Saturday 25 July 2020
Bad To Me/ I Call Your Name/Do You Want To Know A Secret/ I'll Be On My Way
Riding high at the top of the charts after toppling Cilla Black, were yet another act connected to The Beatles. Billy J Kramer with The Dakotas had scored three hits penned by Lennon and McCartney, the most popular being their 1963 number 1, Bad to Me.
Understandably, they decided if they wanted to secure a long-term future, they needed to step out of the shadow of the Fab Four. The fact The Dakotas had also scored a hit with their self-penned instrumental, The Cruel Sea, only backed this belief up. And so the group found themselves doing the unthinkable when they turned down another Lennon and McCartney original, One and One is Two, and opted to record Little Children instead. You have to admire the boldness of Kramer and co, but unfortunately it was as unwise a move as it was brave. If you’re going to try something new in 1964, don’t pick a song by former Elvis collaborators, whose best days were now behind them.
But in the short term, the group’s move proved to be a wise one, as following this final number 1, they released another Lennon and McCartney track, From a Window, which only made it to number 10.
In July, bassist Ray Jones left following an argument with Brian Epstein, which was the first in a series of line-up changes. Music was getting heavier and weirder in the next few years, and Kramer’s softer style, plus a drink problem, meant declining fortunes, so in September 1967, Kramer and The Dakotas went their separate ways.
The Dakotas split a year later, with several members joining Cliff Bennet’s band. They reformed in the 80s, with Eddie Mooney on vocals, and in addition to many appearances on the nostalgia circuit, they worked with comedian Peter Kay on the excellent Peter Kay’s Phoenix Nights (2001) and the dire spin-off Max and Paddy’s Road to Nowhere (2004), with new member Toni Baker co-writing all the music to both series with Kay. Kramer is also a regular on package tours of yesteryear, and in 2016 released his autobiography, Do You Want to Know a Secret?