Saturday, November 18, 2006


Bob Purvis and Billy Elliot, from South Shields in the North-East of England, launched their musical career in the 1970s with their band Splinter and were soon enjoying worldwide success – with the help of Mal Evans and George Harrison.

During the 70s:

* They made 6 albums and toured the world, including the US and Japan.

* They appeared on music shows Top Of The Pops and The Old Grey Whistle Test.

* Their biggest hit in Britain, "Costafine Town", was also a success throughout the world.

* They toured with Cher, The Kinks, Hot Chocolate and Leo Sayer.

"As a kid I followed the Beatles, the Stones and other 60s groups," says Bob Purvis. "One day I caught the ferry to North Shields and bought my first guitar on Borough Bank. In fact, by the time I was 21, I’d had about 40 guitars...Our first band was called Stoneblind and then we changed it to Half-Breed."

"Mal Evans, formerly associated with the Beatles, had heard our tapes and came North to see the band. But he was mainly interested in Billy and myself. He invited Billy to sing the lead vocal on "God Save Oz" for the Oz trials."

"God Save Oz" was written by John Lennon and Yoko Ono to raise money for the underground Oz Magazine. Billy recorded the song under the name "Bill Elliott and The Elastic Oz Band" and it was released as a single by Apple.

Bob went to London and stayed with Mal. He was offered a deal with producer Tony Visconti and worked with members of Badfinger. He wrote the song "Lonely Man" for the film "Little Malcolm and his Struggle Against The Eunuchs".

“At that time Mal Evans was my manager and he got us involved with George Harrison, who after listening to our stuff, offered to produce an album for us.”

Splinter were then signed to George’s Dark Horse label.

“George was brilliant. He made us feel at home and it was awesome working with a legend.”

The album was called "The Place I Love" and George himself played guitar on many of the tracks. They worked on the album with him for about 17 months. Organist Billy Preston and bass player Klaus Voorman, friends of the Beatles, also appeared on the album.

George used many names for his various appearances on the album, such as Hari Georgeson, P Producer and Jai Raj Harsein. He also supplied vocals and keyboards.

"The Place I Love" was a big success for Splinter and the accompanying single, "Costafine Town", made the US charts.

This article is © Bob’s quotes are taken from "Rock On The Tyne".

[George Harrison]

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