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.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Hayley Williams performs with Paramore in New York
musicParamore singer says 'Steal Your Girl' is itself stolen from a New Found Glory hit
Ronaldinho signs the t-shirt of a pitch invader
footballProof they are getting bolder
peopleStella McCartney apologises over controversial Instagram picture
William Hague
people... when he called Hague the county's greatest
voicesBy the man who has
More than 90 years of car history are coming to an end with the abolition of the paper car-tax disc
newsThis and other facts you never knew about the paper circle - completely obsolete today
Arts and Entertainment
Ed Sheeran performs at his Amazon Front Row event on Tuesday 30 September
musicHe spotted PM at private gig
Arsene Wenger tried to sign Eden Hazard
footballAfter 18 years with Arsenal, here are 18 things he has still never done as the Gunners' manager
newsFloyd 'Creeky' Creekmore still performed regularly to raise money for local hospitals
indybestKeep extra warm this year with our 10 best bedspreads
people'I’d rather have Fred and Rose West quote my characters on childcare'
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + OTE: SThree: Real Staffing Group is seeking Traine...

Year 6 Teacher (interventions)

£120 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: We have an exciting opportunity...

PMLD Teacher

Competitive: Randstad Education Manchester: SEN Teacher urgently required for ...

Real Estate Solicitor 2+PQE - City

Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: CITY - HIGH VALUE REAL ESTATE / RESID...

Day In a Page

Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Why do we like making lists?

Notes to self: Why do we like making lists?

Well it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
Hong Kong protests: A good time to open a new restaurant?

A good time to open a new restaurant in Hong Kong?

As pro-democracy demonstrators hold firm, chef Rowley Leigh, who's in the city to open a new restaurant, says you couldn't hope to meet a nicer bunch
Paris Fashion Week: Karl Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'

Paris Fashion Week

Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'
Bruce Chatwin's Wales: One of the finest one-day walks in Britain

Simon Calder discovers Bruce Chatwin's Wales

One of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
10 best children's nightwear

10 best children's nightwear

Make sure the kids stay cosy on cooler autumn nights in this selection of pjs, onesies and nighties
Manchester City vs Roma: Five things we learnt from City’s draw at the Etihad

Manchester City vs Roma

Five things we learnt from City’s Champions League draw at the Etihad
Martin Hardy: Mike Ashley must act now and end the Alan Pardew reign

Trouble on the Tyne

Ashley must act now and end Pardew's reign at Newcastle, says Martin Hardy
Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?