Lois Wilkinson (born 3 April 1944, Sleaford, Lincolnshire, England).
Andrea Simpson (born 9 September 1946, Finchley, London).
At the time of their greatest fame, press stories told of how a blonde shorthand typist called Lois, and a brunette accounting machine operator called Andrea worked together in the same London company- and came together to play for an office party. However, in reality they were brought together by a man with an ear for talented singers called Curly Clayton- who ran a small recording Studio in Highbury, London. They were both keen to become professional singers and had both approached the studio independently. It was Clayton that suggested they might fare better as a duet. As a result of this encouragement, they learned some numbers to record as demos together- one of which was from the ‘B’-side of Tennessee Ernie Ford’s “Sixteen Tons”- this was “You Don’t Have To Be A Baby To Cry”. Clayton was sufficiently impressed with the quality of their singing that he made a demonstration recording with the intention of using it to obtain a contract with a major label. Unfortunately a deal was struck independently and consequently the small studio gained nothing from the exercise. “You Don’t Have To Be A Baby To Cry” was subsequently re-recorded under the direction of bandleader Harry Robinson and taken up and promoted by Decca via an offshoot called “Ritz”. The girls had by then begun calling themselves the Caravelles, taking the name from that of the French airliner of the time. The rapid sale of their first disc suddenly produced a popular demand for the two girls and they soon found themselves on their first professional engagement at a theatre in Weymouth.
Their first release became a #3 UK hit, but it was also one of the few records by female vocalists to feature in the vanguard of the “British Invasion” of the beat boom years and became a best seller in the USA too. Sadly, the Caravelles were unable to consolidate their success despite trying several different recording companies- arguably, all their subsequent output lacked the inspiration that had led to that first demo. Lois Wilkinson eventually decided that her future might be better as a soloist and broke away- shortly to take the name Lois Lane after the Superman character’s girlfriend. Andrea carried on with the duet, coupling with a number of other partners- notably Lynne Hamilton- a Lancashire born Australian. Although the Caravelles never again reached the charts the duet survived well into the 1980s. Lynne also had solo success during 1989 with “On The Inside”.
Lois Lane too, continued with her musical career turning towards jazz and MOR rather than Pop. She found work as a singer in BBC radio and commercial work producing ‘voiceovers’.
Edited by jetgar on 8 Mar 2010, 13:10
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