Gary James' Interview With
Julie Rogers

In 1964, her recording of "The Wedding" went to number one in Australia, number three in the UK and number ten in The States. She would follow that song up with "Like A Child" and "Hawaiian Wedding Song". We are talking about Julie Rogers. Julie spoke with us about her career in music.

Q - Let's talk about the present first. You're still touring the world, aren't you?

A - I am, absolutely. Not only that, just today I got my first tracks in. I'm just making a new album, a lot of which is self penned. We're just getting right into that at the moment.

Q - Britain has been very good to you over the years, but you've also done very well in Australia, haven't you?

A - Yeah, I've done 24 tours in Australia. It's always been a country that we've loved going to. The audiences are great. My career has been very much there, and of course in the Far East as well.

Q - Your hope is with the new CD to make a return visit to Australia and the Far East as well as the rest of the world, isn't it?

A - Fortunately the hit records I did have did go more or less worldwide. That's sort of opened all these countries up to me and then I've been following up with concerts and cabarets there, so you are known as an entertainer. Because of that, I can keep going back there.

Q - How much of a career did you have in the States?

A - I had a couple of hit records there. To be absolutely truthful, I was very badly managed by my recording company which was Phillips / Phonogram at the time and also my management. They never took advantage of the fact I was having hits in America. I was so sort of busy here (England) and had so much work here that it was like they just didn't bother too much about it, which was one of my big regrets. I came over and did a couple of television shows and did a tour of Florida, things like that. I really never capitalized on it when I should have.

Q - Too bad you didn't have Brian Epstein as your manager.

A - Absolutely (laughs). You're quite right.

Q - You were what, 21 when you got your first record deal?

A - That's right.

Q - At that particular time, who else was on that label?

A - We had Dusty Springfield, The Walker Brothers. We had quite a lot of big names on the Phillips / Mercury label.

Q - You also appeared on a TV show called Sunday Night At The Palladium.

A - Yes. Well, that was the big, big one. I had the hit records start in April or May, something like that, no, July. Then in October I did Sunday Night At The Palladium, which was like the big, big ambition. If you make that show, then you'd made it. Do you know what I mean? It was the absolute tops.

Q - When you appeared on the show, did you appear alongside any of the British Invasion groups of the time?

A - At that time, we had Jimmy Tarbuck, who was a big comic here. He was on that particular show. There were quite a few big names on it at the time.

Q - Did you appear alongside anybody like The Beatles?

A - Oh sure, but not on that show. During the '60s, we had so many television programs here. I was appearing 4 to 5 times a week on television, a lot of which where the big variety shows. So, I appeared with The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Yardbirds, everybody. All of the groups at the time were all on the shows. I did the tours as well. I did the Royal Albert Hall with The Stones. You just took it for granted.

Q - So, you met all of those people at the time?

A - Oh, of course, on so many occasions. Whenever you had a new record out as well you did all the television shows, the record shows, plugging your new record. So, you'd always see the same guys or the same girls plugging their records. And so, you worked with all those people. All the big names at the time, Tom Jones, Engelbert Humperdinck. We all did the shows together.

Q - You saw these acts in '63 or '64?

A - '64 is when I started.

Q - So, The Beatles at that point were pretty much a worldwide sensation.

A - That's right.

Q - Did you take note of what was going on around you and sense that something entirely different was happening?

A - Absolutely with The Beatles more than the other groups, because their compositions for such young guys, 20, 21, whatever they were, to write the lyrics they wrote even in those days, it was astonishing for them to have such insight into lyrics. So impressed.

Q - How about The Stones? What did you think of them?

A - I loved The Stones, but I don't think their compositions lyric wise were in the same class as The Beatles. I mean The Beatles are standards. Concert orchestras, classical, everyone has played their music. It always stands up. It's fantastic. I don't think that quite happens with The Stones. I mean, they're brilliant, probably the greatest R&B Rock group in the world, but their music can't be transferred over to other people. Do you know what I mean?

Q - I do. Once a Stones' song, always a Stones' song.

A - You don't hear too many other people doing their numbers, do you?

Q - I can't think of anyone.

A - I think the only one I've ever heard is "Satisfaction" performed by other people.

Q - Wait a minute, didn't Marianne Faithfull record "As Tears Go By"?

A - Oh, yeah, but then they didn't record that, did they? They wrote that for her.

Q - I think they did record that song.

A - I never heard it. So, it's quite something.

Q - "It's Magic" was a hit for Doris Day. Why did Johnny Franz, the A&R guy at Phillips Records, think this could be a hit for you? Did he ever tell you why?

A - (Laughs). No. He never did. That was my very first record. That introduced me into the business, doing all the television rounds with that. At that time there were a lot of particular girl singers re-recording the old hits, but with a beat in an entirely different way. It was sort of something of a fashion. I think he just thought it would be a good vehicle for me, and in a way it was because I got noted by the industry and did an enormous amount of television just on that alone.

Q - Did the television shows lead to more personal appearances?

A - Tours and of course more records, more albums. So yeah, that opened up. And of course the next record I did, "The Wedding", was a huge hit globally, number one. It sold something like 50 million records. It's been an enormous hit for me.

Q - Did your brother-in-law, Don Black, ever write a song for you?

A - Not particularly, but Don at that time was working in an agency and I used to get a lot of songs sent through from Don for me to record at that time. But he never wrote one particular song for me. He was just plugging away for everybody at that time.

Q - This new CD of yours, you're writing the songs are you?

A - I've written about nine (songs). The other three or four will be covers. Some of them are leaning towards Country / Pop or Bluesy.

Q - Do you play an instrument?

A - No, I don't.

Q - How then do you write a song?

A - They're all in my head, lyric and tune.

Q - So you just sing it into a recorder?

A - That's right. I just sing into it and I get a keyboard player to just jot the notes down and give it to my musical director.

Q - Melanie told me the top singers of today can't sing. When they go into a recording studio there's a computer program that's used to make their voices sound perfect.

A - She's absolutely right. A lot of the current singers, if they sang out of tune, the computer will put them into tune. They do so many double tracks, quadruple tracking, that really you don't know who's singing, but I mean that happens all the time. So many of the kids are put together in a group and none of them can sing, but they look good and they have hit records.

Q - Does that bother you as a real singer?

A - It doesn't bother me. I think it's very sad. These people come into the business and they've never learned the business. They'd never had the hard times that you should have in order to learn your craft. It's made so easy for them. And of course in many cases they don't last. But you don't have to be a brilliant singer today to be an enormous hit and I think it's pretty sad, but that's the way the business is going.

Q - It almost seems like you were destined for a showbiz career, doesn't it?

A - Well, I'd say since I was three or four years old, so it was always my passion to sing. So, I've been very, very fortunate. I've always wanted to travel and I've done the two things I wanted to do. I've sung and I've met wonderful people, gone to fantastic countries and it's been a wonderful experience.

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