Smith, John and the New Sound

Band members               Related acts

- John Smith -- vocals (1965-67)





- The Beat Kings

- Bobby Dean (solo efforts)





Genre: rock

Rating: 1 stars *

Title:  Snoopy vs.The Red Baron / Winchester Cathedral

Company: Vogue / Pop Schallplatten

Catalog: LDVS 17125

Country/State: UK

Grade (cover/record): not available

Comments: not available

Available: not available

Catalog ID: not available

Price: not available


The mid-1960s were an interesting time to have been a British musician.  No matter what your musical skill level, if you had a certain look and that British accent, you could apparently make a living as a rock and roller playing on the Continent.  That seems to have pretty much covered John Smith and the New Sound.  


So first off there was actually a John Smith, though his tenure with the band was rather brief; lasting through a couple of singles and 1 1967 album. 


As a teenager Smith became infatuated with American blues, forming the skiffle band Jubilee in the mid-1950s.  By the early 1960s he'd struck out on his own, signing a solo deal with Parlophone which released a couple of obscure singles under the name Bobby Dean.


- 1965's 'More And More' b/w 'St. James Infirmary' (Parlophone catalog number R 5254)

- 1965's 'He's the One' b/w 'Why Did You Go Away' (Parlophone catalog number R 5299)


With support from manager Bill Wellings, Smith was subsequently signed to EMI's discount Top Six label.  Like the US K-Tell label would do in the 1970s, Top Six gathered together an array of British sessions players (known collectively as "The Ghost Squad") who would then power their way through lists of popular hits which were then released as cheapy 'hits' packages.


In one of those weird marketing moves that nobody seems to understand, in 1966 the Vogue label saw fit to release a couple of John Smith singles in West Germany and other parts of Europe.  Both were rote covers of 'hits' by other bands; The New Vaudeville Band having scored a fluke hit with 'Winchester Cathedral' (coincidently produced by Welling), while the Florida-based The Royal Guardsmen enjoyed a US hit with 'Snoopy vs.The Red Baron'.



- 1966's 'Winchester Cathedral' b/w 'Got To Get You Into My Life' (Vogue catalog number DV 14 573)
- 1966's 'Snoopy vs.The Red Baron' b/w 'Send Her Home' (Vogue catalog number DV 14 606)


YouTube has a black and white German television performances of the song - funny watching Smith sing the song holding his nose to get the nasal sound:

"Winchester Cathedral"


Supported by extensive touring and television appearances, the singles sold well in West Germany and as was standard marketing procedure, in the wake of Smith's unexpected successes Vogue rushed out a supporting album. - 1967's "Snoopy Vs.The Red Baron / Winchester Cathedral".  I've never heard it, let alone tried to track down a copy, but for anyone curious, here's the track listing:


"Snoopy Vs.The Red Baron / Winchester Cathedral" track listing:

(side 1)

1.) High Time
2.) Send Her Home
3.) Got To Get You Into My Life
4.) No-One Knows
5.) Wrapping Paper
6.) Stop Stop Stop
7.) Snoopy vs. The Red Baron


(side 2)
1.) I'm On Top
2.) Big Time Operator
3.) Here's A Heart
4.) When I Come Home
5.) All Or Nothing
6.) Wait For Me Baby
7.) Winchester Cathedral


Up next were a couple of non-LP 45s:



- 1966's 'Make It Me' b/w 'Don't Break It Up' (Vogue catalog number DV 14 618)

- 1966's 'Out and About' b/w 'Don't Back the Loser' (Vogue catalog number DV 14 653)


Apparently unhappy with the resulting monetary compensation (my guess is there was little or none), at the ripe old age of 28 Smith quit the band and left for Australia where he eventually signed up for what was to be a four month gig playing on a cruise liner.  He ended up staying until 1993 and wrote a book about his experiences "A Laugh On the Ocean Wave" (I've looked for a copy of the book without success).


Smith also has a small MySpace page at:



Genre: rock

Rating: 1 stars *

Title:  Rocking with John Smith (Shake, Rattle and Roll)

Company: Vogue / Pop Schallplatten

Catalog: ZS 10160
Year: 1968

Country/State: UK

Grade (cover/record): VG+ / VG+

Comments: --

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 5957

Price: $70.00


Perhaps not a major shock, the fact namesake John Smith had quit the band didn't stop Vogue from releasing more material under the John Smith and the New Sound' nameplate.  Recruiting various sessions men including singer David Byron (of future Uriah Heep fame), Vogue continued to churn out John Smith material:



- 1967's 'See See Rider' b/w 'Jenny Take a Ride' (DV-14 720)

- 1967's 'True Fine Mama' b/w 'Newspaper Man' (DV-14 763)

- 1967's 'Judy In Disguise' b/w 'When the Lights Go Out' (Vogue catalog number DV 14 792)


For anyone interested YouTube has a black and white German television performance of 'See See Rider':



post John Smith - John Smith and the New Sounds 


The group's second album,1968's "Rocking with John Smith Shake, Rattle and Roll" did nothing to stray from their patented formula.  Produce by Wellings, the album featured anonymous sessions players plowing their way through another heartless collection of 14 pop and rock chestnuts including two of the most recent singles ('See See Ride' and 'Judy In Disguise').  The absence of a single original composition, coupled with the fact the performances were largely mirror images of the original songs made it clear this was nothing more than an attempt to squeeze profits out of a clueless European audience that was apparently willing to buy virtually anything from what looked like an English rock band.  Yeah the John Smith-less cover photo made these guys look kind of mid-1960s cool, but trust me, they were nothin' but tools.  So was anything on the album worth hearing?  Well the covers of American '50s tunes like 'Tutti Frutti', 'Good Golly Miss Molly', 'Rock Around the Clock', and 'Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On' were all bland, white-bread renditions that were good for one spin.  Okay, the latter at least sported a cool, fractured hyper-speed guitar solo.  The big surprise was there were actually a couple of decent tracks.  'Girls In Love' and 'Ain't Nothing But a Houseparty' were blazing, horn propelled slices of blue-eyed soul.  Given the overall vibe and the fact the vocals didn't sound like the rest of the performances, these two may well have been earlier John Smith performances.   While it didn't add anything to the original, their Johnny Kidd and the Pirates cover 'Shakin' All Over' was at least enjoyable.  Reportedly one of the tracks featuring David Byron on lead vocals, their cover of John Fred and the Playboy Band's 'Judy In Disguise' was decent though it didn't much different from the original.  The same was true of their cover of 'See See Rider / Jenny Take a Ride' - nnot bad, though it didn't threaten the original.  Still, all told this was more of a business curiosity more than a musical statement ...


"Rocking with John Smith (Shake, Rattle and Roll)" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Tutti Frutti   (Richard Penniman - La Besotrie - Lubin) - 

2.) Rave On   (West - Tlighman - Petty) - 

3.) Good Golly Miss Molly   (Blackwell - Marascalco) - 

4.) Girls In Love   (Allan Moorehouse) - 

5.) Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On   (Williams - David) - 

6.) Judy In Disguise   (A. Bernard - John Fred) - 

7.) Shakin' All Over   (Johnny Kidd) - 


(side 2)
1.) See See Rider/Jenny Take a Ride   (C. Redwood) - 

2.) Shake Rattle and Roll   (Calhoun) - 

3.) Ain't Nothing But a Houseparty   (Sharm - Thomas) - 

4.) Be-Bop-A-Lula   (Davis - Gene Vincnet) - 

5.) Heartbreak Hotel   (Axton - Surden - Elvis Presley) - 

6.) All Shook Up   (Blackwell - Elvis Presley) - 

7.) Rock Around the Clock   (De Knight - Freedman) - 






Genre: rock

Rating: 1 stars *

Title:  Rock 'n' Roll Again with John Smith

Company: Vogue / Pop Schallplatten

Catalog: ZS 10169

Country/State: UK

Grade (cover/record): not available

Comments: not available

Available: not available

Catalog ID: not available

Price: not available



There's a third John Smith and the New Sound studio LP - 1968's "Rock 'n' Roll Again with John Smith".  In spite of the mod cover (already somewhat dated for the late 1968 release, this one was apparently a continuation of the earlier rote cover of popular 'hits' approach to music.  For whatever reason the LP's surprisingly hard to track down ...  I'm looking.  In the meantime, if anyone has the track listing, drop me a line.


"Rock 'n' Roll Again with John Smith" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) unknown


(side 2)
1.) unknown



With sessions players and hired guns the 'group' continued to release material through 1969:



- 1968's 'Birthday' b/w 'Just a Loser' (Vogue catalog DV 14 819)

- 1969's 'Return Of Django' (instrumental) b/w 'Gin Gan Goolie' (Vogue catalog number DV 14 980).