home

band
news
biography
timeline
5pp on tv

shop
mail order
On Stage
City Of Manchester
A Special Child
Where It All Began
5pp Collection
Very Best Of 5pp
John Meek - Just Me

our songs
discography
5pp in the charts
song list
lyrics
audio

gallery
band pics
video gallery

contact us
discussion group

links

faq

The Fivepenny Piece Timeline

Big Jim shows off his new single! This page lists major events in the career of The Fivepenny Piece in chronological order, as near as we can determine. Some of the dates are a bit vague, so there's a chance we may have some events in the wrong place. Also the details of some periods of the band's career are a bit sketchy, to say the least. If you can provide more information, correct any errors, or know of any omissions, please contact us.

Click on a year to see what happened!
1968 | 1969 | 1970 | 1971 | 1972 | 1973 | 1974 | 1975 | 1976 | 1977 | 1978 | 1979 | 1980 | 1981 | 1982 | 1983 | 1984 | 1985 | 1986-1990 | 1991 | 1992-1994 | 1995 | 1996 | 1997 | 1998 | 1999 | 2000 | 2001 | 2002 | 2003 | 2004 | 2005 | 2006 | 2007 | 2008 | 2009 | 2010

1968
  • John Meeks, his sister Lynda Meeks, and Eddie Crotty perform a few songs together at a social event held at Ashton-under-Lyne Golf Club in February. They are considered good enough to be asked back!
  • By the time they reappear at the club a month later, Colin Radcliffe and his jazzman brother George Radcliffe has joined the others to form a five-piece band.
  • Banned by John's wife Margaret from rehearsing at their house (because to plug in the guitar amp they had to unplug the freezer!) the band start rehearsing regularly on Wednesday nights in a room at the Broadoak Hotel in Ashton-under-Lyne. The locals soon catch on, and the band soon progresses from just rehearsing to performing at the Broadoak, under the name The Wednesday Folk.
  • The band is unexpectedly catapulted to national prominence when they enter and win the folk section of the Granada TV talent show New Faces, still under their original name. This leads to an appearance in a BBC TV documentary The Persuaders (or Birth Of A Group) in which viewers are invited to vote for a new name for the band. The band thus become known as The Fivepenny Piece.
  • As a result of their success the band is signed to the prestigious Noel Gay agency, and is offered a recording contract with EMI Records.

1969
  • The band's first single Running Free is issued on EMI's Columbia label in January. Sadly, it is not a success in spite of the band's popularity.
  • Later in January, the BBC TV documentary The Persuaders is broadcast, chronicling the band's rise to fame New Faces and their subsequent grooming for success.
  • April sees the band's second single Hang The Flag Out Mrs Jones released, also on Columbia. In spite of being a much more commercial single than the first, it fails to chart.

1971
  • The band appears on the BBC2 TV show Get The Drift, televised in the summer.

1972
  • The band's next single (their third on the Columbia label) is issued. The 'A' side is There's A Great Deal Of Difference, backed with one of their most popular songs Ee By Gum. Once again, the record was denied chart success.
  • At last the band's first album, entitled simply The Fivepenny Piece, is released. The album is very well received, containing as it does some of their best material in a mixture of pop and Lancashire folk styles.
  • November sees the release of the fourth single by the Fivepenny Piece A Gradely Prayer b/w Reflections of Emily. It again fails to make the charts in spite of being popular.

1973
  • The second LP Makin' Tracks is issued and reaches the national Top 40 album chart.
  • Another single (their fifth) is issued The People Tree b/w Home Made Brew. The single is again unsuccessful.
  • Hot on the heels of the minor success of Makin' Tracks, one of The Fivepenny Piece's most popular albums Songs We Like To Sing is released. Although it eventually sells more than its predecessor it fails to chart because the sales are spread over a longer period of time.
  • Two songs from the latest album Gotta Get Away and I'm Powfagged are issued on a single, the band's sixth, also on Columbia. Failure to chart is the familiar (by now) result.

1974
  • The Fivepenny Piece appear as guests on the popular Granada TV comedy/variety show The Wheeltappers & Shunters Club, in May.
  • In July EMI makes an effort to get the group into the charts by releasing the Greenaway-Macaulay song Save Your Last Kiss For Me as a single on the EMI label, complete with picture sleeve. In spite of the strength of the song and the performance it still doesn't chart.
  • EMI realises that The Fivepenny Piece's strength is in live performance, and accordingly Bob Barratt produces the LP Fivepenny Piece... On Stage recorded live at the band's "home" the Broadoak, Ashton. The LP is to become one of the most enduringly popular, although it never makes the album charts.

1975
  • Perhaps vainly hoping for more success with the band's Lancashire songs, EMI and the band re-record two of their best-loved songs Big Jim and Ee By Gum for a single release in January.
  • The studio album Wish You Were Here is released.
  • EMI re-releases one of the band's earlier singles A Gradely Prayer b/w Reflections Of Emily, perhaps with an eye on the Christmas market.

1976
  • The Fivepenny Piece appear in an episode of the acclaimed BBC-TV series The Camera & The Song, singing their own songs in a programme about the Lake District. One of the songs Mountain Climber is included on the BBC album of the show.
  • The band's next album King Cotton, considered by many to be their finest, is released and reaches the Top 10 album chart.
  • A single taken from the King Cotton album Watercolour Morning b/w Old England is released but fails to emulate the album's success.

1977
  • The album Telling Tales is released. Unfortunately it failed to chart like its predecessor.
  • The Fivepenny Piece record a live show for BBC-TV at the Poco-a-Poco Theatre, Stockport, with folk singer/comedian Mike Harding. The 50-minute show Fivepenny Piece & Mike Harding is broadcast in April and is to prove popular enough to prompt the BBC to offer Mike Harding and the band a series.
  • The band's next album Fivepenny Piece On Stage Again is recorded live at the Broadoak and released in October.

1978
  • April sees the release of the band's ninth LP Both Sides Of Fivepenny Piece.
  • The band's six-part BBC-TV series with Mike Harding MH & 5P is aired in June and July. The series is a great success and on the strength of this the BBC is to offer Mike his own series and the band theirs', the following year.
  • The band star in an episode of the BBC2 TV series Rhythm On 2 with their guests The Oldham Tinkers, in August.
  • EMI's last-ditch attempt for success with a The Fivepenny Piece single is issued in October - I'll Be Still In Love With You. Although a strong contender, the band's bad luck with singles continues, and this was to be their final one for EMI.
  • With other Lancashire artists, Fivepenny Piece contribute to an album issued by EMI Lanky Spoken Here!, a kind of "Teach Thissen Lanky" course in the Lancashire dialect. The album proves very popular and is eventually to be reissued on a CD, 25 years later.
  • At Christmas time, BBC TV broadcasts a 40-minute special featuring Mike Harding and The Fivepenny Piece. Like their earlier shows together, the programme was recorded live at the Poco-a-Poco Theatre, Stockport.

1979
  • The band release the more or less pure pop album Peddlers Of Songs in April, featuring many songs not written by the band.
  • The Fivepenny Piece's own four-part TV series was broadcast on Friday nights on BBC2 during May. One guest of the show was Bernard Wrigley little knowng that he would join the band in 1995!
  • June sees the release by EMI of the compilation LP The Very Best Of The Fivepenny Piece.
  • The Fivepenny Piece leaves EMI and signs a contract with Philips records. Their first album for Philips is the studio album Life Is A Game Of Chance.

1980
  • In May, EMI releases a compilation album of Lancashire songs by The Fivepenny Piece Lancashire My Lancashire.
  • Another EMI compilation album This Is Fivepenny Piece is released in October.
  • The band release their second and final album for Philips, a live recording from the Coliseum Theatre, Oldham, entitled An Evening With The Fivepenny Piece.

1981
  • Founder member and group leader John Meeks leaves the band, the first member of the original line-up to do so. His replacement is singer and songwriter Trevor Chance.

1982
  • The single It's A Long Way is released on a small independent label, as a promotional item for a travel company, to tie in with the Falklands war.

1983
  • Founder member Lynda Meeks leaves the group - Lynda is the second member of the original group (after brother John) to leave. Her replacement is Andrea Mullins (née Simpson), a former member of the girl duo The Caravelles, who had a big hit on both sides of the Atlantic in 1963 with You Don't Have To Be A Baby To Cry.
  • The album Here We Are Again is issued on a small independent label owned by the group's manager Brian Durkin.

1985
  • The Fivepenny Piece decides to call it a day and splits up. The members of the group at this stage are Trevor Chance, Andrea Mullins, Colin Radcliffe, George Radcliffe and Eddie Crotty. Trevor is to move on to other show business interests and Colin is to retire from the music scene. (The remaining three are later to regroup, as will be seen!)

1991
  • The first CD of The Fivepenny Piece material is issued by EMI - a compilation of some of their best tracks from their albums originally released between 1972 and 1979.

1995
  • The Fivepenny Piece is reformed with original members Eddie Crotty and George Radcliffe; Andrea Mullins who was in the group in the 1980s before they split up; and two new members, Pete Brew and the well-known folk singer/comedian Bernard Wrigley.

1996
  • A CD by the current band 57 Fivepenny Favourites is released on a small independent label. The album consists of medleys of well-known folk and pop songs.

1997
  • Owing to TV commitments, Bernard Wrigley leaves the band as he is unable to guarantee being available for bookings (Bernard was playing the part of Barry Clegg, the rocket builder, in the ITV soap Emmerdale). Pete Brew also leaves, and they are replaced by John Eatock and Alan Taylor.

1998
  • EMI re-releases the CD The Very Best Of Fivepenny Piece with the same tracks as the 1991 release.

1999
  • The band release a new CD Better Than Ever.

2000
  • The LP Here We Are Again is reissued on CD.

2001
  • The 5pp.co.uk website is started by band fan Paul Gunningham.

2002
  • Sadly, Fivepenny Piece founder member George Radcliffe dies in December.

2003
  • EMI announces the re-release of the Lanky Spoken Here! album on CD, with extra material. The CD is released in May, with extra tracks from Fivepenny Piece and Bernard Wrigley, but almost unbelievably the spoken content of the record is completely missing from the CD! Eventually the CD is reissued in October, this time simply a reissue of the original LP with no extra tracks, but at least the spoken parts are included this time.

2004
  • Original Fivepenny Piece member John Meeks comes out of retirement (musically speaking) to release a new CD with some new songs and reworking of some of the old Fivepenny Piece material written by John with Colin Radcliffe.

2005  

2006

2007
  • Paul Gunningham, the editor of the website, dies following a road traffic accident. The Fivepenny Piece website is handed over to the band, and Frank Blades volunteers to take over as editor.
  • Tuesday 11th September 2007 sees the release of a brand new The Fivepenny Piece album Where It All Began.
  • The Fivepenny Piece release a Christmas single A Special Child, a previously unreleased song with Lynda singing. (9 Nov 2007)

2008

2009
  • Sadly, Fivepenny Piece founder member Eddie Crotty dies after a long illness. (Apr 2009)

2010

 


website maintained by somersetmade ltd (c) 2010