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I would like to say that Brian Bennett was a really nice bloke, a superb musician and a guy that I’m proud to have been able to play with.

Oh, I should mention that Brian was nicknamed “Beeb” by Micky because of his initials B.B.          

Brian “Beeb” Bennett - By Malcolm Lenny

I first met Brian in a Scout Hall called The Quest somewhere in darkest Thornton Heath, Surrey. I was auditioning to join The Hi-Fi’s as Lead Guitarist/Vocalist.

Brian was seated behind his Vox Continental organ in a Beige overcoat smoking a pipe! He smoked that awful tobacco called Balkan Sobrani that smelled like Sharpes Toffee. I was the only non-smoker in the band.

Once we started to play, I thought, Blimey! This bloke’s a bit good! Not only could he play but he had such a powerful voice too. Anyway I was in, because I could sing a bit like Frankie Valli and Brian loved The 4 Seasons.

Actually, Brian, like me, loved all sorts of vocal harmonies.

We did a lot of good work together, all over the U.K. We did quite a lot of backing work with known singers. We did a short tour with one special singer Julie Rogers. Her act consisted of regular Pop songs and her hit “The Wedding”. Then she wanted to sing Barbra Streisand’s song “People”. She gave us the sheet music not knowing that Brian was the only one of us who could read but only a little. Like a true professional, he worked out the chords for me and Ted and gave “Wrighty” a good idea of how the drums should be played. Thankfully we were all quick on the up-take and we had it sorted. Brian’s Organ and Electric Piano were nothing short of superb! Julie loved it!

Later on we did the BBC Radio show “Saturday Club with Brian Mathew. He interviewed Brian and then asked him about our next song. The song was a Benny King version of “I could’ve Danced All Night”. Our Brian told Brian Mathew that it was “A Latin flavoured, Bossa Nova-type thing”. We Hi-Fi’s never let Brian forget that!

On BBC TV’s Kathy Kirby Show, Brian had to let Kathy play his organ. Only 1 note, 4 times as an intro to “What’d I Say”. We did that show twice and she was lovely.

The Hi-Fi’s did a summer season in Jersey on the Channel Islands on a smallish boat travelling to and from St.Malo in France.

That’s when I really got to know Brian, mainly because we all lived together in the same house. Once again, he showed his professionalism when

we had to back artists like Dickie Valentine, Malcolm Vaughan and David Hughes. It was in Jersey that Brian met Paula, who later became

his wife.

After that Summer Season, Ted left and Gary Unwin and Micky Douglas joined the

band. Brian struck up an immediate friendship with Micky, which turned into a

brilliant songwriting partnership. I was lucky to be able to help them with a couple

of songs but those guys had the knack. The Hi-Fi’s made an album with all but one

of the songs written by Brian & Micky and Gary (with a little bit of help from me).

We were very successful in Germany under Brian’s leadership, with 2 hits and a

strong album.

I had to give up the band in 1967 due to family commitments but I really missed the

guys a lot. I didn’t see the guys for a long time but, right out of the blue, Micky

organised a re-union gig in May ’95. We were all there. Brian, Wrighty, Gary,

Micky and me. We did the gig without any rehearsal and it was a knockout! We

had such fun. It was just like it was yesterday.

Anyway, time passed and then suddenly we heard that Brian had died after an

illness. I couldn’t believe it. I felt empty. Micky and I cried buckets on the phone

and his funeral was devastating. He was far too young to die and he had a new

career going as a Musical Director in big shows. Very sad.