Buckie Boys Almost Got Top Prize  1963 Only One Group Better


JOHNNY AND THE COPYCATS, THE BUCKIE TEENAGE BEAT GROUP WHO HAVE HAD A METORIC RISE TO NATIONAL FAME – THEY WON THE SCOTTISH BEAT BAND CHAMPIONSHIP AT PERTH RECENTLY – CAME VERY CLOSE TO WINNING THE BRITISH CHAMPIONSHIP IN LONDON LAST SUNDAY NIGHT.


Competing against eight beat bands from all over the country in the final of the £2000 contest they finished runners-up to the Yorkshire group, the Excaliburs with Hayley and won prizes worth £750.


The members of this brilliant young group are Iain Lyon (17), lead guitar, Ali Ewan (15), rhythm guitar, Bill Cameron (17) bass guitar, Rob Lawson (16), drums, all of Buckie and vocalist Johnny Stewart (17), of Portnockie, a younger brother of the group’s manager Mr Alex.G Stewart, 40 Bryson Crescent, Buckie.


Both Mr Stewart and the group’s promoter, Mr Ian Johnson, Buckie, travelled with the boys on their trip south.


A member of the party which accompanied the Copycats has sent us the following account of their triumphant and very eventful London visit.

The whole adventure very nearly flopped before the trip south really began. On arrival at Dalcross airfield on Saturday evening, it was found that the north flight from Stornoway was late but, after B.E.A officials learned of the party’s predicament, the essential members of the group and the boy’s manager Mr Alex. Stewart were flown down in a special aircraft. The others waited 2 ½ hours for the delayed north plane to arrive and finally the two parties and were united again Renfrew where the south plane had been held back forty minutes to enable the passengers connecting with this flight to reach London that night.


Sunday was taken up mostly with sightseeing …Buckingham Palace…The Changing of the Guard…The Mall…Westminster Abbey … Houses of Parliament…Whitehall…Downing Street…Trafalgar Square complete with pigeons, and Piccadilly Circus where Eros is now getting a new setting with the round-about giving way to the new one-way street system


FROM OBSCURITY


We made our way to The Granada in Tooting, where the band contest was to be held and, sitting in the circle there, it was difficult to realise in the short space of a year the “Cats” had swept from the obscurity of a small North-east burgh to national fame in the modern beat band world including the title of Scottish champions.


Of the eight bands competing in the final, the Buckie group were the last to take the stage, but, at the end of their performance, they were given a great ovation by the large crowd filling the huge building. There was nothing now but to sit and await the result and, while the judges went off to consider their choice, we sat back and watched a star-studded bill of performers provide the second part of the show – The Sundowners, Bert Weedon, Heinz and the Saints, Al Paige and Joe Brown and The Bruvvers. A really polished performer this Joe Brown we all agreed.


AGONY


But at last the agony of waiting was over and the compere re-appeared on the stage to announce the results. “In fourth placehe began – “The Rapids”: “Third” – Dave Champion and the Strangers….Then ….”Second place goes to” ….”Johnny and the Copycats, the only entry from Scotland”. Oh, what sweet music this was to our ears as we stood thrilled by the terrific round of applause which greeted the announcement.

The winners were “The Excaliburs with Hayley” who hail from Yorkshire, and to them went a cheque for £500, a recording and management and agency contract, a nation-wide tour and a TV appearance.


On Monday after checking out of our hotel, we made our way to the West London air terminal, a magnificent building still under construction, where we had a rather unusual experience which might have been very funny if it hadn’t lasted so long. We boarded the lift expecting to be whisked up to reception….but instead the infernal thing moved a little then stuck halfway between the ground and first floor, leaving nine of us suspended in mid-air packed like sardines in the confined space.


The incident was at first treated as something of a joke but the smiles gradually faded in turn as we found the emergency cupboard empty apart from bare wires and the alarm button produced no results. All the buttons to be found then received attention …but still no joy. By now the air was a little stuffy but the trap was opened and that helped.


We tried shouting; whistling and banging on the walls of the life to attract attention, but the world seemed to be completely oblivious to our plight, although rather annoyingly, we could hear workmen close at hand. Eventually after some twenty minutes, a voice shouted “What’s the matter? Is the lift stuck?”


Ask a silly question like that; of course …the enquirer duly got his answer. To cut a long story short, however, we were rescued by no less than a couple of Scots mechanics.


Then one last round of the shops, the bright lights and a visit to a news theatre before leaving by bus for Heathrow for the flight north to Dyce which took 1 hour 40 minutes.


A thrilling weekend indeed for the whole party and one we are not likely to forget for a very long time.