David McWilliams

David McWilliamsFrom: Belfast, County Antrim, Northern Ireland

David Samuel McWilliams was a Northern Irish singer, songwriter, and guitarist, best known for his 1967 song “Days Of Pearly Spencer.”

McWilliams began playing guitar and writing songs in his early teens. After leaving Ballymena Technical College in 1963, he started an apprenticeship at the Shorts missile factory in Antrim, and also started a local dance band, the Coral Showband. McWilliams was also a decent football player, and had a try-out with Linfield as a goalkeeper.

After hearing a McWilliams demo, industry entrepreneur Phil Solomon convinced close friend and well established songwriter Dominic Behan to take McWilliams under his wing. In fact, McWilliams moved into the Behan family home in West London, where he was able to focus on songwriting. After about five months in the Behan household, Solomon negotiated a contract with CBS Records, which released his first unsuccessful single “God and My Country” in 1966. Solomon than signed McWilliams to his own new Major Minor label.

McWilliams’ first album, David McWilliams Singing Songs by David McWilliams, was produced and arranged by Mike Leander. The album reached #38 on the UK album chart. He quickly recorded his second album, David McWilliams, which reached #23 and featured the single “Days Of Pearly Spencer.” The song was about a homeless man McWilliams had met in Ballymena. Massive exposure on Radio Caroline and through advertisements in the UK music press helped generate sales and the record topped the charts in many countries, selling a million copies worldwide. The song became well known in the UK, however it failed to chart, largely because the BBC refused to play it owing to Solomon’s links with pirate radio. As a result of mismanagement, McWilliams never profited from the song’s success. “Days Of Pearly Spencer” has been covered by a number of artists over the years.

David McWilliams released another album, David McWilliams III, and several further singles for Major Minor, and toured widely in Europe. It is reported that David Bowie once named McWilliams as his favourite songwriter. He moved to London, and released further albums and singles for Parlophone and Dawn labels in the 1970s. All of these were unsuccessful. McWilliams died of a heart attack at his home in Ballycastle, County Antrim, in 2002, at the age of 56. He was married twice and had eight children.

Artist Info: Wikipedia

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Tracks played on Psychedelicized…

From the 1967 album Singing Songs By David McWilliams
Singing Songs By David McWilliams

  • Hiroshima

From the 1967 album David McWilliams
David McWilliams Vol. 2

  • Brown Eyed Girl
  • Can I Get There By Candlelight
  • Days Of Pearly Spencer
  • For Josephine
  • How Can I Be Free
  • Marlena
  • For A Little Girl
  • There’s No Lock Upon My Door
  • What’s The Matter With Me

From the 1967 album David McWilliams III

  • And I’m Free
  • Harlem Lady
  • Poverty Street
  • Three O’Clock Framingo Street

From the 1968 single Major Minor MM 561
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  • Mr. Satisfied

From the 1969 single Major Minor MM 592
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  • The Stranger

From the 1969 single Major Minor MM616
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  • I Love Susie In The Summer