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Beverley Dick was born in early 1940 in the Melbourne suburb of Carlton. As was relatively common with children born in that era Beverley was taught tap dancing. Her first musical performances were on a Sunday morning at the South Melbourne based Rainbow club, which combined people who shared the objective of raising money for deprived children. On Sunday nights at the Rainbow Club there was a social dance with a talent quest. Beverley's father sang at the Rainbow Club and took her along to dance and sing.

The Early Days

When Beverley was sixteen she appeared with Helen Larsen on 3UZ Radio Auditions. Both Beverley and Helen were members of the local church basketball team. Soon after the radio 3UZ appearance Beverley performed on the Australian Amateur Hour as a solo artist. This national talent quest had the winner of each state final perform competitively for the National title. Beverley represented Victoria. The winner was Joe Timbery, a young aboriginal boy.

Whilst singing in the local church choir Beverley met Betty Phillips as well as Nancy and Dorothy Tate. With Betty, Nancy and Dorothy, Beverley performed on Christie's Radio Auditions. As a result of this appearance George Rivett invited the girls to join his concert party. Other members of the concert party included Henri Bource (later of the Thunderbirds and the Allstars), Alan Pope (later of the Planets), John Cosgrove (later of the Sapphires, the Fendermen and the Truetones), and John's sister Pam.

During a holiday at a country farm at Katandra, Beverley and a family friend Jessie Teague sang at the Dookie Hotel. Beverley was also playing guitar. After a performance Neville Pellett of radio station 3SR Shepparton asked Beverley to record some of the songs he heard the night before at the Dookie Hotel. At radio station 3SR Beverley recorded the Slim Whitman hit "Love Song Of The Waterfall". At this time Whitman's material strongly influenced Beverley's performances. To get an appropriate echo for recording Beverley's voice the microphone was mounted on an extended stand so that it was located close to the ceiling.

The Trailblazers

Neville Pellett suggested that when Beverley returned to Melbourne from holidays in Shepparton she contact Bill Earle, who co-ordinated the Trailblazers on radio 3XY Melbourne.

The Trailblazers, a group of artists and musicians with a strong country and western leaning, rehearsed for their weekly 3XY radio show at the Erskine Hall Carlton, and later at the Albion Hall Brunswick. Amongst the members of the Trailblazers were Alan Hawking, Jack Johnson, Tom Heaney, Stan Green, George Xanthos, Charlie Boland, Russell Hawking, George Mack, Elsie Darling and Jack Quinn. The Trailblazers performed over three hundred weekly radio shows for radio 3XY. These shows were broadcast throughout Australia and on WSM Nashville, USA. After the Trailblazers had recorded their weekly radio show it was common for a small group of them including Jack Johnson, Norma Johnson, Stan Green, the Hawking Brothers, Beverley Dick and Jack Quinn to adjourn to Nando's Spaghetti Bar, Carlton where they would entertain their friends and Nando's customers without accepting payment. However, they were provided free food and drinks.

Probably the largest audience to witness a Trailblazers performance was at an early Moomba Festival in Melbourne when more than 10,000 people enjoyed their unique style of country and western music. With the Trailblazers Beverley also performed at the Healesville Shire Hall and the Collingwood Town Hall. An unusual aspect of the Trailblazers' musical style was their adamant refusal to have drums in the group. The percussive drum sound was achieved by threading paper between the guitar strings over the hole in the guitar. The strumming chords would then have a choofing sound.

During 1956 the Trailblazers recorded an album for Planet Records (Planet PP015). The cover art of this record shows the Trailblazers performing on the stage of the State Theatre Flinders Street Melbourne. This was a posed publicity shot. In addition to performing as part of the group on this album, Beverley sang "Love Song of the Waterfall" as a solo. This track features Beverley's distinctive yodel.

The first rock-n-roll group in Melbourne was the Henri Bource Allstars. Many groups, such as the Planets and the Thunderbirds, followed. Early in 1957 Beverley was approached by Henri Bource to sing on a rock-n-roll album that the Henri Bource Allstars were recording for Planet records, (Planet PP016). On this album, "Rock-n-Roll Party", Beverley sang many rock-n-roll standards including "Tutti Frutti", "R-O-C-K", "Be Bop A Lula", "Razzle Dazzle", "Teddy Bear" and "We're Gonna Teach You to Rock". It is understood that the "Rock-n-Roll Party" album, which was recorded at the old eastern Market (now the Southern Cross Hotel) in Exhibition Street, Melbourne, was the first coloured rock-n-roll album cover to be released in Australia.

Beverley's appearances with the Trailblazers continued until their 3XY radio shows ceased. However, there was a period of overlap when the association with the Planets commenced. This occurred during 1958 when the Trailblazers and the Planets auditioned to perform at a rock-n-roll dance at the Maison de Luxe, Glenhuntly Road Elwood. Lindsay Owens promoted this dance.

Enter The Planets

With Betty Phillips, Beverley came from Healesville to sing at the audition. On their arrival Beverley was most surprised to hear drums being played with what she thought was the Trailblazers. Beverley thought they must have hired a drummer for the audition because the music required was rock-n-roll. When she entered the hall the group performing were the Planets, comprising Ben E Joyner (guitar). Barry Greenwood (guitar), Graeme Howie (piano), and Brian Anderson (drums). This line up did not include a bassist.

Beverley was so impressed with the Planets that she asked Barry Greenwood and Brian Anderson to augment the Trailblazers during their performance. As it turned out neither group was hired.

At the Maison de Luxe audition one of the Planets' featured vocalists, Johnny Edwards, asked Beverley to join the group. The following Friday, Beverley Dick appeared with the Planets at the Ormond RSL. During 1958 as the Planets featured female vocalist, Beverley performed at venues that included the Burwood RSL, Ormond RSL and Glen Iris RSL.

The main influences on Beverley's performance and choice of material were, Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly, Ricky Nelson, Janis Martin, Gene Vincent, Carl Perkins and Johnny O'Keefe.

During 1959 Beverley Dick and the Planets, together with the Planets' other featured artists, Johnny Edwards, Billy Dodds, and Ron Patrick regularly performed at Earl's Court St. Kilda, Heidelberg Hall Ivanhoe, and the Soldiers Hall Moonee Ponds. These venues were amongst the most popular pioneering rock-n-roll dances in Melbourne.

It was during 1959 that Beverley toured with Johnny O'Keefe, the Delltones, the Dee Jay's, Malcolm Arthur and Lonnie Lee. The tour, which took place during late September and early October, was Johnny O'Keefe's first interstate tour and went to country centres including Ballarat, Warrnambool and Geelong.

A Warrnambool newspaper that reviewed the show commented that: -
        "...According to the star of the show Johnny O'Keefe, Beverley is
        an outstanding artist and the only girl rock-n-roller worthy of a
        mention in Melbourne".

An observer from the Geelong Press summarised Beverley's performance as follows: -
        "...She had such a soft little voice when announcing her numbers
        but, brother, when she started to shout (sorry sing) I was intrigued
        by the change in her".

Following the tour with Johnny O'Keefe, Beverley suggested that the existing vocalists working with the Planets form a vocal group. The Planetones, as the group was known, comprised, Johnny Edwards, Ron Patrick, Billy Dodds and Beverley Dick. Often the group wore white cardigans emblazed with a red "P" or black cardigans with a white "P".

With Beverley Dick and the Planetones, also the Planets they recorded an extended play single for AWA. The tracks were "Express Eleven", an instrumental, "Lipstick On Your Collar", featuring Beverley Dick and "Only A Fool", a song performed by Johnny Edwards and the Planetones.

The Split

During 1959 the demands of the Planet's manager, radio 3XY disc jockey Jon Royce, caused a split amongst the group and the vocalists. Royce wanted the vocalists and musicians to become full time entertainers. Amongst those not prepared to take what they considered a risky venture was Beverley Dick. Because of the differing views two groups were formed. The groups were Barry and the Planets and the Big Beat Band.

Beverley performed with the Big Beat Band, which comprised the musicians and artists who turned down the Royce proposal to become full-time entertainers. With this group Beverley Dick frequently appeared at radio 3DB and radio 3UZ lunch time concerts at, Heidelberg Hall Ivanhoe, the Progress Hall Brunswick, Earl's Court St. Kilda, Richmond Town Hall, the Olympic Hall Heidelberg, Brighton Town Hall and the Ormond RSL. Crowds of up to six hundred people were common at the Ivanhoe, Heidelberg and Ormond dances.

In July 1960 the Big Beat Band with Beverley Dick and Neil Andrews, together with the Planets, were supporting artists for a Johnny Devlin concert at Festival Hall. Then, in August the same year, Beverley Dick, Neil Andrews and the Big Beat Band featured with Lonnie Lee, Lucky Starr, Judy Cannon, the La Ronde Brothers, Billy Owens, Malcolm Arthur, Colin Cook, the Thunderbirds, the Sapphires and Brian Penglaze and the Hi-Marks at a Festival Hall concert.

Together Again

Towards the end of 1960 the Big Beat Band and the Planets merged into one group known again as the Planets. Beverley Dick was their featured female vocalist. Barry Greenwood remained under the management of Jon Royce.

During March 1961 Beverley Dick and the Planets commenced at the Hy-Way Klub, a dance conducted by the Moorabbin Youth Club. Within twelve weeks of opening crowds of about 600 were attending the dance. Amongst the numerous guest artists that appeared at this venue, were the Bee Gees, Johnny Chester, Merv Benton, Colin Cook and the Strangers. Beverley Dick and the Planets featured at every Hy-Way Klub dance.

The advent of 60/40 dancing in Melbourne during 1961 resulted in Beverley Dick and the Planets performing a mix of rock-n-roll and ballroom dancing. With the Planets, Beverley commenced working for Ivan Dayman at his 60/40 venues, which included Canterbury Ballroom and the Circle Ballroom, Preston. Both of the ballrooms were converted from movie theatres.

In addition to regular performances at the 60/40 venues, Beverley Dick and the Planets played one-night stands throughout south-eastern Australia at Ballarat, Bendigo, Camperdown, Terang, Wonthaggi and at Fitzroy and Moorabbin Town Halls. With the Planets, Beverley continued to appear at the Hi-Way Klub until it closed during July 1963.

In 1965 Beverley sang at a Moomba Melbourne Town Hall concert, Reservoir Hotel, and Kensington Town Hall. I n May 1965 the Planets and Beverley Dick ceased working for Ivan Dayman and commenced regular appearances for Hal Kennedy at Leggett's Palladium Prahran, the Orama Ballroom Footscray and Broadmeadows Town Hall.

With the impending birth of her daughter, Kym, Beverley Dick retired from the entertainment scene in 1965.

The Eighties

However, in the early 80's there was renewed interest in the music from the fifties and sixties. This public interest was the catalyst for Ian Allen to reform the Planets. Beverley Dick was the obvious choice as a featured vocalist with the group. At the rehearsal Beverley ran through songs including "Da Do Ron Ron", "Lipstick On Your Collar", "Rocky Road Blues" and "It Doesn't Matter Anymore".

After only one rehearsal Beverley Dick and the Planets appeared at the Kew City Hall on 24th February 1984. This was their first appearance together for nineteen years. During the event Beverley performed the songs she had run through at rehearsal as well as "This Little Girl's Gone Rocking", "Lover Please", "My Boy Elvis", "One More Year To Go" and "Raining In My Heart". Even though the show was an outstanding success, and the promoter then planned to do further shows, this Elvis Presley Fan Club of Victoria event, bought to a close the entertainment career of Beverley Dick.

Throughout her career Beverley Dick was conscious of performing material with which the audiences could really relate. Although her recording work was not extensive, it was significant that Beverley was the featured female vocalist on probably the first rock-n-roll album recorded in Australia. Beverley's capacity as a vocalist was highlighted by the ease with which she made the transition during her career from Country and Western to Rock­n-Roll and then to music suitable for ballroom dancing. She was probably the first to professionally make such a transition.

It would be exciting if a meeting between the two most interesting female rockabilly singers Beverley Dick and Janis Martin from the USA could be organised. Beverley was the first person to have Janis Martin's recording of "My Boy Elvis" bought back from the USA by one of her navy friends. Beverley Dick recorded the song with the Trailblazers. Some efforts have been made to bring Janis Martin to Australia to perform but, so far, have not been successful.

Beverley Dick Discography

SINGLES (vinyl)

Beverley Dick with the Planets and Johnny Edwards
AWA Records, AWM 7856A.
Side A: Lipstick On Your Collar (BD), Only A Fool (JE)
Side B: Express Eleven (Planets)

The Trailblazers Country Style, Hall Of Fame Series number 2
Planet Records, PZ 102.
Side A: Barefoot Ays, When Silver Threads Are Golden Again
Side B: Crazy Arms, My Bucket's Got A Hole In It And Blackboard Of My Heart.

ALBUMS (vinyl)

The Trailblazers Stage Show
Planet Records, PP015
Side A: Blazin' The Trail, Robe Of Calvary, Train Whistle Nightmare, Love Song Of The Waterfall (BD), Little Grass Shack In Hawaii, Anticipation Blues, Smiles Will Wipe Away A Tear, Tomi Tomi
Side B: Mother Pal And Sweetheart, Rum And Coca Cola, Shane (Call Of The Faraway Hills), Guitar Boogie, Act 1act2 Act 3, Picture From Life's Other Side And Blazin' The Trail.

Rock n' Roll Party
(featuring the Henri Bource Allstars with Beverley Dick and Peter McLean)
Planet Records, PP 016.
Side A: Let's Have A Party, See Ya Later Alligator, Henri's Rock, Rock Around The Clock, Tutti Frutti, The Girl Can't Help It, Tequila, Ding Dong, Don't Be Cruel, Baby I Don't Care, Blueberry Hill, Hangover Blues, Don't Leave Me Now, ROCK, I'm Walking, I Beg Of You, Great Balls Of Fire, Whole Lotta Shaking, Ain't That A Shame, Be Bop A Lulu, Flip Flop & Fly
Side B: Razzle Dazzle, Boogie Blues, Long Tall Sally, We're Gonna Teach Ya To Rock, One Of These Days, All Shook Up, Blue Suede Shoes, Deliquin Rock, Hound Dog, House Will Rock, Too Much, Blue Monday, ABC Boogie, Planet Rock, Shake Rattle & Roll, Rock A-Beatin Boogie, All Star Jump, Treat Me Nice, School Day, Mean Woman Blues, Teddy Bear, Jailhouse Rock.

ALBUMS (compact disc)

Vintage Australian Hillbilly Music 1957-59
Canetoad CTCD- 029
Keep Your Motor Hot, Bumble Boogie, I Could Never Be Ashamed Of You, Ooby Dooby (BD), Trailblazer's Blues, Careless Darling, Jack Quinn's Blues, My Bucket's Got A Hole In It, Blazin' The Trail, Robe Of Calvary, Train Whistle Nightmare, Love Song Of The Waterfall (BD), Little Grass Shack In Hawaii, Anticipation Blues, Smiles Will Wipe Away A Tear, Tomi Tomi, Mother Pal And Sweetheart, Rum And Coca Cola, The Call Of The Faraway Hills, Guitar Boogie, Act1 Act 2 Act 3, Cowboy, Mother Went A Walking, Guilty Mind, A Pub With No Beer, When Silver Threads Are Gold Again, Crazy Arms, Mom And Dad's Waltz, My Boy Elvis (BD) and Don't Be Cruel (BD). (These two songs by Beverley Dick were previously unreleased versions).

        Special thanks go to Beverley Dick, Ian B Allen and David McLean (Canetoad Records) for all the assistance given for this project. Also, sincere appreciation is extended to Tony Wilkinson and Bo Berglind from American Music Magazine, and Bob Timmers from the Rockabilly Hall Of Fame.
         Should any material from this article be considered for use in other publications or on the Internet, it will be appreciated if advanced permission is sought from the writer.
        Bob Hayden
        24th May 2004

Posted October, 2004

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