The Ivy League

This vocal group, that cut 11 singles for Piccadilly records from 1964 to 1967, and that is still touring nowadays, was really the brainchild of John Carter and Ken Lewis who had been together as a singing and songwriting duo since their School days.

John "Carter" Shakespeare (born on October 20th 1942) and Kenneth "Lewis" Hawker (born on December 3rd 1942) were both from Birmingham, and came down to London with a burning self-belief in their talent in 1959.
They were offered a deal by manager Terry Kennedy (who had previously fronted his own band, The Rock’n’Rollers and had been guitarist for Terry Dene's Dene Aces) and moved with him to Southern music at 5 Denmark Street. He re-christened them "Carter & Lewis" and produced the 7 singles they cut for Piccadilly, Ember and Oriole, between 1961 and 1964.
They had developed a close harmony style similar to that adopted by the Everly Brothers.
They were soon established as a popular radio team, appearing on BBC Light Programme shows "Saturday Club" and "Easy Beat" from February 1962. They gradually began to augment their line-up with various musicians who backed them on these radio dates, at which point they evolved into Carter-Lewis & the "Southerners" after Southern music. The group became a vehicle for publishing the songs that stemmed from the Carter-Lewis partnership...
Carter-Lewis & the Southerners split in summer 1964, when both Carter and Lewis decided to concentrate on writing and doing sessions.

By July 1964, they decided to expand, becaming three part harmonies, and teamed up with another session singer and songwriter, Brian Pugh aka "Perry Ford". Pugh was from Lincoln and starded out, under the moniker "Lou Bryan", playing piano for Vince Taylor & his Playboys, Colin Hicks & The Cabin Boys, and the Echoes. He cut 3 singles for Parlophone in 1959-60, all produced by George Martin and wrote hits for Adam Faith ("Someone Else's Baby"), the Fortunes (Caroline)...
He was running a studio for Reg Calvert in Denmark Street, when John Carter and Ken Lewis approached him.
He would soon play the piano part on “You Really Got Me” by the Kinks.

The trio had developed a clear liking for high-pitched vocals (falsetto), and somehow contrived to cross the Four Freshmen with the Beach Boys and the Four Seasons.

They called themselves "The Ivy League" (1), and began providing backing vocals on other artists' sessions: Sandy Shaw's “Always Something There To Remind Me”, Tom Jones “It’s Not Unusual”, The Who's “Can’t Explain”and "Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere"...

As a harmony trio, recording on their own, they signed to Pye's Piccadilly subsidiary.
Their debut single failed to chart, but the follow-up “Funny How Love Can Be”, which was basically written for the Rockinberries, went Top 10, prompting the need to form a backing group and go out on tour.
So Micky Keene and Dave Wintour left The Tony Colton’s Crawdaddies to join The Ivy League backing band, the Division Two (2), poaching the keyboardist of the band, Mike O'Neill (former leader of Nero & The Gladiators).
They were joined by drummer Clem Cattini, an acquaintance of Terry Kennedy's (they were together in The Rock’n’Rollers and in Terry Dene & The Dene Aces) who had definitly left the Tornados in February 1965.
“New style, new sound” sid the advert, “Hair by Phillips, Clothes by Alexandre of Oxford St.”
However, on 19 July 1965, John Carter, Perry Ford and Ken Lewis were injured in a car crash near Baldock, Hertfordshire. The original trio managed to release only a single full-length album, "This Is the Ivy League".
Preferring writing and producing to touring, John Carter and then Ken Lewis decided to pull out.
Tony Burrows (ex-Kestrels) and Neil Landon (ex-Burnetts) came in as replacements.
At this time, the band cut the best record they ever made - “My World Fell Down” - a John Carter/Geoff Stephens composition which Gary Usher and LA group Sagittarius turn into a masterpiece in 1967.
The Ivy League toured the UK and Europe unflaggingly throughout 1966 with a new backing band: The Jaybirds from Nottingham who were later successful as 'Ten Years After'.

In 1966, John Carter and Ken Lewis formed The Ministry Of Sound with the cream of Southern Music studios house team, including the former Division Two. By the summer of 1967, they recorded a song they wrote to articulate the sentiments of the flower-power movement and entitled "Let's Go To San Francisco" under the artist name 'Flowerpot Men'...
As there was no true group of this name, Carter and Lewis summarily 'rented out' the band name to Tony Burrows, who put together a tour ensemble to satisfy the popular demand generated by The single which made #4 in the UK charts in September 1967.
Burrows teamed up with Robin Shaw and Peter Nelson, who could boast Star Club experience with the 'Travellers', and the other remaining Ivy League Neil Landon. They signed with Spencer Davis Management and used Billie Davis’ band plus keyboardist Billy Parkinson as back up (3).

The follow-up, "A Walk In The Sky", didn't sell as well. The 'Flowerpot Men & Their Garden' appeared almost daily, until keyboardist Jon Lord and bass player Nick Simper departed the band in February 1968, to join 'Roundabout', the group from which 'Deep Purple' was to emerge... Their later efforts were more ordinary and even a change of name to Friends late in 1968 failed to revive their fortunes. Whilst Landon departed to Fat Mattress, the rest of the band became the White Plains...

(1) concerning their choice of name, Carter recalls Piccadilly had given it some thought:
"We took the identity from the look, the style we'd want to be if ever we had a hit record...Ivy League jackets, college boy haircuts, smart-looking, and all that": The Ivy League - a preordained image!"

(2) Division Two recorded a great instrumental beat/R&B album, "Discotheque" (Society SOC 1016) in 1965.

(3) Nick Simper from the Chapter 15 of his Biography: "Savages & Flowerpot Men"
From out of the blue, Carlo Little had a telephone call from Spencer Davis Management. It appeared that hey needed musicians to support a vocal act that they had signed, named the Flowerpot Men. A single called “Let’s Go To San Francisco” was riding high in the charts, so the logical next move was to get the act on the road, and Billie Davis’ band was in the frame for the job. Sensing a good earner, Carlo swiftly arranged a time and place to rehearse together. The only snag was that Arthur Regis and landed a gig with top soul act Jimmy James and the Vagabonds, so a keyboard player had to found quickly. I immediately thought of Billy Davidson, the amazingly gifted organist who I had met at Joan Watson’s shop. Luckily, he was free to complete the line-up, and so Bill, Ged Carlo and I assembled at a London rehearsal room, where we were introduced to the four vocalists who had been appearing on TV shows all over Europe as the Flowerpot Men. We soon learned that the hot record had resulted from one of the many studio sessions regularly carried out by my old favourites, Carter and Lewis. They had given up performing in order to concentrate on recording their many compositions, some of which were leased out to various touring bands, who then changed their names accordingly. This they had done with their own group, the Ivy League, following many chart hits, and were now doing the same thing with the name Flowerpot Men, borrowed from a 1950’s children’s television programme. John Carter himself had sung the lead vocal on the record, with harmonies provided by a great session singer names Tony Burrows. Ken Lewis had supplied keyboard and piano, with my old mate Robin Scrimshaw playing bass. John and Jen had for many years written songs in varying styles and had now been able to use their skills to capitalise on the current ‘flower power’ rage which had recently arrived here from the USA. Tony Burrows, currently in a new Ivy League line-up, together with Robin, quickly recruited two other singers. Tony brought in Neil Landon, also from the Ivy League, and Robin brought in Pete Nelson, one-time front man of my old mates the Travellers, so it was a pleasant surprise to find that I knew two of the four singers.
The rehearsal was overseen by Ken Lewis in person, and whilst I was knocked out to meet him once more, he was equally pleased to meet Carlo Little, who he greeted with the words “My, what a reputation you have got!!” Carlo blushed at this. “Have I?” was the best he could reply. The four singers than produced a list of 3 and 4 part harmony material by artists such as the Four Tops and the Four Season. They had obviously rehearsed their parts, and the whole package was sounding pretty slick after a two hour run through. Everyone seemed happy with the result, and so several more rehearsals were scheduled before taking to the road.
The next day saw us arrive at the Spencer Davis office where we were introduced to the staff, and provided with cash to buy some suitably “flowery” stage clothes. Following several more rehearsals we supplied with a truck for us and our equipment. Armed with a full gig list, we were ready to hit the road! …


Singles by The Ivy League
1. What More Do You Want/Wait A Minute (Piccadilly 7N 35200) - November 1964
2. Funny How Love Can Be/Lonely Room (Piccadilly 7N 35222) - January 1965 UK#8
3. That's Why I'm Crying/A Girl Like You (Piccadilly 7N 35228) - April 1965 UK#22
4. Tossing And Turning/Graduation Day (Piccadilly 7N 35251) - June 1965 UK#3
5. Our Love Is Slipping Away/I Could Make You Fall In Love (Piccadilly 7N 35267) - October 1965
6. Running Around In Circles/Rain, Rain Go Away (Piccadilly 7N 35294) - February 1966
7. Willow Tree/One Day (Piccadilly 7N 35326) - June 1966 UK#50
8. My World Fell Down/When You're Young (Piccadilly 7N 35348) - October 1966
9. Four And Twenty Hours/Arrivederci Baby (Piccadilly 7N 35365) - 1967
10. Suddenly Things/Tomorrow Is Another Day (Piccadilly 7N 35397) - 1967
11. Thank You For Loving Me/In The Not Too Distant Future (Piccadilly 7N 17386) - 1967

E.P.s by The Ivy League
1. Funny How Love Can Be - Funny How Love Can Be/Lonely Room/What More Do You Want?/Wait A Minute (Piccadilly NEP 34038) - March 1965
2. Tossing And TurningTossing And Turning/That's Why I'm Crying/A Girl Like You/Graduation Day (Piccadilly NEP 34042) - September 1965
3. The Holly And The Ivy League - The Holly And The Ivy/Once In Royal David's City/Good King Wenceslas/Silent Night (Piccadilly NEP 34046) - December 1965
4. Our Love Is Slipping Away - Our Love Is Slipping Away/Don't Think Twice/Don't Worry Baby/Make Love (Piccadilly NEP 34048) - April 1966

L.P.s by The Ivy League
This Is The Ivy League (Piccadilly NPL 38015, 1966): Almost Grown/That's Why I'm Crying/Floral Dance/What More Do You Want?/Lulu's Back In Town/We're Having A Party/Don't Worry Baby/Make Love/Don't Think Twice/Funny How Love Can Be/My Old Dutch/Dance To The Locomotion
Major League - The Collector's Ivy League (Sequel NEDCD 289,1998): What More Do You Want/Wait A Minute/Funny How Love Can Be/Lonely Room/That's Why I'm Crying/Girl Like You/Tossin' And Turnin'/Graduation Day/Our Love Is Slipping Away/I Could Make You Fall in Love/Running Round In Circles/Rain, Rain Go Away/Willow Tree/One Day/My World Fell Down/When You're Young/Four And Twenty Hours/Arrivederci Baby/Suddenly Things/Tomorrow Is Another Day/Thank You For Loving Me/In The Not Too Distant Future/Almost Grown/Floral Dance/Lulu's Back in Town/We're Having A Party/Don't Worry Baby/Make Love/Don't Think Twice It's All Right/My Old Dutch/Dance To The Locomotion/My Baby/Nancy (With the Laughing Face)/ Lonely City/Mr. Ford's Boogie/Friday/Busy Doing Nothing/Rock & Roll/Humpty Dumpty/Holly And The Ivy/Once In Royal David's City/Good King Wenceslas/Silent Night

The Flowerpotmen: Let's Go To San Francisco Part 1/Part 2 (Deram DM 142) - August 1967

First Class
Beach Baby/Both Sides Of The Story (UK UK 66)
Bobby Dazzler/Lavender Man (UK UKR 73)
Dreams Are Ten A Penny/Long Time Gone (UK UKR 82)

The Ivy League made vocal harmonies on
Sandy Shaw's "Always Something There To Remind Me" (10/1964)
The Who's "I Can't Explain" (01/1965)
Tom Jones "It's Not Unusual" (02/1965)
Chris Farlowe's "Out Of Time" (07/1966)

John Carter Compilations
Measure For Measure: The John Carter Anthology, 1961-1977 (RPM D268)
As You Like It: The Denmark Street Demos, 1963-1967 (Westside WESM 523)

Various Line-ups of The Ivy League

The Ivy League #1 & Division Two (February - October 1965)
  • John Shakespeare (Vocals) "John Carter"
  • Ken Hawker (Vocals) "Ken Lewis"
  • Brian Pugh (Vocals) "Perry Ford"
  • Mickey Keene (Lead Guitar)
  • Dave Wintour (Bass)
  • Mike O'Neill (Keyboards) "Nero"
  • Clem Cattini (Drums)
  • Roger Pinner (Drums) "Solly"

The Ivy League #2 & Division Two (October 1965 - January 1966)
  • Tony Burrows (Vocals)
  • Ken Hawker (Vocals) "Ken Lewis"
  • Brian Pugh (Vocals) "Perry Ford"
  • Mickey Keene (Lead Guitar)
  • Dave Wintour (Bass)
  • Mike O'Neill (Keyboards) "Nero"
  • Clem Cattini (Drums)

The Ivy League #3 & The Jaybirds (June - November 1966)
  • Tony Burrows (Vocals)
  • Patrick Cahill (Vocals) "Neil Landon"
  • Brian Pugh (Vocals) "Perry Ford"
  • Alvin Lee (Lead Guitar)
  • Leo Lyons (Bass)
  • Chick Churchill (Keyboards)
  • Ric Lee (Drums)

The Ivy League #4 (1967)
  • John Shakespeare (Vocals) "John Carter"
  • Ken Hawker (Vocals/Keyboards) "Ken Lewis"
  • Tony Burrows (Vocals)
  • Patrick Cahill (Vocals) "Neil Landon"
  • Brian Pugh (Vocals) "Perry Ford"
  • Mickey Keene (Lead Guitar)
  • Dave Wintour (Bass)
  • Clem Cattini (Drums)

The Ivy League #5 (Late 1967 - 1970s)
  • John Shakespeare (Vocals) "Bob Carter"
  • Brian Pugh (Vocals) "Perry Ford"
  • "Schadel" (Vocals)
  • Bill Clarke (Bass)
  • Dave McDonald (Bass) "Dave Robin"
  • Roger Hall (Drums)

The Ivy League #6 (1980 - 2000)
  • Mike Brice (Guitar/Vocals)
  • Jon Brennan (Bass/Vocals)
  • Dave Buckley (Drums/Vocals)

John Carter & The Ministry Of Sound/The "Flowerpot Men" (1966 - 1971)
  • John Shakespeare (Musical Direction/Vocals) "John Carter"
  • Ken Hawker (Vocals/Keyboards) "Ken Lewis"
  • Russ Alquist (Vocals)
  • Tony Burrows (Vocals)
  • Patrick Cahill (Vocals) "Neil Landon"
  • Robin Scrimshaw (Vocals/Bass) "Robin Shaw"
  • Mickey Keene (Lead Guitar)
  • Dave Wintour (Bass)
  • John Ford (Bass)
  • Clem Cattini (Drums)
  • Richard Hudson (Drums)

The Flowerpot Men & Their Garden #1 (September 1967 - Mid 1968)
  • Tony Burrows (Vocals)
  • Patrick Cahill (Vocals) "Neil Landon"
  • Peter Lipscomb (Vocals) "Peter Nelson"
  • Robin Scrimshaw (Vocals) "Robin Shaw"
  • Ged Peck (Lead Guitar)
  • Mick Stewart (Lead Guitar)
  • Nick Simper (Bass)
  • Tony Makins (Bass) "Tex Makins"
  • Gordon Haskell (Bass)
  • Billy Davidson (Keyboards)
  • Jon Lord (Keyboards)
  • Johnny Carroll (Keyboards)
  • Carlo Little (Drums)

The Flowerpot Men & Their Garden #2/White Plains (Mid 1968 - November 1969)
  • Tony Burrows (Vocals)
  • Peter Lipscomb (Vocals) "Peter Nelson"
  • Robin Scrimshaw (Vocals/Bass) "Robin Shaw"
  • Robin Box (Lead Guitar)
  • Ricky Wolff (Keyboards/Flute/Sax)
  • Tony Hall (Tenor Sax)
  • Roger Hills (Drums)

First Class (1974)
  • John Shakespeare (Vocals) "John Carter"
  • Ken Hawker (Vocals/Keyboards) "Ken Lewis"
  • Robin Scrimshaw (Vocals/Bass) "Robin Shaw"
  • "Chas" Mills (Vocals)
  • "Del" John (Vocals)
  • Spencer James (Lead Guitar/Vocals)
  • Clive Barrett (Keyboards)
  • Eddie Richards (Drums)

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  1. Perry Ford made his way back to lincoln in the Late 90's, he jammed with our jazz trio half a dozen times. He died on April 29, 1999 in Lincoln.

  2. The 'Bob Carter' shown at Ivy League #5 was not John Shakespeare. It was the alias of John Shipp, who joined from Tommy Bruce's Bruisers. Also known as Bobby Coral. Shipp was in that line-up with Roger Hall (drums) & John Dawson(later in Rockin' Berries) on bass. Still in contact with Dawson. Shipp sadly gone now & Hall has disappeared without trace.

    1. Wasn't John Dawson also in Sight and Sound?
      Do you know which years?
      And when exactly in the Ivy League?
      I read that from 1976 on with the Rockin Berries...

  3. Lincoln has been thin on the ground with famous musicians so I was delighted to meet Perry Ford when he lived in Cannon Street. He said his favourite Ivy League song was 'Willow tree'.

    1. I knew Perry when he lived on Hewson Road near the West Common..a nice guy he loved 'soccer' and certainly enjoyed a bevvy!..

  4. It maybe worth noting that Clem, Mickey Keene , Mike O'Neill and Dave Winter did a cult LP Discotheque under the name The 4 Instants which contains the Bass driven breakbeat dance floor killer Bogattini