Joe Brown (singer)

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Joe Brown
Brown on stage in 2010
Brown on stage in 2010
Background information
Birth nameJoseph Roger Brown
Born (1941-05-13) 13 May 1941 (age 79)
Swarby, Lincolnshire, England
GenresRock and roll
InstrumentsVocals, guitar, ukulele, banjo, mandolin, fiddle
Years active1959–present

Joseph Roger Brown, MBE (born 13 May 1941)[1] is an English entertainer. As a rock and roll singer and guitarist, he has performed for more than six decades. He was a stage and television performer in the late 1950s and has been a UK recording star since the early 1960s.[2] He has made six films, presented specialist radio series for BBC Radio 2, appeared on the West End stage alongside Dame Anna Neagle and has written an autobiography. In recent years he has again concentrated on recording and performing music, playing two tours of around 100 shows every year and releasing an album almost every year.

Described by the Guinness Book of British Hit Singles & Albums as a "chirpy Cockney", Brown was one of the original artists managed by the early rock impresario and manager Larry Parnes.[1] He is highly regarded in the music business as a "musician's musician" who "commands respect and admiration from a wide spectrum of artists".[2]


Brown was born in Swarby, Lincolnshire. His family moved to London when he was two and ran the Sultan public house in Grange Road, Plaistow, then in Essex, now part of the London Borough of Newham.[3] In 1956, Brown formed a skiffle group, The Spacemen,[2] which lasted until the skiffle movement faded towards the end of the 1950s. He worked for British Railways at their Plaistow Locomotive works for two years in the late 1950s, becoming a steam locomotive fireman. He left the job because "the smell of the diesels drove me out when they took over from steam".[4]

In 1958 Brown was spotted by television producer Jack Good who hired him as lead guitarist in the orchestra of his new TV series, Boy Meets Girls.[5] During this period he backed a number of U.S musicians such as Gene Vincent and Eddie Cochran on their UK tours.[6]


Brown signed a management agreement with Larry Parnes[7] and signed to Decca Records. He charted with "The Darktown Strutters' Ball" in 1960, and had UK Top 10 hits on the Piccadilly label in 1962–63 with "A Picture of You", which reached number two on the NME charts (the main chart of the day); "It Only Took A Minute", and "That's What Love Will Do".[2] Piccadilly's release of Brown's "Crazy Mixed Up Kid" in April 1961 was the label's first single.[8] Brown's recording band was a collection of session musicians, and was named the Bruvvers by Jack Good to give Brown the identity of having his own backing band for record releases. It was in 1962 when he needed a band to tour with him that 'Joe Brown and the Bruvvers' was cemented, containing two members of the Spacemen, brothers Tony and Pete Oakman, who had also remained with him in the "Boy Meets Girls" band.[2]

Brown was voted 'Top UK Vocal Personality' in the 1962 NME magazine poll.[1] During the 1960s he appeared in a number of films, pantomime and stage musicals. In December 1963, the film What a Crazy World, based on a stage play, starring Brown and Marty Wilde among others, had its world premiere in London.[9] Brown also starred in the hit musical Charlie Girl in the West End between 1965 and 1968; and in the musical comedy film Three Hats for Lisa in 1965 with Una Stubbs, Sophie Hardy and Sid James. He also made a cameo appearance as himself in the 1964 film The Beauty Jungle, and presented the children's television series Joe & Co on BBC Television.

1970s and after[edit]

In 1972, he formed another band, Brown's Home Brew, which played rock and roll, country and gospel music and featured his wife, Vicki Brown, and Pete Oakman from the Bruvvers. This eclectic collection of musical styles, together with his hits, became the basis of his live sets ever since.

In the 1980s, Brown presented a daytime quiz show on Granada TV called Square One; its success led him to recording a pilot for the prime time game show The Price Is Right but ATV selected Leslie Crowther for the full-time presenting role when the series launched.

He also hosted Show Me, an early evening game show produced by Anglia Television and aired on ITV for one series in 1987,[10] and made a brief appearance as Dudley, a crooked club owner, in the 1986 film Mona Lisa, opposite Bob Hoskins.

George Harrison was best man at Brown's second wedding in 2000; Brown had appeared on two songs on Harrison's album Gone Troppo, and also was featured on a track on Harrison's last album, Brainwashed. Following Harrison's death from lung cancer on 29 November 2001, Brown appeared with his group at the tribute concert Concert for George, held on the first anniversary of his passing. Brown demonstrated his versatility by playing guitar whilst singing "Here Comes the Sun", mandolin on "That's The Way It Goes," and ukulele on the closing number, "I'll See You in My Dreams".[11]

Brown still performs and makes occasional television appearances. In 2005 he co-wrote a musical, Don't You Rock Me Daddio, with songwriter Roger Cook,[12] while in December 2006, he was one of three guest hosts of Sounds of the '60s on BBC Radio 2 during the absence of host Brian Matthew, having already presented two series on rock and roll for the same station.

In 2008, Brown's 50th anniversary celebrations included a UK gold album for sales over 100,000 copies of Joe Brown – The Very Best Of, a 37-date spring tour, an all-star concert at the Royal Albert Hall with Mark Knopfler, Jools Holland, Dennis Locorriere, Dave Edmunds, Sam Brown, Chas & Dave and others, and a 36-date autumn-winter tour.

His album More of the Truth was released in the UK on 13 October 2008, and in 2009 the US musical instrument manufacturer Kala launched a series of 'Joe Brown' ukuleles. At the Mojo magazine's awards in London on 11 June 2009, Brown was presented with the lifetime award for outstanding contribution to music after 51 years' recording. Mojo's album, Harrison Covered (November 2011), to mark the tenth anniversary of George Harrison's death, included Brown's recording of the former's "That's the Way It Goes".

in 2014 Brown pulled out of the Village Pump Folk Festival for medical reasons. Due to headline the Friday night of the event taking place from 25 July, he was replaced by Peatbog Faeries.[13]


Brown was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for services to music in the 2009 Birthday Honours.[14]

In late 2010, Brown was asked by Rick Parfitt of Status Quo to support them for the arena section (nine shows) of their UK tour in late 2010,[15] and he continued to tour throughout 2011. A triple DVD and CD set of the latter tour was released of his show at the Liverpool Philharmonic.[16]

Personal life[edit]

Brown married Victoria Mary Haseman, a singer with both the Vernons Girls and the Breakaways, who then became known as Vicki Brown. Latterly a session singer, she died of cancer in 1991. Their daughter, Sam Brown, is also a singer and their son, Pete Brown,[17] is a record producer, who produced all but one of Brown's nine most recent albums, and also tours with him. In 2000, Joe Brown married Manon Pearcey, partner of the former Small Faces singer Steve Marriott.

The Shadows[edit]

Joe Brown is known in British rock music history to have introduced lead guitarist Hank Marvin of the Shadows to the Italian Meazzi Echomatic echo unit (because he himself could find no use for it), in so doing contributing greatly to the sound of the Shadows and Cliff Richard.



  • 1962 A Picture of You – Golden Guinea – GGL0146 UK No. 3
  • 1962 A Picture of Joe Brown – Decca/Ace of Clubs – ACL1127
  • 1963 Joe Brown – Live – Piccadilly Records – NPL8005 UK No. 14
  • 1963 Joe Brown / Mark Wynter – Golden Guinea – GGL0179
  • 1963 Here Comes Joe – Golden Guinea – GGL0231
  • 1964 Charlie Girl (original cast recording) – CBS CBS2627
  • 1965 What A Crazy World – Golden Guinea – GGL0272
  • 1966 Bits of Joe Brown – Marble Arch Records – MAL651
  • 1968 Joe BrownMCA Records – MUPS347
  • 1972 Brown's Home BrewBell Records – BELLS208
  • 1974 Together (B. H. Brew)Vertigo Records – 6360114
  • 1974 The Joe Brown Collection – Golden Hour – GH583
  • 1977 Joe Brown Live – Power Exchange – PXLS2002
  • 1987 Here Comes Joe – Diamond – DLP500
  • 1988 Hits'N'PiecesPRT Records – PYL4017
  • 1990 A Golden Hour Of – Knight – KGHCD121
  • 1991 Onstage Jet – JETCD1002
  • 1993 Come on Joe – Joe Brown Productions – CDUG001
  • 1993 The Joe Brown Story – Sequel – NED235
  • 1994 Live & In The Studio – See For Miles – C5MCD612
  • 1995 A Picture of You – Entertainment Today – 5507592
  • 1997 56 & Taller Than You Think – Joe Brown Productions – FIEND790
  • 1999 On A Day Like This – Round Tower Music – RTMCD92
  • 2001 A Showbusiness Lifetime – Joe Brown Productions – UGCD003
  • 2004 Jiggery Pokery – Joe Brown Productions – UGCD005
  • 2004 Hittin The High Spots – Track Records – TRA1051
  • 2006 Down To Earth – Track Records – TRA1057
  • 2008 More of the Truth – Track Records – TRA1060[18]
  • 2011 Joe Brown Live in Liverpool – Joe Brown Productions – UGDVD002
  • 2012 The Ukulele Album – Joe Brown Productions – UGCD008
  • 2016 The Best Of Joe Brown And The Bruvvers - One Day Music - DAY2CD299
  • 2019 Joe Brown - In Concert - CD/DVD


  • 1959 "People Gotta Talk" / "Comes the Day" – Decca – F11185
  • 1960 "The Darktown Strutters Ball" / "Swagger" – Decca – F11207 UK No.34 †
  • 1960 "Jellied Eels" / "Dinah" – Decca – F11246
  • 1961 "Crazy Mixed Up Kid" / "Stick Around" – Piccadilly – 7N35000
  • 1961 "Good Luck and Goodbye" / "I'm Henry The Eighth" – Piccadilly – 7N35005
  • 1961 "Shine" / "The Switch" – Pye – 7N15322 UK No.33
  • 1962 "What A Crazy World We're Livin' In" – Piccadilly – 7N35024 UK No.37 †
  • 1962 "A Picture of You" – Piccadilly – 7N35047 UK No.2 †
  • 1962 "Your Tender Look" – Piccadilly – 7N35058 UK No.31 †
  • 1962 "It Only Took A Minute" – Piccadilly – 7N35082 UK No.6 †
  • 1963 "That's What Love Will Do" – Piccadilly – 7N35106 UK No.3 †
  • 1963 "Nature's Time For Love" – Piccadilly – 7N35129 UK No.26 †
  • 1963 "Sally Ann" – Piccadilly – 7N35138 UK No.28 †
  • 1963 "Little Ukulele" – Piccadilly – 7N35150
  • 1964 "Don't" / "Just Like That" – Piccadilly – 7N35194
  • 1964 "You Do Things To Me" – Piccadilly – 7N35163
  • 1965 "Charlie Girl" – Pye – 7N15983
  • 1965 "Sicilian Tarantella" – Pye – 7N15888
  • 1965 "Teardrops in the Rain" – Pye – 7N15784
  • 1966 "A Satisfied Mind" – Pye – 7N17184
  • 1966 "Little Ray of Sunshine" – Pye – 7N17135
  • 1966 "Sea of Heartbreak" – Pye – 7N17074
  • 1967 "With a Little Help from My Friends" – Pye – 7N17339 UK No.32
  • 1968 "Davy The Fat Boy" – MCA – MU1030
  • 1969 "Sweet Music" / "Suzanne" – MCA – MU1082
  • 1970 "Molly Perkins" – Penny Farthing – PEN718
  • 1973 "Hey Mama" – Ammo – AMO101 UK No.33
  • 1974 "Build a Wall" – Vertigo – 6059110
  • 1974 "Tennessee Mashman" – Vertigo – 6059099
  • 1976 "Always Laughing##" – Pinnacle – P8434
  • 1977 "All Things Bright & Beautiful" – Power Exchange – PX261
  • 1977 "The Boxer" – Power Exchange – PX252
  • 1979 "Free Inside" – Acrobat – BAT10
  • 1981 "Hey Mama" – TFC – TFC1
  • 1983 "Give Us a Break" – BBC Records – RESL134
  • 1993 "Come on Joe" – Joe Brown Productions – UGCD001
  • 1997 "Old Chunk of Coal" – Demon – JBPROMO1
  • 1999 "That's The Way The World Goes Round" – Round Tower Music – RTMS9902CD
  • 1999 "On A Day Like This" – Round Tower Music – RTMS9901CD
  • 2004 "I'll See You in My Dreams" – Track
  • 2006 "One Trick Pony" – Track
  • 2006 "Reuben" – Track
  • 2008 "Everybody's Famous" – Track
  • 2008 "You Were Everywhere" – Track

† – Credited to Joe Brown and the Bruvvers [18]


  1. ^ a b c Roberts, David (2001). British Hit Singles (14th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 129. ISBN 0-85156-156-X.
  2. ^ a b c d e Larkin C 'Virgin Encyclopedia of Sixties Music' (Muze UK Ltd, 1997) ISBN 0-7535-0149-X p79
  3. ^ Brown, Joe; Wright, Graeme (1986). Brown Sauce – The Life and Times of Joe Brown (1st ed.). Joe Brown Productions Ltd. p. 16. ISBN 0002181606.
  4. ^ Wainwright, Martin (22 November 2002). "History of British Rail, from steam to sandwiches". The Guardian.
  5. ^ Tobler, John (1992). NME Rock 'N' Roll Years (1st ed.). London: Reed International Books Ltd. p. 71. CN 5585.
  6. ^ "The official Joe Brown website". Joe Brown. Archived from the original on 23 July 2013. Retrieved 1 June 2013.
  7. ^ Parnes attempted to change Brown's stage name to 'Elmer Twitch', a story which Brown still refers to on occasion during his live sets
  8. ^ Tobler, John (1992). NME Rock 'N' Roll Years (1st ed.). London: Reed International Books Ltd. p. 93. CN 5585.
  9. ^ Tobler, John (1992). NME Rock 'N' Roll Years (1st ed.). London: Reed International Books Ltd. p. 127. CN 5585.
  10. ^ Show Me at
  11. ^ a song that is spotlighted on Brown's tours as the finale to his show
  12. ^ Thaxter, John (17 February 2005). "The Stage / Reviews / Don't You Rock Me Daddio". Retrieved 13 January 2012.
  13. ^ "Star is forced to pull out of Westbury pump festival". 1 May 2014. Retrieved 22 May 2014.
  14. ^ "No. 59090". The London Gazette (Supplement). 13 June 2009. p. 14.
  15. ^ "About Joe". Joe Brown. Retrieved 1 June 2013.
  16. ^ Joe Brown Live in Liverpool (limited edition, Joe Brown Productions 2011)
  17. ^ Pete Brown discography at Discogs
  18. ^ a b Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 82. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.

External links[edit]