Dave Kaye


Dave Kaye was a great favourite of Elvis fans at conventions in the 1960s and early 70s. Together with his group, The Dykons, he offered a good performance of Elvis songs, without ever trying to be an Elvis impersonator. Indeed, Dave Kaye was discovered when he was singing more in the Pat Boone vein, rather than as a sort of British Elvis, but it was none other than Albert Hand who discovered him in 1962 and given that old Albert was the Elvis fan extraordinaire, publisher of Elvis Monthly, head of the OEPFC of Great Britain, writer of books about Elvis at a time when no-one else was writing books about Elvis, and general High Priest of Elvisdom, it is not a surprise that Dave's career would turn towards Elvis.

Albert took Dave to meet Joe Meek, who thought that Dave was a Roy Orbison sound-alike, which must say a lot for Dave's versatility. By 1964, Dave's first single was released, a cover of Elvis's A Fool Such As I, with accompaniment by none other than the legendary Outlaws. His second release, another Elvis cover, In My Way, was issued in time for the inauguration of the International Elvis Presley Appreciation Society, which took place in January 1965 and at which Dave performed. Interestingly, in his recording of In My Way Dave includes all of the verses, not just the two that Elvis sang in his film, Wild In The Country. Here's Dave's full version:

 

Dave Kaye and the Dykons continued delighting fans at future meetings, including amongst others, those in Brussels in 1966, the De Montfort Hall, Leicester, in 1968. But his proudest moment must surely have been his appearance at the 1970 Luxembourg Convention, on the same stage that, in a few years, would be the scene of the Eurovision Song Contest.

Some photos from then, together with a couple of earlier Elvis convention performances (and if you have more, please let me know):

Dave Kaye and The Dykons, probably in 1965
Dave Kaye and The Dykons on stage during the 1968 Leicester Elvis Presley fan club convention at the De Montfort Hall
Dave Kaye and The Dykons on stage during the Luxembourg 1970 IEPAS convention
Closer view of Dave Kaye and The Dykons on stage during the Luxembourg 1970 IEPAS convention
Dave Kaye at the stage door with a fan during the Luxembourg 1970 IEPAS convention

I have been able to contact Dave and he tells me that he still performs occasionally, but more locally nowadays. Here is an edited version of his communication:

After 1974, when the original Dykons broke up, I thought I'd go solo for a while, which I did for about 6 years. When Elvis died, I was asked by various agents if I'd get a band together and do some Elvis tributes; I refused, but agreed to do some shows called "Dave Kaye Sings Elvis," which went well for a while. I used different musicians, including former Dykons. Then, in 1978-79, I formed a new band which continued with a few changes until 1992. Then we went back to the name we were always known by, Dave Kaye and the Dykons. I still do quite a few Elvis numbers, because people who remember still ask. I have to admit that I distanced myself from all those black-wigged, jumpsuited acts which came on the scene like ants.

I have probably never told many this, but when Albert Hand first came to see us 50 years ago and said in his broad Derbyshire accent, "By gad lad, tha does sound like Elvis," I politely remarked, "Albert, nice of you to say so, but I'm doing my best to sound like Pat Boone." Anyway everything started from there: Joe Meek, Major Minor records, and those great Elvis dos.

I've done a couple of Albums in the last 20 years, one of which was dedicated to Albert called "25 Years," on Ten years after; it was a selection of Elvis songs, could have been a lot better. The other was "Sounds like Dave Kaye," except for Wonderful world, the rest of the songs were original.


We can only applaud Dave for refusing to become one of those black-wigged, jumpsuited acts.

If you're wondering what Dave looks like nowadays, here's a pic of him together with two of the original Dykons, taken in about 2008.

Thumbnail Dave Kaye and Dykons

And here's a little-known fact about Dave: he's actually Welsh, having been born in Queensferry, North Wales; he then lived in Dunvant, near Swansea until the age of five, when his family moved to Derbyshire, in England.

For more information about Dave Kaye and the Dykons, with plenty of photos, visit this Chestnut Bank Productions page.

© David Neale 2012