Barron Knight called up to sign records at Dunstable shop

Barron Knight Richard Palmer (aka Duke D'Mond)

Barron Knight Richard Palmer (aka Duke D'Mond)

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Recognise the smart young man with the elaborate hairstyle and sharp suit?

This is Dunstable’s very own Dickie Palmer, who became even more famous than his illustrious relation, Louis Palmer, who as Mayor of Dunstable performed the opening ceremony at the California Ballroom.

Richard Palmer, whose parents lived in Burr Street, changed his name to the much-more glitzy Duke D’Mond and, as lead singer with the Barron Knights, had a decades-long showbiz career, sporting a shorter haircut and designer glasses as the years went by.

The band was signed by Brian Epstein for the Beatles’ Christmas show in 1963 and the next year made a wickedly funny record titled Call UpThe Groups which impersonated such stars as the Rolling Stones and Freddie and the Dreamers, with Duke excelling on stage with an over-the-top version of Mick Jagger. It became a massive hit...the first of many.

This photo was taken during a record-signing session in the 1960s and our educated guess that it was in the old J.L. Moore record shop in Middle Row, Dunstable.

Please correct us if we’re wrong!

The albums in the photo will be nostalgic for older readers, with an eclectic mix of Bobby Darin, Mantovani, Mario Lanza, Tony Hancock, Nina and Frederick, Shirley Bassey and Helen Shapiro.

The fact that the LPs include GI Blues (1960) and Chubby Checker (1960) helps with the date.

The Barron Knights band was formed at Leighton Buzzard in 1959 as the Knights of the Round Table and still continues to tour. But Richard Palmer died in April 2009.

> Yesteryear is compiled by John Buckledee, chairman of Dunstable and District Local History Society.