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Roger Hills

© Photo by Chris Walter
c. 1971

Roger Hills
Born 1948

Bands: 
The Jaguars (1962 - 1963)
The Aliens (1963 - 1964)
Five's Company (1964 - ??)
Paul Jones (late 1960s)
Peter & Gordon (late 1960s)
Wainwright's Gentlemen (Feb 1968)
Rupert's Spoon (March 1968 - mid 1968)
The Flower Pot Men (Sept 1968 - Oct 1969)
White Plains (Oct 1969, mid 1970 - mid 1973)
Crucible (1971)
Uncle Tone & His Magic Sax (1976)
White Plains (reformed) (2004 - 2006, 2013)

The Jaguars (1962 to 1963)
The Jaguars were a beat group formed in Harrow County around 1962. The group consisted of schoolmates from Harrow County School for Boys, along with 14 year old drummer Roger Hills, a student from another nearby school.  The following year, the band morphed into The Aliens after the departure of their singer Bob Heaps.

Members:
Bob Heaps - vocals
Mick Boggis - lead guitar
Tim LeBlond - bass
Roger Hills - drums

Thanks to Mick Boggis for providing info.

The Jaguars, Dec. 1962
L to R: Roger Hills, Bob Heaps, Tim LeBlond, and Mick Boggis
Photo courtesy of Mick Boggis

Harrow County School for Boys, Christmas Entertainments, 1962
Roger Glover (Deep Purple) on riser at left with Roger Hills in white shirt in front of him.
Mick Boggis at singer's left (in glasses), Bob Heaps fifth from right (dark sweater).
Photo courtesy of Mick Boggis



The Aliens (1963 to 1964)
The Aliens formed out of high school band The Jaguars in 1963, after the exit of singer Bob Heaps. Bassist Tim LeBlond switched over to rhythm guitar and Steve Smith joined on bass. The band dissolved in early 1964, with LeBlond and Roger Hills leaving for another local band, Five's Company.

Members:
Unknown - vocals
Mick Boggis - rhythm guitar
Steve Smith - bass
Roger Hills - drums

Thanks to Mick Boggis for providing info.



Five's Company (c. 1964)
Five's Company was a young local band from the Harrow County area (not to be confused with the Chelsea-based band of the same name, who recorded with the Pye label in 1966). It's not known exactly when the band was formed, but Robin Box had already been a member by the time drummer Roger Hills (who was about 16 at the time) and his former The Aliens bandmate, bassist Tim LeBlond, joined the band in 1964. 

Members:
Unknown - vocals
Robin Box - guitar
Tim LeBlond - bass
Roger Hills - drums

Thanks to Mick Boggis for providing info.



Paul Jones (late 1960s)
In July of 1966, vocalist Paul Jones left '60s hit-makers Manfred Mann to venture out on a solo career. He had a few Top 40 UK hits between 1966 and 1967: "High Time" (1966), "I've Been A Bad, Bad Boy" (1967) and "Thinkin' Ain't For Me" (1967). He then turned to acting and starred alongside Mod Icon, model Jean Shrimpton in the 1967 film Privilege, with Jones playing the role of a discontented pop star. In the liner notes of the 1993 CD release "My Baby Loves Lovin'" by White Plains, writer John Tracy refers to Roger Hills as having spent time in Paul Jones' backing band (along with Robin Box). It's not known what year Robin and Roger toured with Paul, but one would assume sometime between July 1966 and January 1968.

Paul Jones LP cover, 1966



Peter & Gordon (late 1960s)
Peter &  Gordon (aka Peter Asher and Gordon Waller) were a British pop duo whose biggest chart success was their 1964 Lennon-McCartney penned hit "A World Without Love". Robin Box and Roger Hills' stint with Peter & Gordon is referenced in the liner notes of Deram's 1993 CD release "My Baby Loves Lovin'" by White Plains. It's not known what year or for how long they toured with Peter & Gordon. Bristol band, The Kytes, served as their backing band from early 1964 to early 1966. That leaves a window from early 1966 to February of 1968, which is the point at which Roger Hills joined the band Wainwright's Gentlemen.

Peter & Gordon 45 picture sleeve, USA, 1966



Wainwright's Gentlemen (February 1968)
Wainwright's Gentlemen were a soul group who formed out of West London band, Unit 4, in late 1963. By early 1964, they had secured a residency at the Hayes Beat Club in Middlesex and some coffee bars in London's West End. Future Deep Purple singer, Ian Gillan, replaced Chris Wright on vocals later that year, and was joined by female vocalist Ann Cully. Then in early 1965, future Sweet drummer, Mick Tucker, joined their ranks. The band continued on through 1965, losing vocalist Ian Gillan along the way. In late September, both saxophonist Tony Hall (future White Plains) and vocalist Brian Connolly (future Sweet) were brought on board. Ann Cully left in mid-1966 and the remaining members recorded two demo tracks in early 1967. Frank Torpey (future The Sweetshop) replaced Gordon Fairminer on lead guitar that October. After a gig on 20th January 1968, Frank Torpey was fired from the band and was soon replaced by bassist Jan Frewer's friend, Robin Box. According to Frank Torpey (thesweetweb.com), this didn't sit well with Brian Connolly and Mick Tucker and within two weeks they had left the band to form The Sweetshop with Torpey and Steve Priest from local band, The Army. However, in Steve Priest's autobiography, Are You Ready, Steve?, the reason cited was Mick's impending firing from the band. Brian and Mick had approached Steve after a shared gig at Ealing Townhall, where they relayed to him that there was unrest within the band with Mick Tucker about to be thrown out. Brian Connolly, being a good friend of Mick's, decided he would leave with him. Steve later received a phone call from Brian asking him to join their new band, which would be known as The Sweetshop, later shortened to The Sweet. Future White Plains drummer, Roger Hills, was recruited to replace Mick Tucker. By the end of February 1968, Wainwright's Gentlemen was no more and the remaining members toured Germany for three months under the name Rupert's Spoon.

Members (January - February 1968):
Brian Connolly - vocals (until early Feb)
Frank Torpey - guitar (until 20th of Jan)
Robin Box - guitar (from late Jan)
Jan Frewer - bass
Tony Hall - tenor sax
Mick Tucker - drums (until early Feb)
Roger Hills - drums (from early Feb)

For a more detailed history of Wainwright's Gentlemen see thestrangebrew.co.uk

circa January 1968
L to R: Tony Hall, Robin Box, Mick Tucker, Jan Frewer and Brian Connolly
Pic from The Sweet: An Illustrated Biography by Brad Jones **

** Pic is labeled in the book as c. 1967. However, with Robin in the band with Mick & Brian, this would have to be within a two week window between the end of January and beginning of February, 1968.


Rupert's Spoon (March 1968 to mid-1968)
After Mick Tucker and Brian Connolly left Wainwright's Gentlemen to form The Sweetshop, remaining members Jan Frewer, Tony Hall and Robin Box recruited Roger Hills and sauntered on playing at least one gig towards the end of February 1968. By March, Wainwright's Gentlemen were dissolved and the remaining members formed Rupert's Spoon. This band toured Germany for three months and in September of 1968 they were invited to join The Flower Pot Men backing band (sans Frewer), after the exit of drummer Carlo Little and guitarist Mick Stewart.

Members:
Robin Box - guitar
Tony Hall - sax
Jan Frewer - bass
Roger Hills - drums


The Flower Pot Men (September 1968 to October 1969)
The Flower Pot Men started out as a studio project created by John Carter and Ken Lewis (formerly of The Ivy League). Their best known hit, "Let's Go To San Francisco", peaked at number 4 on the UK charts in August of 1967. In September of 1968, Roger Hills was invited to join the backing band (aka Sundial), along with two of his Rupert's Spoon bandmates, Tony Hall and Robin Box. Robin and Roger would remain with the band through their metamorphosis into White Plains. Sax player Tony Hall, however, would leave in early October to join Simon K & The Meantimers, with sax duties being taken over by Ricky Wolff. In January 1969, Ricky Wolff took over for Neil Landon as a main vocalist, who had departed for the band Fat Mattress. The band, who was now under the production team of Roger Cook and Roger Greenaway, released one last single on 28 March 1969, "In A Moment Of Madness". They continued to tour and in late October they went into the studio to record what would become White Plains' first and biggest hit, "My Baby Loves Lovin'".

Members (Sept 1968 to October 1969)
Tony Burrows - vocals
Robin Shaw - vocals, bass*
Ricky Wolff - vocals (from Jan 1969 to Oct 1969) and sax, flute, keyboards (from early Oct 1968 to Oct 1969)
Pete Nelson - vocals (also piano from early 1969 onwards)
Neil Landon - vocals (up to Jan 1969)
Robin Box - guitar
Gordon Haskell - bass (up to mid-October 1968)
Tony Hall - sax (up to early October 1968)
Roger Hills - drums

* Gordon originally joined from May to July 1968, with Tex Makins returning to take his place from July to August. He then returned in September, but left again in mid-October to join Cupid's Inspiration [per NME article, 19 Oct 1968]. It's believed that Robin Shaw then took over on bass. By early 1969, the main core of what would become White Plains was established, with three of the main vocalists taking over bass, piano, and rhythm guitar from their former backing band.

The Flower Pot Men, 1967
L to R: Neil Landon, Pete Nelson, Robin Shaw, and Tony Burrows
Pic from Jackie Magazine, 23 Dec 1967 issue

The Flower Pot Men, c. March 1969
L to R: Tony Burrows, Ricky Wolff, Robin Shaw and Pete Nelson


White Plains (October 1969, mid-1970 to mid-1973)
See full biography HERE

In early 1969, Roger Greenaway and Roger Cook took over as Producers of the Flower Pot Men from John Carter and Ken Lewis. On 28 March 1969, one last single "In A Moment Of Madness" was released, but the track failed to chart. Early that Summer, after what he describes as a "particularly harrowing" tour of Israel and Hungary, Tony Burrows made the decision to leave the group. It's not known exactly when Tony stopped gigging with the group, but they continued to play live shows throughout the rest of the year. The Producers sought to give a hit single one last shot and White Plains were regrouped that October to record four new tracks with Ricky Wolff on lead vocals: "Today I Killed A Man I Didn't Know", "You've Got Your Troubles", "Show Me Your Hand", and "My Baby Loves Lovin'". The group played at least one gig after these recordings that November (Middlesbrough Showboat on 21st November 1969). By the end of the year, the band had dissolved and the recordings were shelved. Not long after, Decca A&R man, Dick Rowe, decided he wanted to release these recordings under a new name and chose White Plains after the town in New York. Their first single was "My Baby Loves Lovin'", purposely released after the holidays on 2 January 1970. Due to Ricky Wolff being unavailable during the early promo period, Roger Greenaway took over on lead vocals for all promotional appearances. Upon Ricky's return in early Spring, Roger resumed his main position as co-producer. Due to original drummer Roger Hills playing a residency in Montreal during this time, ex-Kytes drummer Julian Bailey took over behind the kit. Roger then took over from Julian upon his return later that summer. Over the next four years, two albums, and thirteen singles were released. After several lineup changes and dwindling chart success, the band called it quits in late 1974. In 1975, the remaining members of the band released two singles under the name Zenith. Then in 1976, the name was loaned out to a new lineup and the single "Summer Nights" was released. White Plains was revived once again in 1978 by original members Pete Nelson and Robin Box and two last singles were released on PVK Records. 

Members (October 1969 to mid-1973):
Pete Nelson - vocals, rhythm guitar, piano (1969-1974, 1978)
Ricky Wolff - vocals, rhythm guitar, keyboards, sax, flute (1969 - early 1971)
Tony Burrows - vocals (1969)
Robin Shaw - bass, vocals (1969 - late 1973)
Robin Box - lead guitar, vocals (1969-1974, 1978)
Julian Bailey - drums (Spring 1970 - mid 1970)
Roger Hills - drums (1969, mid 1970 - mid 1973)
Brian Johnston - keyboards, vocals (Spring 1970 - Autumn 1970)
Ron Reynolds - keyboards, vocals (mid 1972 - 1974)
Brent Scott Carter - tenor sax, flute (mid 1971 - mid 1972)
Tony Hall - tenor sax (mid 1971 - mid 1972)
David Kerr-Clemenson - bass, vocals (late 1973 - 1974)
Tex Marsh - drums (mid 1973 - 1974)

Albums (UK):
White Plains (self-titled), Deram, Sept 1970
When You Are A King, Deram, Oct 1971

White Plains, c. 1971
L to R: Roger Hills, Robin Box, Robin Shaw and Brent Scott Carter

White Plains, c. 1973
Back: Robin Shaw, Robin Box and Roger Hills
Front: Pete Nelson and Ron Reynolds

© Photo by Chris Walter
Top of the Pops, 19th Nov 1970
L to R: Ricky Wolff, Pete Nelson, Robin Box, Roger Hills, and Robin Shaw

© Photo by Chris Walter
White Plains c. 1971
L to R: Pete Nelson, Robin Shaw, Robin Box, Brent Scott Carter, Roger Hills, and Tony Hall


Crucible (1971)
In early 1971, Rick Wolff left White Plains to pursue a solo project, which involved other members of White Plains, along with Gordon Haskell (ex-Flower Pot Men, Fleur de Lys) and Martin Sack (ex-Martinets, Melody Fair). The recordings were shelved and an album was never released. At some point Rick's project was combined with that of fellow White Plains member, Robin Shaw, and was given the name Crucible. A combined total of sixteen tracks were recorded, but only four have ever been released. 
See full biography HERE

Members:
Rick Wolff - lead vocals, harmonium
Robin Box - guitar
Gordon Haskell - bass
Martin Sack - bass
Roger Hills - drums
Robin Shaw - lead vocals, bass
Julian Bailey - drums

Albums (UK):
Extremes (Excerpts From The Soundtrack), Various Artists, LP, Deram, 1972
Extremes (Excerpts From The Soundtrack), Various Artists, CD, Gonzo Multimedia, 7 April 2017

Thanks to Gordon Haskell and Martin Sack for providing info.

back cover of 2017 CD release


Uncle Tone & His Magic Sax (1976)
After Zenith, Robin Box and Roger Hills reunited with bassist Robin Shaw and sax player Tony Hall. In late 1976, they recorded their own version of the Christmas classic "Sleigh Ride" on the PVK record label.

Members:
Tony Hall - vocals, sax
Robin Shaw - bass
Robin Box - guitar
Roger Hills - drums
Frankie J. Marshall - keyboards, vocals on B-side

Singles (UK):
"Sleigh Ride" (Leroy Anderson, Mitchell Parish) b/w "Shoes" (Shaw, Box, Hall), PVK, 3 Dec 1976

45 picture sleeve, UK, 1976
Pic from 45cat.com


White Plains (reformed) (2004 to 2006, 2013) 
White Plains reformed in 2004 with Robin Box, Robin Shaw, Roger Hills, and singer/keyboardist Bip Wetherell (ex-St. Cecilia, ex-Tornados). After initial rehearsals at Raven Hall in Corby, the group re-recorded four of their hits with Bip on lead vocals ("My Baby Loves Lovin'", "Julie Do Ya Love Me?", "When You Are A King", and "I've Got You On My Mind"). After their first promotional gig at Raven Hall, keyboard player Paul Ward was added to the lineup and former member Tony Burrows joined the group as a second vocalist. White Plains continued to gig over the next two years, playing various UK venues including Butlins at Bognor Regis. In 2006, singer Bip Wetherell left the group to form a backing band for an Elvis tribute act called Memphis King. The remaining members of White Plains then formed the group Deep South and set off on a two-year theatre tour, which ended with an appearance at the London Palladium.

In 2009, a digital-only album entitled The Best Of White Plains was released. This album would be re-released in 2013 under the title Get Up With White PlainsEleven of the album's tracks feature Bip Wetherell on lead vocals: the four re-recorded hits, five cover songs and two tracks penned by Bip ("Galaxy" and "We Used To Be Friends"). These five cover songs and two original tracks do not feature Robin Box, Robin Shaw, or Roger Hills. However, the remaining tracks do feature the band members with Robin Shaw taking the lead on "Fallen In Love For The First Time", "Gonna Find Love One Day", and "Stranger In My Home Town". Robin Box lends lead vocals to the track "My Girl (She's Like Heaven To Me)". The album also includes an instrumental called "Where Are We Now".

Members (2004-2006):
Bip Wetherell - vocals, keyboards
Tony Burrows - vocals (tour only)
Robin Box - guitar, vocals
Robin Shaw - bass, vocals
Roger Hills - drums

In the Spring of 2013, another reunion took place with Tony Burrows, Robin Shaw, and Roger Hills joining Paperlace and The Glitterband on the Platinum Hit Makers Tour. 

Thanks to Bip Wetherell for providing info.

Clockwise from bottom left: Paul Ward, Roger Hills, Tony Burrows, Robin Shaw, and Robin Box
Photo courtesy of Andy K

Roger accompanied Country musician Forrest Lee Jr. on a UK tour in 2011. Videos of their performance at the Country Festival in Brean, UK can be found HERE and HERE.

If you have any corrections, can fill in any gaps or have photos that can be added, please contact me (Kelly).



posted by Kelly Kinsley

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