Just Help Yourself
1960. Britain stood at the cusp of new times: the memory of the war was beginning to recede, employment was increasing, and something called rock and roll was knocking on the door from America. In Pontypridd, sixteen-year-old Vernon Hopkins had just found a new singer for his band: a local boy who would come to be known as Tom Jones. The rest is history – or is it?
Just Help Yourself tells the full story of The Senators – soon to become The Squires – and their lead singer Tom Jones. It’s a classic tale of rock and roll in which successful young musicians from the sticks are enticed to London in search of a record deal. After years of hardship and the addition of a new and enthusiastic manager, things start to go their way: there are records, performances, TV work – until the manager strategically uncouples the singer from the band, who are cleverly and brutally sacked.
Vernon Hopkins’ authentic narrative is a revealing look at the highs and lows of the music business, and of London in the allegedly Swinging Sixties. Full of gritty detail about life in Pontypridd, and with great insight into the music business, Just Help Yourself is a cautionary tales of ambition and success. Illustrated with previously unseen photographs from the author’s archive.