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Saturday, 19 January 2013

Don Lang born 19 January 1925

Don Lang (born Gordon Langhorn, 19 January 1925, Halifax, Yorkshire - died 3 August 1992, Surrey) was a trombone player and singer, who led his own British band called 'Don Lang & his Frantic Five'.

Don Lang was originally a trombone player specializing in dance music and played with bands led by Teddy Foster, Vic Lewis, and others, and he made his first records with Lewis' orchestra. It was as a member of a band led by Ken
Mackintosh that he began making appearances on record as a singer, initially under his given name.

Eventually, he took the name Don Lang and went solo in the mid-'50s, initially cutting records for English Decca. In 1955, he jumped to HMV Records, part of the EMI group of labels, and hit the Top 20 in England with a superb recording of "Cloudburst," which featured a dazzling scat vocal performance by Lang. In 1956, as skiffle music and then rock & roll began making themselves felt in England, Lang and his band the Frantic
Five began working with the new music. The group also ecame a regularly featured act on The 6.5 Special, the first British television variety series to acknowledge rock & roll and Lang also sang the theme song each week.

During the 1950s he lived in 'Denmark Avenue', Wimbledon, and could be seen driving his pink Vauxhall Cresta, Britain's answer to Elvis Presley's pink Cadillac, the 200 yards to Wimbledon village's upmarket grocer, Cullens. There he might buy what seemed to impoverished primary school children of the time extravagant luxuries, such as out of season strawberries.

Despite his weekly exposure on television, Lang had trouble selling records until 1957, when he charted with a cover of "School Day," the Chuck Berry song. He subsequently reached the British Top 10 with his version of "Witch Doctor," a novelty tune by David Seville, the future creator of Alvin & the Chipmunks. Lang remained popular into the very early '60s and then he returned to his jazz-pop roots, leading a band that remained fully employed on England's dancehall circuit for many years.


During the 1960s he was known to visit his parents' home in Halifax from time to time. They lived in a council house in Moor End Road and at the time his car was an early Ford Capri which would be parked on the road outside the house. Don Lang gets a mention in Leslie Woodhead's book My Life As A Spy. He was a customer at Woodhead's parents record shop in Halifax town centre.

Lang wasn't forgotten by the British rock music world,
however, and on June 21, 1968, he was one of four trombonists engaged to perform on the Beatles song "Revolution 1" from the group's White Album. Fondly remembered by British audiences from his days on The 6.5 Special, he occasionally turned up on the British oldies circuit and also could be found playing jazz again during the 1970s and early '80s. He retired late in the decade, even as his son Brad Lang became visible as a bassist with the groups ABC, Jade Warrior, Wham, and Wishbone Ash. Lang died of cancer during the summer of 1992, after a long illness. His music is best known in England, where Castle Communications has issued compilations of some of his vintage recordings. (info edited from Wikipedia & AMG)

Here's a video clip from 6.5 Special of Don Lang & His Frantic Five - Boy Meets Girl.


1 comment:

boppinbob said...

For CD Don Lang & His Frantic Five- Rock Rock Rock go here: