Picture this… it was 58 years ago that Joe Brown became a youthful, cheery star with the No 1 hit ‘A Picture Of You’.
He might not be a young heartthrob any more but he still has the cheeky Cockney charm that captivated audiences back when even the Beatles appeared as his support band.
And, still, he’s much loved and admired.
The energy’s not diminished either - nor the trademark spiky hair - from the days even before that when he played guitar for Johnny Cash, Eddie Cochran and Gene Vincent on ground-breaking TV pop show Boy Meets Girls.
His guitar playing was renowned – it’s Joe’s guitar you can hear on ‘The Sound Of Fury’, Billy Fury’s seminal album, recently voted the most inspirational British Rock ‘n’ Roll Album of all time.
Joe is known for his tireless live schedule and, to celebrate 60 years in the business, he is now on a marathon 78 date UK tour that keeps him busy through to Easter and which will land in Blackpool for a night at the Grand Theatre on Friday January 31.
He said: “This is a proper show and I’ve a great new band with me too - It’s fantastic to be out there in front of a thousand people who are listening to every word you say.
"They seem to like it and I certainly do”
The live show contains something new and something old.
The music veers from his classic songs, such as ‘Sea Of Heartbreak’, to traditional rock, from something by Chas and Dave to something by George Harrison (who was a very close friend, even being Joe’s best man).
Joe added: “I’ll be playing most of my old hits but we’ll be playing different stuff too – a nice Italian waltz, an Irish jig…there’ll also be songs there we’ve never played before.”
Joe was just a teenager when he started playing guitar on television, his lively persona and impressive playing catching the attention of the musical bigwigs and making him one of the first home-grown pop idols – and he did it all himself.
Moving away from pop after a string of hits he became a star of musical theatre even performing alongside Dame Anna Neagle in ‘Charlie Girl’. There were films, too, from the pop era fun of ‘What A Crazy World!’ to appearing alongside Bob Hoskins in the thriller ‘Mona Lisa’.
Joe’s family have joined the business as well. Daughter Sam was a solo star while son Pete is both a musician and a producer.
After the death of wife Vicki (herself a singer in groups such as the Vernon Girls and who later had a very impressive solo career in Europe), in 2000 Joe married Manon Pearcey who had been the partner of Small Faces singer Steve Marriott.
Now daughter Mollie Marriott is making records and is part of the tight-knit Brown family unit, which includes seven grandchildren.
Clocking in for 60 years of entertaining Joe's inspirational career has earned him an MBE in 2009 and also a Mojo Magazine award for Outstanding Contribution to Music. He returned to the Top 20 Album Charts with a gold record for his ‘The Very Best Of Joe Brown’ release.
And, while Joe is a master guitarist, he’s no mean player of the ukulele either. He will be playing the ukulele on tour along with banjo, guitar and mandolin.
His album ‘The Ukulele Album’ still continues to sell well and he has been credited by many with sparking the recent world-wide interest in the ukulele with the Concert For George appearance.
Summing it up he said: “What you see is what you get he says. “I am what I am – I can’t be anyone else.”
For more information visit https://www.blackpoolgrand.co.uk/event/joe-brown-in-concert/