Heinz & The Wild Boys— “I’m Not a Bad Guy”: Brace for the Obscure (60s rock)! — April 29, 2023


785) Heinz & The Wild Boys — “I’m Not a Bad Guy”

A wild freakbeat version of a Crickets tune — OK, post-Buddy Holly Crickets, but still the Crickets! On the Flip-Side tells us that:

“I’m Not a Bad Guy” was written by Jerry Allison of The Crickets who released the number on Liberty in 1962. The Heinz cover removes The Crickets’ Everly-like harmonies and goes straight for the darkness. . . . [T]he impressive guitar work on I’m Not A Bad Guy features none other than Ritchie Blackmore . . . .


As to Heinz, Flip-Side goes on:

The professional music story of Heinz, born Heinz Burt in Germany, is inextricably intertwined with producer Joe Meek. Heinz played bass for the Joe Meek produced instrumental band, The Tornados, who struck gold in 1962 with the Meek composition, Telstar. By all accounts, Joe Meek was deeply infatuated with Heinz and decided to craft Heinz into a solo star replete with peroxide blonde pompadour, leather vests and, to paraphrase The Ruttles’ Leggy Mountbatten, with some very tight trousers. 


Bruce Eder elaborates:

[Heinz] was born . . . in . . . Germany in 1942, and came to England at age seven . . . . In 1961, he was playing with a local band called the Falcons, who were good enough to get an audition with . . . Meek, who didn’t think much of the band but was attracted personally to the bassist’s blonde, Teutonic good looks — so involved was he in Heinz Burt’s physical appeal, that he eventually persuaded the musician to dye his hair bleach-blonde, to make him stand out even more in any band he worked with. . . . Meek assembled a . . . new group called the Tornados . . . [with] Heinz on bass. They initially played as a backing band to Billy Fury . . . . [and] scored a huge international hit . . . with “Telstar.” . . . Meek began recording Heinz for releases of his own, billed simply as “Heinz.” This was an instance where Meek’s romantic fixation outstripped his musical judgment, at least at first. Heinz’s singing . . . was overpowered by the typically ornate Joe Meek production sound on his debut single, “Dreams Do Come True” . . . . [F]or Heinz’s second single, Meek gave him a demo . . . of a tribute song to . . . Eddie Cochran — [who] had been a huge star in England, and had died in a car crash in 1960, while on his way to the airport for a return to the United States . . . . “Just Like Eddie” . . . featuring superb playing by the Outlaws (including a young Ritchie Blackmore on guitar) — . . . [had] a confident, even bold lead vocal from Heinz, it soared into the British Top Five in the summer of 1963 . . . . But . . . Heinz’s record of success beyond this point was more sporadic.  Meek was unable to write or find songs that were right for him, and despite the organizing of a new band — Heinz & the Wild Boys, which included Blackmore . . . he never saw another [big] hit of . . . . Adding to his troubles was his split with Meek, over personal and professional differences. The producer/manager had lavished attention on Heinz, in hopes of a romantic attraction developing, but [he] . . . was not oriented that way.  Meek was willing to hold out hope until Heinz introduced him to his girlfriend . . . . The end of any personal side to Meek’s interest in his career was complicated further over his reportedly less-than-forthright payment of royalties, which led to an angry confrontation between the two, long after the personal split, at the end of 1966. . . . On February 3, 1967 . . . the producer, long troubled in his personal and professional life, took the shotgun that Heinz had left behind and killed his landlady and then himself with the weapon.


Live at the BBC:

Here are the Crickets:

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