Carter-Lewis and the Southerners: Sweet and Tender Romance


This was written by group leaders John Carter and Ken Lewis with Bill Bates. It was first recorded by Bick Ford in 1963 as the B-side of his only single. Robert Bickford was a Daily Mail reporter who put himself up for ‘grooming’ as a pop star by Robert Stigwood Associates. The paper covered each stage of his progress, the culmination of which was the release on April 11 1963 of his record, Cheat Cheat. It flopped. Here it is:

And here is Sweet and Tender Romance, with the writers using pseudonyms (actually Hawker was Lewis’s real name and Shakespeare was Carter’s):

It’s ghastly, isn’t it? Yet it was great when Carter-Lewis did it the same year, with the same set of false names. At around this time Jimmy Page was a member of the group but I am not sure if he plays on this track.

Also in 1963 it was covered by John Leyton on his second album, Always Yours. It was pretty bad.

The next year, 1964, the McKinleys released it as a single, with Carter and Lewis credited but Bates still calling himself Powell. Jimmy Page definitely played on this. It’s a great number but there is no evidence of it reaching the charts.

In 1964 P J Proby released it as the B-side of Together. The credits go back to Powell-Hawker-Shakespeare and once again Jimmy Page plays on it.


One Reply to “Carter-Lewis and the Southerners: Sweet and Tender Romance”

  1. Fabulous – that’s my kind of stuff; even the ghastly side of 60s pop fascinates me. PJ Proby was an oddball wasn’t he?

    This is my favourite Carter-Lewis and the Southerners single: “Somebody Told My Girl”. Jimmy Page’s playing makes the record; his solo is magnificent. Wild man of rock Viv Prince is on the drums.

    Page did his best work long before Led Zeppelin. This is an example, “Leave My Kitten Alone” by The First Gear:

    I’d love to hear Page talk about some of these early discs, but he never does. The McKinleys record was another of his best. Here are the sisters miming to it on Ready Steady Go. This should have been a massive hit:

    The two sisters later became backing singers in the ghastly 70’s rock group Paice, Ashton and Lord, and they can be seen in this truly awful clip. (The girls are not awful, just the rest of the group!):

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *