The Shevells started off in Cardiff in Wales in the mid 1960’s. Their roots go back to 1962 when Brian Davies teamed up with Tony Sheveton and Dave Edmunds to form The Raiders. Tony departed to go solo and Edmunds would later emerge in the early 1970’s as a solo act hitting it big in 1970 with “I Hear You Knocking”. Brian joined up with new members in Cardiff to form The Afro Cuban Combo. Then it was onto London where they reunited with Sheveton and became Tony Sheveton and the Shevells at the urging of their record label Oriole.
Once again Sheveton would go solo and score a global hit of sorts with “A Million Drums”. The record was released in the U.S. on the Parrot label. The group would then be fronted by Mike Stevens in 1964. Davies departed at this point to join The Riot Squad. Brian contacted me and related that he, Tony and Mike all eventually made their way back to Wales and now meet often for coffee and to recall the old days.
Members throughout the years:
Tony Sheveton – Vocals (Raiders)
Brian Davies – Bass (Raiders, Riot Squad)
Trevor Lewis – Piano
Bob Jones – Drums
Eddie Lace – Lead Guitar
Mike Stevens – Guitaar/Vocals – (Squires)
Ray Stock – Drums (Later with Winston’s Fumbs Reflections)
Geoff Mcarthy – Bass
George Hill – Bass (band fill-in)
Record Company Biography
(From the above Press Release):
“One of the biggest changes in the pop world in 1964 was the increasing number
of artistes who produced their own – and others’ – discs independently in a studio
(sometimes costing as little as £5-an-hour) and then leased the tapes to a major
recording company. One tape could become worth several thousand pounds if the
resultant disc was a hit.
Singer Don Charles was one of the first to record privately – though he pays
an average of £150 per session.
One of his discoveries were the Shevells. Or, to be more precise, they
discovered him! The group were looking for a recording manager, and noticed that
one of their favourite records had been produced by Don Charles. They invited Don
and colleague Alan Caddy to visit them at the Flamingo Club, London, on one of the
nights they were playing there. The result was a recording contract which in turn
resulted in “I Could Conquer the World” (United Artists UP 1059), released both in
Britain and America in July, 1964.
Though this was the group’s first record for EMI, they have previously been
on disc. The record in question was “Oo-poo-pah-do” which flopped in Britain, but
made the American Hot Hundred – a great feat.
The Shevells were formed in March, 1963 by Trevor Lewis, pianist, and Mike
Stevens, lead guitar and vocals. After a short while they managed to find a bassist
and vocalist, Geoff McCarthy, and later got Roy Stock on drums.
The group was formed in Cardiff and all but Londoner Roy Stock come from Wales.
In the early days they made the rounds of the Welsh ballrooms gaining the experience
which helped them win a competition for the best group in Wales. Upon gaining this
honour they decided to turn pro and came to London.
On arrival here they were almost immediately booked for a 10-month residency
at the Flamingo Club, during which time they also did a series of one-nighters and
American Forces Bases. Their talent as a group was soon recognised and they were
booked to back Bo Diddley and Sonny Boy Williamson.
The Shevells have conquered, if not the world, at least the London beat scene.
WITH THE COMPLIMENTS OF:
EMI Records Limited”
Comments from The Shevelles
I have received many comments from various members of the Shevells over the past four or five years. It started off with the 2015 comment by Shevell drummer Ray Stock – looking simply to reunite with some of his mates for an occasional coffee and a chat.
From Ray Stock (May, 2015):
“I would love to meet up with any of the Shevells,I was the drummer in the band for five years.I was the only Londoner,and have great memories of our time together.
I would drive to Cardiff to catch up with Mike Jeff Trevor and Eddie at anytime that suits all.Come on chaps, get in touch. My no is 07860 439 961″
From Shevell Brian Davies (2015);
“The history of the Shevells goes back to 1962. as a 15 year old schoolboy I teamed up with Tony Sheveton to form a band called the Raiders, the lead guitarist with us was Dave Edmunds who went on to have his own hit records, (most notably “I Hear You Knocking”).
Tony left to go solo and was signed to Oreole Records. I went on to form a new band with Mike Stevens (guitar/singer), Eddie Lace, (lead guitar), Trevor Lewis (piano), Bob Jones (drums) and myself on bass. We called ourselves “The Afro Cuban Combo”. God knows where we got that name from and I think it was early 1963 we entered an all Wales group competition. The prize was a recording contract with Oriole records. One of the judges was John Schroder the A and R man for Oriole. We went on to win the competition, beating a group called Tommy Scott and the Senators who went on to become Tom Jones and the Squires.
When we went up to London to live, Oriole Records thought because we were friends with Tony Sheveton, it might be ideal to team up with him and change the group name to the Shevells, and record under the name “Tony Sheveton and the Shevells”. Tony went on to have a solo hit in Australia called “A Million Drums”. That is when Mike took over lead vocals and we became The Shevells.
Towards the end of 1964 I had a chance to join a new band that the Kinks’ manager, Larry Page was putting together,called “the Riot Squad” which included Mitch Mitchell on drums who went on to drum with Jimmy Hendrix, Graham Bonney on guitar, singer/songwriter, Ron Ryan (who wrote “Bits and Pieces” and “Because” for the Dave Clark Five.
So I left to be replaced by Geoff Mcarthy from Cardiff. The Shevells played often at the Flamingo Club in Wardour St, London with Georgie Game and the Blue Flames.
When the Shevells disbanded, I think around the 70,s, Mike joined Tom Jones backing band the Squires as lead singer as Tom was now singing with big orchestras. Tom’s manager Gordon Mills asked Mike to record a song he thought was a good song. Mike thought it wasn’t suitable for him so declined, that song turned out to be ‘Proud Mary’.
Mike was a great singer and should have done more and so should Tony Sheveton. Both came back to Cardiff in Wales in the early 70,s. Mike joined the band in the top rank and Tony and myself ended up resident in local nightclubs. As I said Mike, Tony and myself meet up every couple of weeks for a coffee and a chat. In fact we met up last Thursday,( to reminisce how close we were to making it) as we were one of the first bands in Cardiff in 1956.
From Norman Sparrow (August 24th, 2015:
“I remember the Shevells from the mid ´60´s. I met Trevor Lewis (keyboards) in the Flamingo Club when they were No. 2 to Georgie Fame and the Blue Flames. I also remember their record ‘Watermelon Man’ which should have done better than what it did!!!!! Those were the days!!!! How many members of the band are still around?”
From Jean Davenport (February, 2016):
“Mike Stevens and the Shevelles were a group that were managed by Rik Gunnell. They started out as Tony Sheverton and the Shevelles but changed to the Shevelles after the departure of Tony Sheverton.
I managed their fan club for a few years. They were a great group.Sorry this information is later than the original post. Regarding the Shevells…I was at one time their fan club secretary. They came to London after winning a talent show in Wales. A matter of interest is that Tom Jones was in the same contest. They recorded “I could conquer the world” as Tony Sheverton and the Shevelles.
They split from Tony and dropped the’e’ in the group name becoming the Shevells. They recorded several songs under this name. They toured through the UK but were always at the Flamingo Club on a Sunday. They were managed at this time by the Rik Gunnell Agency in Wardour Street. Ray Stock left the band in the mid 60’s and was replaced by a young drummer called Pete. Sorry cant remember his last name.”
And Follow Up:
It was good to hear from you. It’s great to catch up with someone who knew the guys. I often wondered about them. I first met them in about 2013/14. Saw them regularly for a good number of years. Most of them lived in Bayswater at that time.
They came up to London from Cardiff after beating the great Tom Jones in a talent contest. For a time I ran their Fan Club. In fact somewhere in my attic I probably still have the paperwork for the club. I would love to know what happened to them all.
My name then was Jean Watson.
Kind Regards – Jean”
From Ray Stock (November 22nd, 2016):
“Hi Jane,your dad was the one I was most closest to,so I am so sorry to hear of his untimely passing.
If your mother could find out more re Mike Tony Eddie & Trevor,I would love to hear about them.Even their addresses or tel nos would be so helpful,as I would love to meet up with them again.
My address is 19 Short Road,Chiswick,London w4 2qu. Tel.07860 439961. I would love also to speak to you about Mac,just to know how his life was after the Shevells,as I have such fond memories of him,as very good bass player,but above all a great guy. Please do get in touch,as it would mean a lot to me. Best Wishes, Ray”
From Jean Davenport (November 22nd, 2016):
“Hi Ray. Just came across this (website). I’m Geoff McCarthy (Macs daughter) who was the bass player. Dad died fifteen years ago aged 58 from cancer. From what I understand Mike and Tony still live in Cardiff. I can ask my mother for further info as they may not have come across this website before.”
From Ray Lovegrove (January 21st &, 2017):
“Well its a life time ago but I loved meeting up with the band in London….Me a Penarth boy working for Kinks & Shel Talmy loved going to see them hey WATERMELON MAN….Wonder how Mike & Mac are?”
From Ray Stock (January 22nd, 2017):
“Hi Ray,I was the Shevells drummer in London. I was told by Macs daughter awhile ago that Mac passed away 15 years ago.She said she would get her mother to get me more info re the rest of the boys in the band when her mother came back from holiday,but I haven’t heard anything yet. Do you have any info?”
From Ray Lovegrove (January 22nd, 2017):
Its so long now I’m 72 & last spoke with Mac in Cardiff in the 80’s then I moved back to London & now for 17 years in Devon….Always had time for them. i can’t add any info, but in my heart I’m a proud Welsh boy til I die!!!!
As to the Care Home I own it…..I do not live in it!”
From George Mills (December 30th, 2018):
“Hi Steamer! I’ve followed the various Emails connected to the Shevells. Now THIS one will really test memories. My name is George Hill. I lived in Bayswater for a few years and spent a lot of time drinking and playing with the guys. My band worked quite a lot through Gunnell agency,
I played with the Shevells several times, filling in (mainly) for Mac (Geoff) when he was ill. My flat was right through the wall from Mike’s. I’d rather not comment on the sounds from next door.
Mike was very popular. Eddie married, moved to the south coast with wife’s family. I recall you had a flat in South Kensington. I was in your place a handful of times when the band was “researching” for your next big hit.
‘Come on Home’ was decided. I remember being with Mike and Eddie one night in the Cromwellian where the Shevells “introduced” the song. Now, Wayne Fontana was a friend of Meic and often sat in. NOT on this particular occasion though. My recollection? Well, Wayne heard the song, quickly disappeared and HIS version was released soon after. Incidentally, the fuzz box on the Shevells’ single featured was mine. Fame at last!.
On another occasion I remember (maybe dreaming) when I went with you to collect a newly painted bass drum in a Beatles style type face. I worked in Arbiters firm at this time. I was also accompanying the Shevells at gigs including Sugar Pie de Santo, Donnie Elbert and more.
I continued as a semi-pro musician before being struck down with Parkinson’s just a handful of years ago. Never made the grade but did meet the Beatles, worked with Elton John and a bunch of acts including Diana Dors, Phil Collins. “supported” Pink Floyd. Thousands of varied gig around the word but ultimately a musical failure.
Still, loved every moment!”
My replay to George Hill’s ending comment:
” George, I would say from my vantage point here in Colorado far away from the British Scene of those days long ago that your life experience was anything but “a musical failure”…. You lived it – you were part of it…. Yourself and so many like you made it all happen!
(And – oh yes … you met the Beatles!)
All the best – Pulling for you”
UK 45 – Oriole CB 1915 – March, 1964 – Oo Poo Pa Doo/Like I Love You
UK 45 – United Artists UP 1059 – I Could Conquer The World/How Would You Like Me To Love You – July, 1964
UK 45 – United Artists UP 1076 – Walking On (The Edge of The World)/Not So Close – January, 1965
UK 45 – United Artists UP 1081 – Watermelon Man/Taking Over Your Love – March, 1965
UK 45 – United Artists UP 1125 – Come On Home/I Gotta Travel All Over – February, 1966
UK 45 – Pye 7N 17243 – Cathy’s Clown/Go-Go Train (with Mike Stevens) – January, 1967
UK 45 – Polydor 56239 – Big City Lights (And Country Boy Bill)/The Coffee Song – March, 1968
UK 45 – Polydor 56269 Guaranteed To Drive You Wild/Hog Tied (with Mike Stevens)
USA 45 – World Artists 1023 – Oo Poo Pa Doo/Like I Love You – May, 1964
U.S.A 45 – World Artists 1025 – I Could Conquer The World/How Would You Like Me To Love You – July, 1964
Several Label Variations Show
Germany 45 – United Artists 67 072 – I Could Conquer The World/How Would You Like Me To Love You – December, 1964
Germany 45 – Polydor 59 178 – Big City Lights (And Country Bill)/The Coffee Song – May, 1968
Australia 45 – United Artists UA-1064 – I Could Conquer The World/How Would You Like Me To Love You – 1964
France 45 – Polydor 421 184 – Big City Lights (And Country Bill)/The Coffee Song – 1968
Italy 45 – Polydor 59 178 – Big City Lights/The Coffee Song – June, 1968