Saturday, 28 April 2007

A brief history of Shades of Blue

The Shades of Blue became a part of British Army history on 20th April 1967 when they were crowned the first ever official Army Pop Group. A panel of top DJs headed by David Jacobs voted them winners of a competition held at the BBC Playhouse Theatre, London. This event was the final of a series of heats held throughout the Army. The “Shades” were based in Detmold, northern Germany and won the British Army of the Rhine section playing their own composition “I wanna be free”. This was the song that also won them the final.

Shortly after the competition, Major Minor label signed them up and the boys recorded their one and only single at Chappel Studios, London which at that time, was also host to the likes of Jimi Hendrix, The Tremeloes and The Who. The lads appeared all over West Germany and had a strong following of both military and civilian fans wherever they went. They took the same route as the Beatles had five years earlier, playing on the Star Club circuit in the larger German towns and cities.

It was about this time the group had several changes. Fred was posted away leaving the bass guitarist slot vacant. There was nobody in the area to fill this so the band had a reshuffle. A lead guitarist called Pete Lingard became available so Mick swallowed his pride and became rhythm, Howie quickly learnt bass and Pete came in as the new lead guitarist. Not long after the group had a change of drummer. Polly left the Shades and was replaced by Jock (Billy) McCormick. Billy was a very skilled musician, quite into jazz and gave the Shades a new depth and polish. The BBC invited Shades of Blue to appear live on the “Saturday Club” radio show hosted by David Lamb in Koln, Germany and this was broadcast to the UK, Germany, The Middle East and Far East.

In August 1968 after several line-up changes and a posting or two by the Army, the band split up. The Shades of Blue ceased to be.

On 7th November 2001 some 33 years later, the four original members of the Shades of Blue reunited again in UK.

Again on 20th April 2007 , three of the four members, Howie. Fred & Mick returned to Detmold to celebrate the 40th anniversay of winning the cup.

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