avengers

When Gerry’s Mother realised he was serious about music, she went into Westwoods Music in John Bright Street, Birmingham and bought Gerry a Hofner Committe guitar.

One of the first gigs he played was at the Youth Club in Perry Barr, Birmingham with John Watson, his brother’s friend. By the age of 14, Gerry had become part of a group and played at Birchfield Rd School Youth Club alongside; Mike Cassell, John Matthews and John Watson. Gerry and John Watson remained together and took on new members before settling on the following line-up:

*Gerry Levene (vocals)
*John Watson (guitar)
*Mike Hopkins (lead guitar)
*Jim Onslow (bass)
*Graeme Edge (drums) born 30 March 1944, Coventry Road, Small Heath Birmingham

Ken Smith became the bands manager, and named them Cliff Angel and The Virtues before settling on Gerry Levene and The Avengers. They started playing all the pubs in Birmingham until they landed a gig at the West End Ballroom, and ended up being the resident band every Wednesday and Saturday thereafter.

Ken then moved to Liverpool and started booking the band on the Liverpool circuit so they could play at the West End Ballroom at lunch-time and venues in Liverpool on the evening.

John Watson left the band and was replaced by Roy Wood. During this time, the band auditioned for EMI and Decca on the same day at the Plaza in Handsworth and actually had a choice of which record company to go with. They chose Decca, managed by Phil and Dorothy Solomon who also had a group called, The Batchelors.

Gerry Levene and The Avengers recorded, ‘Do You Love Me’, ‘Twist and Shout’ and ‘Dr Feelgood’, and went on to release ‘Dr Feelgood,’ while Brian Pool and The Tremeloes released the other two songs and had number one hits!

The current band line-up was working well and appeared on ‘Thank Your Lucky Stars.’ However, Roy left for Mike Sheridan and The Nightriders (see under artists) to play lead guitar and was replaced by Peter Cook, a blind keyboard player from West Bromwich. Peter left the band and went on to work for BBC2 on programmers such as Stamash. Mike and Jim also left during this time to join The Diplomats, so Gerry and Graeme went on to form a new band with Denny Laine called the M and B5 which became The Moody Blues.

Gerry left The Moody Blues following a dissagreement with Denny, Jim eventually went on to play with Raymond Froggatt and Mike Hopkins joined Magnum.

Gerry joined a band called The Chicanes which became The Avengers. Various members came and went before Gerry left himself.

In 1968, producer/engineer, Bill Farley of Regents Sound put Gerry in a new band called Crossbones consisting of:

*Gerry Levene
*James Parsons
*Les Fortnham
*Mike Millard

On the Penny Farthing label, they released, ‘Shakin’ All Over’

Then Gerry joined The Hinge, a duo with Chris Sedgewick and recorded songs including, ‘The Village Postman’ and ‘You’d Better Go Home.’ Peter Lee Sterling (Daniel Boone – ‘Beautiful Sunday’) wrote one of the B-sides.

During this time, Gerry started recording for Pye under the solo name of David Lincoln and produced, ‘Hold Back The Daybreak’ with a 50 piece orchestra.

In 1974, Gerry was reunited with Jim Onslow in a group called the Rockin Rockets Road Review which was a huge group of musicians who performed an impressions show. It consisted of:

*Big Al Johnson (guitar)
*Jim Onslow (bass)
*Mike Alexander (keyboards)
*Nick Pentelow (sax)
*Dave Hollis (drums)
*Danny King (vocals)
*Gerry Levene (vocals)
*Mike Sheridan (vocals)
*Brenda Bosworth (vocals)

Together they toured colleges and clubs but were mainly based at Barbarellas. The remnants of this band became Cirkus in which Gerry was the ’straightman.’

Gerry remained in the music industry but during the last years spent a long time fighting bowel cancer. As a result, he became involved with running shows for the Holly Trust Bowel Cancer Charity. He also plays solo gigs and runs dance nights.