Ian Whitcomb

Ian WhitcombFrom: Woking, Surrey, England

Ian Whitcomb is a British entertainer, singer, author, record producer, and actor. Whitcomb was a part of the British Invasion, and had a hit with “You Turn Me On” which reached #8 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1965. Whitcomb has written a number of books on popular music. He is also known for his use of the ukulele in his music, helping stimulate the current revival of interest in the instrument.

Pat Whitcomb, Ian’s father, worked for his father’s film company British Screen Classics in the 1920s. Pat would eventually co-star in Mr. Nobody, released by Fox in 1929. Pat was a schooled pianist who encouraged his son to play. Ian’s younger brother, Robin, played the drums in their first bands, most notably the Ragtime Suwanee Six from 1960-1962. The Ragtime Suwanee Six were managed by Denny Cordell, who would later produce for Procol Harum and Joe Cocker. As a child, Whitcomb’s biggest inspiration were Phil Harris, Johnnie Ray, Guy Mitchell, Elvis Presley, and George Formby. At age 8, Ian was sent to boarding school where he formed a tissue-paper-and-comb band entertaining staff and students.

In 1957, while attending Bryanston public school, Whitcomb started a skiffle band followed by a rock group in 1959. In the early ’60s, Ian was studying history at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland. He became a founding member of Dublin’s first R&B band, Bluesville. The band charted in the US in 1965 with their second release, “This Sporting Life.” This was followed by Whitcomb’s “You Turn Me On” and a number of television appearances. “N-Nervous!” was Whitcomb’s next release, and reached Billboard’s Top 50. Whitcomb returned to Dublin for his history finals, receiving his degree.

Ian Whitcomb made four albums for Tower Records. He also produced Mae West on her album Great Balls of Fire for MGM Records in 1972. He then returned to the UK where he would begin his writing career. Whitcomb has continued to write and perform, as well as delve into theater. His influence on the resurgence of the ukulele is also very important.

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Tracks played on Psychedelicized…

From the 1968 single “Sally Sails The Sky”
Sally Sails The Sky

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