Biography  1930-57, 1958-65, 1966-85, 1986-88 Next

 
 

 Early years 1930-1957 (2 of 5)

Touring and  performing, radio and TV debuts

He then entered show business joining Les Thorpe's Orchestra in the Beach Pavillion Aberdeen as pianist  where he stayed for 2 and a half years until moving to London in 1956  securing a 3 year contract with Oriole records. He recorded 2 of his compositions (Hurricane Bogie and Sound Barrier Boogie) but he did not find it easy to break into Tin Pan Alley to satisfy his dream as a composer. Music publishers at the time were not interested in the efforts of unknown songwriters.

He made his debut as a performer at Dudley Hippodrome in 1956 and Melody Maker hailed him as "The greatest pianistic discovery since Winifred Atwell. He went on to tour many "Hippodromes" and "Empires" with "variety" artists such as Tommy Steele, Mike and Bernie Winters, Jimmy Young and Tessie O'Shea playing in his own style and arrangements but particularly fast boogie.  In May 1956 he performed at the Metropolitan Theatre in London’s Edgware Road with performers including the Kaye Sisters, Pearl Carr and Teddy Johnson. Also that year played at Alan Carr's New Vaudeville Club Charing Cross Road.

This was still the time before bands went on their own tours and it is remarkable to think they were part of acts containing jugglers and comedians. In addition he made BBC radio appearances, including "Keeping up with the Jones" and Midday Music Hall. He was hailed by Jack Payne of BBC TV as "The record dicovery of the year". Henry hall, the band leader who played regularly on BBC radio up to the early 1960's described him as "The Wild Welshman of the ivories"

 He was notorious in his live shows for doing a stripease removing jacket, bow tie shoes and unbuttoning his shirt at the same time continuing his playing! To add to the spectacle he weighed 171/2 stone.

 Like this! These are pictures from a paper dated September 22 1956

MJBut this was just an act.

His radio debut was on "Henry Hall's Guest Night" 1956 and this was reported in the Windsor Slough and Eaton Express under the headline "Thunderclap Jones gets his chance" "Former Teacher In Radio Spot". It contains an interesting account of plans for a big London welcome! Morgan had impressed London agents and music firms with broadcasts on the Scottish media and his father said "They are going to give him the full publicity treatment now and groom him as a star". Morgan was supposed to officially "arrive" from Aberdeen at Kings Cross Station. Henry Hall's producer was to be there to meet him and a grand piano was to have been on the platform ready for him to demonstrate his abilities.

Large banners were to be slung across Charing Cross Roadclaiming "Tin Pan Alleywelcomes Morgan Jones". But the police refused permission saying that they wanted no repeat of recent sceneswhich took place after singer Johnnie Ray's appearance in London. To rehearse he joined Bill Holly and his orchestra at the Reindeer Slough and gave a demonstration on how to take a jacket off whilst still playing!

His TV debut was on Jack Payne's "Off the Record" (A progamme presented by the band leader from 1955-58) "Camera One" and "The Jack Jackson Show" (He was early disc jockey and evetuatlly did a brief spell on radio1).  

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