Sixties rock sensation PJ Proby, who plays Doncaster Dome tonight, says his infamous trouser-splitting incident on stage would have made him a bigger star today, writes Graham Walker.
Instead, exposing just his knees during a 1965 UK tour virtually brought his career to an end after a campaign by then clean up activist Mary Whitehouse.
It led to performance bans by the ABC theatre chain, its TV namesake and BBC TV.
He claims the timing also worked for tour bosses wanting to replace him with then budding newcomer Tom Jones.
Proby, now aged 75, today revealed just the big chart hits he will be performing tonight, such as Somewhere, Maria, Hold Me and Together, when he takes the stage backed by The Pacemakers, on a 60s Gold Tour bill which also features The Fortunes, Brian Poole and Chip Hawkes, with the greatest hits of The Tremeloes.
Texas born Proby, who insists he only exposed his knees by doing slides during his act, says scantily clad artistes get away with revealing much more today.
Miley Cyrus caused a storm but escaped bans while twerking during a MTV awards duet with Robin Thicke.
Of his trouser-splitting Proby said: “It was a big deal because nobody had seen anybody’s knees, except on a football player.
“There are no boundaries these days. If my pants split nowadays my price would have gone up.
“It was an accident. I didn’t know I had done anything wrong. I just carried on. But then I ended up having a man on stage after the act who put a great big robe on me, that came down to my ankles.
“The fuss Mary Whitehouse made meant I never got another tour to appear in front of the teenagers of Great Britain again. I went straight to nightclub work up north.
“What ruined my career was being bought off the tour.”
Proby, who in the 60s was also famed for his unusual fashions and a ponytail, which got the chop years ago , said the look he revealed to English audiences was a result of being cash-strapped when he was given a ticket to fly over to appear on The Beatles 1964 TV special.
“I couldn’t afford a haircut. I’d had an argument with my wife and she had given all my clothes to her boyfriend. I was Rock Hudson’s minder at the time,” he recalls.
“I went to Warner Brothers, where I was a stunt man, and I went through their wardrobe - I took Russ Tamblyn’s boots from Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Paul Newman’s shirt, from Left Handed Gun and I a jacket that belonged to Alan Ladd. I didn’t realise he was so small until I got back to the hotel and tried the jacket on. The cuff sleeves came up to my elbows, so I couldn’t wear that..
“I also had ripped jeans, before rips in jeans were a commercial thing. I looked like something out of John Steinbeck’s Grapes Of Wrath novel.”
SIXTIE’S GOLD TOUR - REMAINING DATES
Fri 31 DONCASTER DOME
Sat 1 BLACKPOOL OPERA HOUSE
Sun 2 LEEDS GRAND
Thu 6 YORK BARBICAN
Fri 7 GATESHEAD SAGE
Sat 8 DUNDEE CAIRD AHLL
Sun 9 GLASGOW CONCERT HALL
Mon 10 EDINBURGH PLAYHOUSE
Tue 11 PERTH CONCERT HALL
Wed 12 ABERDEEN MUSIC HALL
Thu 13 INVERNESS EDEN COURT
Sat 15 BUXTON OPERA HOUSE
Sun 16 LONDON PALLADIUM
Tue 18 EASTBOURNE CONGRESS
Sun 23 LIVERPOOL EMPIRE
Tue 25 NOTTINGHAM CONCERT
Wed 26 MANCHESTER BRIDGEWATER
Sat 29 CRAWLEY HAWTH
Sun 30 DARTFORD ORCHARD
Mon 1 AYLESBURY WATERSIDE
Tue 2 BIRMINGHAM SYMPHONY