In his younger days Kevin Finn had entertained ideas of becoming a priest or a Christian brother but once he had discovered the music of Bill Haley and Elvis Presley he decided his future was in music. He got a taste of what that would be like as a guest singer with Tony Collier's Southampton-based group The Strangers. Lead singer status came after that in another Southampton group, The Whirlwinds, with whom Kevin recorded two songs, Fats Domino’s Blueberry Hill and The Dribble (Twist).
Then came some name changes. Under the guidance of local entrepreneur John Ferris, Kevin became Kevin Scott and The Whirlwinds became The Kinsmen. As Kevin Scott & The Kinsmen the group began to make a name for itself locally and played some prestigious society gigs, including a show for The British Racing Drivers’ Association at Grosvenor House in London. In 1964 Kevin Scott & The Kinsmen twice appeared on the same bill as The Rolling Stones – first at Wembley on 31st May and then in Brighton on 19th July.
Although the group had gained some traction, it didn't have a recording contract and Kevin decided it was "time to move on". He and The Kinsmen's bass player, Mick Dubiel, formed a new group, The Time. The line-up was completed by John Glenfield (lead guitar) and Danny Barbour (drums). With a recording contract secured for them by John Ferris, The Time released two singles on the Pye label – Take A Bit Of Notice / Every Now And Then (Pye 7N 17019), which was released in January 1966, and The First Time I Saw The Sun Shine / Annabel (Pye 7N 17146), released in July. Neither of the singles made the charts and so the group decided to call time on The Time.
The following year Kevin joined Wishful Thinking, reverting back to his real name of Kevin Finn. At that time the line-up of Wishful Thinking was: Brian Allen (drums), Roger Charles (bass) and Terry New (lead guitar). The band had previously released two singles in 1966 with vocalist Roy Daniels. Two singles followed in 1967 (Count To Ten and a cover of Neil Diamond's Cherry, Cherry). Then came the next change in line-up (Terry New quit the band and was replaced on lead guitar by John Franklin). This line-up recorded an album of cover versions, Live Vol. 1, which included Cherry, Cherry. They released another three singles for the Decca label - Meet The Sun (1967), It's So Easy and Alone (both released in 1968).
In March 1969 Roger Charles was replaced by a new bass player and vocalist Tony Collier, who Kevin knew from his Southampton days. In 1970 the new line-up released a single in Germany, Without A Place To Go. They followed it up in 1971 with Hiroshima. Though it didn't make the Top 20 at the time, the single would eventually become a big hit in Germany. The song (which featured Tony Collier on lead vocal) was also the title track of Wishful Thinking's second album. Unlike their first LP, this was an album of original material - a showcase for the songwriter Dave Morgan, who wrote all of the songs on it. Morgan had recorded a solo album in 1969 with Wishful Thinking's producer Lou Reizner and two of his songs, Something and This Time Tomorrow, had been recorded as B-sides by the Move. In the early '70s Morgan played bass with the heavy metal band Magnum and in the '80s joined the Electric Light Orchestra.
In Britain Hiroshima was released as the B-side of the single Clear White Light. This was the closest that Wishful Thinking came to cracking the UK charts. The song, written by Alan Hull of Lindisfarne, was played a lot on the radio, but distribution problems meant that it was hard to come by in record shops. Meanwhile Danny paid the bills as a session singer, providing backing vocals on records and TV shows for Olivia Newton John, Cliff Richard and Harry Secombe plus live shows with The Kinks.
Hiroshima was re-released in Germany several times during the 1970s and '80s and became a small hit in 1975. By this time Kevin (now calling himself Danny) was one third of Marty, Paul and Danny with Marty Kristian and Paul Layton. Following the demise of the New Seekers in May 1974, Marty and Paul had been looking for someone to join them in a new band. Danny, who had been recommended to them by John Franklin, had to audition four times before they were convinced that he was the right person.
Pictured (left to right) are:
Marty Kristian, Danny Finn and Paul Layton as
Marty, Paul and Danny.
Marty, Paul and Danny recorded three singles for RCA. The first, Coming Alive Again, was co-written by the three of them and recorded on 20th September 1974 at the IBC recording studios. It was eventually released on 21st March the following year, once the legal difficulties preventing its release had been resolved.
MPD played their first gig at the Watford Palace Theatre on 8th February 1975. Their back up band included John Franklin (who, at the time, also played guitar for Lyn Paul) and John Redpath (previously the drummer with Ofarim and Winter, the support act on the New Seekers' 1973 tour of the UK). MPD played another gig (combined with a press reception to promote Coming Alive Again) at the Royalty Theatre in London on 24th April. One of the highlights of both shows was Danny's dramatic rendition of a ballad written by Marty, Love Of My Life.
Despite doing the rounds of record shops and local radio stations MPD failed to get the hit single they had hoped for. A follow-up, Take Me Back, was released on 12th September 1975. Written by Marty and co-produced by Barry Blue and Ossie Byrne, the single was another catchy song with a sing-along chorus and obvious chart potential. Once again, however, Marty, Paul and Danny were to be disappointed.
MPD had just released their third single, Sweet Melinda, when Wishful Thinking's single Hiroshima resurfaced in Germany. Ironically, Danny found himself having more success with his old band than he was with his new one. In the MPD Newsletter of November 1975 Jenny, the Fan Club Secretary, wrote:
"One of Wishful Thinking's records, Hiroshima, has just gone into the charts in Germany (I believe the record is No. 1 in Berlin). It must be the 'sleeper' of all time 'cos I gather from Danny that the record was originally released there over three years ago!!"
Wishful Thinking hastily re-formed with Danny, John Franklin and Tony Collier being joined this time by John Redpath. The four of them went over to Germany to promote the single but they failed to capitalise on the success they had there, returning instead to England where Danny soon found himself accepting an offer he felt he couldn't refuse ...
line-up featuring Danny Finn (top right).
In April 1976 Marty, Paul and Danny teamed up with ex-New Seeker Eve Graham and singer Kathy Ann Rae to re-form the group that had once taught the world to sing. The revised line-up soon found itself in the UK hit parade with the singles It's So Nice and I Wanna Go Back. Both songs were written by Bill Martin and Phil Coulter, the latter was also produced by them. In 1978 the New Seekers were reunited with their old record producer David Mackay and in the Summer of that year Anthem (One Day In Every Week) became the New Seekers' last Top 30 hit. Despite this success, Danny and Eve Graham left the group in September to get married (their wedding was held at St. James' Roman Catholic Church, Marylebone on 1st June 1979). They sang together as a duo until 1985 and are still married.
Eve Graham and Danny Finn
Between 1978 and 1980 Danny also maintained his connection with Wishful Thinking and became a member of a new group, Prima Donna.
In 1978 Wishful Thinking's single Hiroshima was a hit again in Germany. Bigger the second time around than it had been the first, the record spent 23 weeks in the Top 20 and almost a year in the Top 50. On 21st September 1978 it peaked at number 8. Danny, Tony and the two Johns recorded some new material together and released a couple of singles in Germany, America and State Fair Majorette. John Redpath then decided to quit the band and it appeared that it was finally the end of the road for Wishful Thinking.
In 1979 Eve Graham and Danny Finn teamed up with the New Seekers' producer David Mackay to record their first single, Ocean And Blue Sky. Although it had a catchy tune and memorable lyrics, MacKay's magic failed to work it's spell on the record buying public. Meanwhile ...
Wishful Thinking's enduring popularity in Germany persuaded Danny Finn, Tony Collier and John Franklin to re-form again in 1980 (this time as a trio). They released what turned out to be their last single, Tightrope Man. It was produced by Gavin Dare and Dave Howman, who also had a hand in writing and producing Eve Graham's 1980 album, Woman Of The World.
1980 was a busy year for Danny. In addition to the Wishful Thinking single, he contributed vocals to one of the tracks on Eve's album. On 9th April he also represented the UK in the Eurovision Song Contest as lead singer with the group Prima Donna.
The six members of Prima Donna were brought together especially for the contest. The line-up was modelled on the Guys 'n' Dolls formula of three "guys" and three "dolls", paired off on stage as happy young couples. As journalist Penny Allen told it, Danny's involvement in Prima Donna came about after a visit to a fortune teller:
"Danny Finn, late of the New Seekers, had already turned down Eurovision offers, but when approached by Stuart [Slater] and Stephanie [de Sykes], he had just returned from a fortune teller who had told him he would be doing business and making money with someone called Stephanie. Not surprisingly, he accepted."
Prima Donna featuring Alan Coates, Danny Finn (pictured centre) and Lance Aston,
sisters Jane and Kate Robbins
and Sally Ann Triplett (front centre).
Sally Ann Triplett won the Song For Europe Contest again in 1982 as one half of the duo Bardo.
Since then Sally Ann has developed a successful career in musical theatre, appearing in West End productions of The Best Little Whorehouse In Texas, Follies, Chess, Grease, Cats and Anything Goes.
Lance Aston (brother of Jay Aston, who performed with Bucks Fizz when they won the Eurovision Song Contest in 1981) entered the Song For Europe again in 1983 as one third of Audio, singing alongside ex-New Seeker Kathy Ann Rae.
Prima Donna had been selected as the UK's entry at the Song For Europe contest the previous month, seeing off competition from the New Seekers (who were disqualified from the contest) and from a group called Pussyfoot (whose line-up included Donna Jones and Mick Flinn, both of whom would go on to become established members of the New Seekers). The closest competition of all, though, came from another quarter. At the end of the voting Prima Donna's Love Enough For Two was tied in first place with Maggie Moone's Happy Everything. Unhappily for Maggie Moone, a majority of the regional juries gave their casting vote in Prima Donna's favour. Interviewed afterwards on Radio 1's Newsbeat, Danny said: "I'm sure it must have been great TV viewing but for us backstage ... the nerves are frayed."
In the Eurovision Song Contest itself, Prima Donna came third, finishing 22 points adrift of the German entry (Katja Ebstein's Theater) and 37 points behind the winning entry from Ireland (Johnny Logan's What's Another Year?).
Love Enough For Two just made it into the UK charts, spending 4 weeks in the Top 75 and peaking at number 48. Reviewing the single before it charted, Radio 1 DJ Tommy Vance said: "This is Europop, brilliantly constructed, cleverly written by [Stephanie] de Sykes and [Stuart] Slater and magnificently performed by a group ... put together purely and utterly for the Eurovision Song Contest, who happen to have taken the name 'Prima Donna', which is ... a good little European name ... It's a very, very good record." Fellow DJ David "Kid" Jensen commented: "They certainly will not represent the charts as we know them today or the music scene as vibrant and exciting as it is." Prima Donna's low chart placing proved his point. The failure of the group's follow-up single, Just Got To Be You, further underlined it. The record wasn't a hit and Danny returned once more to working with Eve Graham.
In 1981 Eve and Danny toured the Far East for six weeks before playing a Summer Season at the UK's biggest theme park and fun-fair, Alton Towers. They performed three shows a day from 21st July through to the end of August. The shows included some of the New Seekers' greatest hits. The highlight, however, was Danny's rendition of the Nilsson classic Without You. Eve and Danny released two singles in 1981 - Your Love, which was billed as Eve Graham featuring Danny Finn and a Yuletide offering, which was released under the name of Viva and cornily titled Chris Must Stay.
In 1981 Danny also sang in A Song for Europe as part of a backing group for singer-songwriter Gary Benson. Benson was best known for his 1975 hit Don't Throw It All Away, a song first performed by The Shadows in the 1975 A Song for Europe contest. His 1981 entry was a song titled All Cried Out. It finished joint fourth with a score of 63 points, 34 points adrift of the winning song, Making Your Mind Up by Bucks Fizz.
In 1982 Eve Graham and Danny Finn toured the UK with Gene Pitney. In '83 and '84 they toured with Max Boyce. The tour merchandising included a re-packaged version Eve's album Woman Of The World, which was sold as a cassette by Eve Graham & Danny Finn and retitled On The Road. During one of the tours Danny flew to Dallas for a few days in persuit of a developing interest he had in theme parks. "When I re-joined the tour" he once quipped, "it seemed that nobody had missed me!"
After 1985 Eve and Danny no longer worked together as a duo. Danny - who reverted to his real name, Kevin - pursued a new career as a theme park designer but continued to support Eve in her solo career. He appeared (playing guitar and singing backing vocals) on the video The New Seekers Story, which was distributed by Eve's agent to club owners in the UK.
In 2001 Kevin and Eve moved to Norfolk, where Kevin ran Rex Studios, a Great Yarmouth based company involved in the design of theme park attractions. In April 2004 Kevin and Eve moved to Crieff, Perthshire. "The idea was always that we would move up here to retire," Eve told a journalist (Daily Mail, 16th January 2006). Retirement plans, however, were put on hold when Scotdisc offered Eve the opportunity of a solo comeback. The result was a CD, DVD and video titled The Mountains Welcome Me Home, which included re-recordings of the New Seekers' biggest hits, together with some of the songs first featured on the video The New Seekers Story (The Mountains, Neil Sedaka's The Hungry Years and The Seekers' hit The Carnival Is Over). A follow-up album, 'Til The Season Comes Around Again, which featured Kevin Finn on backing vocals and Wishful Thinking's John Franklin on guitar, was released in 2006.
The year before the release of Eve's second album for Scotdisc, John and Kevin had hooked up for a project of their own, reuniting with former members of Wishful Thinking to record an appearance on a German TV show, Ultimate Chartshow. The band met again in Jaunuary 2007 at John Franklin's Lakeside recording studios and again in 2008, this time for a holiday at a villa in central France. While on holiday they trawled through their archive of previously unreleased recordings and talked through the possibility of getting back together to write and record some material for a new album. The album, Believing In Dreams, was released in August 2009.
Kevin died after a short illness on 22nd February 2016. His funeral was held on Monday 7th March, at St. Ninian’s Cathedral in Perth at 10.30am.
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