The Fortunes

The Fortunes were part of the British Invasion, had a few hits in the mid-60's, and came back with others in the early 70's.

The group began with two friends at Moseley Boys Grammar School in Birmingham, England in 1960. Rodney Bainbridge (later known as Rod Allen) and Barry Pritchard, both born in 1944, sang as a duo and called themselves The Strollers. They would perform at various venues around town and came in contact with bass guitarist Mick Tomlinson and drummer Leigh Clark, both of whom joined the group. In early 1963 they came to the attention of record producer Reginald Calvert, who added them to his stable of young musicians. He had them serve as the band to back Mike West, known as "Robbie Hood," but Calvert soon came to recognize the talent that Bainbridge and Pritchard showed as vocalists, and put them in a group with a third singer/guitarist, Glen Dale (later, Richard Garforth, born in 1943). The result was some smooth harmonies, and the makings of very talented 60's rock band. Backed by a band called The Cleftones, they performed live, becoming popular regionally. Allen, Pritchard and Dale left the Cleftones behind, playing guitars themselves, and keyboard player David Carr (born 1943) and drummer Andy Brown (born 1946) were added to complete the quintet, now known as The Fortunes Rhythm Group.

In late 1963 The Fortunes projected a clean-cut image and secured a recording contract with an esteemed record label, Decca Records. Their timing was very good in relation to what was happening in pop music at the time, as the British Invasion was about to launch. The Fortunes released a few singles, mostly witten by members of the group, but none sold well. Their three-part harmonies often featured Rod Allen as lead singer. They needed a hit, and when paired with professional British songwriters Roger Greenaway and Roger Cook, they found one in You've Got Your Troubles in late summer of 1965. The first big hit for the Fortunes as well as for the songwriters, it went to the top of the charts in the UK, to number 7 in the USA, and the Fortunes finally began to receive recognition from the public for their talent. They followed with another Greeenaway-Cook composition, Here It Comes Again, which hit #4 UK and #27 USA. Greenaway and Cook would later write such hits as I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing (in Perfect Harmony) (New Seekers), Long Cool Woman in a Black Dress (Hollies), Green Grass (Gary Lewis & the Playboys), My Baby Loves Lovin' (White Plains) and Doctor's Orders (Carol Douglas).

As a result of their new-found success, the Fortunes toured the USA with Peter and Gordon and the Moody Blues, who had a hit at the time with Go Now. In 1966 the group met with some adverse reaction when they said in an interview that although they provided the vocals on their records, much of the music was provided by session musicians (a practice that was not uncommon in the industry). The Fortunes' manager, Reg Calvert, owned a "pirate" radio station and in June of that year was involved in an altercation with a rival from another station, who shot and killed Calvert. Glen Dale left the group in July and was replaced by Scottish vocalist Shel MacRae. The Fortunes continued making records and were in demand for live appearances, and even though their records were still very good, they did not sell well. The arrival of the psychedelic era didn't do them any good either.

They stayed together through the late 60's, without much success in record sales, but making it all right performing in clubs and cabarets, and by recording advertising jingles such as Coca-Cola's Things Go Better with Coke and It's The Real Thing. David Carr left in 1968 and by the end of the decade, it appeared that the success of the Fortunes had run its course. But there was more to come. They signed with Capitol Records and were re-united with songwriters/record producers Roger Greenaway and Roger Cook in 1971. The result was two more top ten hits on the British charts in the early 70's, Freedom Come Freedom Go and Storm In A Teacup, as well as their final chart entry in the USA, in 1971, Here Comes That Rainy Day Feeling Again, which went to number 15.

The group stayed together for decades, drawing well as a live act and at times touring with some oldies shows, with a number of personnel changes. Barry Pritchard stayed with the Fortunes until the mid-1990s when he encountered some health problems, managed a resort in Spain for several years, and died in 1999. David Carr moved to the USA where he did session work and played keyboards for a time with the outstanding instrumental group The Ventures; he passed away in 2011. Rod Allen stayed with the Fortunes for many years, but his death from liver cancer in early 2008 left them with an unsettled future. The Fortunes continue to tour and perform with an altered lineup.

The Fortunes' most successful and best remembered single is from 1965, their first big hit You've Got Your Troubles.

Most Recent Update: October 1, 2015

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