Denis Payton

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Denis Payton
Denis Payton Dave Clark Five 1964.jpg
Payton in 1964 as the Dave Clark Five appeared in Get Yourself a College Girl.
Background information
Birth nameDenis Archibald West Payton
Born(1943-08-11)11 August 1943
Walthamstow, North London, England
Died17 December 2006(2006-12-17) (aged 63)
Bournemouth, Dorset, England
GenresPop, Rock, Beat
OccupationsSaxophonist, estate agent
InstrumentsSaxophone, harmonica, guitar, background vocals
Years activefl. ca. 1960s–1970
LabelsColumbia (EMI), Epic
Associated actsThe Dave Clark Five
 
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Denis Payton
Denis Payton Dave Clark Five 1964.jpg
Payton in 1964 as the Dave Clark Five appeared in Get Yourself a College Girl.
Background information
Birth nameDenis Archibald West Payton
Born(1943-08-11)11 August 1943
Walthamstow, North London, England
Died17 December 2006(2006-12-17) (aged 63)
Bournemouth, Dorset, England
GenresPop, Rock, Beat
OccupationsSaxophonist, estate agent
InstrumentsSaxophone, harmonica, guitar, background vocals
Years activefl. ca. 1960s–1970
LabelsColumbia (EMI), Epic
Associated actsThe Dave Clark Five

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

Course of life[edit]

Payton was born in Walthamstow, 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]

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

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 (he played the harmonica solo on the group’s hit single "Catch Us If You Can") and sang the background vocals. Payton also co-wrote over two dozen songs with Dave Clark for the group, two of which he sang lead vocals: "I Miss You" and "Man in the Pin Striped Suit".

The Dave Clark Five scored many 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" as well as others. Payton enjoyed his finest hour when the great American jazz saxophonist Stan Getz, one of Payton's musical idols, asked him for an autograph after attending a Dave Clark Five concert.[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 illness, he died in Bournemouth, in December 2006, aged 63. 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.

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