on 5 September 2014
Back in the mid-1960's six strong-willed young dancers were determined to make their mark in an industry mainly dominated by men. The girls worked hard to achieve that goal and, subsequently, became the most famous dance troupe the UK has ever produced. By 1969, Andi Rutheford, Babs Lord, Dee Dee Wilde, Flick Colby, Louise Clarke and Ruth Pearson - known collectively as Pan's People - won the hearts of the nation, performing week after week, on the UK's ultimate music programme, Top of the Pops.
Now, for the first time, fans can read the story behind Pan's People in their new book, Pan's People: Our Story.
Pan's People: Our Story gives a detailed history of the group and is written by group members Babs, Dee Dee, Ruth and Cherry Gillespie with the help of writer Simon Barnard. The book also features contributions from former Pan's People dancers Lorelly Harris and Sue Menhenick.
Each of the girls had achieved a high level of training and had considerable experience before joining Pan's People. But, talent aside, what made Pan's People so unique was their image. Back in those days, all female dancers looked the same - they wore matching outfits and usually wore their hair in a bun but Pan's People broke the mould by wearing skimpy outfits and allowing their long hair to flow freely, which was considered very liberal in those days. In addition to their sex appeal, the group introduced a new kind of dance to British television viewers - a combination of American jazz and modern dance. Pan's People were the first of a kind and inspired many young girls to follow their dreams of becoming ballerinas.
Pan's People strived to work as a self-contained unit - they insisted on having the same line-up and had their own choreographer rather than using contracted dancers and different choreographers. Due to their determination to succeed in a male dominated industry, Pan's People should be considered pioneers of the feminist movement - they had Girl Power long before any of the Spice Girls were born!
In addition to the background story, Pan's People: Our Story contains lots of never-seen-before photographs, some of which have been submitted by the girls themselves.
Pan's People: Our Story is a MUST for all fans of Pan's People but I would highly recoomend it to anyone!
By Gary P. Rose
on 13 February 2014
A glossy look back to our halcyon days when dads and brothers would watch goggled eyed every thursday night at 7.30 on BBC1 to watch these darlings gyrate and strut to the latest chart hits.,and when sisters would fantasise about being one of them.
Packed with some lovely archive photos of the group through theire various incarnations over the years,and some funny anectdotes from the ladies themselves,the book does tend to only brush the surface,and one has the impression that there are many untold stories and encounters that the ladies would rather not divulge to the general public on what really went on in those BBC dressing rooms!They can be forgiven as the book is still a very good look back to a more fun and liberating chapter in television history.
on 14 November 2013
Pans People our story - First of all i would immediately like to report that this book "Pans People our Story" is essential reading for all those who grew up in the late sixties and early seventies or for those who are interested in dance,music and culture from this period when England and London ruled the world in music, fashion, and culture.This book includes some seventy seven black and white photographs featuring at least one of Pans People from the years 1967 to 1976. Many of these photographs will have not been seen before however some photographs have been deliberately reproduced in black and white from the original colour prints while some originate from performance footage from Top of the Pops (TOTP).Perhaps the most revealing is the full page photograph on page 171. At first instant it appears the ladies are exposing more than they should do. In truth its a costume trick. You will have to purchase the book to find out more. At the centre of the book their are some fourteen excellent colour photographs of Pans People from the period 1968 to 1975.Some are publicity shots while some are from performances on television including TOTP,The John Denver Show and The Morecambe and Wise Christmas show.
Although Pans People were formed in 1966 it was their time on TOTP which drew them to the nations attention and hearts.From this book you will learn that essentially there were three versions or line ups of Pans People from this most prolific and famous period. This period in time being the 30th May 1968 when six girls made their first TOTP appearance dancing to US Male by Elvis Presley to the 29th April 1976 when Pans People made their last appearance on TOTP dancing to More,More,More by Andrea True Connection plus Silver Star by The Four Seasons.I would suggest that your average viewer of TOTP will always remember the original May 1968 to October of 1972 line up when six and then five girls performed on TOTPS every Thursday evening, neglecting illness and industrial action at the BBC.These beautiful and talented dancers being in alphabetical order:
Andrea (Andi) Rutherford,Babs Lord,Dee Dee Wilde,Flick Colby.Louise Clark, and Ruth Pearson.
This Line up or partnership lasted until April 1972 when American Flick Colby decided to stop performing as a dancer and concentrate solely on the demanding job of dance troupe choreographer for Pans People, a task she had been admirably performing effectively since day one. Andrea (Andi) Rutherford who married in december of 1971 left Pans People in October of 1972 after discovering she had become pregnant.
The publishers of this book indicate within the book description on Amazon.co.uk the following text "Now, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Top of the Pops, Babs, Cherry, Dee Dee and Ruth the surviving members of the classic line-up are going to tell their remarkable story." I am sorry to report that this is in fact a major inaccuracy.
Andrea (Andi) Rutherford a original member of the 1968 line up is alive and well and today living in the south of England. The whole book is full of quotes from original members Babs Lord,Dee Dee Wild and Ruth Pearson yet there is not one single quote from Andrea (Andi) Rutherford. Yes she features in many photographs through out the book but to effectively air brush her out of this book is I'm afraid unacceptable.In my opinion she has effectively become the Pete Best of Pans People.
Sadly Flick Colby and Louise clark have both passed away recently. Flick Colby passed away on the 26/5/11 after bravely fighting breast cancer for many years while Louise Clark passed away on the 25/8/12 following heart failure.Both ladies are featured and remembered fondly throughout this book. Personally i would have liked and expected a Biography summary of Andrea (Andi) Rutherford,Flick Colby,and Louise Clark within chapter one "Prologue - First Steps" since within this chapter Babs Lord, Dee Dee Wild and Ruth Pearson give us a brief insight into their early background and Biography.
On the 28th December 1972 Dancer Cherry Gillespie made her debut with Pans People on TOTP bringing the dance troupe number back up to five following (as mentioned above) Andrea (Andi) Rutherford's departure in October of 1972. This date was in effect the start of the second version or line up of Pans People which people of a certain age will remember. The dancers in alphabetical order being:
Babs Lord,Cherry Gillespie,Dee Dee Wilde,Louise Clark, and Ruth Pearson.
This line up or partnership only lasted for approximately 16 months. It is this line up or partnership which is featured in the photo's on the front and back of the books sleeve.In May of 1974 Louise Clark left Pans People.Louise having become married decided to leave the dance troupe to start a family.Louise Clark was replaced in June of 1974 by Sue Menhenick which again resulted in Pans People performing with five dancers.
Within approximately seventeen months two of the founding members of Pans People Babs Lord and Dee Dee Wilde made the decision to leave Pans People. Without these two striking personalities a end of a era had come about. Pans people was never quite the same after their partings which occurred in the Autumn of 1975. Two new dancers Lee Ward and Mary Corpe were recruited as replacements for Babs Lord and Dee Dee Wilde.
The effective third version or line up of Pans People commenced in effect in September of 1975. The dancers in alphabetical order being:
Cherry Gillespie,Lee Ward,Mary Corpe,Ruth Pearson and Sue Menhenick.
On the 1st April 1976 Lee Ward made the decision to leave Pans People. On the 29th April 1976 Pans People make their very last performance on TOTP Dancing as previously mentioned to More,More,More by Andrea True Connection plus Silver Star by The Four Seasons.Ruth Pearson as the longest serving dancer with Pans People on TOTP was given as a tribute to her art, a solo within the middle of Silver Star by choreographer Flick Colby. Fighting back the tears Ruth's performance as we had come to expect was exceptional.
Pans People had a blast doing a job they enjoyed,bringing joy to millions of TOTP followers not only in the UK but around the world during a period in time when pop music was just about as good as it gets.The girls achieved fame but not necessarily fortune. Even with my criticisms i have no hesitation in recommending that you make this your number one book purchase for Christmas 2013. Lets hope the BBC who had a policy back in the day of regretfully wiping many of TOTP performances featuring Pans People routines will make up for there errors by releasing a 50th anniversary TOTP Blu Ray in 2014 featuring as many of the remaining routines held in private hands and the BBC archive.
Thank you Pans People for the happy memories.
on 24 February 2014
This was bought for me as a Christmas present (after one or two subtle hints) I really enjoyed reading it and of course looking at the photos as well - It's a nice nostalgic trip back in time and a timely reminder,after the many recent seedy disclosures, that there were some really good times back in the TOTP heyday. All in all it brings back very fond memories. Perhaps a DVD of the best bits.may go down well.
on 26 November 2015
Book encouraged me to revisit Pans Peoples performances on YouTube. At their best they, were amazingly good. Sadly Flick Colby and Louise Clark are now deceased. Hope the remaining dancers Ruth, Dee Dee, Babs and Andi get the recognition they deserve as pioneers in their field.