Tributes paid to 1960s music star Patti Brook, the Wakefield singer who recorded with Cliff Richard and toured with the Shadows

Tributes have been paid to a “born entertainer” from Wakefield, whose career highlights included recording a single with Cliff Richard and touring with rock and roll bands.

Thursday, 17th December 2020, 10:41 am
Tributes have been paid to Patti Brook, a “born entertainer” from Wakefield. Left: Patti is pictured in 2012, and right: Patti wins Miss Wakefield Trinity, aged 18.

Pat Warner, better known as Patti Brook, was born in Wakefield in 1939, and raised in Lupset by parents Mary and Joe Webster.

She displayed musical talent from a young age, and would often put on shows with brother Terry for her parents and sister Jean.

In 1957, aged 18, she won the Miss Wakefield Trinity award, and, following a string of jobs including time as a receptionist at the Wakefield Express, became the lead singer of her brother’s band, the Jack O Diamonds Skiffle group.

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Patti and Terry secured their TV debut in 1959, after wowing audiences with their audition for the Carroll Levis Discoveries talent show in Leeds.

The following year, the group won the Disc music paper Vocal Group Of The Year contest, and were taken under the wing of West Indian singer Emile Ford, whose band was best known for their number one hit What Do You Want to Make Those Eyes at Me For?

In the years that followed, Patti toured the country as a solo artist, making appearances with rock group the Shadows and 60s heartthrobs The Beatles, as well as recording a cover of Cliff Richard's The First Lesson in Love for the 1961 musical film The Young Ones - at the request of the singer himself.

But she remained loyal to her home city, and often returned home to her family. One afternoon, before a performance at Wakefield’s Essoldo Theatre, now the Theatre Royal Wakefield, with The Shadows and rock and roll star Billy Fury, she invited her colleagues back to her family home for a cup of tea.

In 1964, Patti returned to Wakefield, where she joined the Graham Warner Orchestra, who were resident at the Mecca Locarno ballroom on Southgate. Photo: Terry Webster

Her brother Terry, who was by then a bass guitarist with former Shadows singer Jet Harris, fondly recalls the astonishment of their neighbours when they looked out their windows to see a group of rock and roll stars playing football on the front lawn.

He said: “Patti was so confident. She was a born show-off, and didn’t mind going public. It was her confidence that got noticed straight away.

“We had a Wakefield group to start with and we did the touring. After that the agency really wanted to push Patti on her own, and I got the call to audition for Jet Harris.

“We were always there for each other, I used to pick her up from clubs she worked in, expensive places I would never have been able to afford to go in.

Left: Patti, with Emile Ford of Emile Ford & the Checkmates. Right: Patti toured alongside some of the biggest names of the 1960s.

“But she was always a homely type, and it got to a point she was missing home. She was very Yorkshire and down to earth, so she just gave it all up and came home.”

In 1964, Patti returned to Wakefield, where she joined the Graham Warner Orchestra, who were resident at the Mecca Locarno ballroom on Southgate.

She married orchestra frontman Graham, and the couple moved to his hometown of Rochdale, before returning to Wakefield following the birth of their daughter Sarah in 1974.

Here, Graham took over management of the city’s Rooftop Gardens nightclub, and eventually moved to The Horse and Jockey Pub in Altofts, where he and Pat worked until their retirement.

Patti Brook, Terry Webster and Terry McEvoy are pictured in 2012, ahead of a one-night-only reunion gig.

But even as pub landlords, Patti and Graham’s talents shone through.

“Patti loved Graham forever and after,” Terry said. “She was so pleased, she wouldn’t have asked for anything to be any different.

“The pub just transformed into a great place to go. They had on the best food and always made sure it was just right.

“They put jazz nights on and Patti couldn't wait to go out and sing.”

In her later years, Patti suffered a number of health issues, and particularly struggled following Graham’s passing in January of this year.

But her love for music continued, and she performed at every opportunity.

Her last performance, in the weeks before lockdown, was to a packed house at Westgate Common Working Men's Club.

Pat passed away peacefully at home with her family earlier this month, and is survived by her loving siblings Terry and Jean, daughter Sarah and grandsons Max and Jack.