The 1960s golden age revisited again

Now in it's 26th year, the Solid Silver 60s Show has proved itself to be the most popular revue packages, and this year will be one of the biggest ever with 68 performances in 57 dates. MARTIN HUTCHINSON speaks to former Hollies man Terry Sylvester.

So enjoyable are the tours that some of the stars keep coming back to appear, and this year is no exception with Dave Berry, Chris Farlowe, Wayne Fontana and Vanity Fare all reappearing. Special guests this year are The Merseybeats.

This year though, promises to be extra special because, touring the UK for the first time in 30 years is Terry Sylvester - the man who replaced Graham Nash in The Hollies in 1968.

Speaking from his Florida home, Terry is wildly enthusiastic about taking part in the tour, despite the weather.

With his still-apparent Scouse accent (he hails from Liverpool and was a member of The Swinging Blue Jeans before joining The Hollies) he tells me.

'It's chucking it down with rain at the moment, it makes me feel like I'm at home in England.'

'After leaving The Hollies in 1981 I used to mainly tour the continent in the 1980s and 90s, and even though I come back to Britain quite often, I haven't toured my homeland since the early eighties.'

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So, how did the idea of joining the Solid Silver Sixties Show come about? 'It really came out of the blue and the negotiations started about six months ago.'

I do quite a lot of shows in America with the likes of Peter Noone (Hermans Hermits), and on one of these I was sharing a dressing room with John Walker of The Walker Brothers.'

'He'd just done one of the tours and asked me if I'd ever done one and he said he thought I'd be perfect, and in the end he set it all up.'

Terry, whose first recording session with The Hollies was to record the number three hit Sorry Suzanne, is looking forward to the tour for a number of reasons.

'It's gonna be fantastic,' he says.

'I'm really looking forward to seeing the fans and some family, it'll be fun and I've already had some e mails to y website.'

As to favourite venues, Terry can't single out anywhere in particular.

'It's quite strange looking at the venues for the tour,' he says.

'It's a tour of the UK's best venues and cities, and we played some of them back in the sixties.'

'I hope they've been refurbished by now.' He laughs.

The tour is quite a lengthy one compared with his dates in the US. He agrees. 'That's right. In America, I do about 50 dates per year, but the place is so vast that I usually get to a venue the day before the show, and then I might stay on afterwards, so with 50 dates it works out that I'm away for about 120 days a year in total.'

'With the Solid Silver 60s tour, I'll be away for three months. You have to be up for it, it's exciting. I love my life and I love singing.'

He's also being a bit cagey about what he will be singing. 'We will all be doing our well-known hits, and the four solo singers will be backed by Vanity Fare; I've never worked with them before, but everyone tells me that they're superb.'

'I've only got about twenty minutes in the show, but I'll be singing some of the hits I was involved with, plus a few surprises. In a way the audiences decide what you play.'

Terry's now 64, but still as enthusiastic about performing.

'When I was in The Swinging Blue Jeans, we used to sing When I'm 64 on stage. Who would have thought that I'd still be singing at that age?'

Terry also says that he doesn't get nervous. 'No, never. It's just great to get out there.'

He has had many highlights in his career, but one of the things that gives him the most pride was when he was (with The Hollies) inducted into The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

'I'm only the fifth Liverpudlian to be inducted, I have the statuette I was given in front of me.'

'When I flew home, I wasn't allowed to have it with me in the cabin and I had to put it in my luggage in the hold.'

With such a line-up, it looks like The Solid Silver Sixties Tour will continue for a good while yet, and founder and creator of the show Derek Nicol sums it up by stating.

'As long as the punters keep coming and we can promise a great show, we'll keep delivering.'

t The Solid Silver 60s Show is at Norwich Theatre Royal on May 22, 4pm/8pm, �22-�5.50, 01603 630000,