There is one book on the Sixties I can’t wait to read when it finally comes out. Jeff Dexter is in the process of writing his memoirs and I predict this will be the seminal book on the Sixties and Seventies thriving music scene. Born Dexter Jeffery Bedwell on August 15th 1946 in Lambeth London, Dexter started out as a dancer and singer, progressing to be a well-known DJ, promoter, rock band manager, record producer, club host and events organiser.
Jeff Dexter has made almost every move in and around the entertainment industry. Starting with Mecca Dancing in 1961, he was a dancer & singer with Cyril Stapleton’s Orchestra at London’s Lyceum Ballroom, where he was banned for obscenity after doing The Twist on the dance floor. Dexter was also a band boy when on the road, which entailed looking after all the props, extra instruments & sheet music. During his days at the Lyceum, Dexter became a Disc Jockey and MC on the Record Hops, working with Ian “Sammy” Samwell, and also Jimmy Savile (then the Ballroom Manager at Leeds Locarno). Dexter also worked with many other dance bands, and in other London venues, began and presenting the new beat bands.
Dexter helped take Britain’s first mobile record hop on the road in February 1962, beginning at Greenwich Town Hall followed by other regular promotions in Brighton and Croydon. He also became a partner in a record promotion company with Tony Calder. The first record they promoted together was Love Me Do. Dexter gave up his singing career after he had to follow Ike & Tina Turner at the Hammersmith Palais. Dexter and Samwell hosted many late night record shows at night clubs in London’s West End, including The Flamingo in Wardour Street, The Roaring Twenties in Carnaby Street, and The Crazy Elephant in Jermyn Street.
In 1966-7, Dexter worked as the host and DJ at Tiles Club in Oxford Street presenting all the soul & pop acts including the late Otis Redding. He presented the lunch time record shows, immortalised in Tom Wolfe’s book Noonday Underground. Dexter then started The Jeff Dexter Light & Sound Show with the emerging underground and psychedelic scene, with acts like Pink Floyd. Dexter also took up residency at Middle Earth Club in Covent Garden with John Peel but did not accept an offer to join BBC’s Radio One.
From 1968-73 Dexter promoted and presented rock shows at the legendary Roundhouse in Chalk Farm, mainly under the Implosion banner. Dexter helped organize and host nearly all the major festivals, including many of the free concerts in Hyde Park. He also re-branded Eric Clapton & Friends as Derek & The Dominos. Dexter hosted and arranged most of the acts that appeared at the 1971 Glastonbury Fayre. He also Managed the band America, and also co-produced their first album that made number one in the States, as did their first single for Warner Brothers Records.
Between the years 1973-79, Dexter managed and produced numerous artists, negotiated deals with Atlantic Records (Isaac Guillory), Warner Brothers (Peter Sarstedt, BIM) and EMI (Alfalpha), and Sire Records (Hawkwind). Dexter also tour managed in the UK, USA and Europe, ran the merchandising concessions for many acts and his own music publishing company.
During 1979-81, Dexter moved between Milan and New York, worked with well-known Italian groups and made disco records, but also worked with some of his favourite musicians.
In 1981-83, he moved back to the UK in order to manage a hot new band called BIM (Cameron McVey was on vocals, and Andy Harley on keyboards), and signed them to Arista Records, then to Warner Brothers Records. Dexter then started promoting retro record shows in West End clubs, and during 1983-89 he promoted a regular club, called The 2I’s in Tottenham Court Road at the Empire Rooms, worked with Time Out, organised music & entertainment at large corporate parties.
In1990, Dexter began managing rock bands again, took on new partnerships, made several records, and spent far too much time & money! He Joined a group of old friends to bid for a radio license, and joined a consortium with the aim of re-launching shows at the Roundhouse.
Jeff Dexter, who is currently is a successful Lifestyle Consultant is estranged from his wife Simona Perlasca (after 30 years), with two sons Wesley (Events Manager, and DJ Loki), and Lincoln (Art History student).