The Fivepenny Piece Timeline
page lists major events in the career of The Fivepenny
Piece in chronological order, as near as we can
determine. Some of the dates are a bit vague, so there's
a chance we may have some events in the wrong place.
Also the details of some periods of the band's career
are a bit sketchy, to say the least. If you can provide
more information, correct any errors, or know of any
omissions, please contact us.
on a year to see what happened!
1968 | 1969
| 1970 | 1971 |
1972 | 1973
| 1974 | 1975
| 1976 | 1977
| 1978 | 1979
| 1980 | 1981
| 1982 | 1983
| 1984 | 1985 |
1986-1990 | 1991 |
1992-1994 | 1995 |
1996 | 1997
| 1998 | 1999
| 2000 | 2001
| 2002 | 2003
| 2004 | 2005
| 2006 | 2007
Meeks, his sister Lynda Meeks,
and Eddie Crotty perform a few songs
together at a social event held at Ashton-under-Lyne
Golf Club in February. They are considered
good enough to be asked back!
By the time they reappear at the club a month
later, Colin Radcliffe and his jazzman
brother George Radcliffe has joined
the others to form a five-piece band.
Banned by John's wife Margaret from rehearsing
at their house (because to plug in the guitar
amp they had to unplug the freezer!) the band
start rehearsing regularly on Wednesday nights
in a room at the Broadoak Hotel in
Ashton-under-Lyne. The locals soon catch on,
and the band soon progresses from just rehearsing
to performing at the Broadoak, under the name
The Wednesday Folk.
The band is unexpectedly catapulted to national
prominence when they enter and win the folk
section of the Granada TV talent show New
Faces, still under their original
name. This leads to an appearance in a BBC
TV documentary The
Persuaders (or Birth Of A Group)
in which viewers are invited to vote for a
new name for the band. The band thus become
known as The Fivepenny Piece.
As a result of their success the band is signed
to the prestigious Noel Gay agency,
and is offered a recording contract with EMI
The band's first single Running
Free is issued on EMI's Columbia
label in January. Sadly, it is not a success
in spite of the band's popularity.
Later in January, the BBC TV documentary The
Persuaders is broadcast, chronicling
the band's rise to fame New Faces and
their subsequent grooming for success.
April sees the band's second single Hang
The Flag Out Mrs Jones released, also
on Columbia. In spite of being a much more
commercial single than the first, it fails
The band appears on the BBC2 TV show Get
The Drift, televised in the summer.
The band's next single (their third on the
Columbia label) is issued. The 'A' side is
There's A Great Deal Of Difference,
backed with one of their most popular songs
Ee By Gum. Once again, the record was
denied chart success.
At last the band's first album, entitled simply
The Fivepenny Piece, is released. The
album is very well received, containing as
it does some of their best material in a mixture
of pop and Lancashire folk styles.
November sees the release of the fourth single
by the Fivepenny Piece A Gradely Prayer
b/w Reflections of Emily. It again
fails to make the charts in spite of being
The second LP Makin' Tracks is issued
and reaches the national Top
40 album chart.
Another single (their fifth) is issued The
People Tree b/w Home Made Brew. The single
is again unsuccessful.
Hot on the heels of the minor success of Makin'
Tracks, one of The Fivepenny Piece's most
popular albums Songs We Like To Sing
is released. Although it eventually sells
more than its predecessor it fails to chart
because the sales are spread over a longer
period of time.
Two songs from the latest album Gotta Get
Away and I'm Powfagged are issued
on a single, the band's sixth, also on Columbia.
Failure to chart is the familiar (by now)
The Fivepenny Piece appear as guests on the
popular Granada TV comedy/variety show The
Wheeltappers & Shunters Club, in May.
In July EMI makes an effort to get the group
into the charts by releasing the Greenaway-Macaulay
song Save Your Last Kiss For Me as
a single on the EMI label, complete with picture
sleeve. In spite of the strength of the song
and the performance it still doesn't chart.
EMI realises that The Fivepenny Piece's strength
is in live performance, and accordingly Bob
Barratt produces the LP Fivepenny Piece...
On Stage recorded live at the band's "home"
the Broadoak, Ashton. The LP is to become
one of the most enduringly popular, although
it never makes the album charts.
Perhaps vainly hoping for more success with
the band's Lancashire songs, EMI and the band
re-record two of their best-loved songs Big
Jim and Ee By Gum for a single
release in January.
The studio album Wish You Were Here
EMI re-releases one of the band's earlier
singles A Gradely Prayer b/w Reflections
Of Emily, perhaps with an eye on the Christmas
The Fivepenny Piece appear in an episode of
the acclaimed BBC-TV series The Camera
& The Song, singing their own songs
in a programme about the Lake District. One
of the songs Mountain Climber is included
on the BBC album of the show.
The band's next album King Cotton,
considered by many to be their finest, is
released and reaches the Top
10 album chart.
A single taken from the King Cotton
album Watercolour Morning b/w Old England
is released but fails to emulate the album's
The album Telling Tales is released.
Unfortunately it failed to chart like its
The Fivepenny Piece record a live show for
BBC-TV at the Poco-a-Poco Theatre, Stockport,
with folk singer/comedian Mike Harding.
The 50-minute show Fivepenny Piece &
Mike Harding is broadcast in April and
is to prove popular enough to prompt the BBC
to offer Mike Harding and the band a series.
The band's next album Fivepenny Piece On
Stage Again is recorded live at the Broadoak
and released in October.
April sees the release of the band's ninth
LP Both Sides Of Fivepenny Piece.
The band's six-part BBC-TV series with Mike
Harding MH & 5P is aired in June
and July. The series is a great success and
on the strength of this the BBC is to offer
Mike his own series and the band theirs',
the following year.
The band star in an episode of the BBC2 TV
series Rhythm On 2 with their guests
The Oldham Tinkers, in August.
EMI's last-ditch attempt for success with
a The Fivepenny Piece single is issued in
October - I'll Be Still In Love With You.
Although a strong contender, the band's bad
luck with singles continues, and this was
to be their final one for EMI.
With other Lancashire artists, Fivepenny Piece
contribute to an album issued by EMI Lanky
Spoken Here!, a kind of "Teach Thissen
Lanky" course in the Lancashire dialect.
The album proves very popular and is eventually
to be reissued on a CD,
25 years later.
At Christmas time, BBC TV broadcasts a 40-minute
special featuring Mike Harding and The Fivepenny
Piece. Like their earlier shows together,
the programme was recorded live at the Poco-a-Poco
The band release the more or less pure pop
album Peddlers Of Songs in April, featuring
many songs not written by the band.
The Fivepenny Piece's own four-part TV series
was broadcast on Friday nights on BBC2 during
May. One guest of the show was Bernard Wrigley
little knowng that he would join the band
June sees the release by EMI of the compilation
LP The Very Best Of The Fivepenny Piece.
The Fivepenny Piece leaves EMI and signs a
contract with Philips records. Their
first album for Philips is the studio album
Life Is A Game Of Chance.
In May, EMI releases a compilation album of
Lancashire songs by The Fivepenny Piece Lancashire
Another EMI compilation album This Is Fivepenny
Piece is released in October.
The band release their second and final album
for Philips, a live recording from the Coliseum
Theatre, Oldham, entitled An Evening With
The Fivepenny Piece.
Founder member and group leader John Meeks
leaves the band, the first member of the original
line-up to do so. His replacement is singer
and songwriter Trevor Chance.
The single It's A Long Way is released
on a small independent label, as a promotional
item for a travel company, to tie in with
the Falklands war.
Founder member Lynda Meeks leaves the
group - Lynda is the second member of the
original group (after brother John) to leave.
Her replacement is Andrea Mullins (née
Simpson), a former member of the girl duo
The Caravelles, who had a big hit on
both sides of the Atlantic in 1963 with You
Don't Have To Be A Baby To Cry.
The album Here We Are Again is issued
on a small independent label owned by the
group's manager Brian Durkin.
The Fivepenny Piece decides to call it a day
and splits up. The members of the group at
this stage are Trevor Chance, Andrea
Mullins, Colin Radcliffe, George
Radcliffe and Eddie Crotty. Trevor
is to move on to other show business interests
and Colin is to retire from the music scene.
(The remaining three are later to regroup,
as will be seen!)
The first CD of The Fivepenny Piece material
is issued by EMI - a compilation of some of
their best tracks from their albums originally
released between 1972 and 1979.
The Fivepenny Piece is reformed with original
members Eddie Crotty and George
Radcliffe; Andrea Mullins who was
in the group in the 1980s before they split
up; and two new members, Pete Brew
and the well-known folk singer/comedian Bernard
A CD by the current band 57 Fivepenny Favourites
is released on a small independent label.
The album consists of medleys of well-known
folk and pop songs.
Owing to TV commitments, Bernard Wrigley
leaves the band as he is unable to guarantee
being available for bookings (Bernard was
playing the part of Barry Clegg, the rocket
builder, in the ITV soap Emmerdale).
Pete Brew also leaves, and they are
replaced by John Eatock and Alan
EMI re-releases the CD The Very Best Of
Fivepenny Piece with the same tracks as
the 1991 release.
The band release a new CD Better Than Ever.
The LP Here We Are Again is reissued
The 5pp.co.uk website is started by
band fan Paul Gunningham.
Sadly, Fivepenny Piece founder member George
Radcliffe dies in December.
EMI announces the re-release of the Lanky
Spoken Here! album on CD, with extra material.
The CD is released in May, with extra tracks
from Fivepenny Piece and Bernard Wrigley,
but almost unbelievably the spoken content
of the record is completely missing from the
CD! Eventually the CD is reissued in October,
this time simply a reissue of the original
LP with no extra tracks, but at least the
spoken parts are included this time.
Original Fivepenny Piece member John Meeks
comes out of retirement (musically speaking)
to release a new
CD with some new songs and reworking of
some of the old Fivepenny Piece material written
by John with Colin Radcliffe.
Gunningham, the editor of the website,
dies following a road traffic accident. The
Fivepenny Piece website is handed over to
the band, and Frank Blades volunteers to take
over as editor.
11th September 2007 sees the release of a
brand new The Fivepenny Piece album Where
It All Began.
Fivepenny Piece release a Christmas single
Special Child, a previously
unreleased song with Lynda singing. (9 Nov
Fivepenny Piece founder member Eddie Crotty
dies after a long illness. (Apr 2009)