1962 - 1963 My Year With The Sapphires by Bob Saunders aka Dale Saunders, original singer with the Sapphires.

I first met the Sapphires in a function room above the Richmond in Brighton. I was responding to an advertisement in the local paper for a vocalist. As I walked in they were playing Shadows music. They were very impressive, very serious & I could tell they were dedicated to their music. I was just 18 years old at that time & I believe I was the oldest guy in the room. For a group so young, it was amazing how good they were. As a schoolboy I use to play in a skiffle group like so many other kids at that time, but I always fancied stepping up a level & I saw this as a chance to do so. After this first meeting a couple of weeks went by & I had not heard from them. The next time I saw them was in the Starlight Rooms where the Giants were performing. Just as I was leaving, Winston came after me & told me the job was mine if I still wanted it. I accepted & shortly after the group started to gain notoriety in & around Brighton. Things were looking up. At this time we were playing songs like "Sweet little sixteen", "Dreaming", "Route 66", "Shoppin' around", "Do you wanna dance" etc. Early in 1963 The Beatles were dominating the music scene & many groups were emerging from Liverpool, creating a so-called "Mersey Sound". The Sapphires were very much aware of the changing sounds of the groups & it soon became clear to me that this was the direction they wanted to go down. With me being old school "rock and roll" I think I was considered to be too "Cliff Richard" for them & we parted company soon afterwards. Almost immediately I joined another group from the Hollingbury area of Brighton called the Strangers, they were also in need of a lead singer. They knew all about the Sapphires & were pleased to get me on board. Strangely enough I found myself singing songs like “Twist and shout", "Sweets for my sweet", "I like it" & "Just one look" etc because it was what the people wanted to hear. We were together about a year & the group disbanded around 1964.