and quickly became one of the most popular groups on Merseyside, coming third in the Mersey Beat music paper poll in 1963. Their manager, Ted Knibbs, spoke to Brian Epstein who was interested and wanted to sign them but The Coasters refused to turn professional. Brian had to find another group to back Billy Kramer (still without the ‘J’), The Remo 4 turned him down as did Manchester group The Dakotas who were backing Pete Maclaine at the time, they finally agreed when Brian made arrangements for them to record in their own right.
After the departure of Billy Kramer, The Coasters continued with Ted Knibbs as their manager, he was searching for a new ‘frontman’ to replace Billy and found Chick Graham (real name Graham Jennings). Chick made his first appearance as ‘frontman’ in June 1963, his fifteenth birthday at the Majestic Ballroom, Birkenhead. Decca Records signed them up and after telling them “Stardom is just around the corner”, they all gave up their ‘day jobs’ except for George Braithwaite who left the music business altogether. He was replaced by Arthur Raynor on rhythm guitar with Ray Dougherty changing to bass. In 1964, Decca released their first single ‘I Know/Education’, their second release ‘A little You/Dance, Baby Dance’ was slightly better, prompting Pete Frame in his book ‘Rock Family Trees Of The Early Sixties’ to say “Whoever chose the songs should be shot! He threw away Chick’s whole career” . When they failed to make it, Ted Knibbs was sacked as manager and the group eventually split in 1965, another sad case of missing the boat. Tony Sanders joined Mark Peters and the Silhouettes and played on their final single for PYE Records, ‘Don’t Cry For Me/I Told You So’.