Return To 60’s Main Menu Recording Artists Of The 60s 





London 9889

No. 14     November 7, 1964



Not one of these underrated artifacts from the British Invasion had even set foot in Nashville–they

were all from Weybridge, Surrey–nor was any one a teen at the time.    And in no way were these

roots-rockers playing C & W.     They were darn good, though, at their special blend of good old

rhythm ‘n’ blues.


The Nashville Teens convened in 1962 when Ramon “Ray” Phillips (vocals, bass,   harmonica) and

Arthur Sharp (vocals), members of two local rival groups, decided to join their musical juices.  John

Hawkes Michael Dunford (guitar), Roger Groom (drums), (keyboards), and Pete Shannon (bass)

completed the original line-up.     The unit spent most of 1963 in Hamburg, Germany at the now

legendary Star Club–backing Jerry Lee Lewis for several months.    When they returned to England,

BO DIDDLEY recruited them for his European tour.    Mickey Most–a singer with Bo’s opening act,

the Minutemen–convinced the teens that he was something of a producer and that he could get them

on a label.


Most took the Teens into the studio as part of a one-off deal to record “Tobacco Road,” a tune that

Sharp had heard while working in a record shop.    By this point, Dunford and Groom had left, so

the group consisted of Phillips (b. Jan. 16, 1944, Tiger Bay, Wales), Sharp (b. May 26, 1941, Woking),

Hawkes (b. May 9, 1940, Bournemouth), and Shannon (b. Aug. 23, 1941, Antrim, Northern Ireland),

plus two new members–guitarist John Allen (b. Apr. 23, 1945, Albans) and drummer Barry Jenkins

(b. Dec. 22, 1944, Leicester).


“Tobacco Road” was a major chart invader on both sides of the Atlantic.     Unfortunately, for their

follow-up, the Nashville Teens chose to remake another (and much less  appealing) JOHN D.

LOUDERMILK (aka JOHNNY DEE) tune–“Google Eye,”  a folkie tale about an unfortunate trout.

The disk went nowhere in the States.    The group made a few minor movie appearances (Be My

Guest,1965; Gonks Go Beat, 1965; Pop Gear, 1965), but visa restrictions limited the Teens to a tour

of only New York State.    Further singles–and there were a few peculiar ones over the   next year or

two–failed to capitalize on the group’s talents.   At this point, the Teens’ tale becomes fuzzy to both

fans and pop historians.


By 1966, members started their flight.    Jenkins joined the Animals.    Hawkins left to work with

Spooky Tooth, the Strawbs, and Renaissance.    Dunford went on to record with Renaissance.    Sharp

left in 1972 for a desk job alongside Don Arden at Jet Records.    By the early ‘7Os, only Ray Phillips

remained from the original line-up; when last spotted in the mid-’80s, he was fronting a new edition

of the Nashville Teens.