Born on August 10 1948, Peter grew up at 22 Lucerne Street in the Aigburth section of Liverpool England. He recalls “being from Liverpool, it would be hard not to have been influenced by the Beatles, whom I saw play at the Cavern a couple of times when I was very young."
He first took an interest in music listening to his brother Tony’s records and playing ‘air’ guitar while listening to the radio.
Peter was obviously under age at the time the Beatles were playing at the Cavern, but his older brother managed to smuggle him into the club a few times to see the Beatles and other bands perform. Listening to the Beatles is when he decided he wanted to spend his life making music.
Peter joined his first band the Thoughts, in 1965 and they backed local singer Tiffany on record. Tiffany’s real name was Irene Greene and she was a founding member of the all-girl rock band the Liverbirds. She later went solo and
recorded two singles for Parlophone backed by the Thoughts. ‘I Know/Am I Dreaming?’ was released on Parlophone Records in August 1965 and ‘Find Out What’s Happening/Baby Don’t Look Down’ was released on Parlophone in April 1966. At the time the group consisted of Peter Beckett, Phil Boardman (lead guitar), Dave Croft (drums) and Alan Hornby (bass).
Under their own name the Thoughts then recorded for Planet Records in 1966. This was a record company set up by Shel Talmy, who recorded artists such as the Kinks. He produced the Thoughts recording ‘All Night Stand’, a number penned by Ray Davies for a projected film of that name which was never made.
The book was by Thom Keyes, an American youth who lived in Liverpool during the early Sixties and travelled to gigs with groups such as Faron’s Flamingos, basing the novel on his experiences – the first-ever book of the Mersey scene.
The flipside of the record was ‘Memory of Your Love’, penned by Peter and band mate Phil Boardman.
The band was next joined by Denny Alexander, former member of Earl Preston’s Realms on lead vocals. The Thoughts also made a video called ‘Girls In Short Short Dresses’, performing two of their numbers which were unrecorded: ‘Pretty Girl’ and ‘Call Me Girl.’
The press release read: “ Paramount made this topical film in the final days of the theatrical short subject era, to capitalize on the worldwide interest in the then very-Swinging London . It stars actual mod band the Thoughts, who are best known to collectors for their recording of Ray Davies’ otherwise unreleased song ‘All Night Stand’ on Shel Talmy’s Planet Records label. In this previously unheralded Technicolor film they perform two songs, ‘Pretty Girl’ and ‘Call Me Girl’, in the famous Blaise’s nightclub. In a reverse on the usual rock band scenario, they chase girls around tube stations and Carnaby Street boutiques. The film also made a visit to the studio of fashion designer Mary Quant, inventor of the mini-skirt.”
The group also appeared on the German TV show ‘Beat Beat Beat’ in 1967 performing ‘Until You Love Someone’ and ‘If You Don’t Come Back.’
Shortly after the release of ‘Girls In Short Short Dresses’, The Thoughts opened the Soundarama’ show at Brian Epstein’s Saville Theatre in Shaftesbury Avenue on 29 January 1967. Pete recalled, “It was just after the ‘Swinging London’ movie. We wore the suits that the movie people gave us….it’s all we had! We all lived in one room in London and the motto was: “First up…best dressed!” DJ Jimmy Saville broadcasted out of a room upstairs and was highly amused by that motto.”
The concert also featured the Who, the Jimmy Hendrix Experience and another Liverpool group, the Kubas. The Beatles joined Brian Epstein in his box seats to watch the show.
As success on record eluded them and as Planet Records folded after a year (despite releases by the Who, the Kinks, Creation and the Easybeats), the group disbanded and Peter joined Winston G & The Wicked. He was now living in London during the ‘Swinging London’ period. They toured Europe, supporting a number of big name bands. They had changed their name to Fox, but found that another band was also called Fox, so they played their last gig under that name as support to the Who.
They then became the Whip, mainly playing U.S. bases in Europe, but disbanded after a year, with Pete joining the World of Oz for a short time.
He next joined Paladin on bass guitar and vocals, although he’d never played bass before. Paladin recorded their self-named album ‘Paladin’ in 1972 and their second album ‘Charge!’ recorded at Apple Studios in 1973. The group disbanded in 1973.
Peter’s next group was called Skyband and then Peter was to re-locate to Los Angeles and became a founding
member of a group called Player who had a No. 1 hit with ‘Baby Come Back’ in 1977, which Peter co-wrote and sang lead on (the number has been in over 40 movies and TV commercials, the most recent being ‘Transformers’). After recording four successful albums, the band split up and Peter’s success as a songwriter began to bear fruit as his songs were recorded by a variety of artists including Olivia Newton John, Kenny Rogers, the Temptations, Heart, Sergio Mendez, Vanessa Hudgens and Grace Slick, to name a few.
Peter also recorded his solo album ‘Beckett’ in 1991,
joined the Little River Band for eight years and wrote several singles for them. He also began composing for film and television in addition to continuing touring, both as a solo artist and with band.
Among his song writing credits in major movie soundtracks are ‘The Karate Kid’, ‘Cocktail’, ‘Two Of A Kind’, ‘Major League’, ‘Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, ‘Frankie & Johnny (the Al Pacino, Michelle Pfeiffer film), ‘Basic’ and ‘Terminator 3’ – and he received a Grammy nomination for ‘St Elmo’s Fire.’
Copyright 2005-2017@Peter Beckett