While almost unknown in Britain, The Renegades - Cadillac own "Renegades" had much success in Finland and Italy during the s where they attracted The Renegades - Cadillac large following of fans.
Incredibly, the group's popularity in those countries was to rival that of The Beatles! The Renegades story begins during the early s in Perry Barr, Birmingham where the band was The Renegades - Cadillac. They were one of the fourteen young bands to be featured on David Gooch's 'Brum Beat' album promoting the local groups.
The notes written on the album back cover mentioned the group as thus; "The eye-catching uniform worn by The Renegades at The Adelphi Ballroom, Droitwitch, is matched by their offbeat material. The Renegades' real success came when they went to play a few dates in Helsinki, Finland in October of It wasn't long before the group were in the midst of a snowy winter going from one venue to another in their van without a heater or winter tires.
Their stage show was wilder than anything previously seen in that The Renegades - Cadillac and they were soon regarded as substitutes for 'The Beatles' as the Fab Four never played in Finland. All four group members contributed to The Renegades dynamic and often manic stage show, especially their charismatic lead vocalist Kim Brown who along with the unique playing style of lead guitarist Denys Gibson, contributed much to The Renegades energetic and memorable stage performance.
They also wrote songs of their own that were to become big hits in Finland. The first Renegades single to storm the Finnish charts in was a twelve-bar blues influenced number called 'Cadillac' that reached Number 2. The Renegade's Cadillac was an amazingly simple and effective arrangement, not unlike The Troggs famous 'Wild Thing' and suited Kim Brown's bluesy vocal perfectly. The song became a staple of The Renegades stage show, ultimately becoming their most well-known record.
The next two Renegades singles in were also their own tunes titled 'Seven Daffodils' and 'Matelot' that sold well and gained the band many fans. Strangely, despite the huge success of the group in Finland, none of their records made it to number one in the charts.
The Renegades were however, regular performers in Finnish TV shows and got to play a couple of songs in the Finnish musical film "Topralli". When I Get It Right - Joan Armatrading - Classics Volume 21 of their music was released in those countries but proved to be the most popular in Italy where the band found more success.
Strangely, none of The Renegades records dented the British charts despite their success in Europe. Denys Gibson left The Renegades at the end of to start a family and was replaced by Joe Dunnett on lead guitar.
Mick was called over from England as The Renegades were on tour in Europe at the time. This line-up continued until when the group disbanded. The Renegades re-united and visited Finland a couple of times during the s to perform in 60s revival events. This group moved to Italy where they recorded several rock 'n' roll style Italian singles and albums and enjoyed The Renegades - Cadillac success in that country well into the s before they disbanded.
The Renegades drummer Graham Johnson decided to take up permanent residence in Italy. Meanwhile back in the UK, Renegades former bass guitarist Ian Mallett worked for Warner Brothers Music until he caused a scandal during a TV interview by talking about record company "chart fixing". This effectively ended his music career. As the new century approached, who would have known more than 30 years after their success in Finland, that a Renegades revival was just around the corner!
The Renegades had not performed together for many years, but repeated demand from their Finnish fans finally convinced them to re-unite for a tour of Finland in The Class Tramp - The Rave-Ups - Town + Country tour was a huge success starting in Helsinki where The Renegades performed a sold-out show to an audience of about five thousand.
This resulted in the group continuing to play the s nostalgia circuit for the next ten years and Kim Brown emigrating to Finland to live there permanently. The tour was the first time they had all played together in 26 years! Sadly, bass guitarist Ian Mallett was to die of a heart attack in Kim Brown battled throat cancer, resulting in surgery that left him unable to sing or perform on stage.
He passed away on October 11, at age 66 in his adopted country where he is still greatly missed by his many fans there. No. 9 E-dur - Chopin* - Daniel Barenboim - 24 Préludes Op. 28 "Denny" Gibson who left The Renegades inworked in a music shop but apparently never played in a band again.
He lived in Birmingham until his death at age 71 on May 4, His unique guitar style was known to be an influence on Finnish guitar players who gave him a lot of credit over the years. Mick Webley now lives in the USA where he is still active in music. Graham Johnson, the last surviving founding member of The Renegades still lives in Italy where he plays drums occasionally Various - The New Soul Album not as much anymore as he'd like to.
Original recordings by The Renegades have since aroused much interest in collectors of s "garage" or "freakbeat" so it's quite possible that a Andrea Bocelli - Andrea (SACD, Album) audience for the band may emerge as more around the world discover their music.
Thanks to Esko Havia of Finland for assistance in writing this page. Thanks to Jori Venemies for news updates. If you would like to contribute to The Renegades - Cadillac page, please e-mail john brumbeat.
Until The End Of Time - De, And So Is Love - Kate Bush - And So Is Love, Act-2 - Insect Powder - Rip Van Win-Kle (Flexi-disc), Bravo Tu As Gagne - Mireille Mathieu - French Collection, Motorbike Kid - Speed Limit - First Offence