Vernon & The G.I.'s formed in South London in 1971 when Vernon Shaw with Alan Peacock and Gary Steel decided to expand their existing three-piece line-up of acoustic guitars and drums, under the name of 'Yours Faithfully', into a five-piece band incorporating Jim Relf on lead guitar and Tony Casey on bass guitar.
Initially the new line-up retained the 'Yours Faithfully' name tag and were regularly sought after to play in local clubs and pubs. It was always apparent that the popularity of the new five-piece was in its heavy leaning towards the ever popular Rock & Roll music specific to the period of the 1950's and early 1960's.
Bookings for the band increased not only from other clubs but also from the established Rock & Roll venues that had survived from the original days. Before long, the long-awaited name change to Vernon & The G.I.'s was adopted and the band became established as one of the leading exponents of Rock & Roll music in South London.
Naturally, the stage apparel was drape suits and 'brothel creepers', which created impressive visual appeal to complement the authentic music. Vernon & The G.I.'s popularity rapidly spread. Bookings for the band were coming in from far and near, and soon the band were playing venues across the country and on the Continent. Subsequently, the stage outfits included U.S. GI uniforms adding further to the band's appeal.
Offers of recording/management were soon forthcoming, and before long many recording sessions were undertaken at the famous Abbey Road Studios in London overseen by engineer Peter Bown. At that time new recording contracts for Rock & Roll music were hard to find and subsequently the first 12" vinyl LP was released on the Billy Goat label. Vernon & The G.I.'s decided to release further recordings under their own established 'Creeper' label (See Media Page). Other recordings took place at the 'Studio on the Green' in Eltham, and at the Porcupine Studios in Mottingham.
The band began to establish a dedicated following of Rock & Roll enthusiasts and often coach parties accompanied the band on their bookings across the country - much to the delight of the venue promoters !
In July 1976, Vernon & The G.I.'s were invited to audition for the then popular TV programme 'Opportunity Knocks' hosted by Hughie Green. The vibrant music and colourful stage appearance were an immediate hit at the audition and the band were formally accepted for a forthcoming TV appearance (See Memorabilia letter). Alas, it never came to be, as the show was axed soon after.
.................TO BE CONTINUED