Pop Singer Graham Bonnet Age 14
Skegness / July 3, 2010
A FOURTEEN-YEAR-OLD with his eyes on the top—that's Graham Bonnett, of 26, Albany Road, Skegness. And if a musical ear, an encouraging mother, and loads of ambition have anything to do with it, Graham could soon be following local boy Doug Sheldon along the rough road to fame.
Graham has already taken the first steps. He entered 'show business' at the tender age of eight, when he sang "Good Companions" at his Cub concert, and two years later launched himself on the 'pop' world with his rendering of Paul Anka's hit, "Diana," again at a Cub concert. No one was surprised when Graham announced his ambition to be a singer, least of all his mother, Mrs. Irene Bonnett, who was once in show business herself, and made a record 20 years ago!
For show business, it seems, is in the Bonnett family's blood. Besides his mother, Graham has a 14-year-old cousin, Trevor Grunnill earning twelve guineas a week in a rock n' roll show on Australian television!
Trevor lived in Skegness for a year, returning to Australia last August, and during his stay in England, spent much time helping Graham to improve his guitar playing.
Graham was officially 'discovered' last June when he took first place in "Discovery Time" at the Embassy, and went on to compete in the final for the second successive year. Graham has played a guitar since he was ten, and last November, his mother bought him an electric guitar, with amplifier, at a total cost of 42 guineas!
Whereas the guitar seems to have become a less essential part of the rock singers' equipment over the past two years, Graham is unlikely to discard his in order to keep abreast of the current trend. "I don't think I could manage without it now," he said.
With the exception of Helen Shapiro and Adam Faith, few of today's record stars have any impression on Graham, who is concerned by the lack of originality among singers. Surprisingly, although there is a radiogram at home, Graham rarely buys records. After his nightly practice session, he tunes into Radio Luxembourg, and any number with a beat is likely to catch his attention.
In his bedroom, Graham works out the chord sequence, and if, with any luck, he's managed to pick up some of the words too, it will only be a matter of minutes before another number is added to his already extensive repertoire. Through not listening too closely to records, Graham claims that he won't be easily influenced by another singer's style. "Whatever I sing," he said, "it will be just me."
Graham's No. 1 fans, his mother and father, have only heard him sing in public once. Said Graham, who never suffers from stage-fright, "I could get up and sing in front of thousands of people, but if I knew Mum and Dad were among them, it would put me right off!" But whether they are watching him or not, if ever Graham finds the going tough, he can always rely on a word of encouragement from his parents.
Photo: © Wrate's Press - Local beat singer fourteen-year-old Graham Bonnett with the guitar his mother bought him.
© Skegness Standard - 28th February 1962