He quickly secured them a regular gig at the Bankstown Capitol Theatre dance. He also arranged for their television debut appearance on Six O'Clock Rock. Throughout 1961 they performed continuously, gaining experience and a following. In 1962 they cut their first two instrumental recordings in a small studio in the city.
They took their recordings to EMI Records who signed them to their subsidiary label HMV Records. The debut single, Outback b/w The Mexican, was released in late 1962 but unfortunately it was a flop. They met Johnny Devlin when they backed him at the Teen Canteen, a teenage dance club located in Pitt Street, Sydney. Their next single was an instrumental called Surfside, which was written and produced by Johnny Devlin.
It became a national number one hit for one week in February 1963 and was subsequently released in the US, UK and South Africa. They were the first group to achieve Australian chart success with a surfing instrumental, months in advance of any American releases. Both singles to date had been credited to Digger Revell's Denver Men. Johnny Devlin took over as the group's manager and guided them through their most successful period.
He wrote and produced the group's next two Top 40 hit singles; one instrumental called Nightrider in April that was credited to The Denvermen; one vocal called Building Castles In The Air in May that was credited to Digger Revell with The Denvermen. Johnny was also using The Denvermen, minus Revell, as a backing band on his own live performances and recordings. By this time there was a new dance craze called 'the stomp' sweeping Australia so it was only natural that their next hit single was another Johnny Devlin penned instrumental called Avalon Stomp. The single made the Sydney Top 10 and the Top 40 nationally in August 1963. Johnny Devlin's appointment to the Artist and Repertoire department of RCA Records saw the group move to that label in September 1963.
Over the next six months they released a number of singles, both vocal and instrumental, and an album. Their most successful single for RCA during this period was a vocal called My Little Rockers Turned Surfie, which made the Sydney Top 10 and the national Top 40 in January 1964. The single was to be the last locally produced surf music hit in the face of the British Invasion. It was around this time that Digger and The Denvermen parted company with Johnny Devlin, as Digger believed Johnny's career was in direct competition with theirs. Digger split with the Denvermen soon after as he left to pursue a solo career on the nightclub circuit.
However, it wasn't to be a long separation. The Denvermen released two more instrumental singles before Digger rejoined them in July 1964. At that stage they adopted a 'Captain Cook Look' image and began playing mostly Merseybeat-related material, which was all the rage at that time. Instrumentals had disappeared from the charts by now and their next two single releases were both vocals. In May 1965 they had their last national hit with a cover of the American vocal group the Platter's hit My Prayer.
The single spent nine weeks in the charts and reached number twelve. At that time Revell left to embark on a solo career for the second time. The Denvermen issued their last single in November 1965. Read more on Last.fm.
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