesday, October 14, 1964: Unknown venue, UK
Thursday, October 15, 1964: The Rank, Glasgow, Strathclyde, Scotland, UK
Saturday, October 17, 1964: The City Hall, Northumberland Road, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Northumbria, UK
Sunday, October 18, 1964: The Rank, Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, UK, last date of the tour
Thursday, December 31, 1964: The California Ballroom, Whipsnade Road, Dunstable Downs, Dunstable, Bedfordshire, UK, with The Symobols, The Barristers, The Shakers
Friday, April 10, 1965: The California Ballroom, Whipsnade Road, Dunstable Downs, Dunstable, Bedfordshire, UK, withTony Rivers and the Castaways, The Cannibals Soulet
Wednesday, June 23, 1965: The Kinema Ballroom, Dunfermline, Fife, Scotland, UK, supported by The Red Hawks
August 1965: The Byrds Tour, with Donovan, Them, Elkie Brooks, Kenny Lynch, Johnny B. Great and the Quotations, Charles Dickens. Other dates had different line-ups including The Four Pennies, Unit Four + 2, Tommy Quickly, The Boz People. The promoters were Joe Collins & Mervyn Conn
August 1965: The Fairfield Halls, Croydon, Surrey, UK
August 1965: Unknown venue, Slough, Berkshire, UK
Saturday, August 7, 1965: The Bury Palais, Bury, Lancashire, UK
Sunday, August 8, 1965: Coventry Theatre, Coventry, Warwickshire, UK
Saturday, August 14, 1965: The Astoria Theatre, Junction of Isledon Road & Seven Sisters Road, Finsbury Park, North West London, UK
August 1965: Unknown venue, Bournemouth, Dorset, UK
August 1965: Unknown venue, Portsmouth, Hampshire, UK
August 1965: Unknown venue, Hove, East Sussex, UK
Friday, October 29, 1965: The Queens Hall, Leeds, Yorkshire, UK supported The Walker Brothers with The Merseybeats, The Dawn Breakers. The compère was Garth Carwood.
December 1963 Do You Want Me To/Miss Bad Daddy Philips BF 1296
March 1964 Juliet/Tell Me Girl (What Are You Gonna Do) Philips BF 1322
June 1964 I Found Out The Hard Way/Don't Tell Me You Love Me Philips BF 1349
October 1964 Black Girl/You Went Away Philips BF 1366
September 1965 Until It's Time To Go/Till Another Day Philips BF 1435
February 1966 Trouble Is My Middle Name/Way Out Love Philips BF 1591
June 1966 Keep The Freeway Open/Square Peg Philips BF 1469
October 1966 No Sad Songs For Me (Tom Springfield)/Cats Philips BF 1519
June 1964 Juliet/Tell Me Girl (What Are You Gonna Do) Philips 40202
November 1965 Until It's Time To Go/Till Another Day Philips
1964 I Found Out The Hard Way/Don't Tell Me You Love Me Philips EBF 1349
1964 Black Girl/You Went Away Philips EBF 1366
1966 Trouble Is My Middle Name/Way Out Love Philips EBF 1469
August 1964 The Four Pennies (Tracks: Miss Bad Daddy, Running Scared, San Francisco Bay, I Found Out The Hard Way) Philips BE 12561
August 1964 Spin With The Pennies (Tracks: When Will I Be Loved, My Prayer, You've Got It, Juliet) Philips BE 12562
May 1965 The Swinging Side Of The Four Pennies (Tracks: Da Doo Ron Ron (When He Walked Me Home), Why Do You Cry, Pony Time, Claudette) Philips BE 12570
May 1965 The Smooth Side Of The Four Pennies (Tracks: Sweeter Than You, Now We Are Through, Love's Journey, If You Love Me (I Won't Care) Philips BE 12571
November 1964 Two Sides Of The Four Pennies Philips BL 7642
November 1966 Mixed Bag Philips BL 7734
I saw the Four Pennies twice. One time was an appearance at Wilmslow Public Hall (long since demolished), the local equivalent of the MEN Arena (only about a millionth the size!). The other, more noteworthy gig, took place in the main hall of the King's School in Macclesfield in June 1964.
The group played at the annual school 'dance' in the very week in which they topped the singles chart with the plaintive 'Juliet'! It was amazing, really, that they turned up. I don't suppose such things would be even considered now either by a best-selling artist nor by the school (which has since gone 'up-market').
Those were the days!
The Four Pennies also played the Ben Riley Hall in Dewsbury when their record Juliet was top of the charts. The Ben as it was always known by the locals had various names over the years and was probably the Las Vegas Teen Beat Club at the time the Pennies were there but we still call it "The Ben". The building is still there but is now a real estate agents office.
As a youngster I remember the Four Pennies opening the record department of the new White and Swales electrical shop in Finney Lane, Heald Green, Cheshire. Must have been around 1964.
Part owner Peter Swales was better known in later years as chairman of Manchester City FC, the shop later became a branch of Rumbelows, another blast from the past.
Oh my God, Fritz Fryer. Met the Four Pennies a couple of times when they played the "Nelson Imp". Lovely guy This website is brilliant thank you so much you have made an old lady very happy.
Sad to hear Fritz died. He was a great kisser and a very funny guy. we had some good laughs. The group played the Nelson Imp several times. They were very popular.
The late Alan Buck was my closest and dearest friend. He passed away at the age of 50, 18 years ago. I am still in touch with Mike Wilsh and he remains in the music business.
One of my old girlfriends, Dale Evans, was secretary of the Pennies in the sixties when they got their no 1. She was in contact with them for a couple of years.
Re: opening White and Swales record dept in Heald Green. At about the same time The Four Pennies also opened the record dept at the White and Swales shop in the [then] new precinct off Station Road, Cheadle Hulme. The shop was down the mall on the right hand side. The record dept was upstairs and I bought my first single there - Freddie and The Dreamers, I Was Made For You [I was young!]
I worked at the Stockport branch of White and Swales and The Four Pennies also did a PA there. I remember my boss Peter Swales throwing a large pack of promo pics, for autographs, across the shop for me to catch, only they hit me on the head instead and nearly knocked me out.
When ever I hear Juliet this days it takes me straight back to that time.
Sorry to learn of Fritz's death. His daughter, Tiffany Murray, is an author, and her novel Diamond Star Halo is inspired by the time she spent with her dad when he ran the Rockfield recording studios in Herefordshire, before opening his lighting emporium. It's a good read for a summer holiday.
I was at the Ben Riley [Las Vegas] Dewsbury West Yorks 1964 when the Four Pennies played there. At the same venue I saw other groups like the Pretty Things, Frankinstien and the Monsters, The Undertakers who brought all their gear in coffins, Hedgehoppers Anonimous,and many more groups.
Monty Mitchel a local shoe shop owner ran the dance hall and also had a club at Idle in Bradford called the Top Twenty Club.
The Vincents played with (supported) the Four Pennies at Bury Palais Saturday 7th August 1965. The Vincents were regular visitors to Bury Palais and supported many headline acts of the day. Great times !
I saw the note from Alan that he saw the Four Pennies at the school dance at Kings Macclesfield. I was just one of the people who organised that dance but I was responsible for booking the groups.
We toured all the dance halls of Manchester looking at groups like the Stylos, The Rocking Berries, Victor Brox Blues Train, Long John Baldry etc. In our travels we also met Dave Lee Travis and Jimmy Savile! We ended up booking The Rocking Berries and The Four Pennies at £50 for each group. Alan thinks that they were top of the charts when they arrived at Kings. I had thought that they were at number 4 but rising fast.
Needless to say, demand for tickets as we approached the day increased as they shot up the charts. I well remember asking Jimmy Savile to come and open the School fete but he said that he was booked that day but would plug the dance on Radio Luxemborg which he did.
However, as we approached the date there was a possibility that the Four Pennies would not turn up as by then they were charging £250. My father was a local lawyer and told them that we would sue if they did not appear. The rest is history. Great memories.
Met The Pennies at Bolton Palais where they were hugely popular. My friend, Doris was "on " with Lionel and I was introduced to the boys. I ended the night with Mike Wilsh walking me to the train station at Trinity St. How innocent it all was!
I saw the Four Pennies at the Plaza around Christmas 1963, they sang Juliet. He had a fantastic voice. I think the record had just been released.
I was at the same secondry school as Fritz Fryer. He was slightly older than me but remember him well. He spent alot of time with a teacher called Mrs Sharples who was in charge of the libary.I think Fritz was a prefect.
Also I used to talk to Lionel's mum - she had the same family doctor as our family. Saw her there many a time and she was always talking about Lionel - nice woman.
I think I probably may have mentioned this before but here goes again. Me and my mates went to see the Four Pennies at the Cavern in Manchester but we were disappointed that only 3 of them turned up. They didn't play - they said their drummer was in hos pital or something. This would have been 1964 when Juliet was riding high in the charts.
Lionel Morten - a blast from the past there. Sorry to hear about Alan an Fritz, very sad. Don't know whether you remember me - I lived in Wilmslow at the time.
Think we met in the Twisted Wheel just before Juliet was released. Sstill hear it on the radio over here in Aussieland. I sure remember the night you had a gig at the Wilmslow Hall and yes, long since gone,ok.
Hope all is good with you Lionel.
David Burchett, aka DaveB
Maybe the best live voice I ever heard (late '64?)was at the Jungfrau - Blackburn's Lionel Morton of the Four Pennies (big hit "Juliet;" married actress Julia Foster.) I was recovering after nine years at now-famous (and lately infamous) Chetham's School of Music (right across from the club) while studying English and History (uh-huh ... more like beer and girls) at Salford Tech (classmate and good friend Jim Lowe of Bolton's dazzling Invictors - see elsewhere, this site). The walls streaming condensation, the electricity in the air at such a small venue, the cute brunette who planted a smacker on me then vanished into the crowd, the dash for a late bus at Piccadilly while scarfing a meat-and-potato pie.
Half a lifetime ago, half a world away - seems like ... yesterday.
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met fritz 1964 at her majestys theater barrow in furness. his girlfriend Leslie was working there. four pennies had been playing at The Rink that night.leslie was from blackpool anyone know anything about her.
I just wanted to point out that the Four Pennies where a Blackburn group, not a Burnley Group. I went to school with Fritz & Mick. When I left school I worked as a poster writer and painted the Four Pennies logo on their first drum kit. Their road manager at the time was Mervin Blackburn and he brought their drum in to be painted. I knew Mervin also. Later he was Herman's Hermits road manager.
Thank you for your reply. Please can you inform anyone who might know Donald Rudkin Smith that he sadly died suddenly in early August in Thailand. The family and in particular his daughter Pamela, now know and are planning a wake in due course.Tim Allan