Sweet Life
Late 60s - early 70s

Sheila Holland vocals
Bob Ainsworth lead and vocals
Dave Melia drums
Geoff Parkinson bass
Mike Harrison bass, replaced Geoff

This band did great vocal harmonies and concentrated on Four Seasons and Mama and Papas stuff most of which was out of my vocal range (what isn't?)

Luckily the band were very accomodating and swapped harmonies mid lines to suit me.

We were going to do the bases in Greece and Turkey but complications arose when it came to sending money home each week (there might not be any) so in order to support my family I left the band.

Dave was possibly out of Phil's Swaggers and later became a member of The Nocturnes and  I think Greengage.

Geoff Parkinson

Dave, Sheila, Geoff and Bob


I am the one with the best place on the large picture! oh, and with the glasses.

Geoff was the bass player who joined us, rehearsed with us, had his picture taken with us and then decided it was not for him after all.

The lineup was Sheila Holland ( don't know if Holland was her real name - she was from Aberdeen), me on guitar and vocals, Dave Melia on drums and vocals and Mike Harrison on bass and occasional vocals. We lured Mike from an Irish band to succeed Geoff before going abroad.

It started as a trio working social clubs in around 1968. I was into Mamas and Papas and 5th Dimension and worked some of their numbers into the standard pop repertoire - with mixed reaction from the club audiences!
We acquired a manager and having taken it up full time secured a place on Opportunity Knocks! It was a special from an aircraft carrier in Portsmouth harbour. We were 3rd in the voting and last on the show if I remember! It was also Paul Daniels' debut on TV.

We subsequently toured the UK night clubs ( around Manchester there was the Broadway, Poco a Poco, Talk of the North and others I have forgotten) and did two tours of US airforce bases, first Greece/Crete/Turkey and then Germany.

We did typical current and older pop material and went down very well with the yanks - well, Sheila did! However, we were getting fed up with one another and my wife was creating about me being away 2 out of 4 weeks, having just had our first girl, so when we came back to England after New Year 1970 we called it a day.

I think Mike got a job with a resident Mecca band somewhere and I lost touch; Dave did the same and was with the resident pop group at the Golden Garter club in Wythenshawe - I met him again in 1972 when we did a session for Steve Foley at Strawberry studio in Stockport but lost touch afterwards; Sheila went back to Scotland.

I am still playing, never stopped. I have played guitar in rock, soul and jazz-funk bands,keyboards in a Tina Turner tribute band (brass parts, organ & piano mainly) and am at present playing bass in a Bob Dylan band.
There is lots more detail about Sweet Life, some funny, some curious,some gossipy, but I can't hog any more of this site! Maybe some day.....!

Bob Ainsworth

This is Sheila from Aberdeen who was vocalist from Sweet Life, all these years ago. It was amazing for me to see this and Bob's comments. My daughter found it and she had never seen me as I was then, or the boys in my group, so it was a source of amazement to all here.

When the Sweet Life broke up it was awful. I had sustained a bad facial injury, which meant I couldn't go on stage for a good few weeks, so we had to cancel all of our bookings many of which were at the upper end of the top clubs, just when we were at the top of our game,which took a long time to build up.

I felt very guilty about that I was still in stockport when I got a call from a group we had met in Germany. They wanted me to join them as vocalist on a trip abroad to become the resident backing band at the NATO club in Ankara in Turkey, on a long contract, so this was next for me.

We stayed there for a few months but our agent told the boys to get haircuts to suit the us army, etc. They wouldn't do this as they said in Britain they'd never get work looking like that, so they were sacked. Although I was asked to stay on, I felt it wasn't the thing to do and came home with them to Liverpool.

After a few solo gigs I packed it in and came home as I had three children growing up. I did see Dave the Sweet Life drummer on a talent show after I was home and have often thought of our lives on the road and the people we met, etc.

Bob was a brilliant guitarist who composed the harmonies for us.

So thats it for me. I did a few songs in pubs here at first but that just unsettled me.

Bye for now. Thanks Bob for the article. I tried everywhere to get the photos which I had lost. Oh, it was Les Dawson and Monica Rose who was on HMS Hermes with us.

Sheila Duguid

First, Geoff Parkinson (the dark haired one in the photos) placed the big photo and first comment. His name appears to have disappeared, so to speak, so initial credit for this article goes to him. Would be nice to hear from him if he reads this.

I am in touch with Sheila again. Would also like to hear from Dave and Mike if they read this, or anyone who knows them.

Incidentally, also on the show on board the Hermes was Paul Daniels, I think his first TV appearance. I recall he did the trick where someone sits on a chair and can't get up off it. We watched from the side at the dress rehearsal and could not figure out how he did it!

Bob Ainsworth

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Comments (11)

Topic: Sweet Life
Val Atkinson says...
My husband John Atkinson was part of this group in the 60,s. I'm sure he would love to hear from any other group members who remember him.
9th May 2015 6:59pm
emma says...
my nana was part of this group too.
9th December 2015 11:05pm
Bob Ainsworth says...
Would this be John who had the little Thames van? The three of us used to go over to West Yorkshire to do gigs at working mens clubs, usually a lunchtime and evening gig! I still have a photograph of the three of us us so if this is him let me have ... Read More
4th August 2016 8:20am
Just to let you know Bob,Sheila passed away on 18th nov 2015
14th January 2016 8:03pm
Bob Ainsworth says...
Hello John. I haven't been on this site for many months and have only just noticed your message about Sheila. I was very sad to hear the news. I assume you are her son so please accept my belated condolences.
4th August 2016 8:18am
Bob Ainsworth says...
Hello John. I haven't been on this site for many months and have only just noticed your message about Sheila. I was very sad to hear the news. I assume you are her son so please accept my belated condolences.
4th August 2016 8:22am
Emma Whyte says...
Hi granda its meee.
22nd August 2016 10:35pm
Mike Harrison says...
Hi Bob, I've just stumbled on this page, after many years of wondering how to get in touch. Very sad to hear about Sheila.
I've recently returned from abroad, and still gigging, It would be great to hear from you.
7th August 2016 9:10am
Bob Ainsworth says...
Hi Mike. Just come across your message from August. I don't go on MB as much as I used to.
Please either (somehow) give me your contact details or get mine from Paul Webmaster, who now has my authority to pass them on to you.
29th November 2016 3:37pm
Mike Harrison says...
Good to hear from you Bob. My Mobile Number is 07880436180. If you give me a call we can catch up properly.
29th November 2016 3:52pm
Bob Ainsworth says...
It's a year since I came on here and just found your reply with mobile.
In case they are allowed through (permission granted) my email is ainsworth756@btinternet.com.
Check my website (not up to date!) at http://musowiz.wix.com/bobsmusic
15th November 2017 4:18am

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