Clint Warwick

Bassist with the original line-up of the Moody Blues on their transatlantic hit 'Go Now'

Thursday 03 June 2004 00:00 BST

Alongside the Beatles, the Moody Blues are the British band who travelled the furthest from their early Sixties roots as a crowd-pleasing outfit covering American rhythm'n'blues and pop songs.

Albert Eccles (Clint Warwick), bassist, singer and carpenter: born Birmingham 25 June 1940; twice married (one son, and one son deceased); died Birmingham 15 May 2004.

Alongside the Beatles, the Moody Blues are the British band who travelled the furthest from their early Sixties roots as a crowd-pleasing outfit covering American rhythm'n'blues and pop songs.

The bassist Clint Warwick was in the original Moody Blues line-up which topped the UK charts and made the US Top Ten in 1965 with "Go Now", the dramatic, melancholy song first recorded by the American soul singer Bessie Banks. Also comprising Denny Laine (vocals, guitar), Graeme Edge (drums), Ray Thomas (flute, harmonica, vocals) and Mike Pinder (keyboards), the first line-up struggled to repeat this early success.

A married man torn between loyalty to the group and commitments to his family, Warwick left the Moody Blues in 1966 and was soon followed by Denny Laine. The arrival of the bassist John Lodge and the singer and guitarist Justin Hayward transformed the Moody Blues into the pioneering progressive group who scored a hit with "Nights In White Satin" in 1968 and are still active today.

Warwick was born Albert Eccles in Birmingham in 1940, and was originally drawn to music during the skiffle boom of the late Fifties. He joined Danny King and the Dukes playing Birmingham pubs and venues like Butlins. Ray Thomas and Mike Pinder had learned their chops in Hamburg with the Krew Kats. They decided to form a Birmingham supergroup with the addition of Laine, who had fronted the Diplomats, Edge, who had been a member of Gerry Levene and the Avengers, and Eccles.

Albert Eccles became Clint Warwick by putting together the names of his favourite singer, Dionne Warwick, and his favourite actor, Clint Walker, and the group took up the name MB5 after receiving a sponsorship deal with a local brewery, Mitchell and Butlers. "The brewery decided they didn't like us so we improvised the name the Moody Blues. A demo was sent to London and the producer Tony Secunda called us down. It all seemed to happen very quickly," recalled Warwick. He had just become a father, but moved into a Chelsea flat with his bandmates.

The Moody Blues took over Manfred Mann's Monday residency at the Marquee Club and signed to Decca Records, performing their début single "Steal Your Heart Away"/"Lose Your Money (But Don't Lose Your Mind)" on the ITV show Ready Steady Go in August 1964. They supported Chuck Berry on a British tour in January 1965 as their cover of "Go Now" raced to the top of the UK charts.

By April 1965, the song was one of nine British singles in the US Top Ten and the Moody Blues were touring with the Kinks and the Beatles. However, their cover of the Drifters' "I Don't Want to Go On Without You" and the Pinder-Laine composition "From the Bottom of My Heart" struggled to reach the Top Forty and, by the time they issued their début LP The Magnificent Moodies that October, they looked like one-hit wonders.

Tony Secunda dropped them to concentrate on their Birmingham rivals the Move and the subsequent singles "Everyday" and "Stop!" flopped. They appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show in the United States, but Warwick missed his family terribly and decided to leave.

He went back to his trade as a carpenter, but began recording again a couple of years ago with the Birmingham musician Steve Pearce for a bittersweet single entitled "My Life, The Waltz".

Pierre Perrone

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