Born 22 December 1938, Bedworth, Coventry, England
British bass guitarist Brian "Licorice" Locking started his musical career at the age of seventeen as a member of Vince Taylor's backing group, The Playboys. Apart from Locking, this group comprised Tony Harvey (guitar), Tony Sheridan (guitar/vocals) and Brian Bennett (drums). Taylor and his Playboys appeared regularly on the pioneering UK television show "Oh Boy!" and released a single on Parlophone with two covers of Sun records that were not issued in the UK at the time: Ray Smith's "Right Behind You Baby" and Roy Orbison's "I Like Love". By the time Taylor's next single came out in 1959 ("Brandnew Cadillac"), the Playboys had split up and Locking and Bennett moved to Marty Wilde's backing group, the Wild Cats. This group developed into the instrumental outfit The Krew Kats : Big Jim Sullivan (lead guitar), Tony Belcher (rhythm guitar), Brian Locking (bass) and Brian Bennett (drums). They had a few releases on HMV in 1961, the first of which was "Trambone". At the time this came out, I had not heard the versions by Chet Atkins (who wrote the song) and Duane Eddy, and was quite impressed by the Krew Kats' version. In October 1961 Brian Bennett moved on to the Shadows to replace Tony Meehan and in that famous group he was soon joined by Brian Locking, who became the Shadows' bass guitarist after Jet Harris left to pursue a solo career in spring of 1962.
An all-round musician, Locking's nickname was a result of his proficiency with the 'licorice stick' (clarinet). He also provided variety to the Shadows sound by occasionally playing the harmonica, notably on his own composition 'Licorice' (which has appeared on the Fremus CD 'Atlantis'). His version of 'Stranger on the Shore' was a regular feature of Shadows stage performances of 1962/3, and, perhaps the best of all, his harmonica features heavily on the track 'Dakota' on the 'Sounds of the Shadows' LP.
The Shadows backed Cliff Richard on all his hits, appeared with him in his films and had hit singles and hit albums of their own. Brian Locking only stayed with the Shadows for eighteen months, his final appearance being at the London Palladium in November 1963. (He was replaced by John Rostill.) His dedication to the work of God through the Jehovah's Witness faith was far more important to him than life as a pop star and when he found that the latter was interfering with the former, he left the group so that he could devote all his time to his religious activities as a Jehovah's Witness. Whilst a member of the Shadows, he is credited as having a large influence on the religious beliefs of both Cliff Richard and Hank Marvin.
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