Tuesday 9 February 2010

Meeting Danny Rivers, the British Elvis

At the end of the Meek triburte night at the Ace Cafe, I started chatting to Danny Rivers. I explained how I was writing my dissertation on Joe Meek. He said he was more than happy to meet for a drink and chat about his time recording at 304 Holloway Road. So, three nights later I'm in a Wetherspoon's in Cricklewood talking to 40 years cab driver, 3 years pop star Danny (real name Dave) Rivers.

Robert Plant, when being interviewed by Suzi Quatro on her Radio 2 series, declared that "Im Waiting for tomorrow" by Danny Rivers, was one of the greatest songs to come out of Britain in the 1960's, by one of the greatest singers of the time. "A great accolade" says Danny. He tells me the "B-sides should have been the A sides". Picked up at 18 years old, the singer (now 68) was Joe Meeks pursuit after the image of Elvis, and answer to Cliff. Career wise, killed by the Merseybeat, Danny Rivers got out of the Show Biz world of the early 60's, and went to work with his parents at their DIY shop just up the road from where we were drinking. His stories of the past were both vivid and honest, and he recollected philosophically when putting his time in the limelight into perspective. His accounts of time recording with Joe Meek were short but insightful, painting more of a picture of the world around him. He brought past photos and cut outs of magazine articles he featured in, bringing the black and white world of 1960 to life. He told me, "Joe went for looks first. He could sort out their voices later with his production magic". The more I think about this, the more I fear it's true. Not that good looks aren't a bonus to great pop music, but Joe Meek did record the likes of Bowie and Rod Stuart before their proper music careers were even being born. Would he have paid more attention if they had the poster boy looks of the likes of Rivers, Heinz, or John Leyton? Either way, Danny Rivers only had good things to say about Meek. He never got the experimental edge given to the Moontrekkers, the Tornadoes or the space aged "I Hear a New World" album, but instead the song writing hit parade touch that was the sound of the majority of Meek records. His wife, sitting opposite, had little positives to say about the music business of the time, but had a fond glint in her eye for the short but bright era which was now just a story in a pub.

Highlights were Danny's story of Screaming Lord Such inviting him to share an eccentric number about vampires and Such like madness on stage, only then abandoning him with the microphone to battle through the song and his embarrassment.


  1. Hello,

    I found your blog as a fellow LCC graduate (Book Arts) and also as a Joe Meek enthusiast.
    I just wondered what your dissertation dealt with specifically?
    Interesting blog, just thought I would say hello.
    Never actually done this before.


  2. RIP Danny taken by cancer this day 28th July 2016

    1. was a good friend from the 60s to mid 80s. When i left the UK for Australia. Sad to hear of his death.

  3. Really sad. He was very much underated and deserves to be in the 'Hall of Fame' R.i.P. Danny