Monday, March 03, 2014

R&Bobit: Duffy Power

Duffy Power, one of Larry Parnes' stable of first-wave British rockers, has died.

Power was born Raymond Howard - the stage name was half Parnes' coinage, and perhaps not quite as on the spot as the monickers he came up with for Tommy Steele and Billy Fury. (It was an attempt to meld Duffy's existing nickname onto a fame halo from the recently deceased Tyrone Power.)

Power marked himself out as different from the others in style, as shown when he joined in the BBC's Pop Goes The Beatles project in 1963:

The story doesn't have a happy ending - alcoholism, drugs and mental health problems rather than a long career of success - although there have been rediscoverings and even, belatedly, an album of new material in 2012, the first for around 40 years.

Duffy Power died 19th February 2014; he was 72.


Robin Carmody said...

There was something very Tory and exploitative about Larry Parnes - no doubt that was why the Beatles distrusted him so much, and the bitterness lasted: Parnes won a court case in which he alleged that Paul McCartney had defamed him in his 1982 Desert Island Discs appearance.

The world that Duffy Power existed in was one of short-term capitalism and distrust of independent working-class endeavour under Old Etonian power: it was as if Parnes wanted the Cameron era to happen and was frustrated by Macmillan's pact with socialism holding it back. Basically all good British pop has its roots in Lonnie Donegan and the Beatles (both of whom emerged at moments of Tory humiliation and marginalisation) and all bad British pop (including the entire Simon Cowell axis) has its roots in the consumer boom in between.

For the record, out of all those first-gen rockers I think Tommy Steele (born Thomas Hicks) was the only one whose professional name was a diminutive of his real given name.

Tim Bick said...

He also recorded a cracking version of a Randy Newman song called Davy O'Brien.

Hanifah said...

Thank you, your article is very good

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