Glaswegians, William "Junior" Campbell met Patrick “Pat” Fairley both enjoyed playing rock roll and inspired by the Everly Brothers and Cliff Richard the Shadows, the boys formed a band in the early sixties. Junior Campbell (instrumentalist, vocalist), Pat Fairley (bass guitar), Billy Johnson (bass) and Tommy Frew (drums) became the Gaylords and played at local clubs. Later Bill Irving and Raymond Duffy, replaced Billy Johnson and Tommy Frew respectively and the quintet’s format was complete when Thomas McAleese (Dean Ford) joined them as the singer. Dean Ford the Gaylords became one of Scotland’s most popular groups but like many others in the early 60s had little chance to get a recording contract. The group regularly supported visiting acts and was regulars on BBC Radio Scotland but real success failed them despite their undoubted popularity within Scotland. Eventually they were signed by EMI-Columbia in 1964. Their debut single "Twenty Miles," sold well in Scotland, but failed to chart.
The group relocated to London and fellow Glaswegian, Graham Knight replaced Bill Irwin. Despite more efforts to crack the charts their records failed and fame eluded them. Things changed when the Gaylord’s changed their management at the request of their friends, The Tremoloes manger, Peter Walsh recommended a change of name and The Gaylords became Marmalade and became a resident band at the Marquee Club, London. In 1965, CBS Records signed Marmalade and their first single under the new label was "It's All Leading up to Saturday Night," but despite showing how the group had improved no commercial success came.
None the less the persevered. Marmalade had two bass players which gave them a unique sound and their next single "Can't Stop Now" (with Alan Whitehead as the group’s drummer) did well in the US, getting to number one on some State charts.
Marmalade were a hard working band and getting more and more exposure as well as winning the admiration of fellow artists such as Jimi Hendrix. However chart success was not apparent and they were all but ready to give up when in 1968 they recorded "Lovin' Things."
The single sold well and gave the group their first UK hit. This was followed by a cover version The Beatle’s "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da." The song became number one hit in the UK and sold millions of copies around the world.
Marmalade was delighted with their success but a bit embarrassed because the sound was too commercial for their tastes, but their record company was keen they continued in the same vein. Keen to lose the ‘bubblegum’ tag changed labels and released “Reflections of My Life," an original composition by Campbell and Ford incorporating pop/rock and harder progressive elements. The single went to the top of the UK and US charts.
The follow up single "Rainbow," also did well.
By 1970, Marmalade was in serious internal strife. Junior Campbell left the band to pursue a solo career.
Hugh Nicholson (former Poets) joined Marmalade and shared the vocals. Junior Campbell continued to do the band’s arrangements and Marmalade’s music changed back to rock’n’roll and eventually Alan Whitehead was replaced by Dougie Henderson (Poets). By 1972, Pat Fairley decided to give up performing, taking over as the band's publicist and coordinating publishing activities. In the same year they were back in the charts with "Radancer.
As the years passed new lineups followed until Dean Ford was the only original member. By this time Marmalade were more like Status Quo and their popularity started to slip. Peter Walsh grabbed the opportunity and used Alan Whitehead and Graham Knight as the basis for a relaunched Vintage Marmalade. Sandy Newman (vocals, guitar, keyboards) and Charlie Smith (guitar), made up the new format and they has a surprise hit with "Falling Apart at the Seams," in 1977.
This was their last chart success. Marmalade continues in some form to entertain live audiences.
Worth a listen:
Lovin' Things (1968)
Wait For Me Mary-Anne (1968)
Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da (1968)
Reflections Of My Life (1969)
Cousin Norman (1971)
Falling Apart At The Seams (1976)