Popcorn to Rock 'n' Roll is the first book of a remarkable biographical history that reads like a novel by an award winning writer.
1946 - 1960. Love, sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll .... but not in the way you would think! Post war Britain, Reg and Dorothy Calvert marry and with little money, live in an old bus. Reg tries various ways to make a living but when he first hears
Bill Haley's 'Rock Around The Clock,' he has a dream, to bring Rock 'n' Roll to England.
An extraordinary story of success and failure, following 1950's music trends. Reg is enterprising and inventive and like the
Pied Piper, young musicians and singers give up their jobs to follow him as he pursues his dream.
The book (and Kindle) contain many photographs never published before.
Paperback available from Amazon Books @ £7.50 + p&p. Amazon Kindle ebook @ £1.90
Dtage plays available about the life and times of Reg Calvert.
1) 'SCHOOL OF ROCK & ROLL'
2) 'DEATH OF A PIRATE'
'REG' DEATH OF A PIRATE was performed 4th November 2011.
Abbey Theatre, Nuneaton.
This was a fantastic evening. The audience were 'buzzing' as they came out with the excitement of the play and the story. Many people who knew and worked for Reg and Dorothy Calvert came to the evening, which made it more special - and more difficult for the actors - knowing that the audience would have to accept their interpretation of the characters. Some people said it was the 'best' play they had ever been to - which was quite a compliment. Pinkerton's Assorted Colours were the guest band - originally discovered by Reg and Dorothy in the 1960's - with three of their original band making the performance. VISIT: www.regcalvert-plays.co.uk for more information and up to date pictures.
IN BRIEF - The extraordinary life of Reg Calvert
Reg Calvert was born in Huddersfield in 1928. Both his parents were musicians and he was brought up by his grandparents, while his mother continued her musical career. His grandfather, also a musician (and engineer) had a little band. Reg leant the piano, sax and clarinet and played in this band from an early age. Unlike his mother, he wasn't gifted musically but had a flair for organisation and entertainment.
He left school at the age of fourteen and was apprenticed as a lady's hairdresser. At seventeen, he was compere at the main Huddersfield dance hall, The Huddersfield Baths. He married Dorothy in 1946 and after he was de-mobbed from the army, bought an old bus that he converted into a caravan, and they travelled south and lived in an apple orchard for three years. By the time they were twenty two, they had two daughters, Susan and Candy.
Reg disliked routine and wanted his own business. He continued to 'compere' big band dances in Southampton and tried various small business ventures. In 1956, after hearing Bill Haley's 'Rock around the Clock' he decided to put together his own Rock & Roll bands and bring Rock & Roll to England. He ran dances and shows for teenagers. Within a short time, he was probably employing more young musicians and singers than anyone else at this time.
SCHOOL OF ROCK & ROLL
The musicians he personally managed were well provided for. He paid them a regular weekly wage, rented accommodation for them to live in, bought vehicles and equipment and trained them into performance. He was inventive, good at publicity and had many unusual and creative ideas. In 1961, they moved to Clifton Hall, which became known in the press as 'The School of Rock & Roll' (or School or Pop). He started an Agency in London called Kings Agency in Tin Pan Alley (Denmark Street) and got recording contracts for his singers, Danny Storm, Buddy Britten, The Rockin Berries, The Fortunes, Pinkerton's Colours.
VOTES FOR TEENAGERS
In 1963 he was managing Screaming Lord Sutch, and suggested that he should stand at the Stratford Bye Election as a publicity stunt. Dorothy wrote the manifesto and they campaigned for 'Votes For Teenagers.' At the time it seemed a ridiculous idea, but five years later - we had votes for 18 year olds.
1964, the start of Pirate Radio. Reg had always dreamed of having a radio station and had applied for a licence when they first moved to Clifton Hall. When Radio Caroline first broadcast (using the Fortunes song - Caroline as their theme tune). Reg couldn't afford to buy a ship, so he thought of an alternative idea. He discovered abandoned war time forts in the Thames Estuary, and started a small station - for fun - called Radio Sutch. After a few months, Dave Sutch returned to performing and Reg continued, determined to make his new station 'Radio City' a success. All did not go well. The government were completely against free radio and big advertisers would not commite to spending money advertising whilst the government were protesting. Some of the stations closed, due to lack of Finance, including Radio Atlanta, managed by Alan Crawford and Major Oliver Smedley.
Radio City obtained advertising from a Religious organisation in the U.S.A., and managed to survive. Major Smedley suggested to Reg that he would buy a new transmitter for the station if they had a partnership deal. December 1965, the transmitter arrived, about 30 years old from Texas, and defunct. July 1966, a new more powerful station was going to broadcast called Radio England. Radio London contacted Reg to go into partnership - to run an easy music station. This would have been the 'largest' most powerful stations of them all and Reg and Dorothy were looking forward to taking life a little easier and having their first holiday in 20 years.
Major Smedley and BOARDERS IN THE NIGHT
Radio City was mysteriously boarded 20th June and taken off the air by armed men. Major Smedley and a Kitty Black had been behind the boarders, and Major Smedley went directly to Radio London to insist that the new partnership deal should now be with him. Radio London refused. He then went to 'ground' and the police told Reg Calvert they couldn't help as it was outside legal jurisdiction, and to sort it out directly with Major Smedley. They gave him Smedley's address and Reg with a man called Alan Arnold (who owned the aerial) went to Smedley's home to have a meeting. As they arrived, Smedley picked up his shot gun from the bedroom wardrobe, went out the back to a neighbours house and told them to call the police as there was going to be trouble. He returned to his house and shot Reg Calvert.
All the witnesses on Reg Calvert's side were mysteriously cancelled at the Hearing and no one was called at the Trial - except for Dorothy being called as a last minute witness.
Reg was made out to be a violent gangster by Smedley and his associates. With no one to disprove the evidence, he was released and awarded 250 guineas cost for killing Reg Calvert.
Contact susan _ calvert @ btinternet.com
copyright: Susan K. Moore