WRIGHT THINKING: The end of an era for first ‘girl band’

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The recent death of Joy Beverley will have triggered a flood of memories for many readers, and her life and career was a tale of a simpler and more innocent world.

Along with her surviving sisters, twins Teddie and Babs, they were perhaps the first of the “girl bands” and had enormous, and lasting, success long before the likes of the Spice Girls.

Their close harmony singing was a kind of background soundtrack to my early years and I have a clear memory of hearing their 1953 hit on the wireless at home.

I was only six at the time and the lyrics of I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus left me very confused and startled.

As a firm believer in the chap in red, I thought that the idea of him being naughty with someone’s mum was terrible.

I think it’s fair to say that pop music lyrics have gone a fair way downhill since those days.

I had the pleasure of compering alongside the ladies a time or two and the photo says it all.

That was about 20 years ago, before I ditched the black beard for the silver fox look, and everything about them showed their top class professionalism.

Elder sister Joy was the organiser and she had us grouped for the picture in seconds.

They must have done it thousands of times before, but it had to look right, always.

They were always immaculately turned out, and identically dressed, whether in the West End or supporting one of their many charities.

Their mum and dad had been in music hall and clearly passed on many of the key qualities of real entertainers – reliability, high standards and, above all, respect for the fans who put you up there.

A few of the modern crop don’t always get that but there is one mark of a lady, or gentleman, which the Bevs had in abundance.

Whether they were talking to the tea lady or the biggest name, they gave total concentration and respect.

Another sign of changing times is that the late Joy was married to a footballer, Billy Wright, when he was captain of England, but their 1958 wedding was nothing like the big production numbers of today.

They decided to marry at the Register Office in Poole, thinking that the quiet south coast town would enable a quiet wedding – but they were wrong.

Even in those days, the word got round and thousands of fans of bride and groom were on the streets to wish them well.

It must seem strange to modern readers, but there were no helicopters or executive jets, no Caribbean honeymoon, and no million pound deals with magazines for the pictures.

Billy, captain of his country remember, came down on the train from Wolverhampton and walked from the railway station to the house to prepare for his big day.

They had a very short honeymoon as Joy was due on stage and Billy was back on the training pitch, on a footballer’s salary which would have bought a round of drinks for a Premier League player of today.

The Beverley Sisters were something special, from the voice of the Ovaltineys as kids, to cabaret stars, and Joy’s passing really does mark the end of an era.