Pop Archives

Bobby And Laurie - Sweet And Tender Romance (1966)

(John Carter - Ken Lewis - Bill Bates)
Australia Australia
#26 Adelaide

The three writers of Sweet And Tender Romance all used pseudonyms, and there is no consistency in how their names appear on different versions.

• Bates is usually credited as Powell (a pseudonym),
• Lewis may be credited as Hawker (his real surname), and
• Carter may be credited as Shakespeare (his real surname).

Side A, Track 1 on 1966 Parlophone EP Hitch Hiker.

Melbourne's Bobby Bright and Laurie Allen had a number of pop hits in the mid-60s, from the upbeat Laurie Allen composition I Belong With You (1965) to the country style Hitch-hiker. They were regulars on the Go!! TV pop show and later had their own show on ABC-TV (Australia), It's A Gas, later Dig We Must.

Bobby & Laurie broke up in 1967 but their 1969 reunion produced two further hits, The Carroll County Accident (1969) and Through The Eyes Of Love (1970).

Later, Laurie Allen moved into country music, and Bobby Bright, who had been a disc jockey with Melbourne radio station 3XY, also acted on TV and film (filmography at IMDb).

References, further reading: 1. Ian McFarlane, Encyclopedia of Australian Pop & Rock. 2. Bobby & Laurie page at Milesago. 3. Essential: the Bobby & Laurie page and discography at Bonnie's Laurie Allen Tribute site.

Suggestion and version alerts from Terry Stacey.

Bick Ford [robert Bickford] - Sweet And Tender Romance (1963)

(John Carter - Ken Lewis - Bill Bates)
Original version

Single on Parlophone, April 1963, B-side of Cheat Cheat. 

Daily Mail journalist Robert Bickford experimentally embarked on a pop career as "Bick Ford" and kept his readers informed on his progress.

His column was styled POP's PROGRESS by Bick Ford who is of course reporter Robert Bickford.

Bradford Timeline at Flickr has rare clippings HERE and HERE of Bick Ford's columns [snippet at left]. You may notice that Australian singer-songwriter Don Spencer was on the tour with Bick Ford and backing band the Hi-Fis.

Carter & Lewis are well-known as a songwriting-performing team, but not so the third writer of Sweet And Tender Romance, credited as Powell. His real name was Bill Bates, and he was Ken Lewis's brother-in-law, married to Lewis's sister. Bates was a successful songwriter with a day job as public health inspectorwho also became manager and songwriter for Herbie's People (see above). He had already co-written with Carter and Lewis on Mike Sarne's 1962 hit Will I What (#18 UK), and he charted again with his solo composition Band Of The Black Watch's Scotch On The Rocks (1975, #8 UK, #75 USA).

John Carter (John Shakespeare, b.1942) and Ken Lewis (b. Kenneth Alan James Hawker, 1940-2015) met at primary school in Birmingham, played in a skiffle band together, and collaborated as songwriters from the late 1950s. In the early 60s they were in Carter-Lewis And The Southerners (see above).

In 1965 as The Ivy League, with Perry Ford, they had three Top 40 UK hits with their compositions, notably Funny How Love Can Be (#8 UK) and Tossing And Turning (#3 UK, #83 USA, co-wr. Ford). Early in that year, their composition Can't You Hear My Heartbeat charted #2 in the USA for Herman's Hermits, although it was not released as a single in the UK where it charted at #25 for Goldie & The Gingerbreads.

That was the beginning of a string of Carter-Lewis writing and studio successes. They were involved as writers and performers in The Flowerpot Men (Let's Go To San Francisco), White Plains (My Baby Loves Lovin') and First Class (Beach Baby), as well as writing hits for other artists including Mary Hopkin (Knock Knock Who's There), Peter & Gordon (Sunday For Tea) and The Music Explosion (A Little Bit Of Soul).

That's John Carter's faux-megaphoned voice on The New Vaudeville Band hit Winchester Cathedral (#4 UK, #1 USA), a song written by another Carter collaborator, Geoff Stephens.

Data: In his book Rock File 3 (1975), Stephen Nugent counts 11 John Carter UK Top 20 compositions, including 5 with Geoff Stephens and 5 with Ken Lewis.

Further reading: 1. Carter-Lewis & The Southerners page at the Obscure Bands blog has comprehensive discographies and line-ups for Carter & Lewis's various bands. 2. Carter & Lewis songlist [archived page]. 3. Bill Bates page at the Herbie's People website.

Carter-Lewis And The Southerners - Sweet And Tender Romance (1963)

(John Carter - Ken Lewis - Bill Bates)

Single on Oriole, June 1963

In the early 60s, songwriters John Carter and Ken Lewis  toured, recorded, and appeared on BBC Radio in Carter-Lewis And The Southerners, initially formed to showcase their own songs after they were signed as songwriters.

Further reading: Carter-Lewis & The Southerners page at the Obscure Bands blog.

John Leyton - Sweet And Tender Romance (1963)

(John Carter - Ken Lewis - Bill Bates)

On HMV album Always Yours by British TV actor, also in films (b.1939), who went into pop singing on the instigation of agent Robert Stigwood, helped out by Joe Meek's production, and songs written by Geoff Goddard. John Leyton had seven Top 40 hits in the UK 1961-63 the first two of which were the biggest: Johnny Remember Me (#1) and Wild Wind (#2), both in 1961. 

References, further reading: 1. John Leyton at 45-rpm. 2. John Leyton filmography at IMDb.

Herbie’s People - Sweet And Tender Romance (1965)

(John Carter - Ken Lewis - Bill Bates)

Single on CBS, B-side of a Bill Bates composition, You Thrill Me To Pieces.

Herbie's People were formed 1959 in Bilston, West Midlands as Danny Cannon & The Ramrods. The name changed when they were managed and mentored by Bill Bates, brother-in-law of Ken Lewis and sometimes writing partner of Carter & Lewis. There is a fine Herbie's People website which includes a page on Bill Bates, the health inspector-songwriter-manager who married Ken Lewis's sister.

Later, Herbie's People issued singles as Just William (1968) and as The Bullring (1970).

Further reading: 1. Herbie's People website. 2. Herbie's People at British Beat Boom [archived page].

Max Merritt & His Meteors - Sweet And Tender Romance (1964)

(John Carter - Ken Lewis - Bill Bates)
New Zealand New Zealand

Single on Viking, B-side of Giddy-Up-A-Ding-Dong (….Shake-It-Up!).

The first Meteors were brought together by Max Merritt in Christchurch, New Zealand, in 1956. After becoming one of the country's top bands while based in Auckland, they moved to Australia in 1964. For more on their later years in Australia see Western Union Man (1969).  

Further reading: 1. Max Merritt and the Meteorspage at Bruce Sergent's New Zealand Music site. 2. The Max Merritt & The Meteors site has a detailed biography.

P. J. Proby - Sweet And Tender Romance (1964)

(John Carter - Ken Lewis - Bill Bates)

Single on Decca, B-side of Together.

Texas-born James Marcus Smith, earlier known as Jett Powers, then P. J. Proby, had worked in the LA pop scene from 1957 as a versatile singer and songwriter. His deep, mannered vocals, often on reworkings of standard songs, benefited from skilful songwriting, arrangements, and production by the likes of Jack Nitzsche. Proby was always more popular in the UK – where he was based for some time in the mid-60s – and in Australia than in his home country.

Further reading: 1. P. J. Proby page at British Beat Boom [archived page]. 2. My Only in Oz (2) P.J. Proby – Mission Bell at PopArchives: The Blog. 3. Michael Lane Heath, Get Hip to My Conflagration at Perfect Sound Forever.

The McKinleys - Sweet And Tender Romance (1964)

(John Carter - Ken Lewis - Bill Bates)

Single on Parlophone by Edinburgh-born duo, Sheila & Jeanette McKinley.

Sheila later formed one half of German duo Windows who had a hit with How Do You Do (1972, #1 Germany #1 Melbourne #2 Brisbane #2 Perth).

Reference: The McKinleys biography by Jason Ankeny at All Music.

The Bangles - Sweet And Tender Romance (2011)

(John Carter - Ken Lewis - Bill Bates)
Later version

Opening track on the 2011 album Sweetheart Of The Sun.


Billie Davis - Sweet And Tender Romance

(John Carter - Ken Lewis - Bill Bates)


Unreleased acetate by British pop singer, made while she was recording for Columbia.

What can I say? That's all I know. I found it at Youtube, and thanks to faith o'brien for posting it.