Jimmy Powell grew up in the West Heath area of Birmingham. After leaving school, he apprenticed as a lathe operator in Kings Norton while at night he fronted a local band called The Detours. His powerful vocal style soon began to attract attention and in 1961 he turned "pro" after joining an up-and-coming local group called The Rockin' Berries.
In November of 1961, the Rockin' Berries went over to Germany with the group by this time including local singer Clive Lea as well as Jimmy Powell. The band had a residency at Hamburg's famous Star Club where they shared the stage with The Beatles amongst many others. The following year, The Rockin' Berries were auditioned by TV pop producer/Decca Records talent scout Jack Goode who showed little interest in signing the band to a contract but indicated that their vocalist Jimmy Powell had some potential. The rejected group went back to Germany to continue their bookings at the Star Club but by the summer of 1962, Jimmy Powell along with two other group members left and returned to Birmingham. Jimmy Powell soon contacted Jack Goode who promptly signed him up to a recording contract.
The first record release for Jimmy Powell on the Decca Records label was an energetic cover of Buster Brown's Sugar Baby which... Read More|
... showcased Jimmy's considerable talent as a raunchy R&B performer. This was also highly significant as it can be considered the first "Brum Beat" single. While the record did not chart, it is likely Jimmy Powell's best known song and got his career off to a good start. Two more good singles soon followed but by 1963, The Beatles were making a big impact on the British charts and singing "groups" - not solo performers were now the "in" thing.
Jimmy Powell and The Five Dimensions in 1964
Jimmy Powell went down to London where he became involved with the local blues scene at London's famous Marquee Club. Jimmy's new manager Malcolm Nixon, introduced him to a hot blues act that he'd named "The Five Dimensions" and Jimmy was soon given the position of lead vocalist. About 6 months later, Jimmy Powell added a second vocalist/harmonica player whose name was Rod Stewart. According to Jimmy Powell, Rod stayed as part of the line-up for about a year. Rivalry between the two singers led to Rod leaving and taking some of the band with him to back Chuck Berry on a British tour (the Dimensions were unable to do the tour because of contractual commitments). Unfortunately, there's no recordings of Rod Stewart performing with The Dimensions.
He continued with various incarnations of the Dimensions until 1972, as well as performing solo.