Tommy Adderley Stories

Tommy's big Chess move

Tommy Adderley with Max Merritt and his Meteors served up a wonderful, rocking version of ‘Whole Lotta Shakin Going On’ on the flipside of ‘I Just Don't Understand’, the latter of which was a chart success for Tommy in 1964, in both the USA (on the Chess label, no less!) and Canada. ‘I Just Don't Understand’ had previously been a hit for Ann-Margret back in 1961; it was also covered by The Beatles in a BBC live session.

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Tommy at the Pines


Tommy Adderley left England a merchant seaman, and arrived in New Zealand a singer. He was just 19, and had already been at sea for four years. In England, everyone was listening to Tommy Steele and Elvis, but it was the skiffle of Lonnie Donegan that made it possible to take part yourself. He formed a shipboard group called the Hound Dogs, and each time they visited Wellington, Tommy and his friends would go to local clubs and say, “We’re the band from the Dominion Monarch” and get a gig. The club would get a band, a crowd full of seaman, and women attracted by their sharp suits, shoes and slicked hair.

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