Balls
"Fight For My Country"







Listen to "Fight For My Country"
I have included this acetate because it bears a close relationship to The Beatles. It also holds a unique place in my personal Beatles history.

Back in 1971, WMMS-FM Cleveland, began playing this song. It was credited to a band named Balls (OK, so far). However, according to the radio station, Balls members were John Lennon, Ringo Starr, Keith Richard and Bill Wyman of The Rolling Stones along with Ginger Baker from Cream. Now THAT would be a supergroup.

Even though it didn't sound like the alleged members, I liked the song and managed to make a single recording of a broadcast (I only heard the song 2-3 times). But the members remained a mystery to me for many years.

Well, I finally learned who the personnel actually were and ultimately acquired a copy
of the U.K. only single release. And I am still very fond of this recording.

Balls (the REAL story):

Trevor Burton vocal & guitar
Steve Gibbons vocal, harmonica
Denny Laine bass guitar, vocal
Mike Kellie drums
Richard Tandy keyboards
Alan White drums
Dave Morgan bass guitar
Keith Smart drums
Jackie Lomax guitar, vocal

An ill-fated attempt at producing a Birmingham "supergroup", the band was named by ex-Move guitarist Trevor Burton as part of a cheeky attempt to gain publicity. The group would also include future Wizzard and ELO members.

Trevor Burton, who had left the chart-topping Move in early 1969, was originally rumoured to be forming a new group with Noel Redding from the Jimi Hendrix experience, but nothing came of this. He then joined the long-established Birmingham group The Uglys which was by that time in the final stages of decline. Later in the year, Trevor Burton along with Uglys' singer and only remaining original member Steve Gibbons, got together with Denny Laine, ex-singer/guitarist of the Moody Blues to form a new group which was named Balls.

Balls was managed by one-time Moody Blues/Move manager Tony Secunda and also included ex-Spooky Tooth drummer Mike Kellie. Following in the trend of Chris Blackwell's Traffic, Secunda arranged for the new group to "get it together" in the country at a rented cottage on the Berkshire Downs and also hired Traffic's producer Jimmy Miller for the groups' recording sessions. With Tony Secunda arranging a large Malcolm McLaren style cash advance from the record company, the group started to compose and record new material while playing a few local gigs.

Various other musicians also drifted through the Balls line-up including former Uglys members Richard Tandy and Dave Morgan who became members of ELO, and Keith Smart who would later join Roy Wood's Wizzard (see The Move). Drummer Mike Kellie left the group and was replaced by Alan White who had been a member of John Lennon's famous Plastic Ono Band, but other problems soon arose including the use of "certain substances" at the cottage, and the inevitable disagreements over musical direction. Tony Secunda lost interest in the group when he took over management of soon-to-be teen idol/Glam Rock superstar Marc Bolan in 1970, and Balls disintegrated shortly after.

Despite the obvious potential of the group, it was unfortunate that the only record release was a solitary single that did not come out until September of 1971 by which time Balls had long since ceased to exist. The song Fight For My Country was a spirited anti-war anthem, composed and sung by Trevor Burton and also included backing vocals from Steve Gibbons and Denny Laine who played bass guitar on the track.

Steve Gibbons left Balls within a year to join the Birmingham group Idle Race which eventually became the Steve Gibbons Band. Denny Laine left to join Ginger Baker's Airforce, and later hooked up with Paul and Linda McCartney to become a founding member of Wings. That group would enjoy ten very successful years of international success, and Denny Laine co-wrote the song Mull Of Kintyre with Paul McCartney in the late 1970's which became one of the biggest selling hit singles of all time. Trevor Burton eventually joined Steve Gibbons in the Steve Gibbons Band and the group enjoyed a hit single in 1976 with the Chuck Berry song Tulane as well as touring America extensively.

Trevor Burton continues to perform in and around Birmingham to this day as the hard-working lead singer and guitarist of his own Trevor Burton Band, and Steve Gibbons also remains a well known figure on the local music scene while continuing to live in Harborne, Birmingham.