The Brits Are Rockin’ Vol 7: Johnny Kidd

When I began researching the history of rock and roll music in the UK, I explored various artists. An artist I constantly stumbled upon was Johnny Kidd and the Pirates. Their version of A Shot Of Rhythm and Blues was a personal curiosity for a while, after hearing the Gerry and the Pacemakers version. I never really ventured any further into their music, but I was always aware they had made a contribution.

It is perhaps Kidd’s hit song ‘Shakin All Over’, which has made the biggest mark on the Rock genre. The song has been covered by many acts over the decades including The Guess Who, The Swinging Blue Jeans, The Who and Suzi Quattro among hundreds of others. It is a standard that is a must for any band hoping to recreate the excitement and energy of rock and roll of the 1950s and 1960s. It is hard to imagine the genre without it.

I thought Johnny Kidd, sporting an eye patch, looked like no one else from that era. Once you realise the whole group wore pirate-themed costumes on stage, it takes things to another level. This striking imagery, along with the unmistakable beat sound, made Johnny Kidd and the Pirates a memorable act.

The Brits Are Rocking series from Bear Family Records has already featured Tommy Steele, Billy Fury, King Size Taylor, Colin Hicks, Lee Curtis & The All-Stars, Tony Sheridan, and Vince Taylor & The Playboys; Now they dedicate the seventh volume to Kidd, who died in 1966. Featuring thirty-four tracks; Is this album worth picking up?

That familiar early 60s beat sound, mixed with distinctly British vocals, is on the menu here. The studio tracks are made up of rocked-up cover versions of surprising songs, alongside originals. I’d have never thought the likes of Yes Sir, That’s My Baby and If You Were The Only Girl In The World would work in such surroundings, but they do. Other highlights of their studio work include the familiar sounding Please Don’t Bring Me Down, So What, Feelin’, Let’s Talk About Us, Growl and the aforementioned Shakin’ All Over.

From track twenty-one onwards, are a series of recordings made during sessions at the BBC. Presenter Brian Matthew, who appears on a number of similar recordings by other groups, introduces individual tracks and speaks to Johnny a couple of times. The inclusion of these tracks prevents the album from suffering from a lack of context. These live recordings vary in sound quality, some sounding like they’re missing a frequency or two. However, they give a nice flavour of what the band would have sounded like in a live setting.

A Little Something Extra…

Similarly to other titles in this series, the CD comes in a standard case and includes an extensive booklet with liner notes by Ashley Woods. It also contains rare photographs, illustrations and a discography.


Bear Family Records has compiled an album that pays tribute to the unique musical contribution of Johnny Kidd. His career wasn’t as long or as prolific as other acts featured in this series, but there is no denying his impact; As evidenced by the studio and live tracks featured here. As someone who wasn’t familiar with Kidd outside of a few tracks, I found this an excellent to his body of work. The liner notes also helped to fill in the gaps, and provide context. Overall, this is an excellent addition to this growing series. So What?! by Johnny Kidd: The Brits Are Rockin’ Volume 7 is available from Bear Family Records.


  1. Feelin’
  2. So What
  3. Linda Lu
  4. I Can Tell
  5. Longin’ Lips
  6. I Want That
  7. A Shot Of Rhythm And Blues
  8. Weep No More, My Baby
  9. Shakin’ All Over
  10. Restless
  11. Growl
  12. Hurry On Back To Love
  13. Let’s Talk About Us
  14. Please Don’t Touch
  15. Big Blon’ Baby
  16. You Got What It Takes
  17. Please Don’t Bring Me Down
  18. Yes Sir, That’s My Baby
  19. Magic Of Love
  20. If You Were The Only Girl In The World
  21. BBC Recordings: That’s All You Gotta Do
  22. My Babe
  23. Growlin’ Growl
  24. I Go Ape (Vocal: Tom Brown)
  25. Brian Matthew Talks To Johnny
  26. Restless
  27. Setarip
  28. Never Mind (Vocal: Mike West)
  29. Please Don’t Touch
  30. Brian Matthew Talks To Johnny
  31. Weep No More, My Baby
  32. Brian Matthew Talks To Johnny
  33. If You Were The Only Girl In The World
  34. Shakin’ All Over

Jamie Dyer

Jamie Dyer is an experienced writer, broadcaster, musician and social media marketer. He enjoys Old Time Radio, vintage TV, collecting vinyl and supporting the New York Knicks.

Leave a Reply

Next Post

Unidentified Flying Oddball | Dyer's Daily

Thu Dec 15 , 2022
The new episode of Dyer’s Daily is now available to stream and download on most podcast directories. Jamie Dyer discusses his love of the 1979 Disney live-action film Unidentified Flying […]

You May Like