BIOGRAPHY AND MUSICAL CAREER HIGHLIGHTS
1938 Born Leeds, England on 3rd February. Has lived in Leeds most of his life apart from Tadcaster(1963-1964), Whitley Bay (1964-1965), Skelton in Cleveland (1965-1969) and Redcar (since 2003)
1948 First stage appearance at Moor Allerton Memorial Hall, Leeds, in a play about Robin Hood, playing the part of Little John.
1954 Bought first guitar. Took lessons from Len Lewis at Kitchens of Leeds, playing mainly classical and Spanish style. Preferred to learn chords and sing Burl Ives songs.
1956 Helped form The Tigers Skiffle Group whilst serving in the Royal Air Force at Bawdsey in Suffolk After working local pubs like the Swan Inn and The Crown in Alderton, and the Ferry Boat Inn in Felixstowe Ferry, bookings were obtained at the Sergeant’s Mess at the local U.S.A.F. bases at Woodbridge and Bentwaters. It was the American servicemen here who lent Tony and the band recordings by country artistes like Hank Snow, Lefty Frizzell and Hank Williams. Soon many country songs were included in the repertoire of the Tigers Skiffle Group.
Tony’s first solo professional engagement, booked to sing ‘Country & Western’ music rather than just skiffle was at the Cavendish Hotel in Felixstowe in September 1956 - and he’s been singing country music ever since!!
1957 Thanks to the recommendation of Tom Lewis, landlord of the Swan Inn (and a former theatre manager in Llandudno, The Tigers were booked to appear at the Ipswich Hippodrome on the famous Carol Levis Discoveries Show. Two full coachloads of support from R.A.F. Bawdsey ensured that the ‘clapometer’ went off the edge of the dial, and it was no surprise to those presentthat the group were declared winners on the night. As a direct result of this success, the manager of the Ritz Cinema in Ipswich booked the Tigers for a full 6 days of appearances in order to advertise the film of The Tommy Steele Story which was due to be shown the following week. The group did a short 20 minute show, sandwiched between the two films being shown - 2 ‘X’ rated films ‘Quatermass II’ and Bridget Bardot in ‘And Woman Was Created’ ……..and the band never did see either film all the way through, as they had to get the last connecting bus from Ipswich to Felixstowe, Felixstowe to the Ferry, and then the last ferry to R.A.F. Bawdsey. It’s tough at the top in showbusiness…and even tougher at the bottom!
1958 Tony was posted to R.A.F. Christmas Island for the H-bomb and atom bomb tests. He soon became involved in the entertainment group which toured all parts of the island, featuring a 10 piece showband, a comedian, and two army sergeants who did a wonderful mime act to Stan Freberg records. He became known as ‘Ginger and his Guitar’ and he was advertised in the locally produced newspaper as being ‘DIRECT FROM HIS FANTASTIC SUCCESS AT THE OFFICERS’ MESS BARBECUE’. (after all, this was probably THE prestige event of the year!) Whilst on leave in Hawaii, Tony entered and won a talent contest where he was staying at the American Armed Forces Y.M.C.A. in downtown Honolulu. Here he befriended another great country music lover, who introduced Tony to the hits of his favourite artiste, Hank Thompson.
1959 Demob from the R.A.F. after 3 years service, and after a few Charity shows, Tony began his career in Yorkshire Clubland. Auditions at the old Trades Hall in Upper Fountain Street, and Jim Windsor’s Club in Vicar Lane, regular talent spotting venues for clubs’ Entertainment Secretaries soon led to dozens of bookings. As a matter of record, Tony’s first paid engagement in clubland was at the Fforde Greene in Leeds, along with an Irish tenor. 2 x 20 minute spots each was all that was required. Tony’s fee was 25 shillings, the going rate at the time.
1960 Now known as ‘Tony and his Guitar’, Tony was booked on average 3 or 4 nights a week, mainly in West Yorkshire, at the same time holding down day time jobs in selling and sales management.
1962 Booked as cabaret act with ‘The Bertini Band’ at the Scotch Corner Hotel Dinner Dance, a regular booking throughout the 1960’s. Guitarist with the Bertini Band was Arthur Layfield, with whom Tony teamed up in 1965 as a country music duo, later to form the band Goodacre Country.
1967 Named by the late Ernie Brunning, organiser and founder of the North East’s first country music club at the Londonderry Inn in Sunderland, Tony, Arthur, drummer Ted Kirtlan and bass player John Brown were the founder members of Goodacre Country.
1968 Tony became a founder member of The Bunkhouse C.M.Club, the first country music club in Tees-side. Terry (Doc) Bowes, who’s idea it was to form the club, was a little surprised to find Tony dressed to sing in his formal dinner suit, which apart from a ‘Maverick’ tie, was his usual stage wear at that time.
1969 Returning to live in Leeds from the North East, Tony and Goodacre Country soon became well established on the fast expanding country music club scene. Along with Dez Craze and the Country Craze and Mary Angel and Wild Cactus, Goodacre Country was one of the original acts to help establish the Mike and Margaret Storey country music agency.
1971 Goodacre Country, (consisting of Tony, Arthur Layfield on Hawaiian steel guitar, Ted Kirtlan on drums and York based Graham Metcalf on bass and harmony vocals (replacing Stan Speight who had been with Tony for nearly two years), made their first tour of country music clubs in the South of England. Venues included the Ponderosa at North Boarhunt, Bernie Clapton’s original club at The Merryhills, Oakwood in North London, and Tom Whelan’s club in Fulham, as well as venues on the Griffin circuit, like the Nashville Rooms.
1973 Tony entered and won the Record Mirror Award as Britain’s Top Solo Country Act. His award, presented on stage at the Empire Pool, Wembley as part of the annual country music festival held over the Easter weekend each year, consisted of a cheque, a 12-string guitar, and a framed certificate.Tony made his first visit to Nashville. Whilst on tour, he appeared as a guest of George Hamilton IV on the Arthur Smith TV Show, broadcast from Charlotte, North Carolina and seen on coast to coast television throughout America.
1974 ‘Roaming ‘Round in Nashville’, Tony first album on the Outlet label is recorded and released. For full details of subsequent releases, click on the ‘CDs and DVDs’ heading on the homepage. In the calendar year 1st January until 31st December, Tony completes no less than 354 evening bookings, plus about 20 Sunday lunchtime shows in the Yorkshire Workingmens’ clubs. Just 11 nights off in the whole year helps establish Tony as the busiest and one of the best known country music singers in Britain. The first of many club awards as Favourite Artiste are gained by Tony at the Brighton C.M.Club and the Wildwood South C.M.Club in Southampton, successes repeated the following year. Radio station D.J.’s forever mention his name on the various‘what’s on’ section of their programmes giving him the name ‘Britain’s Mr Country Music’.
1977 Tony returns to America, and makes his debut, singing on stage at the world famous Grand Ole Opry in Nashville for the first time on Saturday 14th May, 1977. Appearing on both the afternoon and evening shows (on the segment sponsored by Beech Nut Chewing Tobacco), Tony was then invited by Charlie Walker to appear on the Ernest Tubb Midnight Jamboree, also broadcast throughout America on WSM Radio.
1978 More bookings for Tony in various parts of America including Hudson, Ohio, Baltimore, Wellsburg,West Virginia, and WWVA Wheeling Jamboree, also in West Virginia, where Tony starred along with Freddie Fender. Back to Nashville to record tracks for his album ‘Mr Country Music’, with backing from many of Nashville’s best known musicians.
1980 Along with his wife Sylvia, Tony sets up his own record label, Sylvantone Records, , music publishing company Sylvantone Music and Sylvantone Promotions.
1981 Voted for by members of the British Country Music Association, Tony wins the B.C.M.A. award as Britain’s Best Male Soloist, an award he was also to win in both 1983 and 1984. He makes the first of 14 consecutive appearances at The Floralia Country Music Festival in Oosterhout, Holland, still one of Europe’s leading country music events. He also celebrates his 25th year of singing country music by promoting a sell-out show at the Royal Hall Harrogate.
1982/83/84 More bookings at other leading festivals in Holland, and also in Switzerland add toTony’s popularity in Europe. Also appearances at
the Country Festival at the Empire Pool Wembley in both 1982 and 1983
1984 A two week tour of theatres and bigger venues with his 8 piece ‘Sensational Session Band’ featuring Jeannie Dee. As a result of this tour, Jeannie Dee asks Tony & Sylvia to manage her and produce her debut album ‘Introducing Jeannie’. Top songwriter Geoff Ashford signs up to Sylvantone Music to publish all his country music songs.
1985 Stu Page also asks for Sylvantone Management. For three years, Tony and Sylvia concentrate on looking after the careers of Jeannie, Stu and Geoff, releasing albums for them rather than his own product, whilst still keeping a hectic touring schedule on the road.
1985/86 Both years, voted by readers of the Dutch magazine ‘Country Gazette’ as Europe’s most popular solo male vocalist in country music. Sarah Jory’s father, Arthur, asks Tony & Sylvia to l after Sarah’s career,starting a three year period of her touring as part of the Tony Goodacre Trio, playing pedal steel guitar and harmony, then beginning to sing a few songs each night as she
gained in confidence vocally. A very much ‘in d demand' line-up, often working together over 25 n nights every month.
1987. Jeannie Dee plans to move to America, so ‘ 'Spill the Beans’ become a Sylvantone Promotions a managed act, but only until the end of the year. Stu P Page wants to move on to other things, so this gives y Sylvia and Tony the time to plan a special celebration f for Tony’s 50th Birthday, a 3 month long ‘Round The W World' working holiday.
1988 Along with his wife, Sylvia, Tony sets off on a 3 month ‘Round the World’ tour which sees many highlights. Tony becomes the first British based act to be featured on major shows at the Tamworth Country Music Festival in Australia, as a guest of Ray Kernaghan, having previously started the Australian leg of his tour with Ray at his own festival in Corowa, near Albury, N.S.W. (Ray’s son,Lee Kernaghan, now one of the top Australian stars in country music backed Tony on keyboard on this show). To mark Australia’s Bi-Centennial celebration, Tony represented Britain at a special show in Parramatta, near Sydney, in front of an audience of 35,000 people. After 4 weeks of shows in New Zealand, and a two week holiday in Hawaii, Tony spent three weeks in America, where he once again sang on the Ernest Tubb Midnight Jamboree, and also did his first show in Texas at the Grapevine Opry near Dallas/Fort Worth.
1990 Another 7 week tour of Australia, with headline bookings at the Parkes Country Music Jamboree in New South Wales, and the Mildura Festival in Victoria. First appearances in Tasmania.
1992 The release of Tony’s first C.D., a studio album 'Livin' on Lovin’
1994 Tony is invited by Paul Wheater to co-star with him as narrator for the official Jim Reeves Tribute Show ‘I Won’t Forget You’, beginning a 30 month run of theatre shows throughout Britain. The 30th Anniversary of Jim Reeves’ death is marked by a special show at the London Palladium on 31st July 1994. In the audience that night, having flown in from Texas with his family was Ray Winkler, writer of ‘Welcome To My World, as well as George Hamilton IV, his wife Tink, and members of the cast of the Patsy Cline Tribute Show, which was playing in London at the time.
1995 Back to Australia again, with debut appearances in the Brisbane and Gold Coast areas of Queensland.
1996 Tony’s 40th anniversary year of singing country music is marked by major features in many of Britain’s leading country music publications. A double cassette and C.D. album with 21 newly recorded songs is released to great acclaim.
1997 Tony returns to the Floralia Festival in Holland with a six-piece band, for his 15th appearance. A new video ‘The Tony Goodacre Story’ is released, another 3 hours of great entertainment which includes a recording of the actual broadcast when Tony made his Grand Ole Opry debut appearance in Nashville in May 1977.
2000 Release of 3 C.D.’s. ‘Tony Goodacre Sings the Songs of Geoff Ashford’, ‘Favourite Tracks from the 1970’s’ and ‘Favourite Tracks from the 1980’s
2001 The long-awaited new C.D. and cassette with guitarist Steve Isherwood ‘The Millennium Project is completed.
2002 Another new ‘compilation’ C.D. ‘More Favourite Tracks' is released.
2003 New Video ‘From A to Z’ is released, covering shows, scenery & wildlife filmed during the 2002 tour of Australia, & New Zealand, a Malaysia stopover, as well as the 2001 trip to Arizona, Grand Canyon and Las Vegas. Work starts on a new album with Steve Isherwood. Many Country Music Festival appearance throughout Britain including Pakefield, Tenby, Debenham, Kings Lynn, Kilmaurs Scotland, Presthaven and many more. After 30 years living in the same house in Leeds, Tony & Sylvia move to Redcar
2004 Snow Covered’ another CD produced by Steve Isherwood is released.
2005 To mark the 25 year anniversary of setting up Sylvantone Records, Sylvantone Promotions and Sylvantone Music, Tony releases 3 CDs:-Volume 1, all the songs recorded by Jeannie Dee for Sylvantone Records, Volume 2 all Stu Page tracks, and Volume 3, 25 songs both old and new recorded by Tony, Geoff Ashford and several guest artistes. Tony is invited once again to appear at the Floralia Festival in Holland to help celebrate their 25th Anniversary.
2006 To mark his fifty years as a country music singer, Tony achieves another first in Britain by releasing a 12 CD Box Set, comprising on CD, 12 of the vinyl and cassette albums he recorded between 1974 and 1989. The set comes complete with an 88 page Souvenir Book, which includes nearly 200 photographs.
In September, Tony organized a month long tour with his good friend of over 35 years, Grand Ole Opry star George Hamilton IV, who also celebrated his 50th year as a singer in 2006. The hugely successful tour, named ‘The 100 years In Country Music’ tour played 30 shows in 28 different venues in 28 days, with not a single night off.
2007 From the thousands of votes cast on the Internet Country Show website, Tony won the first ever LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD in British Country Music. From an initial shortlist of 18 names, all of whom had been pioneers on the scene in Britain for at least 25 years, (and many, like Tony, much longer), Tony was declared the winner by a majority of well over 600 votes. The beautiful award, a solid glass crystal globe on a hand shaped stand, was presented to him by David Allan on stage at the Lakeside Leisure Club, Frimley Green in Surrey on February 4th as part of the UK Radio Awards show in front of a capacity crowd of over 1,000 people.
Tony announces to much surprise, that he plans to retire from full time touring at the end of 2008, and will begin to greatly reduce the number of his live shows.
Before doing so, in September/October, he completes another month long nationwide tour with George Hamilton IV, this time billed as ‘TOGETHER AGAIN’. Over half the shows also include Tony’s 4 piece backing band (pedal steel guitar, lead guitar, bass, drums and 3 part vocal harmonies). The show at the Princess Theatre, Hunstanton is recorded for a DVD release in 2008.
2008. For the first time since 1972, Tony performs less than 100 live shows in a calendar year. The extra free time at home enables him to produce two new CDs ‘from the archives’ ‘RECORDED LIVE ‘ROUND THE WORLD’ and ‘COMPLETING THE COLLECTION’. In addition to the ‘TOGETHER AGAIN’ DVD, he also produces and releases the first two of six double DVD’s in his ‘From the Archive’ series. ‘IN SUSSEX IN CONCERT’ and ‘AWARD WINNING PERFORMANCE’.
2009. To celebrate his 70th birthday, Tony and Sylvia enjoy a 3 week holiday in the Canadian Rockies, with a cruise to Alaska. What better way to retire, but things don’t go quite according to plan. Several of his friends ask him to do ‘just one more show' for them before retiring’ so Tony is persuaded to do about 20 more shows in 2009, all very enjoyable and successful. The remaining four DVD’s in the ‘From the Archive’ series are released (see CD and DVD page for full details). Tony performs his final concert at his local theatre in Saltburn, with special guest from Nashville, singer/songwriter Hugh Moffatt.
2010 Tony started the year by designing this new website and getting it on line, along with several video and audio clips. He has also accepted a couple of bookings on ‘other friends shows’ as a guest, but has turned down any more of his own bookings. So you may still see him singing occasionally, but his touring days have now definitely finished. You can still catch souvenirs of many of Tony’s great appearances in different parts of the world by watching some of his DVD’s (there’s now 13 different ones). Click on the CDs and DVDs page for more details.
In September, Tony released a new compilation CD (The Country Side of Britain) featuring 12 of the most popular and successful British written tracks he had recorded over the years. Copies of this mainly promotional album will be sent to radio stations and to the country music press. In December, the album and all 12 songs were made available as digital downloads through the cdbaby website and their associated partner companies. Log on to www.cdbaby.com type in Tony Goodacre in the search box and the rest is up to you.
January sees the release of another new compilation album '(More Songs from the Geoff Ashford Songbook) made available as digital download from cdbaby.com See the CD and DVD page for full details.
In May, Sylvia and Tony arrange a concert at their local church, St. Mark's, Marske by the Sea, with George Hamilton IV, and raise over Ł1000 for church funds.
July sees the release of another compilation CD for Digital download, 'Sylvantone Singers &
Songwriters' a mixed artiste 15 track album. This includes two original songs from newly signed Sunderland based singer/songwriter Mick Haley.
The 50th Anniversary Box Set 13 track Sampler release, previously sent to radio stations and the country music press is made available for general release.
A new 12CD Box Set is released called 'BOX SET NO.2 - THE CD YEARS 1992 to 2012'. A 24 page Souvenir Book Supplement is also produced to include with all new orders for Box Sets. Linked with this release is a 12 track Box Set Sampler CD which comprises 1 song from each of the 12 different albums included.
February sees the release of yet another compilation album, 'The Chart Hits'. 24 songs, all of which have been popular hits. See item 31 on the CD's and DVD's page of this website.
In May, another successful fund raising conceert is arranged by Sylvia & Tony at St. Mark's church, Marske by the Sea, with special guest George Hamilton IV. Also in May, Paul Wheater asks Tony to appear in and help compere his 13th Annual Whitby Gospel Music Convention. Tony also appears at the first one day Gospel Music'Winter Warmer' in November, another highly successful event.
To mark the sudden death of long time friend and Hawaiian steel guitarist Arthur Layfield, Tony releases a set of two CD's, recorded by Arthur live in 1994. See CD and DVD page for full details, and the 'latest news' page for a short tribute.
Tony spends his 75th birthday completing a brand new Gospel album 'I Believe', produced by his son John at his home studio in Cambridgeshire. Using computer based technology and tracks, the album is being sold to help raise funds for much needed improvements at Sylvia & Tony's church, St. Mark's, Marske by the Sea.
In September, Tony completes no less than three more all newly recorded albums at his son John's home studio in Cambridgeshire. The following day, he was diagnosed with Myeloma, an incurable but treatable cancer which affects the bone marrow. He starts a six month course of treatment.
2014 Another new 17 track compilation album'Country Music is my Life' is made available for digital download through cdbaby.com and their associate partner companies. There are now 59 of Tony's original recordings available for download or streaming.
2015 January. Release of new CD album '2015 Compilation Favourites, 26 tracks selected from 16 different albums originally released between 1974 and 2013. Myeloma cancer treatment continues, and is still in remission. I'll just keep taking the tablets, and get checked out every month.
. To mark the 60th anniversary of my first paid engagement to sing country music in September 1956, I release my new '60th Anniversary' compilation album.
Following another successful appearance compering and singing at Paul Wheater's 'Whitby Gospel Music Convention' in May, I thenreleased a new compilation Gospel album 'The Old Rugged Cross' to make available at the November 'Winter Warmer' at the same venue and at the May 2017 event. Both albums available for downloading or streaming on line.
Towards the end of the year, I added 9 new clips of songs on to my YouTube page, using original studio recordings and then adding appropriate photographs and short video clips.
2017. In February, I released a new 24 track album for singer/songwriter Geoff Ashford 'The Sylvantone Years'
which included many brand new songs. In addition to adding more original songs as YouTube clips, some of the new Geoff Ashford songs are currenttly being added, using some wonderful photographs to match the words of his songs.