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Ove Steen Pedersen
8th March 2015
W e l c o m e t o t h e u n o f f i c i a l D a n i s h H o l l i e s s i t e
Vic Steele (whose real name is Vic Farrell) began with a band with the
Emperors of Rhythm. Vic approached Eric Haydock to replace the Emperors' departing bassist. The plan did not work out since two other Emperors - Eric Stewart (rhythm guitar) Eric Farrell (drums) - turned professional as part of the band behind the local singer Johnny Peters.
His discussions with Eric Haydock, Don Rathbone, Graham Nash, and Allan Clarke led to the five of them forming 'Ricky & Dane and the Emperors of Rhythm' and then the Hollies.
In 1963, Ron Richards offered the Hollies a chance to record with EMI
Parlophone. Vic decided to finish his education in engineering instead of
embarking on a professional music career.
Vic currently works for Drake & Scull in Manchester. He still gets out and
plays guitar on occasion.
Steele Fun Facts
Vic's mate in the Emperors of Rhythm, Eric Stewart, later played with the
Mindbenders and 10cc.
Vic's brother Eric was the drummer for the Emperors of Rhythm.
Vic still owns the white Fender Jazzmaster that he played during his time in the Hollies.
Here is a letter from Vic describing his early days with the Hollies.
Vic Steele's Letter
The Hollies (1962-1963)
By Vic Farrell (original lead guitarist)
The original members came together in June/July 1962 when Vic Steele (real name Vic Farrell) approached Eric Haydock to replace the bass guitarist in Vic's current group 'The Emperors of Rhythm'. The plan didn't work out because The Emperors' rhythm guitarist (Eric Stewart - Later of Mindbenders and 10cc) and the Emperors' drummer, Vic's brother Eric, turned professional backing a local singer called Johnny Peters.
Eric Haydock was at the time in a group called the Flintstones along with
Allan, Graham, & Don, and after a few meetings between Vic, Eric, Allan &
Graham, at the local coffee/dance club 'The Oasis' the new band was formed.
The first practices took place over the Wimpey Bar in Oxford Road in the
evenings and on Sundays and after three of four weeks we started gigging
under the name of 'Ricky & Dane Young and the Emperors of Rhythm', at the local dance halls, youth clubs, and coffee dance clubs. We soon got a
regular Wednesday spot at the 'Oasis', and built up a small following. The
type of music we were playing was Buddy Holly, Chuck Berry, Everly Brothers, and we were in a small way influenced by the new up and coming group from Liverpool called the Beatles. In fact in early 1963 I recall playing at the Cavern on a Sunday Marathon where the Beatles topped the bill. (note:- I noticed on a recent BBC Antiques Roadshow the actual poster for this appearance was featured.) The DJ I remember was Bob Woller. It was December 1962, approaching Christmas, when Allan Clarke came up with the name 'The Hollies'. Initially the band went out as 'Ricky & Dane Young and The Hollies'. Ricky and Dane were of course Allan & Graham. The thing about The Hollies that probably set us apart from the other Manchester groups at the time was Allan & Graham's unique vocal harmony blend and the backing that was more like Chuck Berry rather than the Shadows style which was popular at the time.
The Hollies popularity in the Manchester area soared, and soon the
Manager/agent Allan Cheetham secured a record contract.
I decided it would be best to finish my education in Engineering rather that take a gamble with my future - hence I left the Hollies just after I turned 18 in May 1963. My guitar in the Hollies was a white Fender Jazzmaster which I still own, - our stage gear was Black leather jeans, leather tops and black polo neck jumpers, which were very hot on stage.
Enclosed is an old photograph of The Emperors 1961, booth photo of myself and Eric Haydock taken at a Mecca Dancehall in Oldham, and a recent photo of The Hollies original line up minus Allan & Graham taken in November 1991 at the Willows, Salford at the launch of the book It Happened in Manchester.