Music has played, and is still playing, an important part in my
This site was originally established to highlight some of the
organisations with whom I have been involved, including the
Talent Mirror Organisation, Brighter Promotions and
Cumberland Community Radio, now known as Alive90.5 .
However, as a result of comments received, it is being
expanded to try to record the history of music in South Africa
from the 50s to ...
The late 50s and 60s was the time when the music scene
started to really take off all over the world in a way different to
what had been before.
This was the period when rock ‘n’ roll had established itself and
three of the biggest music groups i.e. The Beatles, The Beach
Boys and The Bee Gees appeared on the entertainment scene.
It was also the time of the instrumentals with The Shadows and
The Ventures leading the way. Soul and Rhythm and Blues
music also became more mainstream.
Locally the dance bands such as The Blue Ricks, The Dukes Combo and Sam’s Latin Kings now had competition
in the form of rock groups that did not feature a saxophonist. Instead the new groups basically consisted of a
lead guitarist, a rhythm guitarist, a bass guitarist and a drummer plus, perhaps, a specialist vocalist. Generally,
though, most members of the groups would act as lead or support vocalists.
In Natal the leading groups were The Flames, The Jets, The Rebels with Essop Ganie as the lead vocalist, The
Cheyennes, The Insects, The Wild Things, The Big 4 and The Raiders, complementing the more established
recording groups such as Gene Rockwell and The Falcons and Dickie Loader and The Blue Jeans. Elsewhere, The
Invaders in the Eastern Cape and The Rockets and Lunar Five, featuring Bernie Brown, in Cape Town started to
make names for themselves. In Johannesburg El Ricas and The Lyceum Combo reigned supreme in the Dance
area. Groups such as The Meteors and The Bats also started to create waves.
Artists of colour found it almost impossible to obtain recording contracts with the big companies and so
independent recording groups such as the Talent Mirror Organisation, Raj Music and the Record King group
gave the locals an opportunity to get on record.
I was fortunate to be involved with The Flames during their early days. I wrote the first two songs they recorded
and assisted with the production of their first LP “Ummm! Oh Yeah!!!” as well as writing the sleeve notes for it.
With my partner at TMO, John McKenzie, I recorded a number of Durban artists including Edries Fredericks, The
Big 4 and The Insects. I also produced recordings for Raj Productions (with Mahomed Gany) and The Record
King Group, and produced backing tracks for the Virginia Lee’s Durban Song Festival.
Some of my biggest regrets include not recording more artists, especially Bill and Mavis Roach, not completing a
project to produce a Virginia Lee album with The Insects providing the instrumental backings, not recording 14
year old Blondie Chaplin and not being persuasive enough to get the Insects to record Thoko before it became a
well known tune.
I am always on the lookout for information on artists of that era who have enriched our lives with music, as well
as photos and recordings. If you have any material and are prepared to share them with me and visitors to this
site, please contact me at
My thanks to the many people who have contributed to this site including John McKenzie, Edries and Sally Fredericks,
Steve Fataar, Tertius Louw, Bas Mollenkramer, Barry Otto, Lance Saunders, Lionel Peters, Reaz Moorad, Tyron van
Rooyen, Marq Vaz, Vincent Fassom, Mahomed Gany, Yogan Naidoo, Indran Kathan, Buddy Govender, Ishaan Blunden,
Rafs Mayet, Rashied Mohammed, Andre van Dyke, Angela Naidoo, Desmond Parmanand, Terrance Jeevanantham,