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




(Geoff Stephens)

Fontana 1562

No. 1    December 3, 1966




Geoff Stephens (b. Oct. 1, 1934, New Southgate, England) taught French, English, and religion.   In his

spare time, he would spin 78 rpms and search junk shops for those high-speed acetate jewels from the ’20s

and ’30s.   After dashing off mini-skits for the BBC and a brief twirl in the world of advertising, Geoff went

to work for a London music publishing firm.   There, in his own cubicle, he dreamed up successful songs

for British acts like the Applejacks and Dave Berry; both little know to U.S. citzens, though successful in

England and thereabouts.


One day, while staring at a photo of Winchester Cathedral on the wall, Geoff was inspired to scribble an

unforgettable melody.      Still in the heat of  passion, Stephens organized a recording session, and with

amegaphone to his mouth, crooned the tale of a poor lad whose girlie had left him heartbroken beneath

that Gothic structure.


Winchester Cathedral” quickly became an international item, and even won a Grammy for “Best Rock’n’

Roll Record” in 1966.   A Geoff-less debut album went top five and old a million copies.    Since a New

Vaudeville Band did not actually exist, and since Stephens had no desire to tour singing and dancing

this tune, a vaudevillian unit had to be built swiftly from scratch.    Alan Klein, who liked to call himself

“Tristram Seventh Earl of Cricketwood,” was recruited to work the megaphone.   At the core of the new

construction was drummer Henri Harrison (b. June 6, 1943, Watford, Herfordshire) and what had once

been an R & B group called Cops ‘n’ Robbers.    On keyboards was Stan Haywood (b. Aug. 23, 1947,

Dagenham, Essex); on bass, Neil Korner (b. Oct. 6, 1942, Ashford, Kent); on trombone, Hugh “Shuggy”

Watts (b. July 25, 1941, Watford, Hertfordshire); and on guitar, Mick Wilsher (b. Dec. 21, 1945, Sutton,

Surrey) and on French horn, saxophone and trombone, Robert “Pops” Kerr (b. Feb.14, 1943, London),

an ex-member of the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band.


The immediate follow-up, “Peek-A-Boo” (#72, 1967), charted in the U. S.; a few others did likewise on their

native turf.     Nothing further was to save this pseudo-group from their impending stateside obscurity.

Their descent, however, was slowed by a year’s stay at the Aladdin Hotel in Las Vegas.   In the ’70s, after a

three-year tour of Canada, the not-so-new Vaudeville Band returned to England and the cabaret circuit.


Remnants of the band, fronted by Henry Harrison, occasionally are spotted romping through the oldies.

“Pops” Kerr reappeared in the ’80s fronting Bob Kerr’s Whoopie Band.   Geoff Stephens went on to penning

hits for THE FLYING MACHINE (“Smile A Little Smile For Me”) and CAROL DOUGLAS  (“Doctor’s

Orders”).     In 1972, Wayne Newton garnered his last hit with Stephens’ “Daddy Don’t You Walk So Fast.”