By Ralph Ellis
October 1 1964
People often ask us who we meet on our travels.
As there are so many people in so many different departments in show business, I doubt if we'll ever meet everyone.
I think one person everybody would like to meet is CLIFF RICHARD.
We had the pleasure of meeting him some months ago when we were in Scotland.
When we checked in at our hotel the receptionist told us that CLIFF AND THE SHADOWS had signed in about an hour earlier.
While we were having dinner in the hotel, Cliff came in. We were very surprised when he
recognized us and came straight over and introduced himself.
We had a good old natter over dinner and he arranged for us to see his show and threw a little party at the hotel with the Shadows that night. They were just as we expected to find them and we really enjoyed their company.
I knew that Cliff and the Shadows were all BUDDY HOLLY fans so Ray got out his record player and I got some of my LPs of Buddy which I always carry on tour.
The party went with quite a swing and we got on like a house on fire.
I hope some day we can do a tour together and maybe even write a few songs together.
As we meet people on our travels the same old question always seems to crop up - 'why is there so much miming on TV?'
Although we ourselves prefer to do a show live, I will try and explain why it is more advantageous to the artist and TV staff to mime a show.
If, for instance, on 'Ready, Steady, Go!' there are four groups and three solo singing stars - the groups would use their own equipment. Assuming there are five members in each group this would mean 15 amplifiers, four kits of drums and up to eight or even ten mikes. The solo singers would need anything from a four-piece band to a full orchestra.
All these would have to be balanced up, rehearsed, camera shots would be lined up; it would take more than one afternoon, which is all that is needed for a mimed show.
It seems to be a fashion nowadays to have an audience dancing around the studio. Imagine the chaos as cameras whip in between dancers, prop men run around preparing sets, with amplifiers and drums all over the place and a 40-piece orchestra taking half the studio.
Sometimes we have to travel from, say Birmingham or Liverpool to do a TV show in London. We also have to dash to a theatre outside London afterwards for the first half of a concert.
If our road managers had to pack the equipment out of the studio, take it to the theatre, unpack it and put it on stage, we would never make the first house.
I have yet to see a live show where the sound balance is good. For this I blame the engineers and producer. They seem to be more interested in good camera shots than in good sound.
If you've seem the efforts of top groups on the London Palladium who have been spoiled by bad sound balancing on instruments as well as voices I need say no more.
Writing A Song
I don't know of any set formula for writing a song. In fact I doubt if there is one. If there was we would all be millionaires.
With the songs I've written inspiration seems to be the main factor. This also seems to apply to songs written by Ray and Les.
Les writes instrumentals. I suppose it's because he can't write the lyrics or they are too sloppy. Anyway, it's something to pull his leg about.
Ray seems to work on the same lines as I do.
First comes the inspiration, maybe from something that's happened to you or someone you know. This gives you a story to work on. immediately you must set to work on it. If you leave it for long then the inspiration is gone.
I find it better to work the music out on a guitar or a piano and the lyrics come at the same time.
Some songs take maybe ten to 15 minutes. Others (once the main theme is worked out) can take up to three or four hours. Others can tire off, so you finish them off a couple of days later.
Nowadays we don't get as much time as we used to to write songs, but we try to use our spare time in between shows whenever possible - if the inspiration is there.