The Four Pennies

The Four Pennies

The Four Pennies were an English, 1960s pop group, most notable for their 1964 UK chart topping song, "Juliet". The group's name came after a meeting above the Blackburn music shop owned by Mary Reidy, the shop being situated on 'Penny Street' where it is still located today as "Reidy's Home of Music". The name was chosen as a more commercial alternative to 'The Lionel Morton Four'. The shop is still owned by the Reidy family.


The Four Pennies were the most important UK group not to chart in America during the 1960s British Invasion.fact|date=September 2008 In their homeland, the group was famous for having a Number one hit in the UK Singles Chart in 1964 with "Juliet". It was written by Fritz Fryer, Mike Wilsh and Lionel Morton. The ballad was originally intended to be released as a b-side (b/w "Tell Me Girl").

"Juliet" was the only 1964 Number one by a UK group not to chart in America. The U.S. division of Philips Records issued only two of the Four Pennies' singles stateside.fact|date=September 2008 Both were major European hits, "Juliet" and "Until It's Time for You to Go". Neither saw any significant chart presence or airplay in the U.S.

Following the chart-topping success of "Juliet", the Four Pennies racked up subsequent 1964 UK hits with their original "I Found Out The Hard Way" and a cover version of Leadbelly's, "Black Girl". In 1965, they hit with "Until It's Time for You to Go", written by Buffy Sainte-Marie, backed with "'Til Another Day". The A-side was recorded by Elvis Presley in 1972. This followed the failure of their prior single, "The Way Of Love" / "A Place Where No-One Goes". ("The Way Of Love" found some success in Turkey in 1966). From then on, their original material remain on the b-sides of their singles.

1966 saw one last UK chart entry for the Four Pennies, with a cover version of Bobby Vinton's, "Trouble Is My Middle Name". This was followed by a cover of the UK songwriter Charles Bell's "Keep The Freeway Open", but the release did not succeed to reach the chart. The Four Pennies folded in 1967, after their last single release, written by the ex-Springfields member Tom Springfield - "No More Sad Songs For Me" - also failed to chart.

Other activities

While on a sabbatical from the group, Fritz Fryer formed the folk-rock trio, Fritz, Mike and Mo, in collaboration with songwriter Mike Deighan and vocalist Maureen "Mo" Evans. Deighan had co-written material for the Four Pennies, including three tracks on their first album, "Two Sides of Four Pennies". Evans was an established pop star, having had a Top 5 hit with her 1962 single "Like I Do". Fritz, Mike and Mo recorded two unsuccessful singles for Philips, "Somebody Stole the Sun" c/w "Let Me Hear Your Voice" and "What Colour Is A Man" (a cover version of a U.S. release by Bobby Vinton, who also provided the Pennies' "Trouble Is My Middle Name") c/w "So Now You're Gone". After the failure of Fritz, Mike and Mo, Fryer returned to the Four Pennies. After the group's dissolution, Fryer worked as record producer for Motörhead among others.

Lionel Morton recorded two solo singles for Philips in the wake of the Pennies' dissolution. He also recorded a version of "Waterloo Road," a song written by ex-Penny Mike Wilsh and Mike Deighan, for RCA Victor. "Waterloo Road" was originally recorded by the pop-psychedlic band Jason Crest, who were discovered by members of the Four Pennies. Morton was, at one time, married to the actress, Julia Foster. Alan Buck had drummed for both Joe Brown's Bruvvers, and Johnny Kidd's Pirates, prior to joining The Four Pennies.

The Four Pennies appeared in two films. "British Big Beat" had the group miming to their #1 hit, "Juliet," whilst "Pop Gear" contained a performance of "Black Girl".

Band members

* Lionel Morton - vocalist / rhythm guitarist - born Lionel Walmsley, 14 August 1942, Blackburn, Lancashire, England
* Fritz Fryer - lead guitarist - born David Roderick Carney Fryer, 6 December 1944, Oldham, Lancashire — died 2 September 2007, Lisbon, Portugal, from pancreatic cancer. [ Musical Map Of East Lancashire (from This Is Lancashire) ] ] [ [ RedTram News Search Engine | News on "Economics & Finance" everywhere ] ]
* Alan Buck - drummer - born 7 April 1943, Brierfield, Burnley, Lancashire — died (date not known). [ [ Knowhere Contacts UK: Burnley ] ]
* Mike Wilsh - bassist / keyboardist / backing vocalist - born Michael Wilshaw, 21 July 1945, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire

For a fairly short time, late 1965 to early 1966, when Fryer left the band he was replaced by David Graham, a guitarist from Reading, Berkshire. Graham left when Fryer returned to the line-up. Ray Monk also deputised on rare occasions.


UK singles

*1964 "Do You Want Me To" / "Miss Bad Daddy", Philips BF 1296 (UK #47)
*1964 "Juliet" / "Tell Me Girl", Philips BF 1322 (UK #1)
*1964 "I Found Out The Hard Way" / "Don't Tell Me You Love Me", Philips BF 1349 (UK #14)
*1964 "Black Girl" / "You Went Away", Philips BF 1366 (UK #20)
*1965 "The Way of Love" / "A Place Where No One Goes", Philips BF 1398
*1965 "Somebody Stole The Sun" / "Let Me Hear Your Voice" [Fritz, Mike & Mo] , Philips BF 1427
*1965 "Until It's Time For You To Go" / "'Til Another Day", Philips BF 1435 (UK #19)
*1965 "What Colour Is A Man" / "So Now You're Gone" [Fritz, Mike & Mo] , Philips BF 1441
*1966 "Trouble Is My Middle Name" / "Way Out Love", Philips BF 1469 (UK #32)
*1966 "Keep The Freeway Open" / "Square Peg", Philips BF 1491
*1966 "No More Sad Songs For Me" / "Cats", Philips BF 1519

U.S. singles

*1964 "Juliet" / "Tell Me Girl", Philips 40202
*1965 "Until It's Time For You To Go" / "'Til Another Day", Philips 40333

UK extended play releases (EPs)

*1964 "The Four Pennies", Philips BBE 12561
*1964 "Spin With The Pennies", Philips BBE 12562
*1965 "The Swinging Side of The Four Pennies", Philips BBE 12570
*1965 "The Smooth Side of The Four Pennies", Philips BBE 12571

UK Albums

*1964 "Two Sides of The Four Pennies", Philips BL 7642 (UK #13)
*1966 "Mixed Bag", Philips BL 7734


* Guinness Book of British Hit Singles - 16th Edition - ISBN 0-85112-190-X
* Guinness Book of British Hit Albums - 7th Edition - ISBN 0-85112-619-7
* Guinness Book of 500 Number One Hits - ISBN 0-85112-250-7
* Goldmine British Invasion Record Price Guide - 1st Edition - ISBN 0-87341-535-3
* Parham, Alan, liner notes to Four Pennies CD "Complete Singles & EP Tracks", Beat Merchant 3694, 2004

External links

* [ - The Four Pennies biography]
* [ BBC website - The Four Pennies story]

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