The Stargazers Biography

Formed in 1949, the Stargazers developed into Britain’s most popular vocal group in the early 50s. The original line-up comprised Dick James, Cliff Adams, Marie Benson, Fred Datchler and Ronnie Milne. They first attracted attention on radio programmes such as The Derek Roy Show and The Family Hour, later moving to Top Score, the Goon Show and Take It From Here. The Stargazers began recording towards the end of 1949, working for a variety of labels, including Decca Records, HMV Records, Columbia Records and Polygon, backing artists such as Steve Conway and Benny Lee, and later, Dennis Lotis and Jimmy Young. Their own releases included ‘Me And My Imagination’, ‘Red Silken Stockings’, ‘A-Round The Corner’ and ‘Sugarbush’. In April 1953, they became the first British act to reach number 1 in the infant New Musical Express chart, with ‘Broken Wings’. Almost a year later, they hit the top spot again, with Meredith Willson’s ‘I See The Moon’. They continued to record into the late 50s, and made the UK chart with ‘The Happy Wanderer’, ‘Somebody’, ‘The Finger Of Suspicion’ (with Dickie Valentine), ‘The Crazy Otto Rag’, ‘Close The Door’, ‘Twenty Tiny Fingers’ and ‘Hot Diggity (Dog Ziggity Boom)’.

They worked constantly in radio, and their own series, The Stargazers’ Music Shop, opened for business on Radio Luxembourg in 1952, crossing to the BBC nearly five years later. The group also had a regular radio slot on the BBC’sShow Band Show with Cyril Stapleton, and toured the UK variety circuit. Their first permanent personnel change came in 1953, when David Carey replaced Ronnie Milne. Milne emigrated to Canada and took up a post in the Canadian Army, training young musicians. Two years later, the group appeared in the Royal Variety Performance, and, in the same year, Eula Parker took over from her fellow Australian, Marie Benson, who embarked on a solo career, armed with a two-year contract with Philips Records. Parker herself was later succeeded by June Marlow. After being replaced by Bob Brown, Dick James, the Stargazers’ original leader, had solo hits with ‘Robin Hood’ and ‘Garden Of Eden’ before becoming a successful music publisher and the proprietor of DJM Records. Cliff Adams went on to devise the radio programme Sing Something Simple in 1959, and he and his Singers have remained with the show ever since. Fred Datchler became a member of the Polka Dots, a vocal group bearing some resemblance to the Hi-Lo’s. Datchler’s son, Clark, was a member of the 80s pop band Johnny Hates Jazz. These Stargazers are not associated with the 80s vocal group the of the same name, who recorded Back In Orbit! on Ace Records in 1991.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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