3D Great Rock Bible

Karl Denver

+ {The Karl Denver Trio}

Born Angus Murdo McKenzie, 16 December 1931, Springburn, Glasgow in Scotland, KARL DENVER was a real oddity of the early 60s pop scene and perhaps a man ahead of his time in terms of world music, equally inspired by the exotic sounds he heard on his global travels in the merchant navy. His multi-octave vocal abilities and yodelling tendencies marked him out from many of his contemporaries while his clean-cut, pseudo C&W image projected him as a kind of bizarre Scottish SLIM WHITMAN.
Over the course of 1961/62, Decca singles `Marchetta’, `Mexicali Rose’ and `Never Goodbye’ were all Top 10 hits, while his Zulu chanting signature tune, `Wimoweh’ – adapted from The TOKENS smash, `The Lion Sleeps Tonight’ – reached the Top 5. The KARL DENVER TRIO’s debut LP, WIMOWEH (1961) {*5} was issued on Ace Of Clubs, not Decca – reasons unbeknown but for the fact it might’ve been cheaper; others were KARL DENVER AT THE YEW TREE (1963) {*4} and WITH LOVE (1964) {*4}.
Although Karl continued to score further minor hits up until the mid-60s, only a cover of Bill Anderson’s `Still’ threatened to trouble the Top 10, and Karl increasingly moved into cabaret; his trio in the 60s featured country lads Jerry Cottrell and Kevin Neill. Following 1974’s lone `Sonny Boy’ single (there were two KARL DENVER TRIO sets from 1969 and 1980), the singer retired from the recording studio, only to resurface more than a decade and a half later at the height of Manchester’s baggy scene.
Having lived in the city for years, DENVER was roped into a collaboration with infamous “Madchester” faves the HAPPY MONDAYS. The resulting `Lazy Itis – One Armed Boxer’ was a Top 50 hit during the summer of 1990, and the experience no doubt spurred him on to cut a new single, `Won’t Give Up’ and album, JUST LOVING YOU (1993) {*4}. Sadly, Karl was to die of a brain tumour on 21 December 1998; a posthumous album, MOVIN’ ON {*4}, was released the following year, although it was basically the previous set plus 3 tag-ons.
© MC Strong 2002/GSM // rev-up MCS Aug2015

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