Reg Calvert

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b. Yorkshire, England, d. 21 June 1967. Promoter Reg Calvert was one of the most eccentric, underrated and ultimately tragic figures of British 60s pop. He moved from Yorkshire to the south coast in the…
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b. Yorkshire, England, d. 21 June 1967. Promoter Reg Calvert was one of the most eccentric, underrated and ultimately tragic figures of British 60s pop. He moved from Yorkshire to the south coast in the late 50s and signed up a series of young musicians. A specialist in ‘xeroxed’ pop acts, Calvert’s artists were like travelling showbands, playing the hits of the day and imitating the style and looks of the élite stars on the television show Oh Boy. By the early 60s Calvert had bought a former stately home in the Midlands in which he housed a veritable battalion of teenage talent, including Danny Storm, Buddy Britten, Mike West, Carol Lane, Tanya Day, Gulliver’s Travels, Robbie Hood And His Merrie Men and Mike West And The Silhouettes. After launching Screaming Lord Sutch as a political candidate, Calvert moved into pirate radio with Radio City and his increasing profile in the pop business enabled him to break in both the Fortunes and Pinkerton’s Assorted Colours as hit acts. At one stage he launched a new version of Them before the ever vigilant Philip Solomon enforced his managerial right to the group name. At the peak of the British pirate radio boom Calvert seemed destined for great wealth and entrepreneurial fame but a dispute with a rival station headed by Major Oliver Smedley ended in tragedy. On 21 June 1967, Calvert visited Smedley’s home and following a fracas was shot dead. Although Calvert never managed any great acts, his showmanship, sensationalism and invention were the match of any entrepreneur of the era.