Street busker was once in Showaddywaddy

Alan Powling.
Alan Powling.
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Behind the songs of a friendly Morecambe street busker lies a secret past – he was once part of rock ‘n roll legends Showaddywaddy.

Alan Powling, who sings to passers-by on the corner of Euston Road, played with the 1970s teddy boys when they were an up-and-coming group in the Midlands.

But while Showaddywaddy went on to a string of hits like ‘Under the Moon of Love’ and ‘Hey Rock n Roll’, Alan was forced to give up on his dream of fame through ill-health.

“I was with Showaddywaddy at the very beginning, when I was about 17 for a short period of time,” he said.

“I played bass and sang backing vocals, alongside (lead singer) Dave Bartram and (drummer) Romeo Challenger. I had a great time. It taught me that you have to do the groundwork in the music business. The people on X Factor don’t have to slog their equipment around in a van like we did.

“We were doing a lot of the old rock ‘n’ roll stuff even back then, Chuck Berry and Cliff Richard.

“Then I went down with a heart condition, and they made it big.”

But Alan, who is from Skelmersdale, has no regrets or envy.

“I still go and see the lads and I’m glad they’re still going, even though things have changed from the early days...they now have a cup of tea before they go on and Ovaltine when they come off!”

Alan instead spent the ensuing years as a DJ and karaoke host, working in nightclubs and holiday camps across the UK.

Now whenever he’s staying at his holiday home in Morecambe, he likes nothing more than to get out with his microphone and portable PA system, and belt out a few tunes opposite Barclays Bank.

“I’m happy busking,” he said.

“I enjoy it. People stop and talk to you. I could be sat in my caravan but I’d rather be out in the open air, what could be better?”

And appropriately, Alan’s busking set includes the Showaddywaddy hit ‘Three Steps to Heaven’ as a tribute to his former bandmates.