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Preview: Billie Davies at South Shields Customs House
A SIXTIES singing star who toured with The Beatles and The Rolling Stones is performing at The Customs House next week.
TEENAGE SENSATION … Billie Davis in the early 1960s
Billie Davis, who had her first hit with Tell Him in 1963, is just one of the stars performing in the show Back In Our Rock ‘N’ Roll Days, which is at the South Shields venue next Friday (20th) at 7.30pm.
“The title of the show is a tribute to Jet Harris, the founder of The Shadows. We used to record and tour together and this song was a particular favourite of ours – so we called the show Back In Our Rock ‘N’ Roll Days in memory of him,” explained Billie.
The show features several other stars from the 1960s, including Alan Warner, founder of the Foundations, who had hits with Build me up Buttercup and Baby Now that I Found You, and Iain Houndog Terry, founder member of Matchbox and Shotgun Rockabilly.
STAR OF THE SIXTIES … Billie Davis
Ray Phillips, lead singer with the Nashville Teens who had a hit with Tobacco Road, is also on the bill.
The show is on a national tour and Billie hoped the different genres of 1960s music would appeal to audiences: “It’s something a bit different and having the different styles works really well. There’s pop, there’s a bit of soul and some excellent rockabilly – a great combination from a fabulous era of music.”
She remembers the early 1960s fondly. “I’d had my first hit and was touring with The Beatles and the Rolling Stones. I knew Brian Jones well as we lived in the same house before he joined the Stones.
“I remember being on tour with The Beatles at the height of Beatlemania. One night I was in the Green Room of a theatre before going on stage talking to John Lennon. The theatre had this glass roof bit and a fan had climbed on to the glass and then she fell through – and landed in John’s lap as we were talking. The young girl’s legs were badly cut,” explained Billie.
“Another time when I was on tour with the Stones, the tour bus caught fire as we were bombing along the motorway. We had to stop the bus, get off quickly and we were running down the motorway away from the flames,” she said.
Billie was just 16 when she recorded Tell Him and was managed by famous impresario Robert Stigwood. Her follow-up, He’s The One, also entered the Top 40 in May 1963. Her last chart hit was I Want You to be My Baby in 1968, although she has continued to record and tour.
“I still love the music and the connection with fans, and I still love singing and talking to people,” Billie explained.
A retrospective of her songs recorded on the Decca label was released in 2005 and in 2006 she was reunited with her former partner Jet Harris for a series of concerts between 2005 and 2009.
Tickets for the show are available priced £22 from the box office on 0191 454 1234 or by logging on to The Customs House’s new website at www.customshouse.co.uk