English actor John Leyton was persuaded by his manager, Robert Stigwood, to audition for Joe Meek – and successfully recorded a cover version of “Tell Laura I Love Her”.
His big hit – though – “Johnny Remember Me” – nicely coincided with his appearance in television series ‘Harpers West One’ in which he played a character named ‘Johnny’.
“Johnny Remember Me” (written by Geoff Goddard ) was a masterwork of Meek. With amazing production. And backing by his ‘house band’ – the Outlaws.
Ritchie Blackmore and Mick Underwood were both one-time members of the Outlaws – as was Chas Hodges (from Chas and Dave.)
A few years after John Leyton’s chart sucess, the fourth “Mersey Beat Showcase” event, starring artists from the Brian Epstein’s ‘management stable’, took place at the Fairfield Hall in Croydon, Surrey [April 1963.]
The Fairfield Hall line-up included ‘The Beatles’ plus ‘Gerry and the Pacemakers’, ‘Billy J Kramer’ and ‘The Big Three.’
But none of these acts had enjoyed any major chart success at that time.
So it was considered expedient to choose the far more famous and reliable singer John Leyton – star of film, TV and the pop charts – to headline this crucial Croydon show.
However, Leyton reported sick on the night. His appearance was cancelled.
This left the Beatles to “top the bill.”
And this bit of fortune went into kick-starting their career.