Hermans Hermits, The Tremeloes, Mamas & Papas UK, Marmalade, The Merseybeats, PJ Proby, Dave Berry, Steve Ellis and Gerry’s Pacemakers will be on the bill for dates including Saturday, September 11 at Eastbourne’s Congress Theatre, Wednesday, October 6 at Guildford G Live, Sunday, October 17 at Southampton Mayflower and Thursday, November 4 at Hastings White Rock.
Sandy Newman, who joined Marmalade in 1973, is delighted to be back on the road: “It has been a very strange year and a half. It has been horrible in many ways. First of all I was like a lot of people that just tried to get through it by giving themselves some kind of regime. For me, it was just walking. I can’t do any violent exercise! But it gets a little bit boring. There are only so many places you can go locally, and even then it was all masks and social distancing, so I felt it all went in phases for me. There was the phase of being keen to do something and keep active and then I got a bit switched off to it all especially when, like everybody’s observations, the rules just seemed to keep changing.”
As a performer, it was tough: “I got subdued into not thinking about performing. It just became a question of when is this ever going to end. This tour was officially going to be last year, but obviously we couldn’t do it.”
But through Warner Leisure the band did get a few opportunities to perform. In the end, though, it amounted to just three performances since the first lockdown.
“And with this, well, there were restrictions. We had to tell people not to clap and not to sing along and do all the things that you would normally want them to do. A lot of the guys were thinking ‘This is great!’ but I did feel that we were being robbed a bit of being able to do it properly.”
Now, however, things do resume – a chance for Sandy to continue a Marmalade career which now goes back almost half a century.
Marmalade were the champions of the Scottish Beat in 1968, adding another dimension to the sound of the classic pop song, with strong harmonies.
They started out as The Gaylords and then Dean Ford and The Gaylords, recording four singles for Columbia (EMI). In 1966 they changed their name to The Marmalade and enjoyed their greatest chart success between 1968 and 1972, getting ten songs into the UK singles chart. Sandy came into the band at a time of change and fragmentation: “There were different ideas. Dean wanted to become an album band and more on the heavy rock side. But the public saw Marmalade for Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da and the chart hits. They weren’t about to be educated by a band that they considered to be a mainstream pop band. So things fragmented.”
But also they have continued: “It has become my career. I moved down to England and I got involved in little parts of the industry apart from Marmalade, a little bit of management as well as other things that came my way through my Marmalade career. It just became my life. There have been considerable member changes over the years, but I have always tried to keep the ethos of Marmalade alive. I mean that it is good entertainment, a good live show, good vocals and an energetic performance.
“That’s what I always admired about them when I saw them even before they had success in this country. I saw them years ago and I just thought they were fantastic. Maybe that was a Scottish thing. I was with a very successful band in Scotland, and I saw Dean Ford and The Gaylords and how they were the first band that really came down and stayed in London and made it happen. They were a great band.”