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Friday, July 20, 2012


OK, I gotta admit that I just don't know too much about those guys...

To begin with, it is fairly diffucult to find SOMEthing/ANYthing on them on the almighty www.   But here, exactly, is my entire knowledge, such as it is, on the subject at hand.

I came across their sole LP, "Breakout", in a bargain bin somewhere circa 1977 and bought it on a whim, because I sort of sussed them out as Rollers-wannabees/contenders for the teenybop throne.  Well, just take one look at that cover, will ya...

Kinda liked it.  Especially the Barry Blue-penned songs (he was the producer as well).  There were a few covers to boot.  Most notably, The Honeycombs' "Have I The Right" (The debut dEK single, no less, and a Top 10 U.K. entry as well) and the Dave Clark Five's "Glad All Over" (Their third single.  A flop.).

But as I said before, the best bits came courtesy of Barry Blue.  Particularily, "All My Love Always" (Also, their fourth single), "Tough Kids" (A year earlier, a Barry Blue solo flop), and the ever-so sneaky "Going Out the Back Door". 
The semi-title track, "Breakaway", although not a Barry Blue compositition, wasn't bad either.  It became their 2nd single as well. 

dEK were:
Robbie Gray (Vocals)
Ricky Squires (Drums)
Davey Johnston (Keyboards)
Alistair Kerr (Bass)
Colin "Junior" Ivory (Guitar)

And that is all I knew back then.  Fast forward 35 years...

They came from Ayrshire, Scotland, and initially went by the name of Vehicle.  Began as a local pub act in '74, doing CCR covers and the like. 
But when manager Colin Robertson (some compare him unkindly to Tam Paton) spotted them and signed, oppurtunity well and truly knocked.  Support slots for national heroes Slik and Bay City Rollers followed, and by 1977 dEK were signed to CBS and their debut single "Have I the Right" became a no. 6 U.K. smash in March '77.

The B-side of said single was "Lady (Put the Light on)", written by Phil Wainman and Johnny Goodison of the Bay City Rollers' ("Give a Little Love", a U.K. #1 hit in 1975) fame. 

But this was a cover of Goodison/Wainman's very own Big John's Rock & Roll Circus original from 1974...


Nonetheless, dEK enjoyed their 15 minutes of fame, toured European TV studios and even rubbed shoulders with the Jacksons - to name a few.  Have a look-see at Robbie Gray's somewhat ancient MySpace page here for further info on all that.

A year later, dEK issued their last single, Bugatti/Musker's (who, during the early '80s, also wrote for Sheena Easton and Bucks Fizz) "Heart Get Ready For Love" - also recorded by Hello - backed by a raunchy cover of fellow Scots' Marmalade "Radancer". 
The sound of this single was somewhat rougher and more assertive than their previous output, so who knows what might've become of Dead End Kids had they been allowed to develop any further.
Viewing publicity photos I recently found on the net taken of the band around the time this, their final single, in May 1978, drummer Squires and keyboard player Johnston appear to have been replaced.  But, by exactly who I have absolutely no idea.  
And an even later photo has them reduced to a four-piece and sporting a more New Wave-friendly image as well!

But if anyone, ANYwhere has any more info on dEK to share, please do not hesitate to contact me or comment on the subject below here.  Needless to say, I'd love to hear from any/all band members!!

Thanks to Mark Brennan, Phil Hendricks and everyone at my fave '70s re-issue label 7T's (Cherry Red), the complete (Save for the Japan-only B-side "Girl Dancer") previously released output of dEK was issued on the 7T's "Breakout" CD in 2007.  



"Have I the Right"/"Lady (Put the Light on Me)" (CBS 4972) February, 1977.
"Breakaway"/"I'm Your Music Man" (CBS 5400) July, 1977.
"Breakaway"/"Girl Dancer" (Non-LP B-side) (CBS/Sony 06SP 218, Japan) 1977.
"Glad All Over"/"Last Night in Chinatown" (CBS 5569) September, 1977.
"All My Love Always"/"Roxanne" (CBS 5826) November, 1977.
"All My Love Always"/"I'm Your Music Man" (CBS/Sony 06SP 177, Japan) 1977.
"Heart Get Ready for Love"/"Radancer" (CBS 6926) 1978.


"Breakout" (CBS 82254) 1977.


"Breakout" (7T's Glam CD 44) 2007.

(Slightly updated November 2012 + June 2015)
Continued at:


  1. I worked for Colin Robertson in the 70s his company was lion leisure based in sauchiehall street in Glasgow he managed bands including the dead end kids and another band called flying squad who's first ( and think only ) album was produced by francis Rossi. The dead end kids fan club was run from here and the secretary was a girl called Hannah cant remember her surname. I took over the role from her in later years. Another member of staff was Eddie Tobin think you might recognise the name. Anyway I remember the dead end kids well and still have copy of their album and single courtesy of lion leisure. Always wondered what happened to them

    1. Thanks Linda! Good to hear from you. Yes, I agree 100% It would be nice to know whatever happened to them. So if any of the DEK's should ever pop in here, please do tell us the story!

  2. Robbie Gray became a registered general nurse, later specialising in Infection Control, based in Ayrshire Hospitals.........

  3. Colin Ivory was apparently 15 years old when "Have I the Right" was released and they appeared on TOTPs. He was still at Queen Margaret Academy, Ayr, at the time. He is the uncle of the wife of a bloke at see at Ayr United matches. They have a name of Graeme Payne as playing bass with the band, so if correct he might be the unidentified replacement bassist you see in the photograph in May 1978.

  4. Family legend has it that my cousin, Michael Macfarlane, from Prestwick was in DEK. I only learned this many years later. I was only 12 at the time. The Ayrshire Macfarlanes, including my mum, were well reputed musical family. The tradition lives on since my sister and I are both professional musicians.
    Can anyone confirm or deny Michael's involvement with DEK. Possibly on drums.

    1. I met Michael MacFarlane in Pittenweim 09/08/18 and we had a wee chat Its taken a long time to find him ref DEKs But I remembered the song Have I the right to hold you and he was guitar Plays for pleasure only now(?) Lovely bloke David Cairns Pettigrew

    2. Hi Dave
      I remember our Jolly Sunny afternoon blether in Pittenweem. Happy day, good company. Gerry

  5. Let me clear up a few things here I am the drummer you see here in the picture my name is Phil Keane that's me far right next to Robbie I was brought in to replace the original drummer Ricky Squires if you need more information DM me thanks .

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  7. The guy in the picture is me let me introduce myself my name is Phil Keane that's me standing next to Robbie I was brought in to replace the original drummer Ricky Squires in 1978 and this is one of many promo shoots we did to introduce me as the new guy if you need more information DM me thanks .

  8. Hi, my name is Gerry Mcfarlane(not Michael). I join d DEK in 1977 as a Guitarist around the same period as Phil Keane. We toured Ireland, England and Scotland for about a year and recorded Heart Get Ready for Love at Air studios in London. Pete Solley (Deep Purple) produced the recording.
    Colin, Alistair and myself still play in separate Function Bands. Colin and I co-wrote a number of songs in 2017. I still write mainly jazz/pop instrumentals which can be heard on Gerry Mcfastlane Soundcloud . Enjoy.

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