Roy Young is one of Rock's most respected pioneers. He's been dubbed the patron saint of missed opportunities, the Forest Gump of Rock, the Little Richard of England and ruler of the Reeperbahn, Hamburg, Germany. Roy Young's music was being played by the early 60s throughout England and Europe. Youngs dynamic performance was featured regularly on many TV music shows in England such as Oh Boy, Boy Meets Girl, and Wham (produced by the great Jack Goode), Drumbeat, (musical backing by John Barry).
Young's boogie-woogie piano and vocal style is aptly described as a mixture of Little Richard, Ray Charles and Joe Cocker. Those qualities have had a tremendous influence on some of the biggest names in rock history including Elton John, David Bowie, The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, Ian Hunter, Long John Baldry, Cliff Richards, Roy Orbison, Deep Purple, The Who's John Entwistle and Roger Daltrey and Jeff Beck who didn't hesitate using Roys talents on their recordings whenever they got the chance. Obviously, his list of credits and his story don't end here.
By 1961, Young was an international rock'n'roll star playing the now legendary stages of Hamburg, Germany. There The Beat Brothers was formed at the Top Ten Club, Reeperbahn with Tony Sheridan, Ringo Starr, Colin Milander and Roy Young.
In 1962, Manfred Weisledder, the owner of the Star-Club, Hamburg, offered Roy a lucrative contract to appear at his club as a solo artist., His contract also included booking other artists for the club. Roy often had to travel frequently between Hamburg, London and Liverpool where Roy booked many of the top rock'n'roll artists to appear at the club including The Beatles, Ray Charles, Little Richard, Chuck Berry, Fats Domino, Gene Vincent, Bill Haley and Jerry Lee Lewis among others. When word of Lewis' arrival at the club reached Paul McCartney, he lobbied Young for the chance to have The Beatles back Lewis.
Some months later, Manfred approached Roy and Tony Sheridan to launch the Star Combo, giving birth to the clubs' house band.
As well as playing with the Star Combo,The Beatles invited Roy to play with them during the period of their engagement at the club. On one occasion as Roy and The Beatles were leaving the stage after one of their performances, Brian Epstein (the Beatles manager) approached Roy with an offer, "the four lads (as he described The Beatles) have asked me to ask you if you would be interested in returning to England with them to procure a recording contract". Owing to Roy's three year contract with the Star-Club, Roy had to decline Brians offer. Roy is frequently asked the question during interviews with the media, "How does it feel today turning that offer down?". Youngs reply is, "Before I go to bed I go into my bathroom and hit my head on the wall 10 times, then I know I can go to sleep."
Over the last 35 years there have been many albums released of the Beatles, Tony Sheridan and Roy Young throughout the world.
The Beatles and other close friends launched what became known as the British music invasion of America and the world. Few Americans would be expected to know that it was England's Little Richard who inspired some of those musical soldiers who crossed the sea.
Young returned to England and joined Cliff Bennett and the Rebel Rousers, who were managed by Brian Epstein. They joined The Beatles on their 1966 tour of, Germany. During the tour McCartney offered Cliff and the group The Beatles' recently recorded, but as yet unreleased, song "Got To Get You Into My Life." Weeks later McCartney produced Cliff Bennett and the Rebel Rousers' recording of the song which included McCartney and Roy Young on keyboards.
Some things never changed and some things did; After the Rebel Rousers, Roy met Laurie O'Leary who became his manager and a very close friend. It was Laurie's foresight that recognized the talent in Roy and decided to form The Roy Young Band. They soon became known as the bands band. During the 70s, there where several solo albums of Roy Young released throughout the world.
Roy's recording companies were E.M.I. Columbia, Ember, Philips (Germany), Parlophone, Screen Gems Columbia, Fontana (Philips), RCA Victor and British MCA (Decca G.B.), who were responsible for developing his recording career.
Roys was featured in several movies through Screen Gems Columbia with Elizabeth Taylor, Michael Caine, Suzanna York and Albert Finney.
Actor Nichol Williamson invited Roy to join up with Ringo, George Harrison, Eric Clapton and Klaus Voorman to record on his solo album.
At the time Roy was recording his new album at Escape Studios, Kent, England with the help of his friend Jeff Beck, he received a phone call from David Bowie in Los Angeles, asking him to join him there to record his "Fame" album. Owing to being commitmented to his European single and album, Roy was unable to join David.
One year later, Roy received another phone call from David from Berlin, Germany asking him if he would like to work on his next album "Low", where he joined David at the La Chateau, Paris, France.
Following the completion of David Bowie's album, Roy received a phone call from Paul McCartney wanting to enlist him to tutor his wife Linda on keyboards just prior to hitting the road with his band Wings, at the time Roy was moving to the United States and was regretfully unable to accept Pauls offer.
Roy later decided to tour The Roy Young Band throughout Canada, USA and Europe with such artists as legendary British blues artist Long John Baldry, and also joined up with Ian Hunter (Mott the Hoople), and the late Mick Ronson (Mott the Hoople and David Bowie). His agenda also included The British Invasion concerts in the USA with Gerry and the Pacemakers, Peter Noone, Eric Burdon, The Hollies, The Searchers, Manfred Mann and The Troggs.
In 1995, Roy was headlined in a Star-Club reunion concert in Hamburg, Germany, with the Pete Best Band and Cliff Bennett and The Rebel Rousers. Later that year he returned to England to reunite with Tony Sheridan (The Beat Brothers) and Howie Casey (Roy Young Band and Paul McCartney's 'Wings') to record a CD and video entitled 'LEGEND, History of The Beat Brothers', with The Beatles'.
Following the recordings, Roy returned to Europe to appear with Yoko Ono at John Lennon's art show. There he performed several more concerts throughout Europe before returning to the USA.
In 1996, Roy was invited to represent Canada at the CN Tower in Toronto to play John Lennon's Steinway piano from the Dakotas, NY, for the Abused Children Foundation.
Young is currently recording a CD titled, 'Now and Then' in Toronto, Canada at QED Media Studio produced by Dave Beatty and engineered by Troy Ples that he calls his "interpretations" of some of The Beatles' music along with his tribute to John Lennon titled "Beautiful Man." See CD page for more information.
More recent appearances at Beatlefests, and considerable acknowledgments in the books such as Acts Of Faith, The Beatles-From Cavern To Star-Club and Beatles Undercover etc., have served to shed new light on the legend that is Roy Young.
As Young's good friend Davey Bowie said, "It is common knowledge that Roy Young is the leading exponent of early, middle and contemporary piano virtuosity known throughout Europe and the United Kingdom. All that I can add as a fairly popular and successful artist in my own right is that Roy Young is one of the most highly regarded musicians of our era."
This, then, is the incredible Roy Young, one of the finest boogie woogie pianists/rock'n'roll/blues singers of our time, as quoted by the top international artists of today.