FORMER DJ at Bradford’s Gaumont and Majestic dancehalls DEREK AJ LISTER recalls a Sixties singing star he first met backstage.

Emile Ford, musician and singer was born Michael Emile Telford Miller in St Lucia in 1937. His family moved to London in the mid-1950s where he taught himself to play a number of musical instruments, forming a backing group, The Checkmates. His first self-produced recording, What Do You Want to Make Those Eyes at Me For ? went to number one in the UK singles chart, earning him a Golden Disc selling over one million copies in the UK alone.

In the 1960s he had four more Top 20 hits: Slow Boat to China, You’ll Never Know What You’re Missing, Them There Eyes and Counting Teardrops.

His first hit launched him into a frantic few years of broadcasts. He appeared many times on Sunday Night at the Palladium, as well as the television music shows, also performing on package shows with other artists.

However, within a few years; he gave up performing to return to his first love as a sound engineer.

It was in March 1962 that I first met Emile Ford in the Majestic dressing room on the afternoon he was due to appear that night on stage. He was a very chatty person, and we went off to Seabrook Fisheries for a meal, his treat.

Later I left him to go home to change and return for the evening’s show. Dadio was there now, and his backing group had arrived and had arranged a full one-hour spot from 8.30- 9.30pm. It was a capacity crowd who came that night, and such was the applause for Emile singing his hit numbers to dance to. Both Dadio and I thought he was very good, but also very friendly and polite with us. All made for a very successful night.

Forward 29 years to 1991. A few members of the earlier Bradford groups were to record a disc of those chosen, 14 in all, at Richard Harding’s recording studio in Batley. When I arrived there was Emile Ford who was helping Richard, and it was he and Richard who co-produced my recording of Move It. It was nice to be remembered, the night at the Majestic and the fish and chips.

A few weeks later, on June 28, at the launch of my book Bradford’s Rock ‘n’ Roll The Golden Years, Emile Ford was there with Richard Harding, and photographs were taken of us together which appeared on the Telegraph & Argus front page the next day.

The next day, as he was stopping over, Diana and I invited him for lunch, a most enjoyable day.

We kept in touch over the years, but sadly Emile passed away in 2016. A true pop star and good friend.

* Derek AJ Lister and his friend and collaborator Reuben Davison have profiled singers, bands and musicians from Bradford’s 1950s and 60s music scene in their website, When Bradford Rocked.