The Downliners Sect

Don Craine • The Downliners Sect • 84 Charing Cross Road • Summer, 1964


Don Craine outside Marks & Co Antiquarian Booksellers, 84 Charing Cross Road,  during The Downliners Sect's Sunday afternoon residency at nearby Studio 51, 10-11 Great Newport Street, London


The Story

Following the interest generated by The Sect's self-financed EP, At Nite In Gt. Newport Street, the group signed with EMI / Columbia. After adding a fifth member, harmonicist Ray Sone, the quintet's first major-label single, Baby What's Wrong / Be A Sect Maniac, was released on June 12, 1964 (a date possibly coinciding with our photo session). The single made little impact on the charts.

The group's next release would find the shops on September 4, 1964, and propel The Downliners Sect to pop stardom — at least in Sweden.

By mid-October, The Sect's now-legendary single, Little Egypt / Sect Appeal, had reached No. 2 on the Swedish record chart, Tio i Topp (Ten at the Top). The group's Nordic popularity would continue well into 1965, culminating in a headlining show, with Sone's replacement, Pip Harvey, now on harmonica, at Stockholm's Johanneshov Ice Stadium before a capacity crowd of 10,000 Sect-Maniacs.

Also on the Johanneshov bill; Sounds Incorporated, The Tages, The Mascots, The Shanes

Bibliophiles may be familiar with the location of our photo; Marks & Co antiquarian booksellers, 84 Charing Cross Road. By the mid-20th century, the company had built an undisputed reputation as the leading antiquarian bookseller in Great Britain. The shop provided the basis for a book of correspondence from 1949 to 1968 between New York screenwriter Helene Hanff and Frank Doel, acquisitions director at Marks & Co. Hanff published the letters in 1970 as 84 Charing Cross Road, later made into a stage play, television play, and a 1987 BAFTA-winning film, starring Anne Bancroft, Anthony Hopkins, and Judi Dench.

Photographer unconfirmed

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