don gould - 3rd july 2002

Applejacks LP

Carl Wayne: Let's go back to the early Sixties, I think about '64, but Don will correct me if I'm wrong, "Tell Me When", The Applejacks.


Carl Wayne: There we go, the dulcet tones of Al Jackson of The Applejacks, 1964 I think. My guest on the line is Don Gould. Donnie, how you doing?

Don Gould: Oh, good thanks!

CW: You gorgeous thing, what's happening?

DG: Well, I'm just dozing off, I hope your weather's better than ours! I didn't wear a jacket today and I'm frozen!

CW: Is it not nice down there in London?

DG: No, it's raining. Out with the brollies. But of course I didn't realise either than Henman would be playing today, so at least that's been postponed because of the rain. 

CW: You'll watch it tomorrow.

DG: Well, I guess so. They won't play today, will they?

CW: "Tell Me When", when was it, 1964?

DG: It was March, yeah, March 1964. 

CW: Les Read, wasn't it?

DG: Les Read and Jeff Stevens, it was their first hit. I remember sorting through a pile, listening to a pile of records and it just absolutely shone out. It was really good. And of course I've worked with Jeff since then. I even collect royalties on a funny little country song I wrote with him. Les, of course, I see as we do our charity gigs playing the piano.

CW: And you were in Solihull at that time, were you?

DG: Oh yeah, we were all boys from Alton. Al Jackson's Dad ran a pub, I think. We used to have to traipse round Birmingham to pick him up, I remember, in the van. 

CW: Plus a girl, of course.

DG: Yeah, Megan was a local girl. Scout master's daughter!

CW: Is that what she was?

DG: Yeah, she was a scout master's daughter and we were all scouts. Gerry was the lead drummer in the scout band as we marched along, and I played the drum in those days, so we had a couple of Applejacks playing the drums with the scout band Phil Cash, he was a scout and a local boy. Martin, I think he was a scout and he was in the class below me at school. 

CW: Which school was that, Don?

DG: Tudor Grange.

CW: We used to play you at rugby. 

DG: I came to see my old mum the other day, because she still lives in Alton. Hello Mum, if you're listening, 92, still going strong!

CW: 92! Good grief!

DG: Still working at the vet's! (laughter from both) So we all got in the car and drove up and took her out to lunch. Of course with the M40 it takes no time at all. I took the kids to see where I used to go to school, and drove them back the route I used to cycle. Of course they're picked up by coach to go to their school!

CW: It's extraordinary, isn't it, the nostalgia, when you come up here, I spend hours and hours driving round Leigh Hall and all these places that I used to haunt as a kid. I should tell the people you're very successful, you've been in London how long?

DG: I suppose I moved here when I was 19. I went to music college here and things went from there really. I learnt how to arrange, that was my dream, to be an arranger, and to stand up in front of orchestras, which I did. I used to do all the pop groups, like Love Affair. I even remember working on The Sweet, do you remember their first hit, "Coco", things like that.

CW: Did you really, how funny, because I had Dave Dee on the program yesterday and he with the Dozies, as he calls them now, and me with the Hollies, we were on a gig in Berlin. 25,000 people last Saturday and 25,000 on the Friday, and who was on it but Sweet. Andy Scott's still with Sweet, 'cos as you know Brian Conley unfortunately died. In fact, I think the drummer died as well. But what a formidable band they are. So you were on "Coco", were you?

DG: I think it was their first hit, and it was Nicky Chinn and Mike Chapman, wasn't it? I was a sort of hot young arranger at the time, and I remember going round to their flat in Mayfair and they played me a few things. I've got my old diaries all piled up in my room at home, and I occasionally look things up. Someone rang me up the other day and said "I don't suppose you've got the score you did for Caravan in 1973...?"

CW: And you've got it?

DG: No, I couldn't find it.

CW: Where would you find it in that house with all your kids?!

DG: Exactly!

CW: It must be shambolic!

DG: I'd boxes and boxes of scores and one day I thought "This is ridiculous" and threw them out. 

CW: And these days you're another West Midlands bloke who's made good, aren't you, because I should tell the people that you're on of the most successful independent music writers for television, for film, and so many hundreds and hundreds of adverts that you hear on television. 

DG: It used to be jingles, didn't it. But it's a dying art.

CW: What do you call them now?

DG: I don't know....cost comes into it a lot. Music by Design are really under threat. It's all driven by America, obviously. Ad agencies are cutting their budgets.

CW: Well, you're a hugely successful chap, and you're a hugely likeable chap. I always enjoy it when we work together and I'm grateful to you for going to the Beeb on this murky day. 

DG: Tummy's rumbling now, Carl!

CW: Well, it's time for you to go and eat and have a little bit of the old Beaujolais, I think! Look after yourself.

DG: Thanks.

CW: I'll see you back in London, God Bless. 

Transcribed by Helen Macdonald for The Official Carl Wayne Website

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