“I’ve always looked forward to touring.” singer Dave Berry tells me, “Fortunately I’m in a nice position in my career to continue every year which has been excellent for me. This year I did a rhythm and blues tour with The Zombies, it gave me the opportunity to do some different material I don’t normally do in my sixties shows.”
Sheffield born Dave, who released his first single Memphis, Tennessee on the Decca label in 1963, would go on to score major chart success during the 1960s with hits The Crying Game, Little Things and Mama.
“We’d had a gradual build up,” remembers Dave as we discuss his early days in the music business which saw him and his band The Cruisers tour with The Rolling Stones. “I’d done all the major TV shows so I was quite established before The Crying Game. I can tell you any artist who says that they aren’t blown away when their records get high in the charts are lying. It’s the most exciting thing you can ever imagine, its like a footballer been chosen to play for your respective country. To be suddenly chosen and be there in the top five you really are thrilled. It’s the highlight of your career and the hope that you can keep it going. “
Dave has been a constant presence on the live circuit since his 60s heyday having toured with the likes of Van Morrison and performed on stage with artists such as Boy George, Ronnie Spector, Paloma Faith and Ray Davies.
“I’m sort of like the old musicians,” he says, “I think it was Keith Richard who once said of sixties artists “as we all get older we reach the status of all the old jazz musicians.” We want to play the music because that’s what we do, we’re not just pop stars who had thirty minutes or three years of fame. We all wanted to stay in the music business which we’ve all done, its been very much a part of my life.”
Dave recently played a 12,000 capacity concert in Rotterdam alongside such legends as Colin Blunstone, Steve Ellis and George Baker. His success in Belgium goes back to 1965 when his record label signed him up for a song festival in Knokke. “I thought, “well it’s not really my thing,” but they said “Well we’d like you to go because we’d like you to break into Europe.” I didn’t really have any hopes in having anything from it apart from a good weekend and a few drinks and a laugh.”
Dave had a change of heart when he got to the song festival, he continues, “I thought, “No, I’ll go on and do it correctly and do the proper Dave Berry show,” I did and they took to it like a duck to water. There’s humour in the show which is nice, it’s all a bit tongue in cheek. Within about 6 weeks I’d got five records in the Dutch and Belgium charts.”
Dave’s impact in Belgium and Holland saw him have huge success with the Ray Davies composition This Strange Effect resulting in his biggest hit there. Despite his overseas success, he still regularly tours the UK and will continue performing with The Sensational 60s Experience tour in 2015 with Herman’s Hermits, The Swinging’ Blue Jeans, The Union Gap UK, The Ivy League and Alan Mosca of The Dreamers.
“I will be doing all my hits,” says Dave who puts much of his success in the court of the fans who have supported him over the years. “As the years go by, you look back on your career. I’ve done something that many hundreds of thousands of people would never have the opportunity to do, all the major TV shows and to be still touring quality venues now. I’m very proud of the songs I recorded in the 60s.”
- A version of this interview by Andy Howells was originally published in The South Wales Argus entertainment supplement The Guide in November 2014.
- For more on Dave Berry visit his official website
- For more on The Sensational Sixties Experience visit the official website