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THE UGLYS

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BIOGRAPHICAL DETAILS

The Uglys

Origin: Birmingham

Genre: Rock

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BIOGRAPHICAL PROFILE

The Uglys evolved from a late 1950s line-up called ‘The Dominettes’ whose early members included Roy Bates, Bob Burlison, Mick Burrows, Jimmy Holden, John Hustwayte (whose brother was in Pat Wayne’s group The Deltas) and vocalist Colin Smith.

Members included

Bob Burnett guitar (left in 1966)
Steve Gibbons lead vocal, harmonica
John Gordon organ (left in 1965)
Jim Holden drums (left in 1968)
John Hustwayte bass guitar (left in 1966)
Roger Hill guitar (joined in 1966 – left in 1967)
Jimmy O’Neil piano, organ, bass guitar (joined in 1965 – left in 1968)
Dave Pegg bass guitar (joined in 1966 – left in 1967)
Will Hammond guitar, vocal (joined in 1967)
Dave Morgan bass guitar, vocal (joined in 1967)
Keith Smart drums (joined in 1968)
Richard Tandy piano (joined in 1968)

A new vocalist named Steve Gibbons who was a young plumbers’ apprentice from Harbourne, had joined the Dominettes by 1960 to replace Colin Smith who had left to join Jimmy Powell’s backing group. Colin Smith later changed his name to “Carl Barron” and became front-man of The Cheetahs. An Elvis Presley fan, Steve Gibbons’ first performance with The Dominettes was at The California Pub near Weoley Castle.

Another regular venue for The Dominettes was the Firebird Jazz Club on Carrs Lane in central Birmingham and the group posted advertisements which read “Anything considered”. By 1963, the group was re-named ‘The Uglys’ although this was obviously no reference to the physical appearance of band members as their van became covered in messages lovingly scrawled in lipstick from many female fans.

Eventually, the Uglys were able to secure a recording contract with the Pye Records company and the first release from the group in 1965 was an original song entitled ‘Wake Up My Mind’, composed by Burnet/Holden/Gibbons. The single was advanced for its time and featured some socially conscious lyrics – very unlike the kind of material produced by most other pop groups of the period. Surprisingly, the record did not sell well in Britain but was a big hit in the Australian charts (see The Uglys article on Brum Beat Features).

John Gordon left The Uglys in 1965 and was replaced by Jimmy O’Neil who had played keyboards in a local band called ‘The Yamps’ (he had also spent some time touring with The Walker Brothers). A second Uglys single issued that year was another great original song titled ‘It’s Alright’. This one featured prominent use of a harpsichord as played by Jimmy O’Neil who was becoming a major attraction on-stage due to a growing following of female fans. The record fell short of the British charts – possibly due to a record company strike – even though the group made an appearance on the popular television program ‘Ready Steady Go!’ to promote it.

Dave Pegg left The Uglys in 1967 after only a year to join a local group called The Exception with whom he recorded a few singles. He later joined Birmingham’s acclaimed Ian Campbell Folk Group, and from there, went on to join the famous British folk-rock band ‘Fairport Convention’ with whom he remains a pivotal member today. Dave was replaced by Dave Morgan from a local band called ‘Blaises’ and had also previously played in Danny King’s Mayfair Set.

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Dave Morgan also worked with Carl Wayne of The Move to compose the song ‘Something’ which ended up as the B-side of the Move’s chart-topping ‘Blackberry Way’ single. Jimmy O’Neil left the Uglys in 1968 to join U.K. chart act ‘The Mindbenders’ and founding member Jim Holden also departed later that year.

Dave Morgan also worked with Carl Wayne of The Move to compose the song ‘Something’ which ended up as the B-side of the Move’s chart-topping ‘Blackberry Way’ single. Jimmy O’Neil left the Uglys in 1968 to join U.K. chart act ‘The Mindbenders’ and founding member Jim Holden also departed later that year.

Roger Hill stayed for almost a year before leaving to join previously-departed Dave Pegg in forming his new band called The Exception. Roger Hill was replaced by guitarist Will Hammond (from a local band called Traction). Will had also previously played in The Yamps) with Jimmy O’Neil. Will Hammond was to stay in the Ugly’s line-up until the end.

Jim Holden was replaced by drummer Keith Smart from Danny King’s Mayfair Set. Keith was previously involved with a group called The Lemon Tree and later joined Roy Wood’s Wizzard (see The Move). Another member to join the Uglys who had strong Move connections was keyboard player Richard Tandy who also played on the Move’s Blackberry Way and eventually joined the Electric Light Orchestra.

By the end of 1968, Steve Gibbons was the only remaining original member of The Uglys. This final line-up also included Will Hammond, Dave Morgan, Keith Smart, and Richard Tandy.

The Uglys 1960s Record Releases

Singles:

•Wake Up My Mind/Ugly Blues (Pye 7N 15858) 1965
•It’s Alright/A Friend (Pye 7N 15968) 1965
•A Good Idea/The Quiet Explosion (Pye 7N 17027) 1966
•End Of The Season/Can’t Recall Her Name (Pye 7N 17178) 1966
•Real Good Girl/And The Squire Blew His Horn (CBS 2933) 1967
•I See The Light/Mary Colinto (MGM 1465) 1968 (some demo copies only)

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