Former High Wycombe man releases Christmas song 50 years after his first big hit

Hillingdon Times: Des Cox Des Cox

DES Cox said he has never been better in his whole life. And I can see why. For the 72-year-old shows no signs of slowing down and has a number of projects ongoing including the release of his latest Christmas single. But this isn't his first foray into making music and many may remember him as one half of High Wycombe singers, Des and Dave. He talks to Rebecca Cain about how Mick Jagger would not even go out with the duo because of their wild antics.

It was December 1964 when Cox met Dave Pope in a swimming pool in High Wycombe. And that Christmas Columbia released their song, Christmas Dreams, with the emphasis very much on having a laugh.

He said: "We did so much TV and radio. It captured the imagination of the media. Heavens knows how many articles were written."

So what was it about Des and Dave? Cox said it was because they made people laugh.

He said: "We were different from the run of the mill. We really enjoyed have a laugh and loved nothing better than going into a local pub anywhere and getting out the guitars and just singing and making people laugh. We got more pleasure from that than appearing on stage which all seemed a little false."

Following the release of the record they found themselves on the major morning radio show, Brian Matthew's Saturday Club, and soon they were touring the world.

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And Cox has a host of stories to tell. He wrote the song when he was in Sweden on holiday by himself, after being mistaken for John Lennon.

He said it was the summer of 1963 and he was meant to be going on holiday with three of his friends to Sweden. When they decided not to go he went anyway and when he arrived in the Scandinavian country the immigration officer asked him where the other three were. His passport said he was a pop singer. Thinking this was a bit strange he went along with it and the next thing he knew he was being booked into the top suite at a fancy hotel in Gothenburg.

It wasn't until he saw a paper that he realised The Beatles were coming to the country and he had been mistaken for John Lennon.

But Cox went along with it and found himself sitting on the bar in the hotel singing, 'She Loves You, Yeah Yeah Yeah' to the Mayor and the manager of the hotel. The next morning he thought he better leave as he knew the Beatles were performing in Stockholm that night. Having only £40 in his pocket, he told reception to make the bill payable to Brian Epstein, The Beatles manager.

It was when he was travelling on a train to get "as far away as possible" that he wrote Christmas Dreams.

And Dave was the missing piece of the puzzle.

Cox said they had an amazing time together. He said: "People like The Rolling Stones and other bands would not come out with us for a drink. We would just pop down to the local for a drink and come back four days later.

"We were terrible. I laughed all the time. People would run a mile from us. Mick Jagger would say there is no way I am going out for a drink with you two again."

They separated after two years and Cox was teamed up with Chris Collier to be Dave. As time went by he decided it wasn't for him and Cox stepped out of the limelight and has since had a host of jobs from a theatre manager to producing and editing on TV programmes. He has just written an autobiography called Jumping for Balloons.

Cox lives in East Sussex now but still has many relatives in High Wycombe.

Unfortunately the duo haven't seen eachother since 1972. He said he tried to get in touch with Dave to no avail so he has released the new song, To Wish You A Merry Christmas, alone.

He said: "I was writing my autobiography and I was writing about Christmas as they used to be. I thought we haven't had a Christmas song that captures the true spirit of Christmas since White Christmas which I though was the greatest Christmas song of all.

"We got a tremendous response when we released the Christmas record way back. There was a song in my head waiting to come out. I picked up the guitar and I did it."

The CD is available at www.cdbaby.com, Amazon, or through the website, www.snowbow.co.uk. To watch it on YouTube click on the link below.

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