Joan ReganView in iTunes
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Joan Regan was born in Romford, Essex on the 19th January 1928. While working as a photographer's re-toucher, she cut a couple of discs, versions of the songs Too Young and I'll Walk Alone which after coming to the attention of Bernard Delfont, earned her a recording contract with Decca Records. As virtually all of her British contemporaries at that time, she was presented with American songs to cover, her first being Till I Waltz Again With You and I'll Always Be Thinking Of You, but neither of these were strong enough to break into the charts. On her third song, Ricochet, she was backed by the vocal group The Squadronaires which just reached the top 10 at the end of 1953 and led to her regular appearances on the TV series Quite Contrary, which was followed later by four series of her own show, Be My Guest. During 1954 and 1955 she had several hits with further covers, Someone Else's Roses, If I Give My Heart To You, Prize Of Gold and Wait For Me Darling on which she was backed by The Johnson Brothers. She developed her act to include impressions of Gracie Fields, Judy Garland and actress Anna Neagle and in the late 1950s, she appeared several times at the London Palladium including The Royal Command performance and also in the show Stars In Your Eyes with her long term friend, Russ Conway who had been her rehearsal pianist during the early days. Leaving Decca in 1958, she signed with EMI's HMV label and had one final top 10 hit in the summer of 1959 and four minor hits during 1960 with yet another company Pye, Happy Anniversary, Papa Loves Mambo, One Of The Lucky Ones and It Must Be Santa. She married Harry Claff in 1957 who had worked at the Palladium but they divorced in 1963 after he was jailed for five years for fraud. By this time, the hits had completely dried up and she suffered a nervous breakdown, and relocated to Florida, marrying Martin Cowan. She suffered a brain haemorrhage in 1984 and was left paralysed but recovered enough to appear on stage again with Russ Conway. She signed a new deal with Nectar records in 1992 and continues to make occasions appearances on stage. ~ Sharon Mawer