WHILE most people remember Joe Brown as one of Britain's first pop stars, my early memories of the original chirpy Cockney are slightly different. Throughout my '80s childhood, the 72-year-old was the star of my home town's pantomime, appearing every Christmas as Buttons alongside various dames and damsels.
Joe laughs when I remind him of his days at the Theatre Royal in Windsor: "I did eight consecutive years there but I'm too old to go through the mangle these days and anyway you can't even throw the sweets out any more in case you hit the little bleeders in the eye!" While he might have left pantomime behind, Joe is still on the road more than 50 years since he first backed the likes of Gene Vincent and Eddie Cochran as a jobbing musician and next week he returns to Southport where one of the UK's original rock guitar pioneers will remind audiences why a generation of musicians still regard him as the best. "I've been on tour since I was 18 mate," he chuckles. "I usually do two 60-date tours a year. It keeps me active I suppose." It was over half a century ago in 1958, as Lonnie Donegan was ruling the charts with ‘Rock Island Line’, that Joe joined his first band, the Spacemen Skiffle Group, at the age of 17. Three years later he was the resident lead guitarist on producer Jack Good’s groundbreaking TV show Boy Meets Girls.
Source: Southport Visitor, UK