Tommy Bruce was one of the original British rock n rollers on the 60s music scene in the early 1960s. His hit Ain’t Misbehavin, was produced by the legendary Norrie Paramor, also responsible for hits by Michael Holliday, Frank Ifield, Ruby Murray, Helen Shapiro, Cliff Richard and The Shadows as well as many others.
Tommy’s story from London Barra Boy to pop star and entertainer is now retold in a revised version of his official biography Have Gravel Will Travel written by Dave Lodge.
Pop Star Encouraged Friend’s Book Writing
Dave was personal manager and friend to Tommy for over 30 years and Dave cites Tommy as his main source of encouragement for getting him into writing books, of which he would never have considered had he not written Have Gravel Will Travel. The book title takes its inspiration from Tommy and Dave’s favourite western TV series from the 1960s Have Gun Will Travel.
Dave explains the title was Tommy’s original suggestion prior to the first edition of the book being published. “Have Gun Will Travel was about a guy called Paladin who travelled from place to place with his gun. Tommy’s reasoning was “Well I’m the man with the gravel in my voice and I’ll travel anywhere to sing.” So, that’s how the title came about, but at that point, I didn’t think I’d write the book!”
Sadly, Tommy’s cancer which had beat over a decade previously, returned, so Dave and Tommy set out to compile the book of stories and memories, many of which Tommy had recounted to Dave over many car journeys around the UK in the previous decades. Dave explains Tommy gave his blessing and encouragement to Dave to put the book together.
Tommy lived long enough to see the first edition of Have Gravel, Will Travel before he sadly passed away in 2006. In the years since Tommy’s passing, Dave has written several other book titles to great acclaimand cites Tommy as the reason he got into writing.
Dave returned to Have Gravel, Will Travel recently as he was aware there was still much that had been left out of the biography’s first edition regarding Tommy’s memories and personal photographs.
How Ain’t Misbehavin’ Topped Two UK Charts
An additional 40,000 words have been added to Have Gravel, Will Travel as well as many previously unpublished photographs.
Tommy’s formative years as a London Barra’ boy are recounted as well as Tommy’s time in National Service, plus his first steps into music recording his big hit Ain’t Misbehavin produced by Norrie Paramor which rode high in the charts during 1960.
As Dave explains to Andy Howells in part 1 of a video interview for Entertainment South Wales, Ain’t Misbehavin was Number one in two of the three recognised pop charts of the era. Sadly, this accolade is not recognised in the official chart history used today.
Dave continues: “There’s a huge misconception now. Had another chart been chosen as the chart of choice for British music, Tommy Bruce would have been No.1, but in the other he was No.3 and that eventually became the chart of choice.”
- Watch the first part of the Have Gravel Will Travel interview above or via YouTube.
- Have Gravel Will Travel – The Official Biography of Tommy Bruce by Dave Lodge is available via Amazon and other booksellers.