(c’64-’65) – Terry Crowe (vocals), Mick Forde/Dunford (guitar), Derek “Degs” Sirmon (drummer), Danny McCulloch (guitar) and Chris Dennis (keyboard).
Ex-Cruisers Rock Combo and Nashville Teens member, Crowe (who lived on Maybury Estate, Woking) and Dunford formed ‘The Plebs’ in early ’64 with McCulloch, Sirmon and Dennis (Dennis and Sirmon were both ex-Screaming Lord Sutch and the Savages). Dennis had been looking for a new band and had put a notice up in his local music shop. Less than a week later there was McCulloch standing at Dennis’ door, inviting him to an audition. Sirmon joined in July ’64 and had previously been a member of The Conchords (who later became Mungo Jerry) and then Mike Dee & The Jaywalkers with Ritchie Blackmore..
They gigged across the country, but only hit the local circuit twice; playing the Civic Hall, Guildford on 6 March ’65 with Daniel & The Emeralds, and Brooklands Technical College at some point.
Soon after forming Celler Club owner Hugh O’Donnell offered them a residence at the club. The Plebs did indeed play Celler Club, Kingston upon Thames pretty regularly in ’64, including a show with Jimmy Reed and John Lee’s Groundhogs on 16 November ’64. It was O’Donnell who introduced the band to Larry Parnes who secured them fore a series of thirteen Sunday concerts at the Britannia Pier, Great Yarmouth on the Mark Wynter Show. As Wynter’s backing band they supported The Dave Clark Five, along with The Hollies, The Trebletones, The Mojos and The Kinks and alongside The Applejacks..
The Plebs also provided backing to Jess Conrad, and by June they were supporting Jimmy Reed and Joe Lee Hooker on their UK tours. Just before their season at Great Yarmouth ended O’Donnell helped them out again, getting them signed to the Don Arden Agency, the same agency as the Nashville Teens. Within three days of signing they were recording “Bad Blood”. This, their first and only single, and a cover of The Coasters’ track,was released on the Decca label in October that same year, backed by an R&B tinged cover of Joan Baez’s “Babe I’m Gonna Leave You”. Prior to the singles release they had been backing Brother John Sellers in the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre at the Shaftesbury Theatre. In support of the single they stopped partaking “mod” ballet at The Shaftesbury Theatre and began touring with Carl Perkins, The Animals and Nashville Teens and opened for the Roadrunners and The Notions at Liverpool’s Cavern Club.
The Plebs were Jerry Lee Lewis’ band for a European tour and in November ’64 appeared behind the rock n’ roller on “Ready, Steady, Go” – having been turned down by “Thank Your Lucky Stars” for lyrics that were “in bad taste” – performing “High Heel Sneakers” and “Whole lot of shakin'”. But, before they backed Lewis on the show they got to perform their own single.
Around this time the band recorded a session, gain as Lewis’ backing band, that was used in Lance Comfort’s 1965 teen movie ‘Be My Guest’ as a musical number insert performing the unreleased “No One But Me”, which was written for Lewis by The Ram Jam Band member Geoffrey Pullum.
They were also part of a Don Arden promotion labelled R’n’B ’64 tour, with The Animals headlining and support acts like Carl Perkins, The Nashville Teens, Tommy Tucker, and Elkie Brooks. The Plebs also backed Gene Vincent, sharing the bill with The Yardbirds. Late ’64 is also when a rumored single sided 12 inch LP, carrying 10 tracks, was said to be release having been recorded at the R.G.Jones Studio, Morden, but we’ve yet to find any evidence.
In January ’65, they ended up in Hamburg, playing at the Star Club. They returned to the UK, where Sirmon got married and then didn’t accompany the band back to Germany a few months later. His spot was filled by ex-Nashville Teen drummer Dave Maine. When their contract expired and spurred on by ‘band member differences’ Dennis decided to stay on, playing with a variety of bands such as Lee Curtis & the All Stars from March ’65, joining Ronnie Jones & The Blue Jays in May ’66 and sticking with them until they completed backing PP Arnold on the Roy Orbison tour in April ’67, and The Bad Boys who took him to Italy. The others went home and the band folded. Crowe and Dunford formed Pentad. Dennis later relocated to Italy, playing with Dave Anthony’s Moods, The Rags, I Nomadi and Modena City Ramblers; and more recently teaching English and music. Dunford became a key member of the second lineup of Renaissance, and McCulloch is probably best known for his work with Eric Burdon & The Animals / New Animals as bassist which he joined after a spell with The Carl Douglas Set. Regrettably, Crowe passed from cancer too young, Dunford passed on 20 November 2012 in Surrey, and McCulloch died on 29 January 2015.