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Al James was one of Showaddywaddy's founder members, being with the band since its inception in 1973. He was a member of Choise, one of the bands that merged with the Golden Hammers to form Showaddywaddy.

Left: Al playing Three Steps To Heaven on Top Of The Pops, 1975.

He took on the stage name Al James shortly after Showaddywaddy’s formation - in fact some early SWW releases are credited to Allured, Bartram, Betts, Deas, Field, Gask, Oakes.

A bass player by trade, sharing duties with the band’s other bass player Rod Deas, he played on many Showaddywaddy songs, including the debut single “Hey Rock And Roll” (1974), as well as other singles, “Sweet Music” (1975), “Three Steps To Heaven” (1975), “Trocadero” (1976) and “Sweet Little Rock ’n’ Roller” (1979), not to mention numerous other tracks in the band’s career which included over 30 singles and almost 20 albums during his time in the band. Furthermore, he wrote and performed lead vocals on a number of songs including “King Of The Jive” (1974), “Rocker Boots” (1975), “Record Machine” (1976), “Superstar” (1977), “Feelin’” (1977), “Teen Canteen” (1980) and “Do It Again” (1982), and also performed lead vocals on Showaddywaddy’s cover of “Say Mama” (1976).

1974 tour programme (2)
Choise released a single in 1969 to which Geoff wrote the b-side, "She's A Man". He also wrote a number of other songs that Choise performed live in the pre-Showaddywaddy period.

This wasn't his only non-Showaddywaddy release as he performed on a single with the band Burglar's Dog (also featuring Bill Gask and Malcolm Allured) in 1981 and again wrote the b-side, "Mississippi".
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One of the most enduring songs of Showaddywaddy's career has been "Jailhouse Rock", with lead vocals by Al, and performed by the band since 1973 to the present day.

Al also took an active part in the band's stage routines during their energetic shows of the '70s and '80s.

Al decided to call it a day and retire, just short of his 63rd birthday, and performed his last gig with the band at the Cheese & Grain in Frome, Somerset, on Saturday 20th December 2008, where the band announced his retirement during the show.

This also marked the end of Choise, whose line-up was still in tact since Romeo Challenger joined in 1971.

Right: Al performing at the Swap Shop Rock Garden Party, Jubilee Gardens in London, Spring Bank Holiday 29th May 1978. Picture copyright of Peter Lane and courtesy of www.saturdaymornings.co.uk

Geoff Betts, better known to Showaddywaddy fans as Al James, passed away on 16th November 2018.

It is with enormous sadness that we say goodbye to my close friend and band-mate of more than 40 years, Geoff Betts, who sadly passed away in hospital on Friday 16th November following a recent fall at his Leicestershire home. Geoff was born to a career in rock ’n’ roll, being both a talented bass player, vocalist and songwriter whose contribution to SWW during his 35 years in the band was nothing less than invaluable.
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I will remember the countless experiences we shared together throughout a 50+ year friendship, made all the more special by his mischievous sense of humour and trademark wicked grin.

My deepest sympathies go out to his children Joanne, James and Natalie. I will miss you my dear friend!”
(Dave Bartram, 17th November 2018)

“He was one of the funniest people I have ever met - his anecdotes were hilarious - generous to a fault, and we all loved him”. (Romeo Challenger, 17th November 2018)

“A sad day indeed. Geoff, along with Bill and Malc, were the real rock ’n’ roll stalwarts in the band, and his infectious sense of humour and upbeat character were a mainstay in the development of SWW’s early days on the road. We will all miss him terribly. RIP my friend”. (Russ Field, 18th November 2018)

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R: Al backstage at Sheffield Arena, April 2007



Showaddywaddy.net caught up with Al for a brief catch up in January 2018 - check it out here