12 Songs, 30 Minutes

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About The Blue Stars

The Blue Stars were a Birmingham-based British beat band who managed to make a serious name for themselves locally, sufficient so that they actually got a recording contract with Decca Records in 1964. Formed in the early '60s in Cannock, Staffordshire, their original lead singer was Dave Bailey, while Bob Bowman handled the lead guitar chores as well as backing vocals, and Bill Evans played the drums, with Terry Mew on bass, and Tony Phillips on rhythm guitar and backing vocals. They sounded a bit more like their Liverpool rivals to the north than a lot of the competition, which may account for the fact that they were able to attract the attention of Decca, whose talent scouts were forever trying to make up for the fact that their A&R chief had passed on the Beatles in 1962. They could do harmony-ornamented Mersey-style rock & roll ballads and also rock out, based on the evidence of "School Day," a cover of the Chuck Berry song that features an uncredited pianist sharing some of the spotlight with Bowman's crunchy lead guitar and Mew's loping bass. Eventually, their lineup dissolved, and a new configuration for the band was put together, with Jeff Wilding, Doug Bottom, and Brian Lunn -- from the Cannock group the Misphits -- taking over the lead vocals, drums, and bass, respectively. The group's biggest success -- and it isn't clear which version achieved this -- was to get three songs, "I Saw You Yesterday," "Yours Forever," and "School Day," onto the Decca compilation LP Brum Beat. Additionally, future Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham apparently played with some version of this group at the outset of his professional career. ~ Bruce Eder

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