Yes, ‘Ed’ to new friends and acquaintances and ‘Eddie’ to past ones. Eddie is a friend and fellow band member from the fabulous, swinging 60s when Albert Hammond and I joined Los Cincos in London. Many tuneful and (probably) dud notes have passed under that musical bridge for both of us since those years. I met Eddie for a coffee and a chat to reminisce about the old days and catch up with what he’s been up during those post-Los Cincos years, and to ask him why he’s come back home.
Eddie formed part of one of the handful of Gibraltarian groups which left Gibraltar seeking that elusive star status in the recording world and hopefully becoming one of the many talented but also lucky outfits of successful pop groups of the revolutionary 60s. Starting off on the Rock as The Silhouettes in the early 60s, they then became The G Boys! A fishing trip enthusiast visited the Rock, watched them perform and saw their potential. Eddie Elliot became their manager and whisked them off to England to join the thousands of other groups there wanting to ‘make it’…also no mean feat!
“In Portsmouth, where we were based at first, we supported many of the 60s top acts like, Gene Pitney, Roy Orbison, The Yardbirds and a number of others,” says Eddie, and so the sequence of events that followed was not unlike for many of those other groups and singers seeking fame and fortune travelling around the country making records, appearing on radio and television – and in Los Cincos’ case, enjoying long residencies in top, London hotels and performing at bar mitzvahs and Jewish weddings, as their managers were Jewish and well placed to get them those bookings (I too, was part of the group at that time).
There were a number of changes in the line-up during the following years and Los Cincos ended up on the island of Jersey, again playing in a hotel there and staying for a full year’s contract. “I remember it well, and that’s when I decided to leave the group and concentrate on my songwriting. You get the usual ‘OK, play me a couple of your songs’ before they take you on, and they must’ve liked them! So I joined Chappell’s Music Publishing in London, spending a couple of years there listening to demos and auditioning other songwriters’ recordings as well as writing my own songs – ideally placing them with particular singers or groups for possible releases. It was also a bit like a talent scout looking out for good songwriters.” And so began phase two of Eddie’s career…
He has been responsible for over ten million record sales.
It’s during these periods working close to the top people in the industry – whether in publishing or meeting other performers or having good managers – that you come close to some measure of success. As is often said and is so true, Lady Luck plays a big part.
“Well yes, I worked with people like Lynsey de Paul, Roger Cook, Mike Batt, Hurricane Smith and others. I was instrumental in providing “Mother of Mine” to Neil Reed which got to number one in the mainstream charts, which Little Jimmy Osmond also recorded and was on the B side of “Long Haired Lover of Liverpool” which also got to number one. There have also been others successes in other countries which you don’t tend to hear about.”
That’s true; Eddie had a hit with one of his songs in the UK Top Twenty with Tommy Hunt called “Loving on the Losing Side” and other successes came his way in Canada, Japan and other Asian countries. He’s had releases on many record labels (some of his own in groups he was part of) and in one form or another has been responsible for over ten million record sales!
Moving on and learning a great deal from the ins and outs during his time working in music publishers – Chappells and Southern Music – Eddie decided to start up his own studio in North London, along with fellow Gibraltarians, Henry and Dennis Valerga. “It was during those years, even almost up to the present day, where I learnt a great deal about recording, producing and engineering. It was during the heyday of reggae music when artists like Dennis Brown, Sugar Minnott and others came along to record at Rock Studios, which is what our place was called, and that helped me gain a lot of experience recording music.”
Expo ’92 in Sevilla came next, and a recording to promote the event was put together by producer Ed in that city, bringing together many Spanish singing stars not unlike the Live Aid and We are the World offerings in the 80s. Back in the UK, Eddie continued to record would-be singing stars and groups and kept up his songwriting, something that was becoming difficult to sustain as nowadays all groups and singers write their own material, so the era of the dedicated songsmith is something of the past… “Yes, these days, groups and solo artists record their own material so we are surplus to requirements really and after close on 60 years of working in the music business in the UK, I felt going back home would be the next best thing.” And I think, hopefully get stuck in and staying in touch with the music industry which he feels needs a bit of a shove here on the Rock!
“I don’t think a lot has changed since the old days. I can see there’s a lot of talent in Gibraltar in this field and really what I would call a local music industry is lacking. Look, you don’t have to go off to the UK, Spain or wherever to try and find success. Ed Sheeran did it all online, which is available to everyone on the planet wherever you are. We could organise things in such a way here that we could send off recordings placing them on the net for anyone to pick up and we could do it in an organised way if we all work together. Nowadays that’s the way to go.” Eddie says he’s eager to work with young writers and performers, there are many on the Rock and he’s ready to meet with whoever may be interested to get the ball rolling and set up a proper, serious association to form a Gibraltar music industry.
Coffee cups well empty and seeing as the season of goodwill is practically upon us, I thought it apt to reminisce a little about the Christmas dances we played at – ‘til the very early hours of the morning in the 60s – at the Calpe Rowing Club, the Casino and before that the Prince of Wales Catholic Community Centre and other venues on the Rock, some of which are no longer and if they were, would not have four- and five-man groups during Christmastime because the fees demanded these days are exorbitant.
In the meantime, thinking back, Eddie Adamberry reveals what he still prefers the most out of all the different strands he’s tackled during his career in the world of music – his passion for songwriting! Hopefully that will continue, with his young, up-and-coming songwriting contemporaries right here on the Rock.