Johnny Kidd and The Pirates

Johnny Kidd and The Pirates 

autograph when the band played in Elgin Scotland

Autograph when the band played in Elgin Scotland…



Treasure [c. DJ Dills]


In the book Mods, Rockers, and the Music of the British Invasion [James Perone] it is supposed that reasons Johnny Kidd didn’t gain international acclaim was that he sacked the original Pirates for another back up group and that they mostly did cover tunes when The Beatles and other beat groups were composing and performing their own songs. Also, his career was cut short by a tragic auto accident…  Some Other Guy Johnny Kidd had a great stage act besides his pirate regalia which included an eye patch and colourful trousers… From “Larry Parnes presents: Your Lucky Stars” – 1964 souvenir programme]


Johnny and The Copycats were teenagers when they played central Scotland in 1964 with Johnny Kidd & the Pirates [January 22nd, 24th, and the 25th of 1964]. They enjoyed doing gigs with the Pirates and as with their audience, appreciated their style. They were a high energy beat band with stage presence and were as exciting to watch as well as to listen to. It’s no wonder that they influenced so many other bands to follow. Surprisingly, “Johnny Kidd had no album release during during his band’s existence (but almost did), and then one solitary UK compilation in the dozen years following his death.”  Audio CD available at:

“Whether he was an influence on Adam Ant is open to conjecture, but Johnny Kidd was the first performer in British pop music to don the panto gear. An early skiffle convert. he formed his own band, The Five Nutters, while still a teenager. When rock ‘n’roll kicked in, his interest in Lonnie Donegan et al dipped somewhat and he sought a new image–that of seventeenth-century buccaneer Captain William Kidd. The look presaged a name change, too, and had immediate appeal, particularly to HMV , who issued the first Johnny Kidd single, the excellent ‘Please Don’t Touch” in May 1959. It’s Top Thirty placing was a solid but not earth-shattering start, but the label’s next move–to sack the band and bring in experienced hands–was less effective, a series of covers by and large failing to dent the listings. Kidd’s co-written ‘Shakin’ All Over’ (1960, though, was a genuine ‘moment’ in pop-music history and is rightly viewed as the classic British pre-Beatles rock ‘n’ roll record; this infectious stop/start rocker duly took Kidd–now with The Pirates, including top guitarists Alan Caddy and Joe Moretti–to number one that summer. From this, the only direction for a working unit on the label payroll to go was likely to be downwards, and tunes that disappointingly pushed this distinctive band into a ‘Merseybeat’ direction were largely misses (1963’s ‘I’ll Never Get Over You’ a notable exception). Kidd was a hard-worker, however, and he and his group would still kick up something of a storm on their exhaustive live schedule, with occasional support from The Who–a band that has consistently cited him as an influence.”

Excerpt taken from the book “The Encyclopedia Of Dead Rock Stars (Heroin, Handguns, And Ham Sandwiches)” by Jeremy Simmons.

See blog: [scan down]

Unfortunately, there isn’t any video footage of Johnny Kidd and The Pirates available though they were on early music programs including Record Round-up [Jul’59], Lunch Box [Jul’59], Disc Break, and Wham! [Apr1960].

The Pirates also did a gig at Elgin Town Hall on January 23, 1964. At the time, they performed several of their recordings including Please Don’t Touch, Shakin’ All Over, Shot of Rhythm & Blues, I’ll Never Get Over You, and Hungry For Love. Sadly, Johnny Kidd was killed in 1966 though his memory lives on through the music…




Other Pirate tunes include a great version of Some Other Guy which they recorded 31st January 1963, six months before the Beatles’ version which features Paul doing a similar arrangement   My Babe/Pirates [1964]   I Can Tell/Pirates [1962] Shakin’ All Over/Pirates [1960]  Documentary of Johnny Kidd/Pirates So What/Pirates

Bios of Johnny Kidd and The Pirates

The Pirates claim to be England’s first rock band, and it’s hard to dispute that, considering they got their start as Johnny Kidd & the Pirates in 1959, preceding the Beatles and the Stones.” Note: This is disputable as Alex Harvey, Cliff Richard and The Shadows who were regulars on Oh Boy! [1958-59] , and others were developing their “beat” sound at the time. Johnny Kidd and The Pirates performance was said to be ground breaking for performance besides the many memorable rock tunes written by Johnny over a short career cut short by an accident that took his life at aged 30.

“They [The Pirates] served up a combination of rockabilly, electric blues and R&B, but the audience was not quite ready. However, Kidd did stake his claim to fame by writing “Shakin’ All Over,” later covered by the Yardbirds, the Guess Who, and others. The group disbanded after Kidd’s death in 1966, but re-formed with the remaining original members to make this album, Out of Our Skulls, featuring a combination of new material and their early hits.” 

Pirates records: Biography:


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 “JOHNNY KIDD & THE PIRATES
  1. dave martin says:

    watch film called THE ECSTACY OF WILKO JOHNSON there is moving footage of johnny kidd about half way through the film !!!.

  2. jeepsolid says:

    here scot-beat it,s jeepsolid i played a significant role with Albert with Inverness heartthrobs size 4 later i worked with “white trash!” and am in contact with top city “tonsil!” Ian clews in California also Jeff beat-stalkers!” Allen—-got a piece i wrote called “northern red shoe soul shuffle!” which i hope to publish soon—-i am so excited about all this and met Brian “Flock!roadie Cameron the other day!!–we were all part of something very powerful that affects to NOW!!—-one love!! roderick

    • scotbeat says:

      Well said Roderick! I am transplanted to Scotland from San Franciso but realize that the happening here in the ’60s is still touching those who were around then besides generations since. I am excited to have been asked to create the Bonici Exhibit for the Elgin Museum and am looking for more impute. Last week several clippings from the 60’s [several from Evening Express] were uncovered in the Bonici archive as he had saved articles on the groups you’ve mentioned besides what I’ve just added to this post on the Pirates. Am looking forward to speaking with you further. cheers, David

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