Official Showaddywaddy Web Site History

Showaddywaddy were formed in 1973 in Leicester, from two groups, Choise and Golden Hammers.

Choise wrote and performed original material and at the time of the formation of Showaddywaddy featured Dave Bartram, Trevor Oakes, Al James and Romeo Challenger. They also did a few covers, and some of the original songs were carried over and recorded by SWW.

'The Hammers' were a covers band who consisted of Buddy Gask, Russ Field, Rod Deas and Malcolm Allured.
Choise and The Hammers played regularly far and wide across the UK, but both bands had a regular slot at the Fosseway pub in Leicester. After forming friendships and enjoying each other's music, during early 1973, the bands got up on stage together to play a rock 'n' roll revue, and it quickly became apparent that this arrangement was going down with the audience better than the individual bands. The guys also realised they could earn more money by having each band playing a support slot with 'Showaddywaddy' doing the headline slot.

During the summer of 1973, Showaddywaddy were asked if they wanted to be on TV - the show was "New Faces". They won one programme in the series and were runners-up in the "All Winners Final" which was broadcast between Christmas and New Year 1973. This led to various record companies, including Polydor Records racing to sign them up. However they had already signed to Bell Records, Bay City Rollers and Gary Glitter were also signed to the signed to the same label. As a result, Choise and The Hammers were permanently dissolved with Showaddywaddy becoming the sole act.

Fosseway Leicester
The Fosseway, Melton Road, Leicester. Seen here on 16th December 2005. Now trading as Indigos Vegetarian Indian Restaurant, it was still trading as The Fosseway Pub when current owners moved in around 2000.

The band’s first single, ‘Hey Rock And Roll’ was released on 19th April 1974 and reached number two in the UK charts. Showaddywaddy then hit the UK charts another 22 times until late 1982, nine being top-5 singles, including four #2s and one #1, racking up a total of 209 weeks in the singles chart - one of the most successful singles groups of all time.

After a run of singles that were written by the band, cover versions became the order of the day, primarily due to the success of Three Steps To Heave, Heartbeat, and Under The Moon Of Love, which were all top-10 hits, whilst singles such as Heavenly and Trocadero were not quite as successful. Romeo later quoted, "Dave and Trevor would approach the record company with a song and they would say, 'No we don't want that - you had a hit with a cover last time, you can do it again'". The cover versions were mainly pop versions of old '50s and ‘60s US rock 'n' roll songs - catchy tunes backed up by the colourful image, dance routines and numerous television appearances.

Showaddywaddy released 11 albums during their original period (1974 to 1983), with five of these reaching the top-10, and including one number one album (Greatest Hits 76-78) in 1978. In all there have been over 50 Showaddywaddy albums and CDs released to date.

The original and most famous Showaddywaddy line up had two vocalists, two guitarists, two bass players and two drummers, which gave the band great flexibility on stage with four or five members playing the instruments and the others doing the dance routines. At their peak, they were doing 200 gigs a year, often gigging 7 days a week, and playing both matinee and evening performances on the same day - the guys certainly put a lot of work in!

Malcolm Allured left the band in 1984, followed by Russ Field in 1985, and Buddy Gask departed in 1987. Buddy passed away in 2011.

2003 saw the band's 30th Anniversary, and they celebrated by completing a successful 40-date UK-wide tour along with The Rubettes and Sweet.

For many years (1987 to 2008), the line up consisted of five of the original eight members: Dave, Trevor, Al, Rod and Romeo, along with Ray Martinez on lead guitar (1985 to 1995) followed by Danny Willson on lead guitar (1995 to 2009). Al James and Trevor Oakes retired from the band in December 2008, and were replaced by Paul Dixon and Dave Graham. Al James passed away in November 2018.

By 2010, the line up consisted of three of the original 8 members - Dave Bartram, Rod Deas and Romeo Challenger. In the autumn of 2011, Dave Bartram announced his retirement from the band, and played his last gig at The Kings Hall in Ilkley in West Yorkshire on 3rd December of that year. David Graham left the band at the same time.

A revised Showaddywaddy line up went on the road from January 2012 - Romeo Challenger and Rod Deas being joined by Andy Pelos (lead vocals), Dean Loach (keyboards, guitar), and Rob Hewins (drums, guitar, vocals), along with Paul Dixon (guitar, vocals). Paul Dixon left the band in January 2017 and was replaced by Ray Hatfield. Billy Norman (bass) joined the band in January 2018 but did not replace Rod Deas, however Rod did retire from the band a year later in January 2019. This left Romeo Challenger as the sole remaining original member.

2019 saw Showaddywaddy achieve their 45th anniversary, a year which also saw the band return to the Official Album Charts for the first time since 2004 with the release of the compilation album, “Gold” (released on coloured vinyl and as a 3-CD box set) which reached number 15 and remained on the charts for 9 weeks. The made it the highest charting album since 1979, and the album with the longest chart run since 1981!

During 2021, and not content to rest on their laurels, a shakeup in personnel ensued, seeking to recreate the unique blend of vocal harmonies and dynamic rock ‘n’ roll for which the ‘Waddies’ had become known and loved the world over, a widespread search culminated in the addition of four multi-talented young musicians to the band, finally hitting the live performance trail at the back end of the year to a sensational reaction, surpassing all expectations and ensuring exciting times ahead for the new look line-up.

Showaddywaddy's credentials and versatility remain without question - concerts, corporate conventions, festivals, universities, colleges, clubs & private functions the world over still clamour to book this remarkable live show, providing proof that after almost 50 incredible years, rock & roll music is truly alive and kicking in the hands of this legendary band.

Ray Hatfield, Billy Norman and Dean Loach all left the band over the summer of 2020 during the Covid lockdown, with Tom Bull (bass) and Chris Savage (keyboards) joining the line up, along with David Graham making a welcome return. Chris subsequently left after 10 gigs, and the line-up from 2022 comprises:

  • Romeo Challenger (drums)
  • Andy Pelos (lead vocals, guitar)
  • Billy Shannon (lead vocals, guitar)
  • Dave Graham (sax, guitar)
  • Tom Bull (bass)
  • Sam Holland (guitar, drums)

Dave Bartram continues to manage the band to this day, a role which he has undertaken since 1984.

2023 sees the 50th anniversary of Showaddywaddy, a feat which I'm sure no-one envisaged way back at the Fosse Way pub in 1973!