Denis Payton


Denis Payton
The Dave Clark Five The Ed Sullivan Show appearance, 1966. From left: Denis Payton, Dave Clark, Mike Smith, Rick Huxley, and Lenny Davidson.

Denis Archibald West Payton (Walthamstow, London, 11 August 1943 - Bournemouth, 17 December 2006) was an English saxophonist. He was a member of The Dave Clark Five, where he played both tenor and baritone saxophone.

Course of life

Payton was born in London. As a child he learned to play guitar, saxophone and other wind instruments. As a teen-ager he played in a jazz band, while studying to become an electrician. Thanks to his band membership he made acquaintance with members of many other bands. Being a competent musician, he was often invited to join another band and he moved from one band to another. One of his acquaintances was Dave Clark, the leader of the group ‘Dave Clark Five with Stan Saxon’. When Saxon, who played saxophone and occasionally sang, departed in 1962, the group was renamed The Dave Clark Five. Together with Saxon the second saxophonist Jim Spencer left. Denis Payton became his successor.[1]

In its early years Dave Clark’s group mainly played instrumental music. Only Stan Saxon sang sometimes. After his departure pianist Mike Smith (who later exchanged his piano for an electronic organ) also provided the vocals. The group changed its repertoire from jazz and dance music to pop music.[2]

Since Payton’s arrival the band’s line-up was: Dave Clark (drums), Mike Smith (vocals and organ), Lenny Davidson (guitar), Rick Huxley (bass guitar) and Denis Payton. This line-up did not change during the next eight years. Apart from saxophone Payton occasionally played guitar and harmonica and did the background vocals. Payton also wrote songs for the group, together with Dave Clark, for instance the instrumental "On the Move", B side to the British release of their hit single "Catch Us If You Can". He sang lead vocals on two recordings: "I Miss You" and "Man in the Pin Striped Suit".

The Dave Clark Five scored quite a few big hits, both in the United Kingdom and in the United States. Apart from "Catch Us If You Can" other million sellers were "Glad All Over", "Bits and Pieces" and "Over and Over". Payton enjoyed his finest hour when the jazz saxophone player Stan Getz, one of his big examples, asked him for a signature after a Dave Clark Five gig.[3]

In 1970 the group disbanded. Payton became an estate agent in Bournemouth, but he kept playing in a few amateur bands in his spare time.

When doctors had discovered he had cancer, Denis Payton had to give up his job. After a long sickbed he died in December 2006, 63 years old. He left a wife, two sons and two stepsons.

In October 2006, the year he died, The Dave Clark Five was nominated for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Payton told Dave Clark, who visited him on his sickbed: ‘I know I won’t be around, but it was an amazing part of my life that I am very proud of.’[3] On 10 March 2008 the group was actually inducted into the Hall of Fame. Denis Payton and Mike Smith were sadly missed.

Notes

External links


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