My Dear Watson aka Johnny and The Copycats

My Dear Watson

My Dear Watson [1970-72]: Left to Right: John Stewart, Rob Lawson, Bill Cameron, Ian Lyon, Ziggy Slater Note: band stopped performing as My Dear Watson in 1972 though later re-formed as The Copycats with song writer, John Stewart.

Start Thinking About Me: Make This Day Last

The Cimmerons were young teenagers who first appeared 29 July 1962 as an instrumental band before John Stewart came on board. They changed the band name to Johnny and The Copycats with John and Ian writing compositions. At the time, John had also been filling in as lead singer for Joe Mofat from another Buckie band called The Apaches in ’63 when they lost their vocalist. Albert Bonici’s LCB Agency would set up gigs for these bands and others, giving local talent the opportunity to share a bill with popular touring bands.

According to Bill Cameron, [Copycat’s bass guitarist], renaming the Copy Cats “My Dear Watson” resulted from picking the best name from manager, Albert Bonici’s short list of names when a record deal hinged on a name change when the record company insisted because they didn’t like the name. Mr. Bonici went to work refitting them with costumes and photo shoots to reboot their image as they approached the London market. A few year later, after the guys returned to Scotland at the end of their recording career and promoting their singles [1964-70], they performed together part-time as the Copy Cats, the name that remains a personal preference.

“Formed in Buckie, Banffshire, Scotland in December 1962, My Dear Watson were originally known as Johnny And The Copycats. As such they made their recording debut in with an effervescent version of the Coasters’ ‘I’m A Hog For You’ [February 1964 – NORCO Records LTD.] Under the guidance of local impresario Albert Bonici, the Beatles’ agent in Scotland, the Copy Cats – as they were later known – became a leading attraction along the Moray Firth coast. Eschewing residencies in either Glasgow or Edinburgh, the group moved to London in 1967. They changed their name to My Dear Watson and came under the wing of George Young and Harry Vanda of the Easybeats. The pair produced two My Dear Watson singles for Parlophone Records. The first, ‘The Shame Just Drained’, was a Vanda/Young original, whereas the second, ‘Stop! Stop! There I’ll Be’, was written by My Dear Watson leader Johnny Stewart in the style of the Easybeats. This pulsating release was an artistic triumph but commercial flop. My Dear Watson contributed to the Easybeats’ Vigil (1968) before leaving the UK to work in Europe. They resumed recording in 1970 with ‘Have You Seen Your Saviour?’, a beautiful song in the country rock vein of the Flying Burrito Brothers. In part because of a lack of promotion and airplay, the single was not a success and My Dear Watson disbanded after its release.” Also, the band’s only recorded album featuring songs written by John Stewart, was never released. “Early in 1962, when Cliff Richard was top of the charts with The Young Ones, Iain Lyon, Rob Lawson, Ali Ewen and Bill Cameron got together wherever they could find anywhere with some heat and a 60 watt bulb. Armed with a 5 watt amplifier, two small speakers and a snare drum, they performed instrumentals as the Cimmarrons. John Stewart, from Portknockie, who knew a lot of song lyrics, came to the next practice and became the band’s lead singer. Another change was the name, taken from the “Watkins Copycat” echo unit. With the tradition of putting the singer’s name first, they became Johnny & the Copycats. Elgin promoter Albert Bonici gave the band regular bookings, one of which was the Longmore Hall, Keith, supporting a little known Liverpool group called the Beatles. But the “Love Me Do” boys were stuck in snow somewhere down south. The two groups, however, would appear together the following year, but in very different circumstances. During 1963 they supported Eden Kane and the Nashville Teens in the north-east. They came first in a national beat contest in Perth, going on to London for the finals, where the judges, Heinz, Bert Weedon, and Joe Brown awarded them 2nd place. They decided to take a chance and go full-time. The Cats played central Scotland in 1964, with Johnny Kidd & the Pirates, the Ronettes, and the Hollies. In London their first record, I’m a Hog For You, appeared. Then came the “big” one, opening for the Beatles in the ABC, Edinburgh, and the Odeon, Glasgow. After opening the show for Billy J Kramer & the Dakotas at Aberdeen’s Capitol, came a month’s tour of England. 1964 saw them turn eighteen, so now they could get German work permits and supported the Searchers in Cologne and Frankfurt later that year. Returning home for the summer, they appeared with Herman’s Hermits, Sandi Shaw, and Adam Faith and the Roulettes. In 1966, they supported the Mindbenders, the Moody Blues, and Cliff Bennet & the Rebel Rousers. At the Top Ten club, Hamburg, the Easybeats offered to record them in London. A deal was fixed, and the song Elusive Face, written by John, was released, followed by Stop, Stop, There I’ll Be, with their new name, My Dear Watson on the EMI Parlophone label. Meanwhile, in Scotland, My Dear Watson provided support to Pink Floyd, Geno Washington and the Small Faces. In 1969 John left the band, but continued to write many of their songs. In 1970, My Dear Watson were invited to DJM studios to record an LP and single. Also there was another young hopeful, Reg Dwight, who was invited to play keyboards and vocals on the single Have You Seen Your Saviour, and flip-side White Line Road. Young Reg would change his name to Elton John, record Your Song, and the rest, as they say, is history.” Elton John in Los Angeles [circa 1970]


“In 1970, My Dear Watson were joined by Siggi Slater on keyboards, playing all over the country, including Elgin town hall with D.J. Emperor Rosko. On visits home they played support to the Alan Price Set, the Troggs, Manfred Mann, the Jack Bruce Band, Fleetwood Mac, and Status Quo. But the boys decided to call it a day on Saturday 2nd of September, 1972, playing their last official gig at the Fulmar club, RNAS Lossiemouth. Since then, the Copycats, with Lawrie Higgins on bass, have regularly played charity events around the north east of Scotland.”

Before keyboardist Ziggy Slater began touring with My Dear Watson, the three remaining band members were making a go on their own though recently married Johnny Stewart was still writing material and sang with My Dear Watson at the DJM studio besides a little help from studio musician, Elton John.

Band members of My Dear Watson [aka Copycats] felt that Graeme Nairn helped them more than the record company to promote their singles.

Band members of My Dear Watson [aka Copycats] felt that Graeme Nairn helped them more than the record company to promote their singles.

Have You Seen Your Savior]



John Stewart – guitar, vocals
Iain Lyon – lead guitar
Bill Cameron – bass
Rob Lawson – drums
Leading members of two rival skiffle groups, ‘The Saints’ and ‘The Sinners’ amalgamated into a new project called ‘The Cimmarons’ in December 1962 in Buckie, Scotland. They would later become ‘Johnny & The Copycats’, then ‘The Copycats’ and by 1963 Alistair Ewan had left. They played mostly accessible Chuck Berry and Shadows covers and quickly came to the notice of one Albert Bonici who was the leading pop promoter in the north of Scotland at that time. They won the Scottish heat of a national beat contest in November 1963 and were placed second at the UK final because they were too young to sign the winner’s prize of a recording contract.

Albert, who was a very shrewd businessman, became their manager and publicist and arranged for their first single to be released through his own label ‘Norco’ (Scotland’s first indie label) in 1964. ‘I’m A Hog For You Baby’ was a cover of a ‘Coasters’ song while the B side ‘I Can Never See You’ was written by Ian Lyon and 1000 copies were sold. They toured the UK extensively and supported many acts such as The Hollies, and  Johnny Kidd & The Pirates who was a favorite with the band.

They were due to support The Beatles in Keith on the 2nd January 1963, but the gig was cancelled because of blizzards and other acts supported the remainder of the dates starting in The 2 Red Shoes, Elgin on the 3rd. However, Albert Bonici had a clause written into The Beatles contract to be the promoter of the next Beatles tour in Scotland.  So, for the 1964 tour he got The Copycats to open for The Beatles shows in the ABC, Edinburgh, and the Odeon, Glasgow.
Like many others they eventually ventured into Germany and toured for nine months a year for four years, cutting several records while there.
Securing a deal with Parlophone brought about a mandatory name change and Albert suggested ‘My Dear Watson’ (which was pretty unpopular with the band especially when he dressed them in Victorian garb for publicity shots). Their single ‘Elusive Face’ / ‘The Shame Just Drained’ (1968) faired better. The A side was written by Stewart while the B side was co-composed by George Young who also co-produced the Single. (George was the elder brother of Angus and Malcolm Young of AC/DC)
‘My Dear Watson’ stayed in London for a while to work and ‘hung-out’ with Jimi Hendrix and Noel Reading. By this time Stewart was a married man and their enforced geographical separation was taking its toll and so he left the band to save their marriage to be replaced by Alex Ziggy Slater. The band moved to DJM and recorded an album’s worth of material with another DJM artist called Reginald Dwight though it was never released. Their last single, ‘Have You Seen Your Saviour’ / ‘White Line Road’ (1970) also suffered from lack of promotion.’
Bass guitarist Bill Cameron mentioned that besides lack of publicity [besides that of artist/musician Graeme Nairn] that Elton John [aka Reginald Dwight] also had problems with getting the publicity and promotion needed from DJM and why he struck out with co-writer Bernie to make their name in the States. Note: for exerpt from Fit Like New York? regarding the lost album recorded at DJM studio with Elton John and My Dear Watson.
My Dear Watson eventually disbanded [1972]  though continuing to perform in Scotland as The Copycats. Ian Lyon became involved in a few other bands including The JSD Band. ‘The Copycats’ would reform for one-off gigs occasionally, notably on their 30th anniversary they played at a celebration gig held in their honour in the Town Hall Elgin in 1992. Most recently they played at the opening of BONICI and the BEAT SCENE at the Elgin Museum.

Besides UK fans the Copycats are fondly remembered in Deutchland:
 “I would very appreciate to have a chance to get in touch with the Copycats to find out what they are doing today and if the still playing music. I met them in 1969 in Germany, Frankfurt Area. I bought the winered Gibson 335 custom made from Iain. Once our band Hurricans played together in Heppenheim, Germany. The Coopycats influenced me and our band so much. We played a lot of songs that we heard from them. I never saw a Bass-player who could play lefthanded too on Beatles songs -this is still unbelievable to me.” Manfred Peter

“Danke für viele schöne Stunden in den Sixties in Dornheim”  Herbert Friedmann

“I remember these guys from the Teen clubs in Germany…They were awesome and inspired me to play in bands I still play to this day. The power of Rock and Roll to change the world ??? Maybe not but they changed mine” Bob Passarelli
“Wie Geil ist das denn…Johnny and the Copycats. Zuletzt in Walldorf im Adler gesehen, das war Mitte/Ende der 60er Jahre. Hammer das es die noch gibt.” Robert Glotzbach
Copycats played various venues in Germany as did other acts Albert Bonici managed like Eddie LePard and the Leopards. Through his connection with Jack Fallon in London, he secured them work on military bases as well.

Copycats played various venues in Germany as did other acts Albert Bonici managed like Eddie LePard and the Leopards. Through his connection with Jack Fallon in London, he secured them work on military bases as well.


Copycats with Leopard's lead singer, Eddie LePard

Copycats with Leopard’s lead singer, Eddie LePard

Friends page:

Singles: Johnny And The Copycats
7 inch "45s" of Copycats/My Dear Watson tunes

7 inch “45s” of Copycats/My Dear Watson tunes [note: I am told that their was a live recording of them singing their tunes plus Beatles songs]

 Cats among the Chicks

A: I’m A Hog For You B: I Can Never See You Norco UK [Olympic Sound Studio/London for Norco Records February 1964] A: Angela B: I’ll Never Regret You Cornet Koln, Germany 1966A: Start Thinking About Me B: The Pain Of Love Cornet International Germany 1968

A: I’ll See You In My Dreams B: Love Is Great, Love Is Grand Decca USA

My Dear Watson [Copycats]

A: The Shame Just Drained B: Elusive Face Parlophone Netherlands 1968 [UK 5 April 1969]

A: Stop Stop There I’ll Be B: Make This Day Last Parlophone UK 18 Oct 1968

A: Have You Seen Your Saviour B: White Line Road DJM UK [with Elton John] 1970

Notes: Bill Cameron owns a rough cut of 12 unreleased recordings that included Elton John with My Dear Watson circa 1970. Also, the band was recorded on tour in Germany.


My research began in 2007 as a visitor to the north of Scotland. Growing up a few miles from San Francisco, I would frequent the active music scene on weekends besides being a fan of British BEAT music and never missing Shindig! on television. When first visiting the small community of Elgin in 2007, I was surprise to learn how the Beatles and many other vocalist and musicians came to perform during the early days of their careers. In the early 1950s, Albert Bonici began promoting dances though it had been an ambition since his teenage years. When he and Henry Robertson co-organized a string of jazz dances in the north Scotland, they could not have predicted the enormous success of the venture. Albert Bonici became one of the most respected promoters in the UK having arranged a high volumn of music venues throughout the north of Scotland which delighted music lovers during the height of the jazz and beat music era. Whilst known for booking the Beatles at the beginning of their 1963 tours, Albert Bonici brought most of the top British acts to north-east Scotland besides working with Scottish musicians to boost their careers. SCOTBEAT was created to share a bit of history about the BEAT years in Scotland and also a tribute to a man with a vision who, with the help of his family and staff, created a happening that is still fondly remembered by those who attended dances and concerts. Albert A Bonici hosted many up and coming bands who went on to gain international acclaim for their contributions. Besides other local resources and interviews, SCOTBEAT presents exclusive photos, adverts, and documents from the A Bonici Archives [circa 1960s]. Unless otherwise agreed, materials are not to be used for financial gain and ask that you respect the terms below. Materials presented are not to be used for financial gain without consent. © 2014-2019 All rights reserved. No part of this web site may be copied, redistributed, broadcast or published in any form without crediting this blog and/or copyright websites mentioned. All correspondence, flyers, programs, and photos from the Bonici Archives are not to appear in print other than through the propietor of SCOTBEAT. Use of the site signifies your agreement to all of these terms without condition. Please reference when sharing materials found here as the site is continuously updated to present the subject matter accurately and as a historical resource. Thank you.

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Posted in 1960's pop music
4 comments on “My Dear Watson aka Johnny and The Copycats
  1. scotbeat says:

    Craig Smith I think that this photo is from later on into the flower power era. When they re-launched as My Dear Watson they had shirts with white collars and cuffs, bowler hats and as I recall gators over there shoes. They looked really smart. A great band and never to be forgotten. It was very popular for bands to re-brand themselves in those days, just pop on caftan and you’re there! We saw the Paramounts (backing Sandie Shaw) turn into Procol Harum and Dean Ford and the Gaylords turn into Marmalade. Oh the power of the flower!

    • Alex Graham says:

      My Dear Watson regularly played in Tain Town Hall in the mid-sixties. My band the Rough Diamonds used to play when they had a break, using their instruments! We were just in our early teens, and back then were more Rough than Diamonds. Ian was a quite brilliant guitar player.

      They were influenced by The Band, playing a few covers of tracks from Music From Big Pink. The finest thing they ever did was a cover version of Good Vibrations by the Beach Boys. It was so good that we persuaded them to play it three times in one evening.

      All in all, good guys, and well able to hold their own with all the really famous groups that Albert Bonici brought to Tain in the sixties.

      Am I right in saying that John Stewart owned a butcher’s shop in Buckie?

      Those were the days.

      Alex Graham

      • scotbeat says:

        You are correct regarding John Stewart. They still like to jam together and do local gigs though not full time musicians. I heard from Bill Cameron that Albert B. had said that they couldn’t play a complex number like Good Vibrations so made it a point to learn the piece… am not sure if they ever play it these days. Btw, are you or any of the Rough Diamonds into playing music currently?

      • john stewart says:

        Hi Alex,Just been doodling about & came across your comments posted 2014,yes i remember the Rough Diamonds & the version of Good Vibrations which we worked hard to get right,difficult with just 4 guys.Tain was always a good gig.
        Still have 1 butchers shop in Banff.Regards John Stewart

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