Rick Huxley: Bassist with the Dave Clark Five

 

Although critically dismissed today, the Dave Clark Five was one of the most successful groups of the 1960s, having several UK hits and a following not far behind the Beatles' in America. Rick Huxley was part of the Dave Clark Five throughout their career and played bass on all their records, adding backing vocals when required.

The oldest member of the Dave Clark Five, Richard Huxley was born in Dartford in August 1942, the son of a publican. He played the guitar and when he left school at 16 answered an ad to join a beat group led by Dave Clark. Clark, no great musician himself but a brilliant organiser, knew how to pick competent players and by 1960 he had the line-up he wanted: himself on drums, Mike Smith (keyboards and lead vocals), Lenny Davidson (lead guitar), Huxley (bass) and Denis Payton (saxophone).

With a potent brand of pop and rhythm and blues, the Dave Clark Five found regular employment with Mecca Ballrooms. Huxley said that one of the tunes in their repertoire, "You Can't Sit Down", recorded by the Philip Upchurch Combo in Chicago in 1961, was the basis for their own trademark sound. Their two years with Mecca broadened their experience but their singles for Ember, Piccadilly and EMI's Columbia label only had limited success.

It was their sixth single, "Glad All Over", released in December 1963, which provided the breakthrough. The repetitive song, written by Clark and Smith, with its thunderous, thumping sound, soared up the charts, replacing "I Want To Hold Your Hand" at the top. Said Clark, "I knew that we needed a song with thumps in. We had been playing dance halls and we were getting a great audience response to the stomping things we were doing."

The press dubbed it "The Tottenham Sound", and the follow-up single, "Bits And Pieces", a No 2, was equally noisy and powerful. Some dance halls were reluctant to let the band play their hits as they feared that dancers would damage the floor.

Dave Clark wanted to emulate the success of the Beatles in America and the first of their 18 appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show came in March 1964. Sullivan warmed to their good-looking, clean-cut image, and indeed, they looked like the younger members of a yacht club with their blazers, tab-collared shirts and white trousers. Clark encouraged them to concentrate on the US market. They toured more extensively than the Beatles and released numerous singles for America only, having a No 1 with "Over And Over" in 1965.

Clark paid the band members a weekly salary and Smith told me in 1991 that he was happy that Clark had been making the decisions. "We didn't care," he said. "To us it was just a matter of enjoying ourselves. There were the Three Musketeers – Rick, Lenny and myself – and we were the three terrors who got up to a lot of mischief. We had water fights and caused havoc in hotels but it never got into the papers. I think that a lot of the other groups deliberately did outrageous things to get noticed, but we had the publicity anyway. We ate good food, had lots of fun and played the concerts: it was a good life." A publicity leaflet at the time states that Huxley liked peace and quiet and was only irritated by leaky ballpoints. The high living was perhaps not for him; his favourite food was tripe and onions.

Their film Catch Us If You Can (1965), directed by John Boorman and written by Peter Nichols, was very successful. Paradoxically, it was about a pop group trying to escape from commercial demands. Huxley had comedic talent and his role could have been expanded.

The group did show some versatility, in particular, with the ballad "Because" and the soulful "Come Home". When they appeared on the 1965 Royal Variety Performance they chose to perform the country hit, "Welcome To My World". The group had too much of a bubblegum image to become psychedelic in 1967, and despite hits with "Everybody Knows" (1967) and "Red Balloon" (1968), they disbanded in 1971.

For a time, Huxley worked for Vox amplifiers, but in 1973 he and a friend, Doug Jackson, opened their own music equipment store close to the Oval. In 1987 Huxley moved into electrical wholesale. He had smoked heavily and he suffered from emphysema. Payton died in 2006 and Smith in 2008, and Huxley's wife, Ann, in 2012.

Spencer Leigh

Richard Huxley, bass guitarist: born Dartford 5 August 1942; married Ann (died 2012); died 11 February 2013.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Robert De Niro, Martin Scorsese and DiCaprio, at an awards show in 2010
filmsDe Niro, DiCaprio and Pitt to star
News
i100
News
In this photo illustration a school student eats a hamburger as part of his lunch which was brought from a fast food shop near his school, on October 5, 2005 in London, England. The British government has announced plans to remove junk food from school lunches. From September 2006, food that is high in fat, sugar or salt will be banned from meals and removed from vending machines in schools across England. The move comes in response to a campaign by celebrity TV chef Jamie Oliver to improve school meals.
science
Sport
England captain Wayne Rooney during training
FOOTBALLNew captain vows side will deliver against Norway for small crowd
Life and Style
Red or dead: An actor portrays Hungarian countess Elizabeth Báthory, rumoured to have bathed in blood to keep youthful
health
News
peopleJustin Bieber charged with assault and dangerous driving after crashing quad bike into a minivan
News
peopleHis band Survivor was due to resume touring this month
News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Life and Style
fashionModel of the moment shoots for first time with catwalk veteran
Sport
Radamel Falcao poses with his United shirt
FOOTBALLRadamel Falcao's journey from teenage debutant in Colombia to Manchester United's star signing
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Front-Office Developer (C#, .NET, Java,Artificial Intelligence)

£30000 - £45000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: Front-Of...

C++ Quant Developer

£700 per day: Harrington Starr: Quantitative Developer C++, Python, STL, R, PD...

Java/Calypso Developer

£700 per day: Harrington Starr: Java/Calypso Developer Java, Calypso, J2EE, J...

SQL Developer

£500 per day: Harrington Starr: SQL Developer SQL, C#, Stored Procedures, MDX...

Day In a Page

Chief inspector of GPs: ‘Most doctors don’t really know what bad practice can be like for patients’

Steve Field: ‘Most doctors don’t really know what bad practice can be like for patients’

The man charged with inspecting doctors explains why he may not be welcome in every surgery
Stolen youth: Younger blood can reverse many of the effects of ageing

Stolen youth

Younger blood can reverse many of the effects of ageing
Bob Willoughby: Hollywood's first behind the scenes photographer

Bob Willoughby: The reel deal

He was the photographer who brought documentary photojournalism to Hollywood, changing the way film stars would be portrayed for ever
Hollywood heavyweights produce world's most expensive corporate video - for Macau casino

Hollywood heavyweights produce world's most expensive corporate video - for Macau casino

Scorsese in the director's chair with De Niro, DiCaprio and Pitt to star
Angelina Jolie's wedding dress: made by Versace, designed by her children

Made by Versace, designed by her children

Angelina Jolie's wedding dressed revealed
Anyone for pulled chicken?

Pulling chicks

Pulled pork has gone from being a US barbecue secret to a regular on supermarket shelves. Now KFC is trying to tempt us with a chicken version
9 best steam generator irons

9 best steam generator irons

To get through your ironing as swiftly as possible, invest in one of these efficient gadgets
England v Norway: Wayne Rooney admits England must ‘put on a show’ to regain faith

Rooney admits England must ‘put on a show’ to regain faith

New captain vows side will deliver for small Wembley crowd
‘We knew he was something special:’ Radamel Falcao's journey from teenage debutant to Manchester United's star signing

‘We knew he was something special’

Radamel Falcao's journey from teenage debutant to Manchester United's star signing
'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York