Ian ‘Sammy’ Samwell had been a member of The Drifters, the backup band for Harry Webb. They would become a wee bit more successful when Harry changed his name to Cliff Richard (it was Samwell’s idea to cut the final S from Richards to give the pseudonym extra spice). At the same time the backup band was renamed to The Shadows (as there was already an American band call The Drifters). When Hank Marvin joined the band Ian Samwell stepped aside and concentrated on composing hits, producing and disk jockeying.
Samwell was probably the first to acquire a star status as a DJ, before that the DJ had always been the invisible nobody who turned a few singles when the bands on stage were switching places. For the first time in history people came to The Lyceum to see the DJ at work instead of the house band.
As a producer Ian worked with Aynsley Dunbar, Georgie Fame, John Mayall, The Small Faces and he would also be known as the man 'who discovered America'. Ian 'Sammy' Samwell passed away March 13, 2003.
As a youngster Jeff Dexter wasn’t into pop music at all, but dancing with girls was, so he simply gave in. At The Lyceum (1961-ish) he met DJ Sammy Samwell and they soon became friends. Not long after that Jeff made quite a name because he was barred from the dance floor for making an attempt at The Twist, originally a Hank Ballard B-side. When a few weeks later The Twist became a Chubby Checker superhit The Lyceum hired the mod they had banned before. He became a professional dancer and had to instruct the dance crazy public the moves of the week.
Around 1962 – 1963 Jeff moved to The Orchid Ballroom, the biggest ballroom in Europe with four different bars.
Chicken & Chicks, as they called it. Fish bar. Chicken bar. They had this big ice igloo where they sold ice cream sodas. They had an upstairs bar. And they had a roundabout which was another bar, a revolving bar, all in this wonderful huge building. (Taken from DJHistory.)
Jeff Dexter noticed Iggy in 1963.
Iggy was part of a group of very wonderful looking south London girls. She was unusual because she did not look like anyone else at the time. Since she disappeared, she has become a bit of an enigma. (taken from the Croydon Guardian.)
While Ian Samwell was the main DJ at The Orchid Jeff worked as a dancer and singer of the house band and as an occasional DJ. This would become his prime profession and later on he would also spin records at Tiles, UFO and Middle Earth (where John Peel was another DJ).
As a member of the Underground in-crowd, (the index of Days In The Life gives him 20 entries), he would witness the raise and fall of the movement that wasn’t a movement to begin with and the hostile reaction of the powers that be.
Middle Earth closed after the horrible scenes of the police raid. We had had a private party that night and somebody had brought along their children. The police raided, found the children and told the Covent Garden porters we were crucifying children in there. So they smashed the place to pieces. (…) Jenny Fabian and I were locked in the box office while they wrecked the place.
Sources (other than the above internet links):
Bacon, Tony: London Live, Balafon Books, London, 1999, p. 101.
Green, Jonathon: Days In The Life, Pimlico, London, 1998, p.222, p. 283.