Hello – New York Groove

2nd April 2021 · 1970s, 1975, Glam, Music

Hello were strictly second-division Glam. They had the second – and last – of their hits when they got back together with Russ Ballard of Argent, who had first discovered them when they were a covers band.

When I started my first job in 1977, on The Hackney Gazette, one of my fellow reporters was a young fellow called Russ Lawrence, who played the drums and supported Spurs.

Despite that we became friends and I soon learned that he had been the drummer in a school band. Unlike the rest of them, he became a journalist after his A-levels.

It’s hard to know which was the more regrettable decision.

As Russ and I were prowling the mean streets of Hackney – at that time the officially-designated “poorest borough in Britain” with the highest murder rate to match – with notebooks in hand, his old schoolmates from South Tottenham recruited a new drummer and carried on under the name The Age.

They were eventually spotted by another Russ – Russ Ballard, singer of the band Argent – who was looking for another group to record some of his songs, and a record plugger called David Blaylock.

Changing their name to Hello, initial collaborations were failures. Then Mike Chapman and Nicky Chinn, the hitmaking songwriters behind The Sweet, Suzi Quatro and Mud, offered them a song called Dyna-Mite.

In one of those “must have seemed like a good idea at the time” their producer, Mike Leander, decided he didn’t like the finished recording and gave it back to Chinnichap.

They offered it instead to Mud, who reached no.4 in the charts with it while Leander’s preferred choice of song, Another School Day, got Hello absolutely nowhere.

They plugged away for another three years without any success until 1975 when they finally had a hit with a cover of an old Sixties song called Tell Him.

Their second (and last) hit came in late 1975 when they borrowed the Quo’s look of flared denim jeans and waistcoats that had served Smokey so well – their album even came in a mock-denim sleeve – and recorded New York Groove, written for them by Ballard.

After breaking up in 1979, guitarist Keith Marshall went on to have a solo hit with Only Crying. Meanwhile, my workmate Russ Lawrence had a bit of a breakdown after his beloved Spurs were relegated around the same time. There may be a moral there somewhere.