The Hi-Fi's Home About The Hi-Fi's Galleries Audio Clips Video Clips Contact Us Links
The Hi-Fi's Home

Brian Bennett- (Deceased) - Piano/Vocals/Clavioline keyboard/Arranger/Songwriter from 1957-1969

 

Born in 1942, Brian later attended Archbishop Tennyson's School in Croydon and his first (and only) job was with Chappell’s the music publishers, leaving when The Hi-Fi.s made the big leap to become full time musicians in 1962.  

In 1980 Bryan wrote the music and collaborated with Jeremy Browne, who was a professional script writer. This was to produce a musical based on the legend of Sinbad the Sailor which they called “Splash”. A band was formed for the production called the Bagdad Big Band (Bryan Bennett MD/keyboards-Alan Pinches/guitars-Dave Smith/bass-Dave Tosh/percussion),

This was then performed June 30th to July 4th 1980. He was very enthusiastic about this work at CYTO and felt it was important that professionals should always be prepared to give their time and talent, to promote the cause of the musical theatre amongst the young.

He joined The Hi-Fi Rock-n-Roll Band after the first formative weeks in 1957 and was the only member to stay with the group until it came to its natural end in 1969. Further details are within the website and times and events Brian was involved with are mentioned within member’s profiles; in particular Len Ford and Malcolm Lenny have included a dedicated memory of him. Other memories may follow, hopefully from Brian’s time in musical theatre.

After The Hi-Fi's disbanded in 1969/70, Brian (later on he changed his first name to Bryan), possibly wanting to separate himself from any confusion with the Shadows drummer Brian Bennett. even Brian Mathew on Saturday Club (now Sounds Of The Sixties) remarked about this confusion within a BBC broadcast programme that The Hi-Fi’s featured in with Jess Conrad,  an audio recording of this is being produced.

After returning from Germany for a short while he joined up with Len Ford/guitar vocals, Malcolm Wright/drums, Frank Jackson/bass, Brian on keyboards/vocals in The Chess Set.

He went on to work with various singers including;-

John Rowles - in1969

Dusty Springfield as a member of her regular backing group The Echoes 1969-1970 and then with

Gladys Knight & The Pips;-

Ami Macdonald (the original one, not Scottish singer Amy Macdonald.);-

He was also closely associated with Patti Boulaye after she won the talent show

New faces and toured extensively with her as her Musical Director we think for 18

months. Also around this period he was at

The Lakeside with Tommy Cooper.


These included the original Godspell production with David Essex and Jeremy Irons, lasting a year. Follow the Star for Jim Parker at The Festival Theatre, Chichester, with Keith Michelle. (Just for interest, he once played in Westminster Cathedral on the massive organ there, which he found very scary, it was when he was associated  with Jim Parker and Keith Michelle ). He did several shows written by Jim Parker and there was also a couple of LP's involved which Brian played on I think it was Captain Beaky which was written by legendary script writer Jeremy Lloyd.(he has a website which sells this CD)

Jesus Christ Superstar.

Evita.

Piaf, with the original girl singer Raquel Bitton.

Pirates.

My Fair Lady.

A number of Hair revivals.

Three productions of Joseph and his Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat. That was for the Ashcroft Theatre

at Croydon’s Fairfield Halls. (Including the first all-black production).

When he was offered the job as Musical Director on the road for the touring production of “Hair” possibly 1970 (which lasted more than a year), That touring company was amazing, it turned out a lot of stars like Joan Armatrading, Paul Nicholas, Paul Barber, Trevor Byfield, Patricia Hodge and Richard O'Brien  (who later wrote and starred in The Rocky Horror Show and the TV series The Crystal Maze).  Brian took his first steps into Musical Theatre; later in 1974 a further spell with Hair was at Her Majesty’s Theatre, possibly for the 25th anniversary of “Hair” Subsequently Brian became M.D for many shows both in the West End, touring and abroad.

Most years in common with working musicians there were the inevitable pantomimes maybe 12 or more where Brian worked with many famous stars of the day. He was also a regular at the Theatre Royal, Norwich, where he enjoyed a very happy working relationship with the late Dick Condon, involved in pantomime and summer shows. During the years in Croydon, Bryan worked with CYTO (Croydon Youth Theatre Org) Mr R.Willis-Hole was the chairman, writing several shows especially for them, at The Shoestring Theatre, West Thornton Centre, Boston Road,

Len Ford's Memories of Brian

The Shoestring Theatre in Boston Road, Thornton Heath, now residential.

Eventually he and his wife Paula, together with his sons Simon and Matthew moved to Bournemouth, where Brian continued doing pantomimes and summer shows both in Bournemouth, The Pavilion and Southampton at The Mayflower. Eventually he formed a band called Manhattan around 1995. They made some CD's and performed in local hotels and ballrooms and as a resident band with numerous members at Pontins in Weymouth. He devoted his life to music and continued doing the job he loved, at which he excelled right up until his death in 1999.

NB. Thanks to Paula Bennett for providing the details for this profile, but cannot confirm the order or dates when events happened. If anyone can provide further details, pictures and in particular the shows then please make contact through the website.

A rare picture of Brian not sitting at the piano but harmonising with Vern Rogers probably the Everly Brothers No1 hit Cathy’s Clown.

Top

Malcolm Lenny's Memories of Brian

Click here to read more about Brian —>